None of this belongs to me. The only thing I can claim is the plot. Sue me and… well, you get nothing. So there's not much point.

Buffy Summers was not having a good first day at her new high school. First, as much as Principle Flutie had tried to act reassuring, she knew that he was going to be watching her, no matter what he said. Not that she was very surprised, what with her transcripts.

Thankfully she'd met a nice guy outside of the Principles office who helped pick up her things when she dropped them. What was his name again? Started with an X, oddly enough. Xavier, maybe?

Then she'd met Cordelia, who'd seemed nice and gave Buffy hope. Till she saw the brunette's encounter with the redheaded Willow, at least. After that vicious verbal attack she could pretty much guess what kind of girl Cordelia was. It brought up bad memories of the girl she herself used to be, before she'd had her eyes opened to the wider world outside of high school.

Last, but definitely not least, was the creepy librarian. All she'd wanted was a textbook or two, and instead he'd plopped down an ancient looking book on vampires. That definitely freaked her out more than a bit, and she'd been out of there in seconds.

Now it was lunch time, and she was wandering the quad till she spotted the person she wanted to talk to. She approached with a tentative smile. "Uh, hi. Willow, right?"

"Why?" Willow asked, looking surprised. "I mean, hi. Did you want me to move?"

Buffy almost winced at the reminder of Cordelia's vicious assault. "Why don't we start with 'Hi, I'm Buffy.'" She sat down next to the other girl and leaned forward slightly. "And then let's segue directly into me asking you for a favor. It doesn't involve moving, but it does involve you hanging out with me for a while."

Willow eyed Buffy, skeptical. "But aren't you… hanging with Cordelia?"

Buffy cocked her head slightly. "I can't do both?"

Willow shook her head rather emphatically. "Not legally."

"Look…" Buffy began seriously. "…I really want to get by here. New school… Cordelia's been really nice." She grimaced slightly. "To me, anyway." She got back on track. "But I have this burning desire to not flunk all my classes, and I heard a rumor that you were the person to talk to if I wanted to get caught up."

Willow began to look excited. "Oh, I could totally help you! If you have sixth period free we could meet in the library-"

Buffy quickly cut in, slightly panicked. "Or not. Or, you know, we could meet somewhere quieter." She seemed to realize what she said. "Louder. That place kind of gives me the wiggins."

Willow nodded in understanding. "It has that effect on most kids." She smiled, then. "I love it, though. It's a great collection, and the new librarian's really cool."

Buffy became more intense, a bad feeling building in her gut. "He's new?"

Willow nodded again, not noticing Buffy's distress. "Yeah, he just started. He was a curator of some British Museum. Or THE British Museum, I'm not sure. But he knows everything, and he brought all these historical volumes and biographies and am I the single dullest person alive?" She finished slightly despairing.

"Not at all!" Buffy said with forced cheerfulness. She blinked as somebody suddenly sat down on Willow's other side. She looked and saw that it was the guy who helped her pick up her books earlier.

"Hello there ladies. Are we interrupting anything?" He said, smiling at her. He stuck Buffy as a very cheerful person. He was gazing at her with interest, and she gazed back, studying him properly now.

He wore a white shirt covered by a sturdy black leather jacket that she was somewhat surprised he could wear without sweating like a pig considering the daytime temperature. He wore black jeans as well, also looking sturdy, with black, heavy boots. All in all, his clothes appeared to be more meant to last than be fashionable, though they didn't look bad.

The look in his eyes was what surprised her though. He appeared to be happier to see her than he would if he was just meeting her. It wasn't a lustful thing either. Simply odd.

Then someone else drew her attention. "Hey there." She turned to see another boy taking a seat on the ground by the bench, grinning at them. He had a somewhat narrow face topped by messy dark hair and with brown eyes.

Willow smiled and motioned to the boy sitting on the ground. "Buffy, these are my friends. This is Jesse…" Then she motioned to the boy beside her. "And this is Xander." Both boys waved as one more person stepped forward, standing by Xander.

