A/N: An AU/crossover between BtVS and Bleach, starting from the very beginning of the BtVS series. Ichigo and crew meets the Scooby Gang... hijinks ensue, of course.
Neither BtVS nor Bleach belong to me, much as I want them to.
Welcome to the Hellmouth, Deathberry
"Coming through, not certain how to stop... hey, easy," Xander Harris said aloud as he wove through the students now filing like cattle into the high school. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a blonde – whoa, hottie alert – WHAM!
He got up, breathless from colliding into the railing. "I'm fine, I'm fine. Just bowled me off my feet is all," he said to no one who cared. Then he saw his bestest friend of best friends. "WILLOW!"
"Xander, hi!" chirped Willow prettily, brushing her red hair over her ears. "Good morning."
Xander bounded up to Willow. "Morning. Say, didja hear of the new student? Just saw her."
"Uh, new students, in the plural. At least that's as far as I heard. Maybe Jesse will have more news," said Willow as she sidled her way past a gathering of Cordettes, hoping that they would not see her today. Or for the week. Or, like, ever. Thankfully there was a crowd she could hide behind while they made their way to the lockers.
Another gangly teenager bounced up. "Hey guys!"
"Jesse, hey man," greeted Xander. "Any news about new kids?"
"New boy, new girl." Jesse pulled his backpack higher up his shoulder.
"Anything else?" prompted Xander.
"New boy, new girl," repeated Jesse.
Xander frowned crookedly. "You certainly are a font of nothing. By the way, any of you could help with my Math?"
"Which part?" asked Willow automatically, knowing that while Jesse was competent in the subject, he wasn't up to tutoring Xander. Besides, she liked the chance to be with Xander alone.
The redhead sighed. She knew it. "You'll need the textbook, uh, Theories in Trig? The library."
The dark-haired boy was confused. "The library?"
"Where the books live?" zinged Jesse.
Xander grinned. "I knew that. See, I wanna change."
Buffy sat down in the second chair. The boy beside her was scowling as if the whole world owed him.
"So. Here we have Buffy Summers, transferring from Hemery High, Los Angeles. And you are Ku-ro-sa-ki Ichigo, am I right? Kara-kura High School, Japan. Well, I have to say it is a pleasure having you come over to Sunnydale. Do I have to speak slower? You understand English?" The principal blinked and beamed at the teenage boy.
Kurosaki Ichigo raised his brows. "I'm perfectly competent in English, Principal Flutie-"
"The students here are free to call me Bob."
"But they don't."
Ichigo scoffed lightly and went on. "I'm okay in English. No need to worry about whether I understand your condescension or not, sir, I get it totally."
Principal Flutie narrowed his eyes slightly. Then he switched his attention to Buffy. "And you... Buffy Summers. I've seen your transcripts and they are rather... what's the word?"
"Colorful?" Buffy put in, vaguely hopeful.
"No, no, I think the word is dismal," he said, oblivious to Ichigo's amused disdain.
Buffy shrugged in embarrassment. "It wasn't that bad."
"You burned down the gym," the principal said.
"But there were extenuating circumstances! The fire marshal said it could have been vam- rats. Rats." The blonde bit her upper lip.
The principal looked confused. "Rats?"
"Rats that smoke?" Buffy finished lamely. Ichigo rubbed his nose and looked away. Buffy almost punched him but remembered her resolve to be a good student for her mom.
Principal Flutie clasped his stubby fingers together. "In any case, the two of you are very welcome in Sunnydale High. We don't base our impressions on your past, Buffy, Ichigo, but on what you can achieve here." He ripped apart one of the transcripts. "Especially for you, Buffy, we will wipe the slate clean." He pieced it back together and ripped out some tape. "And you start with a brand new page."
"Uh, thank you, sir," said Buffy, feeling rather dubious. They were ushered out without much ado. Ichigo scratched at his neck and turned down the corridor. Buffy hoisted her bag over her shoulder and turned the other way, colliding into a boy.
This had to be Xander's lucky day. It was the new girl. "Here, let me help you with that."
"Erm, thanks," she said and smiled. She was really pretty, with large soulful eyes and a light vanilla scent. Xander had a sudden craving for vanilla ice cream.
