His bare feet resting comfortably on the blacktop of the single-lane road, Rick Wilkins stood in the middle of this lane, and he gazed across the roadway and the rural land beyond, down to where the entire city of Sunnydale spread out in the valley that had given his hometown its name. Being at the highest point in the whole place at the furthest east city limits, from his elevation the man approvingly noted that things seemed to have finally quieted down from this night's Halloween chaos, with the municipality once more fast asleep and hopefully without any ongoing nightmares in people's heads about unexpectedly changing into their costumes.

Grimacing at that latter thought, Rick then glanced to his right, where the road went down towards the city, and through the rich folk's places starting further on at both sides of this avenue that had changed into a proper double-lane road. There, the wealthy families of Sunnydale had developed their compounds and estates from the former farms and ranches that had occupied this area a century ago. Back when he'd been that teenager, Xander Harris had never been here before in his life despite living in Sunnydale all that time, but he knew this part of the town by reputation, and also from a certain resident who'd been more than happy to boast about her home at the slightest opportunity. The mature man idly wondered exactly what Cordelia Chase's Halloween had been like tonight.

Shrugging to himself, Rick now looked over on his left, up the narrow, well-maintained road to where a mile further on, this street came to an abrupt halt in a fenced-off dead end. Beyond that was open countryside rising up to the hills that surrounded Sunnydale, all of it state land and being a rarely-visited section of the county park that extended along the east side of the city.

Rick thoughtfully eyed the point where the road suddenly stopped in a cul-de-sac, his lips wryly twitching when he noticed the immaculate condition of this area. Ordinarily, anywhere else in the whole country, where such a good road lead to an isolated spot with a great view of the city lights below, this would have been the perfect place for generations of teenagers to fog up the windows of a car with your date sharing this vehicle with you, resulting in the usual outcome and the speedy disposal of the end product, right out the car window. However, a sniggering man dressed in an outdated formal suit was absolutely sure, without even bothering to go over and look, that there wasn't a single used condom littering the ground at the dead end.

Not when behind him was the Wilkins farm.

As he turned around to stare at the line of nearly century-old oak trees along the road that had been planted back then to mark the boundaries of a complete section of land, about 640 acres, or a full mile on each side of a square, Rick reflected to himself that name was something of a misnomer, since this place had never actually produced crops or livestock in its entire existence. Oh, there had once been a vegetable garden there, but that was pretty much it during all the time the original Richard Wilkins of the multiple roman numerals had owned the property.

A fascinated Rick continued exploring the Mayor's memories concerning his former home. It had been part of the original Spanish land grant when the first settlers from Mexico had moved into the area containing the Boca del Infierno at least two centuries ago. Though, this actual site had remained unsettled and open land for decades afterwards, throughout the region's varied history of being owned by Spain, then becoming part of an independent Mexico, and winding up as a new country's territory when the United States had taken over in the first half of the nineteenth century, culminating in its current identity as a tiny bit of California real estate.

Rick's eyebrows rose in mild surprise when Wilkins' memories went on to note that politician hadn't been the original owner, having brought the place back in 1903 from a land speculator who'd gotten a few thousand acres for a song from the federal government and then surveyed the boundaries of his new purchase, splitting it into proper sections of property and then hopefully awaiting the arrival of potential customers looking for a good place to live, which one day included a young man and his new wife.

Now he was really flabbergasted, as an astonished Rick, who'd never considered the fact that the Mayor might have once been married, now gazed into someone's happy memories of life with their spouse, including how they'd spent the first night in their newly-built house-

His face flaming bright red, Rick hastily shoved those embarrassing memories into the deepest corner of his mind, where he'd already squirreled away those more distasteful recollections of what the Mayor had done in his extra-long life during the politician's ruthless control of the Hellmouth. Frantically searching in his head for a more restrained set of memories, Rick gratefully found out why Wilkins hadn't simply brought the land occupied by the dimensional nexus and lived there when he'd first arrived, instead of a place that was pretty far away from the town, right on the edge of that municipality's city limits.

