The Magic Box,
Cole Turner, also known as Belthazor, was bored. His girlfriend, Phoebe Halliwell, and her sisters, Prue and Piper, had decided to have a couple of days away together for some 'sister bonding', leaving him and Piper's fiancé, Leo Wyatt, behind.
Now Cole had nothing against Leo as a person, but the fact was that Leo was a Whitelighter and he was half demon, making them natural enemies. They had both been making an effort to look past what they were to who they were, but their relationship was strained at best.
That was why he had decided to pay a visit to one of the few friends he left had from his old, less reputable days that wouldn't let the Source know where he was the moment they saw him. The fact that she lived on the Hellmouth, the one place the Source was unable to venture onto due to a deal brokered with the First, was a definite bonus, but not the deciding factor.
He had decided that he would drive there, partly for the practise, but mainly due to the fact that excessive use of his powers would let the hunters that were currently after him know where he was, and he didn't want to bring trouble with him to Sunnydale. They had enough as it was without him adding to the pile.
When he had parked his car outside of where she was currently working, a magic shop of all places, he had found himself becoming suddenly nervous, something that he wasn't used to. One of the downsides to his human side gaining strength was that he often thought about the consequences of his actions, something he never had to do when Belthazor was in charge.
He knew that her Sunnydale friends here weren't exactly demon friendly, not that he blamed them for that given where they all lived, and he was hoping that they would allow him time to at least state why he was there before they tried to vanquish him. Not that they could, given that the only known vanquishing spell was in his girlfriend's family's Book of Shadows, but he was pretty certain that their attempts would be less than comfortable.
The ding of the bell as he opened the door to the shop resonated for several moments around the store, although he was surprised to find upon walking inside that it appeared to be empty.
His previous assumption was quickly proven wrong, as a moment later he witnessed a Tek'Mar demon come flying through the double doors at the back of the shop, a petite blonde woman running after it with a sword. The demon spun in the air and landed gracefully, well as gracefully as a 500lb+ demon could land, and charged at the sword-wielding woman, backhanding her into a bookcase. As she landed, two men then came running out from the back of the shop, also wielding swords, and tried to fend the demon off whilst the woman shook the cob webs out so she could return to the fray.
Realising that one or both of the men could get hurt or worse if he didn't do anything, his newly acquired instincts took over and he fired an energy ball at the demon, causing it to explode upon impact. Luckily he had not held back on the power and had incinerated it, as Tek'Mar demons have extremely gooey insides that get everywhere when it is killed the usual way, by decapitation.
Everyone turned to look at him at that point and he could tell that this was not the best introduction he could have made, but as his mother had a habit of saying, when one throws you lemons, you make lemonade. Luckily, he didn't need to worry about how they would receive him for long, as at that point a very familiar voice could be heard.
"Belthazor!" Anya screamed as she came running out from the back and hugged him. He was glad that she was no longer Anyanka, as he would have been crushed in half if she were from the exuberance she'd used in hugging him.
"How are you Anya?" he asked, happy to see that mortal life was treating her well.
"I'm fine now that the demon is no longer destroying my shop," she answered, "costing me valuable money."
"Our shop Anya." Cole looked up at the person who had just spoken, one of the two men that had been trying to kill the demon. "Hello, Rupert Giles," said the distinguished looking man in way of introduction, holding his hand out in greeting.
Cole gently released Anya and grasped the offered hand. "Cole Turner," he replied, "nice to meet you Mr. Giles."
"Please call me Giles, everyone does. I thought that Anya called you Belthazor?" he asked.
Cole knew that they wouldn't have missed that; he had hoped to break them in to his demonic heritage a little later into the conversation, at least until after all the introductions were out of the way, but he was used to his plans never panning out they way he would like and quickly decided on a course of action.
"She did," he replied, "I'm Belthazor half the time."
"What do you mean by that?"
Cole looked at the other man in the room, who was currently standing beside the diminutive woman with his arm around her shoulders. He was younger than Giles and looked like he was, or at least used to be, in the military; the way he was standing and the way he was looking him over were dead giveaways, at least to him anyway. He looked to Anya and, after a moment's hesitation, she nodded her head in support.