"I don't know you, do I?" asked Xander. Very good – nice and smooth.
She blinked, long lashes fluttering. "Oh, uh, hi. I'm Buffy. Buffy Summers. I'm new."
"Xander. Is me. Hi," stumbled Xander. Breathe, boy. Oh dear lords she really was a hottie.
"Hi," said Buffy. "Thanks."
"So um, I'll see around, in school, since we both... go there," said Xander, deflating as he tried to conclude the sentence. The blonde girl gave an odd smile and disappeared. The dark-haired boy's shoulder slumped. "We both go to school. Very suave. Very not pathetic." Then he saw something on the ground. "Oh, hey! You forgot your..."
Cue double take.
Xander frowned. "Stake?"
Willow wiped her mouth, feeling hot and uncomfortable. Cordelia always knew exactly what to say to make her feel small and insignificant, which, to be honest, was so not necessary.
"Are you alright?" said a boy she didn't recognize. He had orange hair. Out of the blue Willow felt a rush of empathy, since her own vibrant hair color singled her out to some of the Cordettes when it came to taunts and jeers. "I heard what she said."
"I-I'm fine, thanks," she stammered. A boy was talking to her! And he wasn't on a dare – as far as she could tell. "M-maybe you shouldn't be talking to me, your friends will laugh at you if y-you do."
"I don't have friends here yet," he said. "I'm Kurosaki Ichigo. I'm new. This place is a maze, and I need to get some books. Could you direct me to the library?"
"Su-sure! The new librarian's really cool. I think he's from the British Museum or something, but he brought along some of the most interesting books I've ever seen and yes, I am a big nerd," said Willow, shrinking back into herself.
"He's new too? That makes four of us," commented Ichigo. He had an easy, relaxed stride, but the semi-permanent scowl was rather intimidating.
Ichigo ticked off on his fingers. "Myself, the librarian, Buffy Summers and the physics teacher. I had him first period."
Willow nodded. She hadn't heard about the new physics teacher – Sunnydale could certainly use some new blood.
Ichigo thanked Willow and she left for her next class. She was nice, Ichigo decided, though seriously lacking in self-esteem. But there was a quiet sense of strength about her, much like his old friend Chad back home. He missed his best friend, but Chad hadn't been able to join him in his move halfway across the world.
The library was rather small and dark. He had expected a larger collection, but perhaps the stacks went back further than they appeared. "Hi, I'm looking for the librarian?"
"Hello," said someone who came out of the small office behind the counter. "I'm Mr Giles, the librarian. How may I assist?"
Ichigo nodded politely. "Hi. I'm Kurosaki Ichigo. I'm new, and I need some textbooks. The book list – here we are – they gave me this morning said I could find the books in here."
"Indeed," said Mr Giles. He pushed the glasses up the bridge of his nose. "I'll get them for you now."
As the adult walked up the stairs, Ichigo caught sight of a dusty leather tome behind the counter. Curious, he angled his head to read the words better. Then he swore under his breath.
Mr Giles came back from the stacks and found Ichigo flipping through the magazines on the rack. "Your books, Kurosaki-san," he said, fluently pronouncing the lengthy syllables.
"You- you're familiar with Japanese terms?" remarked Ichigo, pleasantly surprised. "But, please, call me Ichigo."
The librarian smiled. "Thank you. I spent some time studying Japanese texts and found myself frequently requiring the assistance of Japanese researchers. It was much easier for me to learn how to pronounce the terms properly rather than waste precious time trying to translate different concepts."
Ichigo took the books. "Thanks, Mr Giles."
The new physics teacher examined the potted plants on the sill outside his class's window and decided to try another arrangement. The knock on the door caught him unawares and he almost dropped the pot in his hands.
"Yes, come in," he called out. When he saw the slim redhead he sighed. "Ichigo. What is it?"
"Urahara, they know about vampires in this place," the teen said, sprawling into a chair.
That was interesting. The blond pulled a chair up and sat opposite him. "How do you know that they know?"
