Author:  Meltha

Rating:  G

Feedback:  Yes, thank you. Melpomenethaliaaol.com

Spoilers:  Season two Buffy

Summary:  Kendra has some unforeseen and unsettling experiences in Sunnydale.

Author's Note:  Twenty-fourth in the Jewel Box series, a collection of 500 word fics (in response to The 500 Club) and an idea taken from Challenge in a Can.  In this case, it's Kendra, infatuated, jewelry. 

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Zealot

Back on her island, she is the Defender, the Protector, the One Who Fights the Darkness.  She is rarely seen unless trouble comes, and then the people flee to the safety of their homes.  There is great respect and gratitude towards her, but no one speaks to her.  The very few times when she has exchanged words with people, she was treated with the sort of caution reserved for large guard dogs.  Mr. Zabuto says this is as it should be, and she learned long ago to accept his words without question.

By comparison, Sunnydale is another planet.  The people speak strangely, which is difficult enough, but startlingly the words are often directed at her. Some of them are commands, and that she is used to, but others are very different.  Mr. Giles, for example, speaks to her as though she were a human girl with thoughts and opinions, and it has never occurred to her before that this is the truth.  It certainly never occurred to Mr. Zabuto.

Even stranger to her is the easy conversation between the other Slayer and her… she cannot believe Buffy has them… friends.  They make jokes and chatter away like ordinary people.  Buffy thinks of herself as Buffy first and Slayer second, and her friends, even her Watcher, see her the same way.  As for the others in the school, they often treat her with blatant disrespect. 

Kendra finds all this foreign enough when she sees it in the other Slayer, but when it is directed at herself, she doesn't know how to deal with it.  Walking from the cafeteria to the library, three different boys whistled at her appreciatively.  She didn't particularly like that but decided against pummeling them.

But this boy speaking to her now, Xander, he does not whistle.  Instead, he speaks rather rudely.  It occurs to her out of nowhere that he is handsome, and she feels a very strange reaction.  Her beaded collar seems too tight suddenly, choking off her words and trapping the blood in her face, making her blush and feel fevered.  She twists her neck as she searches for words, stammering.

The collar was given to her in order to aid in her fight, as all things given to her are. The beads were blessed, making them as powerfully protective as holy water, and no vampire could bite her through them.

But now, as the boy's annoyed brown eyes stare down at her, a fluttering starts in her chest.  For one moment she wishes she could remove that collar and all it represents, the choking feeling growing too much to bear.  She longs to simply be one of this group, to find the simple grace to at least look Xander in the eyes and speak to him freely.

And then he is gone.  The moment has passed, and though she knows it was disloyal and evil, she finds herself wishing it had not ended.

When she returns to Sunnydale, she leaves the collar behind.