"I am half demon, the demon half is known as Belthazor," he explained calmly, not letting his nervousness show.
Cole noticed that as soon as he had said the word demon, both the man and the woman tensed up and shifted their weight so that they were in defensive postures without being too conspicuous; well they thought it didn't look conspicuous anyway, but to him their actions stuck out like sore thumbs.
"I'm a friend of Anya's," he continued, "I've known her since she was still Anyanka and thought that I'd pay her a visit and catch up on how she's doing."
"And you just happen to turn up when we're fighting a demon so you can come in and save us?" the younger man asked, his tone indicating that he didn't believe it was a coincidence.
Cole turned to Anya, a smirk on his face. "Are they always this suspicious?" he asked her.
She nodded her head as she answered in the affirmative. "Only in the literal sense."
Giles noticed that the tension in the room had increased significantly in the last few seconds, so he decided to try to diffuse the situation. "Please don't think we don't appreciate the help Mr. Turner…"
"Please, call me Cole," he interrupted, not unkindly. Whenever someone said Mr. Turner, he still had the urge to look for his father even after all this time.
"… Uh, yes, Cole, it's just that it has been our experience to be wary, especially living where we do."
"I understand completely Giles, it's just that it looks like those two would have already jumped me if you weren't in the line of fire," Cole pointed out, looking over at the pair.
Giles turned round and noticed the stances that they were in and sighed, taking his glasses off to clean them, something he always did when trying to buy some time. "Buffy and Riley have a tendency to operate under the policy of 'hit first, ask questions later' in most cases I'm afraid," he explained.
"HEY!" they both exclaimed, looking decidedly unhappy about how they had just been described.
Further argument was cut short when the bell to the front door rang once more, indicating another occupant.
"Hey to you too guys, why do you look like you're about to pounce on the new guy?" the new guy asked to nobody in particular.
Once Anya saw who it was, she quickly made her way over to him and gave him a long, passionate kiss.
"Hi honey," she said once separating.
The man looked flushed for a moment, and it took him a moment before he was able to respond. "Hiya Ahn, what's going on?" the man asked.
"Cole here helped Buffy and the others kill a Tek'Mar demon. He then tells them that he's half demon and here to catch up with me and they go into full slay mode."
He nodded at her blunt as always explanation, knowing from experience how both Buffy and Riley could get. He looked at Cole for a moment before walking up to him and offered his hand. "Hi, I'm Xander," he said in way of introduction.
Cole took his hand and shook it warmly. "Cole. So, you're the man that's finally convinced Anya that the male gender is worth the trouble huh?"
Before Xander had a chance to answer, Anya responded for him. "He gives me many orgasms and buys me expensive sparkly things."
Xander blushed, in a very manly way, and shook his head in dismay. "Anya!" he exclaimed, embarrassed by his girlfriend's comment. He wasn't as embarrassed as he used to be, having gotten used to her somewhat, but he doubted that he would ever become immune to it.
Cole just laughed at her comment, knowing her for far too long to find what she had said a surprise. "I see that your tact is as strong as ever," he said to Anya.
"I try," she replied simply, taking it a compliment.
Xander decided it was time to change the subject. "So what brings you here to Sunnyhell?" he asked Cole.
"As Anya said," he began, "I just came here to see how she was, seeing as it's been a few years since we last had a chance to talk. Your friends seem to think that I'm here to kill them."
"I doubt that," Xander commented dismissively, "if you were here to do that you would have just shimmered in and caught them by surprise."
Cole looked at Xander in complete surprise. "How did you know I could shimmer?" he asked.
Xander shrugged his shoulders in confusion. "No idea."
Looking that the situation, Xander realised that it would be best if Cole made his first meeting with the Scooby Gang a quick one. "Is it OK to whisk my beautiful girlfriend away early Giles?" he asked the ex-Watcher.
"God yes," Giles responded immediately, knowing Xander could also feel the tension permeating the room and was giving him a way of diffusing it.
As Anya went to collect her purse and coat, Xander turned to Cole. "You coming?" he asked.
Choosing between leaving with Xander and Anya or staying behind with Buffy and Riley was a very difficult thing to do. "Absolutely," he replied immediately, following after them out of the door.