Title: Sunnydale Heroes – Part 1 of 7
Author: Wicked Raygun
Summary: AU. Superpowers change everything in this reinterpretation of "Welcome to the Hellmouth" and "The Harvest". Mild B/A, B/X and W/X.
Disclaimer: Based on characters created by Joss Whedon. I am merely borrowing them to put on a puppet show. Watch them dance.
Notes: This is not a crossover with the show 'Heroes.' This is merely me borrowing a concept I find intriguing and adding it to characters I love.
Also, I have very little desire to do a word-for-word rewrite of the first two episodes of BTVS. Those kinds of stories seem a little pointless to me. Anyways, any inaccuracies that come up between my story and the actual episodes have to do with either a deliberate choice on my part, or me just not caring that much. Part 1 will have the most in common with the script, since it's slightly inevitable. After that, the story really does become mine.
Also, thanks go out to my beta readers, Grey Wizard and Alun Lewis.
Distribution: Ask and you shall receive. Just email me and I'll get back to you quickly using new-fangled technology. See, I get email on my phone now. Surely jet packs and flying cars are just around the corner.
Jetties of air ran down his body as he soared higher into the air, his speed gaining impossible momentum. With a mere thought, he shot down at an angle, catching a current of wind that blasted more cool, dry air into his face.
He closed his eyes.
When he opened them, he was barely gliding over the rooftops below him. If he let his fingers dangle, he could probably just be able to graze them along the shingles. Another thought, and he slowed for a moment before blasting straight up into the atmosphere, like a rocket destined for outer space.
He climbed, higher and higher and faster and faster. The feeling was exhilarating, dangerous and addictive all at once and he gave into it without any care for his safety. He was a slave to gravity, no more.
The air thinned dangerously. He gasped for a breath that would not come and then, suddenly, he noticed that he could no longer feel his extremities.
He closed his eyes.
This time when he opened them, he was no longer flying; he was freefalling. His arms and legs flailed in the wind, unresponsive to his mental pleas. He tumbled and spun until he could finally glimpse the ground rushing to meet him. He screamed, but the sound was lost in the tumult of wind racing past him.
He closed his eyes.
And he was sure that he would never open them again.
Jolted awake, Xander's body twisted as he tried to get up. Heart beating, lungs hyperventilating and panic clouding his mind, he threw his head around side-to-side, taking in his surroundings. After a few panicked moments, his mind began to clear and questions began to form. Chief among them, what was he doing outside on the grass?
Not that it was a particularly foreign concept for him. He often camped out in his backyard, particularly around Christmas; although, he usually had enough foresight to take a sleeping bag. It was an effective way to avoid the old Harris holiday tradition of eggnog-induced shouting matches.
But this was a new situation. Xander tried to piece together what he had done the night before. The last thing he could clearly remember was reading some back issues of X-Men, and then…well he must have decided to go outside at some point in the night. He certainly didn't teleport into his backyard.
That thought led him to some quickly fading images in the back of his mind: flashing lights, wind—
Perhaps, he'd been dreaming about flying again. That did seem to be happening a lot lately. Xander looked up wistfully into the sky, but before he could bring his eyes up very high he noticed something unusual.
His bedroom window was open.
It was a beautiful Southern California morning and despite the previous night's weirdness – which he had quickly dismissed as a strange case of sleepwalking – Xander was feeling energized and ready to take on the world, or at the very least Sunnydale High. He felt different somehow, more alive and more confident then he could remember in, well, possibly ever.
On a whim, he even decided to take his skateboard to school that day, something he hadn't done since junior high. He was more than a little out of practice, though. Oh sure, he was dodging and weaving reasonably well enough, somehow managing to keep his balance in a way that was functional and yet not in any way graceful. His ability to actually stop or even slow down, however, were at best theoretical applications of physics that he was simply not ready to test out just yet.
Of course, destiny had other plans.
Just as he was approaching the school, Xander caught a glimpse of gold in the corner of his eye and turned his head to see what he was sure had to have been the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his life. Beautiful short blonde hair, framed a lovely face with a cute little nose. And while she seemed a little short, that only seemed to add to the curves that she had in all the places he liked for a woman to have them in.