"Not going to introduce your best gal pal, Wills?" The person said, a saucy smirk on her lips. Buffy looked at the new girl. She was very attractive, one would have to be blind not to see that, with flawless skin, dark eyes, and rich, brown hair that fell in ringlets down to her shoulders. She was dressed to show her athletic body off the best she could, to the point that Buffy would almost call her slutty, but not quite. She was standing with her arms crossed, observing Buffy back with interest.

Willow motioned to the girl, still smiling. "Buffy, this is Faith."

"Nice to meet you." Faith said, nodding. "Interesting name."

"Thanks." Buffy said, not sure if she was being mocked or not. She didn't think she was, but most people didn't say that sincerely. "Interesting accent. Boston?"

"Yep." Faith said, leaning against a railing. "Boston native, and proud of it."

Buffy looked around at the group. "Well, it's nice to meet you all."

Xander's smile grew. "Pleasure's all ours, Buffy. How are you finding our charming little slice of purgatory?"

Buffy shrugged. "It's a nice place, I guess. Very… clean."

Willow covered her mouth as she smiled while Jesse grinned openly and Xander and Faith both laughed. "Yeah, it's pretty dull. Nothing like L.A., I imagine." Xander said after he finished laughing. Then he pulled a stake out of his pocket, making Buffy's eyes widen. "By the way, meant to return this. You dropped it with the rest of your stuff." He looked at it oddly. "Only thing I can figure is you're building a really tiny fence."

Buffy tried to hide her panic as she took the stake from Xander. "Oh. No. It's for self-defense. Everyone has them in L.A. Pepper spray is so passe."

Xander leaned forward, smiling teasingly now. "So… What do you like, what do you do for fun, what do you look for in a man…?"

"Or woman." Faith cut in with an obviously over the top, playful leer which made Willow roll her eyes with a blush.

"Or woman." Xander nodded in agreement. "Come on, let's hear it."

Jesse leaned back onto his arms. "If you have any dark, painful secrets that we could publish…" He grinned.

"Gee, everybody wants to know about me. How… keen." Buffy said hesitantly.

"Well, not a lot happens in a small town like Sunnydale. You're big news." Xander said, somewhat soothingly.

"I'm not. Really." Buffy insisted.

Suddenly Cordelia appeared behind Jesse as if by magic. "Are these people bothering you?"

Fatih groaned. "Aw hell, it's the alpha bitch."

Cordelia glared at Faith. "Shut it, Slut-o-rama. Nobody's talking to you."

Buffy tried to head trouble off as Faith glared back. "Oh, no, it's fine."

Willow too appeared to want to diffuse the situation. "She's not hanging out with us."

Jesse got to his feet, smiling at Cordelia in what he clearly thought was a suave fashion. "Hey Cordelia." Even Buffy could tell he was clearly smitten.

Cordelia clearly knew it as well, as she rolled her eyes. "Oh please…" She turned back to Buffy. "I don't want to interrupt your downward mobility. I just thought I'd tell you that you won't be meeting Coach Foster, the woman with chest hair, because gym has been canceled due to the extreme dead guy in the locker."

The entire group appeared shocked at this piece of news, and even Faith stopped glaring.

"What?" Buffy asked, dread pooling once more in her stomach.

"What are you talking about?" Willow asked nervously.

"Some guy was stuffed in Aura's locker." Cordelia explained, though she still focused on Buffy, acting as through the others didn't exist.

"Dead?" Buffy asked for confirmation.

"Way dead." Was Cordelia's response.

"So not just a little dead then." Xander said blithely. Cordelia shot him a look.

"If you need a shoulder to cry on, or just nibble on…" Jesse asked Cordelia in what the others assumed was meant to be a supportive manner.

Buffy cut in, interrupting Jesse's somewhat pathetic display. "How did he die?"

"I don't know…" Cordelia said.

Xander asked the next question before Buffy could. "Well, were there any marks?"

Cordelia looked at him. "Morbid much? I didn't ask!"

Buffy got up, shifting nervously. "Uh, look, I gotta book. I'll see you guys later." She quickly took off, vaguely hearing Cordelia's 'What's her deal?' behind her.