"I don't know about the rest of the town," began Ichigo, "but the librarian's definitely in the loop. I saw this huge book, with the lovely word VAMPYR etched on its cover. Leather cover. Bound in metal and this thick."
"Not for general loan then."
"Totally not." Ichigo tapped his fingers on the tabletop. "Do they know this is a Hellmouth?"
Urahara chewed on the inside on his cheek as he mulled over the possibilities. "I'm not certain... perhaps he is just interested in esoteric studies. We'll keep watch and wait."
Ichigo sighed. "This is killing me, Urahara. I can't risk people getting in the way. They'll die."
The teacher patted Ichigo's shoulder. "I know. We'll manage. After all, I am a super-genius."
"Super egoistic mad scientist, more like."
"As long as I'm super, I don't mind."
When Buffy approached Willow for study help Willow wondered if she could be dreaming. Both the new students had spoken to her and were friendly – this was surreal. But Xander babbling in the vicinity of a pretty girl? Pretty much typical Xander behavior.
But when Cordelia came up and told them that there was a dead boy in Aura's locker, Willow knew it was far too real. Buffy took off hurriedly.
"What's her deal?" asked Cordelia, rather confused. "And get your loser paws off me, Jesse! Eurgh!"
Jesse heaved a sigh. Xander patted him on the head and said, "I will never understand what you see in the Wicked Witch of the Dale, Jesse, but I gotta say, your perseverance is inspiring."
"Ah shut up. Least I know who I like. You're too blind to even know what you want," Jesse flapped him off good-naturedly. Willow glared at Jesse in alarm, but she knew Jesse wouldn't say anything to jeopardize their friendship. The taller boy smiled lopsidedly. "Gotta go, guys. Bronze tonight?"
"Bronze tonight," agreed Xander. "I'm headed to the library. I'll get the text, you bring your brains, we'll study and maybe, if I wish upon a star, I might actually begin to understand elementary Math."
"I'll see you later then!" called out Willow, and thrilled inside when Xander flashed her that patented Xanderlicious grin.
Ichigo twirled his pencil in his fingers. This was easy Math – he had taken Algebra when he was twelve, for goodness sakes. Buffy sat two seats in front of him, and she was quite agitated. Ichigo felt a power radiating from the slim blonde girl, but he couldn't place why he could sense it.
He wondered if Urahara would be able to discern the source of Buffy Summers' power. He couldn't shake the increasingly certain feeling that this Valley Girl was the one and only Vampire Slayer for this generation.
And if she was, Ichigo would need to watch her very, very carefully. He had no room for mistakes.
Urahara dried his hair as he emerged from the small shower. "You sure you want to go out tonight?"
"Yeah," said Ichigo, scrubbing gel through his spiky hair. "I heard that the Bronze is the place to go. If there are vamps around, that would be the place to visit."
The blond sat down in front of his computer. "I'm gonna go through this town's records. Don't be out late and for god's sake-"
"Be careful. I know." Ichigo pulled on a black shirt over his light blue tee. It was cool enough for two layers to be necessary. "If you're gonna do anything illegal, do tell me before I return to the feds, okay?"
"You say it as if I'll get caught," smirked Urahara. Ichigo grinned crookedly before opening the door. Before he could leave Urahara tossed him a box. "Put it on."
Ichigo opened the box. "Nice cross," he remarked. "Onyx too."
"The chain is the key. I had the chain specially designed to withstand most forces." Urahara waved Ichigo out. "Go on, have fun. You know how to get me when you need me."
Buffy and a dark-haired boy knocked into Ichigo on his way into the Bronze. "Hey."
"Hi," said Buffy distractedly. "You – you're Ichino, right?"
"Ichigo." The orange-haired teen corrected. "What is it?"
Buffy scanned the surrounds, her body language that of a warrior. Stranger and stranger. "Have you seen a redheaded girl, about this tall?"
"You mean Willow?" asked Ichigo.
The boy asked urgently, "You know her? You've seen her?"
"I know Willow, yes, but I've just come here and I haven't seen her at all," said Ichigo, thoroughly confused.
Buffy hissed in frustration, but thanked Ichigo anyway. "We'll keep looking."
"I'll help," said Ichigo. "I'm not meeting anyone inside. What happened?"