Xander withdrew his attention from his new blonde-haired obsession, only to discover that he was mere fractions of a second from having an intimate encounter with a steel railing. Barely conscious of it, he attempted to ollie over it, but he was too late.
He impacted with the railing in mid-air, the metal colliding at the middle of his lower leg. A hollow clang accompanied a very sharp jolt of pain. Inertia carried the rest of his body over and he fell toward the ground.
Only he didn't immediately hit it.
Amazingly, he had simply stopped in midair for brief instant, suspended over what was sure to be very firm ground, in a way that was just not possible. But before Xander could begin to truly register what was happening, gravity seemed to remember him and he fell to the ground – hard, but a lot less hard then it should have been.
Xander slowly stood up, ignoring a small chorus of laughter from around the school yard. The expression on his face was of pure disbelief.
"Now that was an entrance!"
Xander turned to find his best friend Jesse struggling to contain his laughter. "Did you see that?"
"Dude, half the school saw that. Little tip: try to avoid ramming into rails at high speeds. It will just end badly for you."
"What?" Xander asked, confused, before he realized that Jesse meant the crash itself. "No, not that. When I fell, or when I didn't. I—"
Flew, he said in his head – but not aloud. That was impossible. There was simply no way that could have happened.
Xander paused for a long moment before saying, "Nothing. I'm just having a wiggy day."
Jesse's amusement was replaced with concern. "Seriously, you okay?"
"Yeah," Xander said, grinning in a way he hoped was reassuring. Oh, he was far from okay. But right now, he couldn't talk about it. "Minor head trauma wackiness. I'm good." And then he began gathering his skateboard and backpack, which had gone in opposite directions after the impact.
Jesse was unconvinced, but before he could pry any further, Xander was blessed with an interruption – his favorite redheaded interruption in the whole wide world to be more precise.
Their other best friend Willow walked right by them, without saying a word. Slumped shoulders, a textbook clutched to her chest and her eyes looking more to the ground then in front of her. Her posture practically screamed to the world that something was bothering her. And even Jesse and Xander were not oblivious to this.
"Hey, Willow, your goldfish go belly up?" Jesse asked.
Of course, knowing something was wrong didn't suddenly endow them with empathy and maturity. They were teenagers, after all.
Willow glared at him mildly, but relented quickly. "I'm fine, Jesse, if that's what you were asking."
"Jeeze, did everybody take a skinny dip into Dawson's Creek today – today of all days when there's actually news worthy of knowing."
"News?" Willow asked, more than happy to be distracted. Like most places, in Sunnydale, change was, indeed, a constant; unlike most other places, however, it was a constant of zero.
That sparked Xander's interest. "Hey that's right. I saw her. Pretty much a hottie. So, tell."
"What's the sitch?"
"New girl," Jesse repeated as if that simple statement alone were worthy of a CNN special bulletin, complete with custom music and graphics.
"Well you're a font of nothing," Xander mocked.
"Don't see you bringing the exclusives, Tony Hawk."
"And turning my attention to people I want to talk to – Willow, I'm having some trouble with the math assignment."
"You are so working at Doublemeat for the rest of your life," Jesse said with a chuckle.
"Again, ignoring you." Xander said, ostentatiously ignoring his buddy before he then looked back to Willow. "What do you say, Wills? Be my study buddy?"
"What's in it for me?" Willow asked with an actual smile on her face.
"A shiny nickel."
"Okay, do you have Advanced Theories of Trig? You should check it out."
"Check it out?"
"She means from the library, doofus," Jesse added.
"Right. Where the books live," Willow said.
"Library. Okay, got it. See? I want to change."
They walked into the school together, but before going inside, Xander spared one last look at the railing that he had collided with spectacularly.
"No way," he whispered to himself. After all, it was impossible.
Xander was walking alone to his first period class, when he heard some banging followed by a muffled voice. Following the noise, he came across an unassigned locker. He opened it, and immediately a short, brown haired teenager fell out of it.
"Ow!" The boy hit the ground with a dull thump that Xander just knew had to have been pretty painful.
"Are you okay?" Xander asked as he helped the vaguely familiar teenager off the floor. He was sure he'd seen him around school, but he couldn't quite remember his name. And Xander prided himself at being pretty good with that sort of thing.