In the past a century ago, that particular location of the fine town of Sunnydale where a portal to hell dimensions lurked was owned by numerous title-holders, and even Wilkins couldn't get control of every bit of property right away. It had taken literally decades for that politician to maneuver all of the landowners into selling, deeding, or otherwise transferring their ownership to the city, particularly since he had to be extremely subtle about it while using his magic and also keeping the necessary bloodshed to a minimum of throat-cutting and then feeding the bodies to the nearest hungry demon.

Wincing at the flashes of horrible memories evoked by this, Rick was more than willing to be distracted by Wilkins' answer on why it had been necessary to be truly discreet back then, along with living so far away from the Hellmouth. Simply put, that sorcerer had no great desire to be an actual target of any other human or demonic competitor also seeking to control the mystical nexus. Any magical rival having a single ounce of sense would first find out all they could about that place of power, and if the number one piece of information discovered by those evil bastards was the fact that a certain Richard Wilkins the whatever owned every square inch of the Hellmouth, the next step would certainly be an all-out attack upon the mayor of Sunnydale.

No, as long as it was clear to everyone else having dreams of world domination or some other obsessive goal that involved dark rituals, minions, wicked ceremonies held exactly at midnight while wearing really tacky robes and intoning a fifteen-minute monologue with every word starting with a capital letter that caused the virgin sacrifice to start yawning, that nobody seemed to really possess this center of all evil located on public land, and that the local authorities appeared to be totally clueless about what was going on regarding the magical world. Which meant the Hellmouth was now ripe for the taking, and let's get busy beginning the apocalypse!

A little while later, at the end of his working day, Mayor Richard Wilkins I, II, or III would be preparing to stay at his family homestead for the weekend, tidying up his desk at City Hall, while reflecting that young people had absolutely no idea of proper manners these days, and if those now-deceased usuperers had only lasted a few more moments longer before totally dissolving into multi-colored puddles of goo in the middle of the latest attempt to seize the Hellmouth, they would have heard a firm reproof delivered in a folksy tone that he would be the one to begin the extinction of humanity, and it'd be done completely on his terms, thank you very much.

As for why the mayor always continued to stay at the family farm whenever possible… Well, Edna May had fallen in love with the place the moment she'd laid eyes upon it, and even after so long, her former husband had no problem whatsoever with keeping their home in good order and also making sure that trespassers never encroached upon the property.

Still in his position of staring at the line of oak trees that shielded everything further on behind a wall of greenery, Rick bemusedly shook his head, and he took a cautious step forward, to then abruptly halt at sensing the faintest twinge of magic. Standing there in the road, the mature man marveled at one of the most subtle spells he'd yet encountered, a delicate casting that would send a barely-noticeable, insinuating message deep inside the mind of whatever approaching intruder that there was nothing of importance here at this totally ordinary farm, and any interlopers had much better things to do with their time and efforts than to enter the homestead. The spell was done so skillfully that even Rick now felt like turning around and amiably departing, despite that every one of his memories knew he'd cast this enchantment in the first place!

"Damn, dude, you were good." said Rick aloud to thin air in a very respectful comment to a departed mayoral shade. Smiling slightly as he again stepped forward, Rick nodded as he felt the power level of the deterrent spell continue at its original understated intensity, rather than to increase, since that might cause the first flicker of suspicion to arise in the mind of someone suddenly feeling they needed to leave as quickly as possible. The mature man now stepped off the blacktop onto the dirt at the strip of bare land between the road and the trees, and he then paused for a moment to enjoy the simple pleasure of wiggling his toes in the spongy ground.

Another step forward brought Rick under the canopy of the nearest oak tree, with these overhead branches and leaves cutting off the light into near-total darkness, since it was still a good hour or more to sunrise. Calling up Hyena for the first time in a while, Rick's eyes glowed greenish/yellow as he now easily peered around the shadows in order to find a way past the line of tree trunks that had grown to nearly touch each other, forming a living wall of wood. Finally finding a good spot, Rick managed to squirm through a gap between a pair of oaks, all while holding onto his burden of Xander Harris' mementoes that he was still carrying.