"Uh," Buffy frowned. Her blonde hair whipped little tendrils in the stiff breeze. "A, a guy took her away and we think he's not... he's not a good guy."
"Oh." Ichigo stuffed his hands in his pockets. Time to try his luck. "At least he's not a vampire."
The two teens turned around and stared at him. "What?" "How do you-"
"Guys, priority," said Ichigo. He tugged the black cross out from under his tee. "Willow's waiting."
Buffy looked at the cross and then at the other boy. "He's right. Let's go."
As they raced off, the other boy waved his fingers in greeting. "I'm Xander."
Willow was officially terrified now. There was something to be said for not having any resemblance of a life, and she prayed frantically. Someone, anyone, now would be good-
"That's all you found?" said a blonde. "Hardly enough to share.
Share? Willow gulped back her terror. It was a very pretty blonde girl in a Catholic school uniform. But all of her instincts told Willow to avoid the girl – she was Danger.
"She's fresh," said Thomas, the boy Willow had left the Bronze with. He scoffed. "You could have brought your own, Darla."
"I did," she said.
Then a tall, lanky form stumbled into the darkened mausoleum. "I think you gave me a hickey," he muttered weakly.
"Oh my god Jesse!" Willow ran forward. The girl and Thomas moved forward. Willow swallowed and warned, "Stay away from us! Let us go!"
"You're not going anywhere," drawled Darla. "You're not going anywhere till we've fed!"
Her face transformed into a hideous visage of jutting brow and yellowed eyes. Willow screamed. We're gonna die we're gonna die we'regonnadiegonnadiegonnadie-
"Hmm, not bad," said a bright female voice.
Three persons strolled into the mausoleum. One was a slender blonde girl, one a dark-haired boy, and one an orange-haired boy. Only Xander looked worried; the other two appeared confident. Buffy and ichigo walked about, one on each side of the coffin in the crypt. Xander hurried to Jesse's side.
"Buffy, we book now, right?"
Darla glared. "Who the hell are you?"
"You meant there's someone who doesn't know about me?" quipped Buffy.
Ichigo gripped something from his pocket and snapped it open into a length. To Willow it looked like a blade. "Xander, Willow, take your friend and go."
"Don't go far!" called out Darla. The three rushed out as fast as they could.
Ichigo moved stealthily, the length extended and ready. Buffy circled the other girl carefully; something about her snapped at her composure. Thomas snarled and leaped; in one swift blow Ichigo sliced through Thomas's neck.
Buffy shrugged. "See what happens when you roughhouse?"
"Now it's two against one," said Ichigo. "Who do you work for, vampire?"
"You have no need to know his name, boy," snapped the sole vampire. She grinned. "He was young and stupid. D'you think you can beat me?"
Buffy smiled pertly. "Let's find out."
Ichigo stayed out of the way when the two girls came together with a double side kick and then a flurry of blows. He should check on Xander, Willow and their friend, but he wasn't sure if Buffy needed him as backup.
"Go help them!" shouted Buffy as if in response to his unasked question. "I'll handle this!"
Ichigo nodded and dashed out. When he found them there was a ring of vampires around the trio. Perhaps eight, nine – he could take some of them but not all. Willow and Xander had the third boy propped up between them.
"Shit," cursed Ichigo under his breath, and dashed headlong into the fray. He decapitated one in his first attack and Willow screamed upon seeing the severed head bounce on the grassy knoll. Then all three of them cried out when the vampire exploded into dust. Ichigo's sword danced into a protective shield about them. "Stop screaming and run!"
"But Jesse's hurt-" began Xander angrily.
"He's not dead yet, but he will be if you guys don't move your asses!" shouted Ichigo.
One of the vampires grinned toothily. "You're all dead anyway. But we'll have to bring some of you down to the Master, so perhaps you'll have a lucky day and live a few hours longer than your friends."
Ichigo braced himself. The bloodsuckers rolled their necks. Ichigo sidled closer to Willow. "You see the chance," he muttered to her, "take who you can and run for safety."
"Don't argue, or we'll all die."
The redheaded girl bit her lip and nodded. The vampires attacked.