"Yeah, I'm kind of used to that happening." The teenager dragged the last word as his eyes settled on the locker he had been freed from. He looked amazed.
"Did someone stuff you in there?" Xander winced as he finished saying that. Well, of course, he had been stuffed in there. What other explanation could there possibly be?
The teenager stared at the locker for a long time before answering slowly, "I don't know."
Xander blinked, but didn't say anything. He began to wonder if the poor guy had been hurt, when the second bell went off, signaling that anyone currently not in class was officially late in a major way. The teenager took off running, presumably to his first class.
Xander, however, merely shook his head. "Okay. Weird."
He was heading to his own class – albeit at a much slower pace then the other teenager – when he heard a small commotion. Someone had bumped into his blonde-haired obsession from that morning, he noted, spilling the contents of her purse onto the floor. The gentlemanly thing to do, he decided, was to help her and then suavely introduce himself, perhaps offer to show her around the school in a way that showed he was capable of talking to girls without saying or doing something stupid.
Instead, he walked up to her and asked very politely, "Can I have you?"
Xander's heart metaphorically stopped. Cold tingles of mortification danced up his spine.
The blonde girl looked back to him, not quite comprehending what he had just said.
"Duh, can I help you?" he clarified after pausing for a nervous chuckle. And without giving her a chance to decide, immediately began gathering her things and handing them to her, hoping to move past this badly-timed Freudian slip through sheer force of will.
"Thanks," she said smiling, apparently deciding not to press the issue.
"I don't know you, do I?"
"I'm Buffy. I'm new."
"Xander. Is, is me. Hi." She thanked him again and they finished gathering her stuff. "Well, uh, maybe I'll see you around. Maybe at school, since we both go there," he finished lamely.
"Great! It was nice to meet you." She turned around and started down the hall.
"We both go to school," he said to himself quietly, chastising his awkward performance. "Very suave. Very not pathetic. Why not toss in that you're a nutty who thinks he can fly?"
He probably would have continued berating himself, but he noticed something on the floor that she left. He picked it up.
"Hey, you forgot your—" He did a mental double-take when his mind finally put a word to the item he was holding. "Stake!"
Xander blinked, several times, barely noticing that Buffy was out of earshot. He came to a decision and put the stake into his backpack.
My brain's too fried, he thought. He would think about this later. Besides, he was already exceedingly late for first period. And teachers tended to notice that sort of thing.
Buffy Summers was a superhero, as implausible as it might sound to most people.
Although, at least according to her, one could more accurately say that she was a retired superhero. With her original foray into heroics having ended with arson charges and psychiatric evaluations, she was looking forward to a much more boring life.
Of course, this was proving to be more difficult than she had initially hoped.
Her day started off well enough, despite waking up from an intensely weird dream that she had quickly decided was better left ignored.
Principal Flutie, at first, seemed to be everything she was looking for in a school administrator. He seemed to be kind, understanding, and willing to ignore her past "transgressions" and give her a fresh start. As a gesture of good faith, he had even ripped up her old school transcripts without bothering to look at them.
But then, while trying to make a point about "starting over," he happened to glance at a few of the more colorful words that made up the reasons for her being kicked out of her previous school.
And then Buffy had to watch in mortified embarrassment as Principal Flutie pulled out a tape dispenser and began reassembling her transcripts right in front of her. It had not been the auspicious start to her scholastic future that she had been hoping for. And despite her earlier optimism, a big part of her knew that things would only get worse.
Buffy shrugged off her depressing thoughts and tried to pay attention to the teacher who was saying something about the black plague.
"If you'll look at the map on page sixty-three, you can trace the spread of the disease into Rome, and then north."
All the students began sifting through the pages of their textbooks. Buffy, being new, didn't have one yet. Determined not to get lost, she began looking around, hoping to catch someone's eye. The stylishly-dressed, dark-haired girl sitting next to her noticed and shifted her posture so that they could share.
"Thanks." Then, after a few moments, the bell rang and the students started to file out of class.
The girl offered her hand. "Hi, I'm Cordelia."
"I'm Buffy," she said cheerily while taking the other girl's hand.