Buffy stormed into the library. She'd just been to see the body and was more than slightly irritated by what she found. "Okay, what's the sitch?" She asked the room at large. She spotted the librarian, Giles, on the second floor and made her way over to him.

"Sorry?" He asked, puzzled.

"You heard about the dead guy, right? The dead guy in the locker?" She asked briskly.

"Yes…" He prompted.

"Well, it's the weirdest thing. He's got two little holes in his neck and all his blood's been drained. Isn't that bizarre? Aren't you just going, 'Ooooh…'?" She snarked, angry.

"I was afraid of this…" Giles sighed.

That made Buffy angrier. "Well I wasn't! It's my first day. I was afraid that I'd be behind in all my classes, that I wouldn't make any friends, that I'd have last month's hair. I didn't think there would be vampires on campus. And I DON'T CARE."

"Then why are you here?" Giles asked pointedly.

Buffy stopped, taken aback, before responding slightly unsurely. "To tell you that I don't care. Which I don't, and… have now told you. So bye." She turned and began to leave, irritated.

"Will he rise again?" Giles asked before she could leave the room.

She looked back. "Who?"

"The boy." He answered.

She shook her head. "No, he's just dead." She said shortly.

"Can you be sure?" He asked.

Buffy sighed before answering. "To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood and then you have to suck their blood, it's a whole big sucking thing. Mostly they'll just take all your blood and then you just die – why am I still talking to you?" She asked herself at the end

"You have no idea what's going on, do you?" He began, looking a bit agitated. "Do you think it's a coincidence, your coming here? That boy was just the beginning."

Buffy grit her teeth and turned away. "Why can't you just leave me alone?"

"Because you are the Slayer." He responded solemnly, making her stop in her tracks. He moved down toward her, beginning to intone the words solemnly. "Into every generation a slayer is born. One girl, in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the-"

"-strength and skill to hunt the vampires." She said with him before continuing on to finish. "To stop the spread of their evil blah blah blah I've HEARD it, okay?"

"You know, I've always considered that entire 'One alone in all the world' thing a crock of shit." Said a new voice from among the stacks. Both Buffy and Giles whirled around to stare in shock as Xander stepped into view holding a Trig book and with a raised eyebrow. He smirked at their looks. "You know, if you're going to have a conversation like this, you might want to make sure the room is empty first."

Both Buffy and Giles looked uncomfortable. "Ah, yes, well…" Giles coughed, obviously scrambling for something to say.

Xander raised a hand to stop him. "Before you try to give me some half assed excuse of a cover up, I'll just let you know that I'm well aware of the things that go bump in the night." He moved down the stairs to their level, setting his book down and chuckled softly as he looked at them.

Buffy blinked. "Uh, you do?"

Xander nodded. "Of course. Maybe it would help if I introduced myself properly. Alexander Harris, local hunter." He said with a bow and a grin.

Buffy was confused, but Giles was skeptical. "Excuse me young man, but are you trying to tell me that you're a hunter? At your age?"

Before Xander could answer Buffy cut in with her own question. "What do you mean, hunter? I'm assuming you're not talking about going out and hunting deer or something."

Xander shook his head. "No. This is why I say the whole 'one in all the world' Slayer thing is bullshit. Sure, there might be one girl that's given superpowers at a time, but she isn't the only one fighting." Seeing she was getting irritated he folded his arms across his chest. "A hunter, Buffy, is exactly that. They're people that, for one reason or another, have made it their mission to hunt vampires, demons and other nasties. Some do it for revenge, some for profit, there are even entire clans who pass the job down through the generations. And the ways they do it can be different as well. There are those that travel the world, looking into strange and unusual events, and others that settle down some place and carve out a territory the keep safe. Some use the old ways of swords and crossbows, others go in with full tactical gear and assault rifles. Some are selective, only going after those that have proven themselves threats, and there are the less discerning who go after anything not human, no matter what. There are thousands, if not millions of hunters throughout the world, all fighting the good fight, and I'm one of them."