Ichigo swung his sword and cut off a fourth vamp's head when Buffy burst into the scramble, staking the one menacing Willow, and staking a second by the nearby tree. Ichigo took care of the last, stabbing through the spine of an obese vampire and then staking it with a broken branch borrowed from the ground.
"Let's go," breathed Buffy heavily. "Wait – where's Xander?"
"H-here," groaned the boy from behind a gravestone. He hauled himself up. "They hit my head."
Ichigo helped him up. "You're still alive, at least."
"Where's Jesse?" asked Willow, looking around wildly.
Buffy frowned. "I didn't see him."
"Let's go somewhere and regroup," said Ichigo. He didn't want to admit it but he was aching all over from the fight. "It's too open and risky here."
"We'll go home, and then, the library in the morning," said Buffy. Ichigo breathed out steadily; he was right. The librarian was involved for sure. Now to get the news to Urahara.
Giles was nonplussed that there were three non-Slayers talking about Slayer lore. Buffy rolled her eyes. "They were almost eaten. I think it's fair they know what the hell is going on."
Ichigo winced; his ribs ached. Buffy crossed her arm and added, "Also, I want to know who the hell are you."
"Me?" Ichigo raised a brow. "Kurosaki Ichigo, Japanese transfer student, and an ex-member of the Shinigami."
"The what?" Buffy was completely confused. "Shinny gummies?"
Giles coughed politely. "The Shinigami? I thought they operated only in Japan and East Asia."
"I said I was an ex-member. I left to come here." Ichigo looked at the older man. "They are still active there though."
Buffy folded her arms. "Fill the rest of us in please? Willow, are you getting the schematics for the cemetery?"
"It'll take some time," said Willow at the computer terminal. Xander was pacing behind her.
Ichigo sighed. "You're the Slayer. You think one skinny blonde girl is really enough to keep the forces of evil at bay?"
Buffy bristled. Ichigo looked up, full of challenge.
Giles pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "The Shinigami is a select group of warriors dedicated to the same cause as the Watchers' Council and the Slayer. The literal translation would be Death Gods. I understand that the organization is rather small but well-organized. Which division were you in, Ichigo? You're quite young to be part of it."
"That's not relevant. I left Japan, I came here, I wanted to start a new life. I didn't expect to have to fight vamps on the first day of school, and certainly not having to cross paths with the Slayer." He stood and folded his hands behind him. "And after we rescue Jesse, I'm gonna go back and pretend I know nothing about this, okay?"
Buffy said nothing. He had the freedom to do what he wanted, she realized, whereas she still had Destiny graffiti-ed over her life. But they shared something in common, and that was alright. Perhaps they could be friends.
She could use a few more friends.
"Got it," crowed Willow. "Schematics for the cemetery."
While Buffy and Xander rushed over to the redhead, Ichigo told Giles he had to make a phone call. They debated over the best way to save Jesse. Ichigo dialed a number. "Urahara."
"Ichigo. It's school hours, what is it?" said Urahara, his voice tinny over the connection.
The redheaded youth looked at the four gathered in front of the computer. "Remember what we were talking about last night?"
"Yes. Slayer. And the book man is the watcher." Ichigo kept his voice hushed and low. "The others are innocents though."
"And you've blown your cover," sighed Urahara at the other end. "I swear, keeping you secret is a job of work. Are you going to turn up in class or not?"
Ichigo snorted. "I will be there, but I think they'll head off to save him now. And they're done discussing. Catch you later."
He did wish his former captain hadn't decided to defect along with him. Their captain-general was pissed at them and they were probably being tracked right now, but Ichigo had sworn to do this. Urahara followed because he thought Ichigo needed help, which was true, and also because Urahara wanted the opportunity to study the Hellmouth up close.
Buffy was rejecting Xander's offer to assist, and before the boy could formulate more arguments the girl was off.
Willow picked up her book bag. "Come on, Xander. Buffy will be fine. She knows what she's doing."
"Yeah," muttered Xander rebelliously. Ichigo tapped his shoulder as they stepped outside the library. Xander scowled. "What, Ichigo?"