"If you're looking for a text book of your very own, there's probably a few in the library."
"Oh, great, thanks. Where would that be?"
"I'll show you, come on." They rose from their desks and headed into the hallway.
"So you're from Hemery, right? In L.A.?" Cordelia asked her.
"Oh, I would kill to live in L.A. That close to that many shoes?"
Buffy laughed reflexively. The girl reminded her of some of the girls from her old clique back in Hemery in an oddly pleasant way. She only hoped that this Cordelia had more to her than they did, though.
"Well, you'll be okay here. If you hang with me and mine, you'll be accepted in no time. Of course, we do have to test your coolness factor. You're from L.A., so you can skip the written, but let's see. Vamp nail polish?"
"Um, over," Buffy answered hesitantly. She'd been a little too preoccupied to care about fashion over the last few months, so she wasn't sure about her answer.
"So over. James Spader?"
"He needs to call me!" Buffy drawled her answer with her trademarked Californian Airhead accent, falling back on the speech patterns that she used to use, pre-arson charges.
"Frappuccinos?" Cordelia continued without missing a beat.
"Trendy, but tasty." Buffy was feeling much more confident about her answers now.
"The Devil," Buffy answered in a mock-grave tone.
"That was pretty much a gimme, but you passed!"
The two teenagers approached a drinking fountain where a redhead was taking a drink. She finished in time to see their coming.
"Willow! Nice dress! Good to know you've seen the softer side of Sears."
"Uh, oh, well, my mom picked it out," Willow said in soft, shy voice.
"No wonder you're such a guy magnet. Are you done?"
Willow realized that she meant the water fountain and left, her confidence obviously torn to shreds.
"You wanna fit in here, the first rule is: know your losers. Once you can identify them all by sight, they're a lot easier to avoid," Cordelia said while glancing at Willow.
Buffy laughed nervously, not sure what she should say. She turned toward Willow's departing form and caught her looking back at her briefly before disappearing behind a set of double-doors.
The two continued their way to the library. "And if you're not too swamped with catching up, you should come by the Bronze tonight," Cordelia said just as they were reaching the double-doors of the library.
"The Bronze. It's the only club worth going to around here. They let anybody in, but it's still the scene. It's in the bad part of town."
"About a half a block from the good part of town," Cordelia said and then laughed at her own joke. "We don't have a whole lot of town here. But, um, you should show!"
Buffy wasn't really sure if she liked Cordelia after seeing how she had treated that girl, Willow, back at the fountain. Still, it wasn't as if she had vast fields of friends to choose from at the moment. "Well, I'll try."
"Good. So, um, I'll see you in gym, and you can tell me absolutely everything there is to know about you."
Cordelia left. "Oh, that sounds like fun," Buffy said, her voice clearly indicating the opposite.
Buffy made her way into the library, finding it devoid of any other students. She came around a stack and called out, "Hello. Is anybody here?"
She approached a counter hoping to find a bell or something to ring when she noticed an open newspaper with a picture circled in red ink. But it was the ominous caption above the picture that chilled her heart: "Local Boys Still Missing".
Just then, she felt something tap her shoulder. Startled, Buffy spun around quickly to find a middle-aged man wearing glasses and a tweed suit.
"Oh! Anybody's here!" she said after exhaling a held breath.
"Can I help you?" At least his voice came across as wanting to be helpful.
"I was looking for some, well, books. I'm new."
"Good call! Guess I'm the only new kid, huh?"`
"I'm Mr. Giles. The librarian. I was told you were coming." He headed around the counter, his hand evidently searching for something just out of view.
"Great! So, um, I'm going to need 'Perspectives on 20th Century," she began.
"I know what you're after!" Grinning, he pulled out a large, old, leather-bound book and plopped it on top of the counter with a flourish. But it wasn't the size, age or make of the book that registered with her, it was the word "Vampyr" written in large, gold leaf on the cover.
Buffy paled. He couldn't be, she thought in a panic. Not another one!
"That's not what I'm looking for," she said after a pause. The need to get away gripped her.
"Are you sure?" Mr. Giles looked suddenly uncomfortable.
"I'm way sure," she emphasized, hoping he wouldn't press the issue any farther.