Taking a few more steps past the trees, Rick came to a dead stop again, as he examined the second line of oak trees in front of him that matched exactly in age, size, and girth the row of trees he'd just passed. Looking around with interest while also eagerly sniffing the air through his heightened senses, Rick found himself to be in a narrow, grassy lane between the trees, with this canopied track continuing on either side for at least a half-mile in both directions, to where he could see the path bending out of sight at where the trees marked the corners of the section of land.

A happy whine abruptly escaped from Rick's mouth, startling him for a moment, until his lips then curved into a wide grin. Yeah, with the soft grass under his feet, the enthralling scents of green, growing things driving out from his nose the polluted odors of mankind's creations, and the yummy sounds of tiny prey hastily scrambling through the underbrush to get away from the apex predator in their midst, there was no possible way he was gonna pass up the chance for a fine run. A few moment's searching found a good enough dry spot on the ground for Rick to carefully place the grocery bag containing Xander's treasures from his former life, and then the mature man started stripping off his clothing.

When Rick was finished, he stood there breathing deeply while enjoying the cool air passing over his totally unclad body- Well. There was still one particular piece of Xander Harris' former garments that Rick Wilkins was not going to remove. Even if it was totally private here, and Hyena's memories were also grumbling over the monkey's refusal to take off his boxers, there was still the possibility of running into a thorny branch, or encountering a late-night bee. Not to mention the whole bouncy bouncy bouncy issue.

Smirking to himself, Rick then crouched down, got set, and took off. His bare legs flashing under his white underwear, the man had just gotten up to his top speed in his elated run, when he was forced to slow down to make the turn at the corner, but after a few more bounding steps, Rick was again moving as fast as inhumanly possible, every gleaming tooth exposed in an ear-to-ear grin, and glowing eyes closed to slits against the wind blast. Several more turns later, Rick completed his circuit of the farm, reluctantly skidding to a stop on the grassy lane just past the point where he'd placed the grocery bags and his clothing on top of these, and then started his sprint.

Standing there while just barely breathing hard, Rick mentally estimated in his head that the whole run of four miles for a quarter of that distance along every side of the square of property had probably taken only five minutes or so, which meant that he'd been moving at least 40 mph for most of that distance. And if Rick could have just managed a straight-ahead sprint instead of all those turns, the man gloated to himself that he would've left Buffy Summers behind in his dust if that Slayer had challenged him to a race.

An overjoyed Rick Wilkins now took an immense breath, and he then jubilantly uttered a deafening howl of sheer happiness that carried for miles, far enough so that this sound eventually passed through the merest crack in the open bedroom window of a magnificent house further down the street that was owned by the wealthiest family in Sunnydale, with this mansion decorated in the most fashionable and stylish manner possible, yet still devoid of the slightest trace of being an actual home.

Fast asleep in her bed after a really bizarre Halloween night, Cordelia Chase abruptly developed goose-pimples over her whole fabulous body, as her previously delightful dream of ruling the entire universe now changed inside that teenager's head to instead being chased by some hairy monster wearing nothing but a gaudy Hawaiian shirt, and for some incomprehensible reason, she actually wanted to kiss this guy!

Moaning quietly in her slumber, the beautiful brunette cheerleader rolled over in her bed, and without waking up the slightest, Cordelia yanked the pillow over her head, and she grimly held it there for the rest of the night. Which resulted in the next morning, when the young woman staggered into her bathroom and blearily looked into the mirror, she found herself staring with absolute horror into the face of someone suffering from the most hideous bed hair in the entire history of the human race.


Author's Note: My own take on the founding of the original town of Sunnydale and the role of the Mayor back then. Might be AU or not, but this is the way it's going to be for this story.