"When you go, take a cross with you. And don't look back when you run." Ichigo went off to class, leaving a perplexed Xander Harris behind.
Willow was fidgety and upset all through Chemistry class. She was alone, so Ichigo, sprawled in his seat at the back of the class, assumed Xander had followed Buffy. Ichigo drummed his fingers on his thigh, knowing that, at that very moment, Buffy and Xander were probably risking their lives and might even be dead.
Dammit. The orange-haired teenager wished he worried less for others. He had enough on his plate.
"Mr Kurosaki," snapped the chemistry teacher, a balding man with hallucinations of a hairstyle, "what are some properties of chlorine gas? Either you know it or you don't, but do give a signal that you're alive."
Ichigo blinked lazily at the teacher. Most of his classmates were asleep, so it wasn't as if he was the only one drifting away from his monotonous lesson. Evidently it was because he was still new and the teacher thought he would be more rattled. With a sigh he rattled off the answers – having Urahara as a surrogate parent had its good points, one of which was an advantage in the sciences and mathematics.
After the lesson Ichigo caught up with Willow. "They've gone to save Jesse, haven't they?"
"They'll be fine," said Willow, visibly upset. "Buffy knows what she's doing."
Ichigo forbore to mention that Buffy Summers was probably called less than a year ago. And if they happened to run into the Master, they would be dead. Perhaps quickly.
"Is she bothering you?" said a girl from the side. Ichigo looked over – it was Cordelia Chase. Today the ensemble was a simple gray-and-black dress, but of immaculate design and cut. She raised a perfectly arched brow. "I heard of you yesterday from Harmony and was looking forward to meeting you at the Bronze. I'm Cordelia Chase."
"Who's Harmony?" inquired Ichigo, confused.
"Blonde, about my height, pretty, and a non-loser like Little Miss Nerd here," said Cordelia. She preened, aware of her advantages and showing them off in a natural manner. "I'm sure she told you all about me."
Ichigo frowned more deeply, and then nodded. "Ah yes. I remember now. You're the one she called the Bitch Queen of Sunnydale High. I have to go now, so I'll see you around."
As Cordelia turned an interesting shade of red, the orange-haired teenager tugged Willow out of firing range. Willow whispered, "Did Harmony really say that?"
"No," smirked Ichigo, "but let's let them find out for themselves."
They entered the library and met Giles. "Hello. Is Buffy back yet?"
"No, I haven't seen her," said Willow dejectedly.
Ichigo settled himself in a chair and picked up the nearest book. The Rites and Rituals of the H'gash Clan: Mutilation as an Honored Tradition. Ichigo shuddered; he had to get Urahara introduced to Giles asap, they would bond like brothers over such texts. Before he could turn the page Giles plucked the book out of his hands.
"They are not quite adolescent reading material," he said firmly and parked the tome under his arm. "While we wait, perhaps you could do your homewo-"
"We're back," said Buffy as she and Xander pushed their way in through the swinging doors.
Giles looked at their frustrated faces and could guess the answer. "And how is Jesse?"
"Is he alright?" asked Willow, concerned.
Xander wandered away to the stairs. Buffy sighed. "We were too late, Willow. They killed him."
Ichigo watched Xander kick at the step and knew there was more to that story. The brunet punched the wall once and then turned to them. "I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say that they're not good."
Ichigo raised an eyebrow. "Right there with ya."
"So, Giles," said Buffy, planting herself in a chair between Ichigo and Willow. "Do you have anything to make this day better?"
Giles nudged his glasses. "How about the end of the world?"
"Knew I could count on you," chirped the Slayer. Ichigo laced his fingers together. It was going to be a long night.
Urahara finished off the last of the meal. Ichigo picked up the dishes and washed up. "What happened in the end, Ichigo?"
"Jesse was turned."
The blond sighed. "Bummer," he remarked eloquently.
"Yeah." Ichigo tossed the wet dish towel on its rack. "Anyway, grab Benihime." He busied himself with loading up supplies. Holy water, stakes by the dozen, a box of one-strike matches. A miniature crossbow, check. Bolts, check. Onyx cross on his neck, check.
Urahara leaned on the doorway. "Why on earth would I need to grab Benihime, Ichigo?"