He put the book back behind the counter. "So what is it you said," he began before straightening up to look at her again. His sentence was left unfinished when he noticed that Buffy was gone.
Mr. Giles frowned.
Willow was not a particularly popular girl around school. She could count the number of friends she had on one hand. If she included people she was relatively friendly with – "relatively friendly" being defined as people she felt comfortable enough to wave to – then she was proud to find that she could actually get up to two hands.
Normally, this didn't bother her. In her more daring moments, which admittedly were few and far between, she would even revel in her outcast status. Today was not one of those moments, though. Right now, all she could think about was how much she wished she had someone to talk to.
Her dilemma stemmed from her surety that she was insane. She was crazy, cuckoo, nuts, loco, one sandwich short of a picnic – because the alternative was just impossible. There was just no way she was actually moving things with her mind.
See? Just thinking that made her feel like her sanity was slipping even further away from her. Precious sanity that she was pretty sure she was going to need someday.
At first she had tried simply dismissing the "incidents" – and, yes, that was how she referred to them at the time. In the beginning, they had been random enough to merely be shrugged off. A pencil might roll, a book might shake or a shoe might seem to suddenly hit the back of her ankle.
They were odd occurrences to be sure, but not really worth considering any further. Of course, once the frequency started ramping up, though, she felt obliged to at least start coming up with some sort of plausible explanations:
Oh, well, there must have been a minor tremor just now. Sunnydale is near a fault line, you know.
Or, maybe a cat did that. They are notoriously rambunctious and sneaky.
Or, that was just a trick of the light. I might need glasses.
This method did work for a little while. But the incidents started becoming more brazen, almost as if they were daring her to explain them away. And she had to admit, she had been running out of creative yet plausible explanations.
But then, last week, she had been reaching for the remote control and it flew into her awaiting hand.
Flew. Into. Her. Hand.
Looking back, she was mildly impressed that she hadn't screamed. Okay, so she did drop the remote control to the floor like it was a red-hot, burning poker and ran to her room as fast as she could. But still, there had been no screaming. That was noteworthy, she felt. It meant that when she was finally sent to the place with padded walls, she might be able to get by with only a light sedative diet. Maybe the nice people in white coats would even let her play Connect Four with the other less dangerous crazies.
These thoughts led to her feeling depressed. She desperately wanted someone to talk to, but she didn't have many options. Oh she loved and trusted Xander and Jesse, but just how was she supposed to broach the subject of telekinesis to either one of them? If it sounded insane to her, she could only imagine what it would sound like to them. And her parents were psychiatrists, so that was right out.
Willow sighed and began pulling a sandwich from a paper bag, and in the process, dropped an apple to the floor. As she bent down to reach for it, it started to float up to her.
"Oh, please stop doing that," she said to her apple, hoping to regain her sanity through polite persuasion.
Willow looked up and saw the new girl staring at her and the apple. She never heard it fall to the floor with a wet thud. Her mind was too busy being overloaded with panic.
"Were you doing that?" the blond girl asked amazed.
Willow responded by making a noise that was somewhere between a yelp and a croak. She started shaking her head in denial. Several tears formed in her eyes. With no other warning, Willow got to her feet and ran off, the sound of sobbing following her.
She caught up to her, grabbing Willow's arm and turning her around.
"Leave me alone!"
Buffy immediately let go and Willow ran off again. She nearly collided into Xander, the same guy who helped her gather her things this morning, and another tall, dark haired, lanky teenager who she hadn't met yet.
Xander turned an accusing stare at Buffy. "What did you do?"
"I, uh, I," Buffy said. She was confused and, therefore, incapable of saying something more coherent.
"Never mind. Don't care," Xander said coldly, while turning around and following after Willow.
The other teenager didn't immediately follow. He glared at her instead.
"It was an accident. I didn't mean to." Buffy's voice had grown quiet by the end of that sentence.
"Yeah, see, you're hot and all, but you just made Willow cry, so I'm kind of obligated to hate you right now. Way to epically suck on your first day at school, though. Seriously, it's inspiring." Then he turned around and followed after his friends.
Buffy sighed. This day seemed to be doing its absolute best to not be normal. She wasn't sure she could take much more.