Buffy gazed at him, surprised, but Giles cut in again. "You are a bit young to be a full hunter even if you're a member of a clan that does it generationally."

Xander shook his head. "I'm not part of a clan. I started off on my own. And I may be young, but I'm experienced. I've been at this for four years now." Seeing how Buffy was about to ask how that could be counted all that experienced, Xander preemptively answered her. "The average life expectancy of a self-employed and taught hunter is approximately two years at best, according to my sources."

Buffy glanced at Giles for confirmation, prompting him to nod. "Indeed, that is about average for someone without a patron or any other kind of support. To last four years at your age is astounding. Why would a twelve year old start hunting vampires, though?"

Xander looked amused. "You don't know where you are, do you? Sunnydale is a Hellmouth. And yes, the name is pretty literal." He told Buffy before she could ask. "You know how many kids I went to kindergarten with survived to reach high school? Less than fifty percent. This place is crawling with vamps and other monsters. There are a few that just want to make a living and keep their head down, but a lot more are the 'take babies from their cribs for a snack' nasty. I became aware of things at ten and prepared for two years before beginning hunting. I'm determined to make sure nothing happens to my loved ones."

Buffy's brow furrowed. "The others, Jesse, Faith and Willow. Do they know?"

"Faith does." Xander said. "I helped her out once. It's how we met. She backs me up on occasion if I need it. The others don't though, not yet. They will soon enough, I'm sure, but for now, ignorance is bliss."

Buffy hunched her shoulders. "Are you going to try and get me to go back into slaying like him?" She jerked her thumb at Giles.

Xander shrugged. "I won't say some super powered help wouldn't be nice, but I can't force you." He stepped forward as she relaxed slightly. "I will say one thing, though."

"Oh, and what's that?" Buffy asked.

"You'll get back in on your own." Buffy frowned at that, and he continued. "You're not the type to not do something when it could save somebody's life. When you're willing to do some ass kicking, let me know, and I'll introduce you to my contacts and assistants." He picked his book back up and held it up to Giles. "So, can I check this out?" Giles eyed Xander speculatively but nodded, helping the young man check the book out. Xander waved cheekily at them before leaving. Buffy headed out shortly afterward, deep in thought, leaving Giles behind to clean his glasses.

That night, Buffy arrived at the Bronze still irritated by her encounter with the dark stranger who gave her a necklace with a cross on it. At least she'd apparently confirmed what Xander said about Sunnydale being a Hellmouth. Though now she couldn't help but wonder what the hell 'The Harvest' was supposed to be.

She shook her head, putting it out of her mind as she entered the club. She wandered around as she heard the band sing, deciding they weren't bad. She wandered around till she bumped into Willow and smiled. "Hi!"

Willow jumped before turning to Buffy. "Oh, hi!"

"Are you here with someone?" Buffy asked.

Willow shrugged. "No, I'm just here. I thought Xander was going to show up…" The muttered sadly.

Buffy frowned briefly at Xander's name, still not sure what to think of him after what happened that afternoon, but quickly smiled again. "Oh, are you guys going out?"

Willow shook her head. "No, no. We're just friends. We used to go out, but we broke up."

"Oh? How come?" Buffy asked with interest.

"He stole my Barbie." At Buffy's look she explained. "We were five."

"Oh." Buffy said, bemused.

"I don't actually date a whole lot… lately." Willow said sheepishly.

Buffy cocked an eyebrow. "Why not?"

"Well, when I'm with a boy I like, it's hard for me to say anything cool, or witty, or at all… I can usually make a few vowel sounds, and then I have to go away." She babbled in explanation.

Buffy laughed, amused by her new friend. "It's not that bad."

"It is." Willow said seriously. "I think boys are more interested in a girl that can talk."

Buffy looked at Willow, a bit surprised. "You really haven't been dating lately…"

Willow huffed slightly. "It's probably easy for you."

"Oh yeah… Real easy…" Buffy said forlornly.

Willow didn't seem to notice. "I mean, you don't seem too shy."