"Because it's the Harvest tonight. They have a Master here," said Ichigo, strapping his preferred sword Zangetsu to his side, its black ban handguard a shadow etched in shadow. "Time to get back to work."
Urahara remained stationary. "You think they can't handle it? Or do you like the girl?"
"Neither," replied Ichigo, staring Urahara straight in the face. "but I know that if this Master gets his way, then we'll have a harder time keeping a quiet life."
The blond smiled softly. "Let's get to work."
Ichigo returned with a wider grin. "Let's get to work."
They waited outside the Bronze for the Slayer and her gang. Urahara pushed his hat more firmly on his head. "They're late."
"Probably got grounded or something," commented Ichigo. Then he studied Urahara. "And you do know that is a bloody stupid hat, right?"
Urahara shrugged. "You're just jealous you don't have a style like mine."
Ichigo grimaced. "Thank the gods for that small mercy."
They heard the screams inside – it had started. Ichigo had had to be restrained earlier by Urahara when the girl, Darla or something, had cheerfully flounced her way in, leading a pack of vamps. They all wore their game faces. Urahara knew they would be massacred if they jumped the gun there and then, but it had been hard to watch the bloodsuckers swagger in and seal the place.
"I didn't know I was gonna get grounded!" whined a female voice. Ichigo nodded and walked out of their hiding place.
"Buffy, Willow, Xander, Giles, this is Urahara, we're both vamp hunters, they're inside, what should we do?" Ichigo rattled everything off at speed.
Before Buffy could interject with a query, Giles took charge. "You're right, questions and answers later. Buffy?"
"Right. Ichigo and funny-hat-guy, take the side door. Take down as many vamps as you can. Xander, Will, Giles, the back. Get people out. Don't go Wild Bunch on me." She paused. "I'll go in from the front, big loud entrance, distract them. Set them up, knock 'em down."
Ichigo tossed two stakes to Xander and Giles, a cross and a bottle of holy water to Willow, and drew Zangetsu from its sheath. Urahara withdrew Benihime too. "Let's go. We've work to do."
Even in the frenzied stampede of panicked teens Urahara and Ichigo had no trouble picking out vampires and slaying them. Urahara knew he and Ichigo worked best together out of their division. Ichigo's wide sweeping style left him vulnerable to sneak attacks, but Urahara's tight defensive approach filled in the gaps. While the vamps were startled by Buffy's entrance, the two former Shinigami swung their blades.
It was easy to get the rhythm back, and to make sure they didn't kill any humans Urahara made sure to scatter holy water as they fought. Even in the tight space the two swords were able to do a lot of damage, neatly decapitating vamp after vamp. When it was only the Vessel left on the stage, Ichigo paused. The other vamps had either been dusted or scattered, and Buffy was facing the huge monster on stage.
"I should help," murmured Ichigo under his breath.
Urahara placed a hand over his sword arm. "Wait. Let's see how the Slayer handles herself."
The rest of the Slayer's crew moved close. Xander seemed shaken. Buffy leaned into a crouch, ready to leap. The huge vampire grabbed hold of the Slayer and smashed her to the ground, but she managed to kick out and roll over to the side before the Vessel's knee slammed into her face, then flipped into a fighting stance.
Urahara raised his hat a fraction, impressed. Ichigo sheathed his sword.
"She's good," said Ichigo under his breath. "Stronger than me."
Urahara hummed an agreement. "Moves faster than you, too."
"Supernaturally imbued, for god's sake. But she's not as precise as I am. Also, a smartmouth," Ichigo pointed out. Urahara chuckled at his ward's annoyance, but stopped needling him. Onstage the banter was ending. Buffy had been hit in the temple and was half-kneeling.
"You seem to forget that I have beaten you before," snarled the vampire. "I will drink your heart's blood for the Master!"
"You forgot something too," said Buffy hoarsely. She turned, grabbed the mike stand and hurled it through the glass pane behind. "Sunrise."
Bright orange light flooded over the vampire. He turned and shouted – and paused. He was not on fire? Ichigo picked up a pool cue beside his foot and tossed it to Buffy, who stuck it into the monster's heart easily.