"Impressive. You pulled off like a nerd repellant hat trick."
Oh, great. Cordelia.
"That was not exactly my intention," Buffy said.
"Oh don't be modest. That's for other people. Anyways, I just wanted to tell you that you won't be meeting Coach Foster, the woman with the chest hair, because gym was canceled due to the extreme dead guy in the locker."
"Some guy was stuffed in Aura's locker."
"Totally dead. Way dead."
Buffy paused for a moment. This was none of her business. She didn't do that anymore. She was retired. And retired superheroes didn't suddenly unretire.
"How did he die?" But then again, who was she kidding? She had to know.
"I don't know."
"Well, were there any marks?"
"Morbid much! I didn't ask!"
Buffy wrestled with indecision. There was still time to walk away from this, she knew.
"Um, I gotta book. I'll, I'll see you later."
Buffy grabbed her things and left. The spoiled, bratty teenager inside of her was very angry with herself.
But for the first time in months, the Slayer inside of her smiled, just a little bit.
Buffy approached the door to the girl's locker room. There was police tape surrounding it, but that didn't stop her. And the thick metal door didn't so much as slow her down for an instant. Padlocks? Please. A little property damage and she was inside.
Finding the body didn't take long, either. She pulled the sheet back that was covering the body and examined the victim's neck. Sure enough, there were too small puncture marks.
She sighed. This meant one thing only: Vampires.
Her determined march back to the library was considerably less stealthy than her trip to the girl's locker room had been. But she needed answers in a very quick way. And right now, she could only think of one person who could possibly give them to her.
She pushed open the double doors with no amount of subtlety and barged into the library. Her patience had eroded with every step of her trip there.
"Okay, what's the sitch?"
Mr. Giles appeared from behind some shelves, appearing flustered.
"You heard about the dead guy right? The dead guy in the locker?" Buffy asked.
"Cause 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, ooo?" she said, finishing with a horrible imitation of the Twilight Zone theme song. She wasn't even close really, but she didn't know that.
Not that it mattered. Giles got the gist of it. "I was afraid of this."
"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'd be vampires on campus. And I don't care."
"Then why are you here?"
"To tell you that, I don't care, which, I don't, and have now told you, so, bye," Buffy said, pausing after ever other word. The simple question had caught her off guard. She turned to leave.
"Is he, w-will he rise again?" Giles asked, stopping her in midstride.
"No, he's just dead."
"Can you be sure?"
"To make you a vampire they have to suck your blood. And then you have to suck their blood. It's like a whole sucking thing," Buffy said, using a tone as if she were explaining the whole concept to a three year old. "Mostly, they're just gonna kill you. Why am I still talking to you?"
Buffy turned around to leave again.
"You really have no idea what's going on, do you?" Giles asked her rhetorically. "You think it's coincidence, your being here? That boy was just the beginning."
Buffy felt her mood sinking. Her retirement was becoming needlessly complicated. "Oh, why can't you people just leave me alone?" she asked.
"Because you are the Slayer," Giles answered her in a very familiar tone. Buffy just knew what his next words would be.
"Into each 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."
Buffy started speaking the same words with him, in a bored tone of voice. "-with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil, blah, blah, blah. I've heard it, okay?"
Giles was affronted. "I really don't understand this attitude. You, you've accepted your duty. You, you've slain vampires before."
"Yeah, and I've both been there and done that, and I'm moving on."
"What do you know about this town?" Giles asked, trying to change his tactic of dealing with her. He headed into his office to retrieve some books he had been reading the other day.
"It's two hours on the freeway from Neiman Marcus?"
"Dig a bit into the history of this place. You'll find a, a steady stream of fairly odd occurrences. Now, I believe this whole area is a center for mystical energy. That things gravitate towards it that, that, that you might not find elsewhere."
"Like people moving things with their mind?"
Giles looked at her oddly for a moment, and then considered her question.
"Well, y-yes, I suppose it's possible. I can't say that I-I've read about any instances of telekinesis here in Sunnydale," he trailed off, his mind going over the things he had been researching before. But after a few moments, he continued.
"However, vampires, werewolves, incubi, succubi, everything you've ever dreaded was under your bed, but told yourself couldn't be by the light of day. They're all real and well documented!"