"Well, my philosophy is- do you want to hear my philosophy?" Buffy asked.

Willow nodded quickly. "I do."

"Life is short." Buffy stated simply.

"Life is short…" Willow repeated, considering it.

"Not original, I'll grant you. But it's true. Why waste time being all shy? Why worry about some guy and if he's gonna laugh at you, you know? Seize the moment. 'Cause tomorrow you might be dead." Buffy explained.

"Oh, that… nice…" Willow said uncertainly as Buffy glanced up at the balcony, spotting somebody that makes her furrow her brow.

"Uh, I'll be right back." Buffy said.

"It's okay, you don't have to come back." Willow said reassuringly.

Buffy smiled at her. "I'll be back in a minute." She promised before moving off, leaving Willow alone.

"Seize the moment…" The redhead whispered to herself.

Buffy reached the top of the balcony and walked over to where Giles was leaning against the railing, looking over the teens dancing to the band. "So, you like to party with the students? Isn't that kind of skanky?"

The older man shot her a withering look and responded acerbically. "Right, this is me having fun." He looked out on the stage. "Watching clown-hair prance about is hardly my idea of a party. I'd much prefer to be home with a cup of Bovril and a good book." He didn't give Buffy any time to say something snarky before he continued. "This is a perfect breeding ground for vampire activity. Dark, crowded… Besides, I knew you were likely to show up. And I have to make you understand-"

"That the Harvest is coming." Buffy cut in, annoyed. "I know, your friend told me."

Giles turned to her, completely thrown. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

Buffy looked at him, slightly surprised by his reaction. "The Harvest. That mean something to you? Cause I'm drawing a blank."

Giles looked thoughtful. "I'm not sure…" He turned back to Buffy. "Who told you this?"

Buffy shrugged a bit unsurely. "This guy. Dark, gorgeous in an annoying sort of way. I figured you were buds."

Giles shook his head with certainty. "No… The Harvest…" He looked away musingly before turning back to Buffy. "Did he say anything else?"

"All he did was confirm what Xander said about this being the mouth of Hell." She folded her arms under her breasts, frowning. "Maybe I can ask Xander if he knows him. Cause I really didn't like him."

Both of them went silent as they watched the kids on the dance floor enjoy themselves, completely uncaring. "Look at them." Giles finally said, a bit judgementally. "Throwing themselves about… Completely unaware of the danger that surrounds them."

"Lucky them…" Buffy said a bit mournfully.

"Or perhaps you're right." Giles said, somewhat sarcastically. "Perhaps there is no trouble coming. The signs could be wrong." He looked at Buffy. "It's not as though you're having the nightmares…"

Buffy was shaken by the mention of nightmares, remembering the one she'd had that morning, where it appeared some ancient looking monster was gazing back at her. She tried to explain herself further, hoping to finally dissuade Giles. "Look, I didn't say I'd never slay another vampire. I'm just not gonna get way extracurricular with it. If I run into one, sure…"

"But will you be ready?" Giles interrupted. "There's so much you don't know, about them and about your own powers. A vampire appears to be a normal person, until the feed is upon them. Only then do they reveal their true demonic visage." He explained tensely.

"You're like a textbook with arms!" Buffy cried with irritation. "I know this!"

"The point is, a Slayer should be able to see them anyway. Without looking, without thinking." He turned back towards the floor. "Can you tell me if there's a vampire in this building?"

Buffy looked unsure. "Maybe…?"

"You should know!" Giles practically barked. "Even through this mass and this din you should be able to sense them. Try. Reach out with your mind." He watched as buffy looked down at the teens below, brow furrowed. "You have to hone your senses, focus until the energy washes over you, till you can feel every particle of-"

"There's one." Buffy said, making Giles stop abruptly, completely nonplussed.

"What? Where?" He asked in surprise.

Buffy pointed below. "Down there. Talking to that girl."

He looked down, spotting a young man speaking to a girl standing in shadow. "But you don't know-"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Oh please. Look at his jacket. He's got the sleeves rolled up. And the shirt… Deal with that outfit for a moment."