"It's in about nine hours," quipped Buffy, then added, "moron."
The Vessel stumbled forward and crashed into a pile of dust. The Slayer looked at the carnage around the room, then sighed. "Let's go home."
"I could use a shower," remarked Willow. She was trembling and Xander hugged her close by the shoulders. The five made their way out of the thrashed club. The Slayer was trying to walk properly and hiding her grimaces.
Ichigo walked alongside Buffy. "That was a neat slay."
"Thanks for the cue." The blonde girl stretched and rolled her shoulders. "I like your sword."
"Zangetsu? He's useful," said Ichigo. "But stakes can be found practically everywhere."
"Guess there are pros and cons," said Buffy thoughtfully. "But that swing and duck thing you did? Very cool."
Ichigo shrugged. "I train daily. Maybe we should spar, see how long it takes for me to take you out." When the slayer turned her glare at him he smirked, and the two joined Xander and Willow in the front.
Urahara and Giles fell in step behind all the teenagers. Giles cleared his throat. "When I spoke to you earlier, I didn't think you were involved in all this."
"We don't always show our true selves now, do we, Mr Giles?" said Urahara. "A Watcher, is it? How long have you been training as a watcher?"
"Since I can remember. And you?"
The blond man smiled. "Shinigami, man and boy. Twenty years of fighting demons."
Giles chuckled. "I suppose we can work together to keep the world safe."
"Perhaps," said Urahara dryly. "But that would depend on him. I'm just the support - like you."
A sleek black Jaguar drove into a driveway of a mansion. The engine stopped, though you couldn't really hear the difference between it working and it resting. The backseat doors opened. A slender man stepped out, followed by a broad-shouldered brown-haired man. The slender man inhaled deeply, his smile widening in his pale face. His silver hair shone like moonlight, and was complemented by his black suit and silver tie.
"Smell that fresh air," he remarked to his companion. "I likeit."
"Home sweet home it is then," the taller man said. "Thank you, Wilson. Do remember to send the children here when they arrive."
"Yes sir," said the driver inside the black car. "May I leave, Lord Aizen?"
"Go on." The one the driver called Lord Aizen waited until the car was out of sight before retrieving some keys from his pocket. Tossing it to his companion he went to examine the garden and yard, which was full of wild jasmine. "Gin, unlock the door. And bring in the luggage."
Gin hummed to himself as he turned the key and then entered the house. When he switched on the lights he gasped. "This is magnificent! We have to thank Jason later."
"It'll do," commented Aizen when he came in, shrugging off his coat. The black, heavy coat was tossed over the back of the rich mahogany sofa in the living room. "There are enough rooms for everyone, and it'll be comfortable enough."
Gin grinned and hooked an arm through the taller man's. "And here I thought we'd have to share."
"If you wish." Aizen ruffled Gin's silver hair.
They proceeded to examine the house, top to bottom. Finally they decided on the master bedroom near the back, and they lugged their belongings into it. Gin fell onto the soft mattress with an extravagant sigh, loosening his tie as he dimmed the lights with the bedside controls. "When are the kids coming?"
Aizen removed his clothes to wrap a blue towel around his hips. "Tomorrow at the earliest."
"They're taking the scenic route?" The tie was tossed over a chair by the window.
"Mm-hmm," said Aizen. "Shower?"
"After you," said Gin. "I've a hankering for supper."
Aizen smiled and pecked Gin on the lips. "Don't eat in bed, love. Stains are hard to get out - and we can't get Egyptian silk immediately in these parts."
Gin grinned and returned the kiss. "You want me to keep anything for you?"
"No, I'm not hungry." Aizen walked into the en suite bathroom and closed the door. Soon the sound of water running emerged.
Gin then turned to the three girls tied up in the corner of the room. "You heard him. We'll have to go out. And I'm not that hungry either... hmm."
The girls shook their heads, begging silently, their screams dampened by the gags in their mouths.
Gin shrugged. "Guess I'll just have to pick one. Eeny meeny miney mo..."
A/N: I know, it's greatly borrowed for BtVS, but I swear it will decrease as we go on. Reviews and criticisms greatly appreciated!