Giles had handed a book to Buffy for every subject he mentioned. She looked at the covers and smirked.
"What? You like sent away for the Time-Life series?"
"Ah, w-well, yes."
"Did you get the free phone?"
"Um, the calendar." He sounded slightly ashamed.
"Cool. But, okay," Buffy said while handing the books back to him. "First of all, I'm a Vampire Slayer. And secondly, I'm retired. Hey, I know! Why don't you kill 'em?"
Giles stammered his reply. "I-I'm a Watcher, I-I haven't the skill."
"Oh, come on, stake through the heart, a little sunlight; it's like falling off a log."
"A slayer Slays, a Watcher—"
"Watches?" Buffy said, interrupting him.
"Yes. No! He, he trains her, he, he prepares her."
"Prepares me for what?" she asked in a grave tone. "For getting kicked out of school? For losing all of my friends? For having to spend all of my time fighting for my life and never getting to tell anyone because I might endanger them? Go ahead! Prepare me."
Giles said nothing. How could he? He had been stunned by the obvious pain and disgust in her voice. He simply watched as she exhaled a long breath and turned away from him. He hesitated for another moment and then ran after her.
Neither of them noticed the dark haired teenager who had been there throughout the entire conversation. He stepped out from behind a stack carrying a copy of "Advanced Theories in Trigonometry". After all, it was the book Willow had asked him to get that morning.
"What?" Xander said, dumbfounded.
Now Xander was known far and wide as a guy who could put together a pithy rejoinder. Or at least, he hoped he would be someday. But in the meantime, however, he had been caught wholly unprepared for a situation where the topic would be the existence of "vampires" and a young woman who claimed to be a "slayer". As in, a "slayer" of "vampires". Or more precisely, a killer of things that existed in monster movies, and in no way, shape or form were real.
Mentally, he scoffed. Vampires stalking the streets of Sunnydale? No, thank you. That was just crazy talk. There was no way that happened.
Just like there was no way he flew that morning.
Hours later, Xander found himself walking alone along the streets of Sunnydale pondering the mystery that was Buffy Summers.
He'd gotten her last name from one of Cordelia's stooges. She was apparently being targeted by the Queen C's Hive Mind for recruitment. That alone was grounds for loathing in his books. And the fact that she apparently upset Willow meant that he all but had to declare open warfare.
And yet he couldn't easily dismiss what he'd heard that afternoon at the Library. And if he hadn't had his incident with the railing that morning, he's sure that's what he would be doing right now.
Xander stopped walking for a moment and leaned against a wall. It was dark now, he realized with a bit of shock. He must have been meandering for a long time. As it was, he was nearly at the Bronze. Wistfully, he thought it might be nice to drop by the place, but he dismissed the idea out of hand. He shrugged and began the walk back to his house.
That's when a hand grabbed his shoulder and dragged him away.
He was brought forcefully into the middle of an alleyway, where he stumbled to the ground. He got up, facing his attacker.
"What the hell?"
His attacker was a pale-skinned, gloomy man in dark clothes. His frown seemed to be embedded into his skin to the point where Xander felt that he might feel physical pain if he so much as attempted to smile.
"She needs you," the dark man said.
"I'm sorry, that makes sense on what planet, Mr. Grabby?"
"Angel. My name is Angel."
"I'd say 'nice to meet you', except you kind of assaulted me. So, expect me to not be friendly." Xander broke himself away from Angel and took a few steps back.
"I'm not looking for friends. I'm looking for warriors."
"Then bang some bottles together, and maybe they'll come out to play. Good luck with that, by the way. Me? I've kind of already hit my weirdness quota for the day, so I'm just going to leave."
"And go where? You think you can walk away? You're standing at the mouth of hell. There's nowhere to go, nowhere to run. The demons rule the night here. And they're getting hungry."
"Yeah," Xander said after a long pause. "You're crazy. I'm bailing. Good night."
"You need to listen to me."
"Oh? Can you think of a spectacular reason why?"
This time Angel paused. "Because she needs you." Angel stepped closer to him, looking him in the eyes with a blazing intensity, before he spoke again.
"And because I know you can fly."
End of Part 1