"It's dated?" Giles asked, unsure.

"It's carbon dated!" Buffy retorted. "Trust me, only someone who's been living underground for ten years would think that was the look."

"B-but, you didn't hone…" Giles said plaintively, only to be completely ignored by Buffy once she noticed something.

"Oh no…" The blonde said quietly, seeing that the person the vampire was talking to was Willow.

Giles spotted them too. "Isn't that…?"

"Willow." Buffy confirmed.

"What is she doing?" He asked with some alarm as he saw them begin to move off.

Buffy became grim as she moved towards the stairs. "Seizing the moment." She quickly moved down to where Willow had been, but found no sign of her or the vampire. She moved backstage and, spotting an old chair, broke a leg off to make herself a makeshift stake. She poked her head out of the exit door nearby, but no one was in the alley. Panic beginning to set in she started making her way back to the main door.

She had just turned the corner when suddenly she was grabbed. Without thinking she grabbed her assailant and threw them up against the wall, holding them two feet off the ground. She lifted her stake, about to plunge it into… Cordelia, who was gaping at her in shock.

"Cordelia!" Buffy yelped.

"Excuse me…" Cordelia began, somehow acting like she wasn't about to be killed with a pointy stick. "Could you be any weirder? Is there any more weirdness that you could have?" Buffy slowly let Cordelia down, lowering her stake. The popular girl stepped back and glared at the petite blond. "God, what is your childhood trauma!?"

Buffy put on a cheerful face, trying desperately to act as though the last thirty seconds hadn't happened. "Did you guys see Willow? Did she come by here?"

"Why? Did you need to attack her with a stick?" Cordelia snarked.

Buffy, red faced, gave it up and moved away to continue her search. Back inside the club she bumped back into Giles.

"That was fast." He said approvingly. "Well done. I'd best go to the library. This 'Harvest' is-"

"I didn't find them." She cut in, frustrated.

"The vampire's not dead?" He asked, astonished.

"No, but my social life is on the critical list." She said pithily as she continued looking around the club.

Giles looked unsure. "What do we do?"

"You go on." Buffy said. "I'll take care of it."

"I should come with you, no?" Giles asked tentatively.

Buffy began to head back out. "Don't worry. One vampire I can handle." She brushed passed Jesse, who was chatting a girl up, without noticing.

Jesse was trying desperately to act suave and cool. "So, what did you say your name was?"

The blond girl smiled at him. "Darla."

"Darla..." He said, nodding to himself. "I haven't seen you around before. Are you from around here?"

Darla shook her head, still smiling. "No, but I've got family here."

Jesse opened his mouth to continue talking, but someone grabbed his shoulder. "Excuse us." Faith said before she dragged Jesse away.

Jesse managed to wrench his shoulder from her grasp before practically whining. "Faaaith, what the hell? I was finally getting somewhere with a hot chick and you ruined it. Do you enjoy fucking things up for me or something?"

"Yes." Faith said with a smirk before continuing a bit more seriously. "Trust me, that's not the type of girl you want. Anyway, I need your help."

Jesse raised an incredulous eyebrow. "With what?"

"I can't find Willow, and X asked me to keep an eye on her. Help me look?" Faith asked.

Jesse looked longingly back at where Darla was sitting, now chatting to somebody new, but sighed. "Yeah, alright. But where should we look?"

Outside of the Bronze, Buffy exited from the back, searching around for Willow. As she did Xander approached her. "Hey there. Leaving already?"

She turned and shelved the slight trepidation she still felt around him, figuring this to be more important. "Xander, have you seen Willow?"

"Not so far tonight. Why?" He asked, still smiling.

"I need to find her." She said nervously. "She left with a guy."

The smile slid off of Xander's face before he looked at her seriously. "Normally I'd be happy that Willow is finally coming out of her shell, but I'm assuming by the look on your face this guy isn't somebody I want her around?"

Buffy shook her head. "He's a vampire. I don't know where he took her."

Xander cursed. "Dammit, I specifically asked Faith to make sure something like this didn't happen." He looked up and spotted said girl exiting the club with Jesse. "Faith!" He called, making the brunette turn and head toward him, Jesse in tow.

"Hey X." Glancing around for Willow.

Xander sighed. "Faith, I asked you to keep an eye on Willow in case of any 'unsavory' types trying to get to her."

The Boston native crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow at him. "To be fair, boss man, you said to do the same thing with Jesse."

"What?" Jesse squawked indignantly.

Faith continued, ignoring him. "I had to pull him away from the blonde skank you warned me about and lost track of Wills while I was at it."

Xander sighed. "Alright, thanks Faith. You did as I asked and I can't expect more from you. But now Willow's in trouble."

Jesse looked worried now. "What do you mean, in trouble?"

Xander shook his head at his friend. "I'll explain later. Right now you just need to know some asshole has taken her, and he doesn't have nice intentions." He turned and began walking. "Come on."

Faith and Jesse followed him, as did Buffy after a brief hesitation.

Before long they arrived in a cemetery, and followed the sound of voices to a mausoleum. Buffy palmed her stake, ready for action, and noticed that Xander had a hand in his coat, holding something, while Faith also had a stake in her hand. Jesse just looked confused. The confusion lifted when they all heard Willow scream and rushed in, Buffy and Xander first.

Buffy attracted the attention of the two vampires that were surrounding Willow and some random teen boy first. "Well, this is nice."

As the vamps turned to her Xander chimed in. "I don't know… Seems a bit bare to me."

Buffy turn to him in mock seriousness. "Well it just gives it potential! Just think, a little dash of paint, some throw pillows… It could be called a home."

"Who the hell are you?" Darla asked angrily, still with her inhuman face on.

"I'm surprised you don't already know. A bunch of other people already seem to. Nice to know I can still somewhat keep a secret identity." Buffy said blithely.

Xander rolled his eyes. "I've been doing it for years, sometimes it seems like it's more of a pain than it's worth." He glanced at Faith and Jesse. "You two, get Willow and the other guy out of here while me and Buffy deal with the uglies."

The male vamp's eyes narrowed. "Who are you calling uglies?"

Xander glanced at him. "Well, you're a nobody, so who cares." Then he gazed at Darla. "You, on the other hand, are Darla. Childe of The Master, Sire of Angelus, member of the Scourge of Europe."

Darla looked surprised, while Buffy glanced at him. "You're well informed for a boy, aren't you?" The vampire said.

Xander smiled. "I keep up to date on threats in my territory."

Buffy shook her head, stake in hand. "Alright, now we can do this the hard way, or…" She cocked her head. "Well, actually, there's just the hard way."

Darla glared at them. "Fine by me."

Buffy gave a look of wide eyed innocence. "You sure? It's not gonna be pretty. We're talking violence, strong language, adult content…"

The male vampire suddenly rushed forward, but Buffy simply stuck her stake out behind her without looking, letting him impale himself on it. He fell back in burst into dust, much to the shock of Willow and Jesse. Faith simply raised an eyebrow, impressed in spite of herself.

"Nice job." Xander said as he saw Darla, wide eyed, warily moving, getting ready to fight. "Ah ah ah, no sudden moves." To the surprise of most there, he pulled a water pistol out of his coat and aimed it at Darla.

Darla eyed him like he was an idiot. "Seriously? What's that supposed to do?"

Xander bared his teeth in a grin. "You'll see." He addressed Faith and Jesse. "Guys, like I said, get Willow and the other guy and get out of here."

The two moved around to help Willow hold up the boy Darla had snared, who had lost so much blood he was barely conscious, as said vampire watched. "Don't go far." She said tauntingly.

Jesse gulped, but Faith shook her head at him. "Ignore the bitch. She'll be dust soon anyway."

Darla sneered at her. "You sound sure of that."

Faith smirked at her. "Yeah, I am. X will deal with you." She moved out of the mausoleum with the others, leaving Buffy, Xander and Darla.

"You should probably go with them." Buffy said to Xander as she kept her eyes on Darla.

Xander kept his water gun aimed at the vampire. "Faith will take care of them. I'd rather make sure this one doesn't get away to cause more trouble down the road."

"I'll show you trouble." Darla launched herself at Buffy, but Xander, ready for her, shot her in the face with the water gun. Buffy was surprised when the vampire recoiled, screaming as her face burned, but she wasn't going to let an opportunity go to waste, and launched herself at her, stake leading.

Darla barely avoided getting dusted, throwing herself back and landing on her back. When Buffy tried again she dodged again by rolling over, still reeling from the pain. Unfortunately for her she rolled right into Xander, who brought his boot down on her neck. She writhed in pain, her durability only barely protecting her throat from being completely crushed. "Who… you…?" She gasped, looking up at them.

Xander palmed a stake. "It's not going to matter to you for much longer..."

He got ready to bring the stake down as Buffy watched when a new voice interrupted. "I wouldn't do that, boy."

Buffy turned quickly at the voice behind her, only to gasp as two large, strong hands wrapped around her throat and lifted her off the ground.

Xander stayed in position as the new vampire looked at him. The vamp continued. "Stake one of my master's favorites, and I will snap this girl's neck like a twig."

"L-Luke…" Darla said as she moved to get up before Xander aimed his water gun at her mouth and shot its contents down her throat, making her cry out and clutch at her neck. "Stay down, bitch, I'll deal with you in a moment."

Luke snarled and tightened his hold on buffy, who began to choke. "Get up and away from her, boy."

Xander appeared to consider it. "How about… no?"

"You have no idea what you're dealing with, do you, boy?" Luke then began to recite some sort of prophecy. "And like a plague of boils, the race of Man covered the earth. But on the third day of the newest light will come the Harvest, when the blood of men will flow as wine, when the Master will walk among them once more, the world will belong to the Old Ones, and Hell itself will come down…" Luke grinned at them. "…Amen."

Xander glared and dropped his spent water gun. "Well, you don't know what you're dealing with either, buddy. I'm Xander Fucking Harris, and you'll need to go through me if you want to bring that Master of yours back. So…" He grabbed something else out of his jacket and flicked his thumb, causing sparks to shoot out, making a small fire begin in his hand. He winced slightly but proceeded to throw the object at Luke. "Think fast!"

Luke was caught by surprise and the object broke against him, showing that it looked like a paintball. The paintball, however, was full of something that burst into flames. Luke let Buffy go in surprise, patting himself to try to put out the fire, and Xander quickly staked Darla while he had the chance, making her turn to dust. He then quickly grabbed an out of breath Buffy and pulled her out of the mausoleum. "Move, move!"

Buffy stumbled along behind him as they heard Luke roar out in rage behind them.

Hello all! Welcome to my latest fic. It's partially inspired by dogbertcarroll's amazing fics, where he looks at things from interesting angles and comes up with unique solutions to problems. My Xander is going to be something like some interpretations of his, having a talent in talismans and ritual enchanting.

So, things have already changed dramatically from canon. Darla is dead, for one. That's going to change a lot of things going forward. And Faith is already a member of the group and somewhat of a hunter due to being Xander's assistant/backup. Now, the whys for the changes I've made will be revealed in time, though not before too long. Though I'm sure it shouldn't be too hard to guess what caused it.

I know Xander seems amazing right now, being a hunter since he was fucking twelve, but while he's meant to be pretty cool, he's mostly survived by being tricky and somewhat underhanded. A necessity when dealing with enemies that could break him like a twig.

One thing I want to make clear though. I'm not super familiar with Buffy beyond the big plot beats and some of the more well known things, like Halloween. Most of my knowledge comes from Buffy fics I read. I actually rewatched the first episode before writing this (oh, the cringe), and had the script open in another window to reference. Much of this chapter is almost completely lifted from the script, as not much has changed. But going forward, as more changes are made, the scripts will be used mostly as reminders of what happened in given episodes.

I don't think I have anything else to say. Any questions, let me know. Please review. Bye.