Chapter 9 The Beast in All Of Us
"Well, nothing too serious.. some severe bruising, but nothing a couple of days rest wouldn't clear up, however, if you hadn't been sent to me as soon as you had it could have been a different story..." The school nurse said as Buffy watched over Lance nervously.
"What do you mean?" Buffy asked.
"These wounds may look normal on the outside but internally is a different matter, this kind of bruising is similar to that caused by a drill machine.. you said a few students did this?"
"Yes.." Buffy muttered.
"Then you should make sure that those students don't attack anyone else.. they could seriously hurt someone with this level of strength." The nurse said as she told Lance that he would be excused from further classes due to his wounds.
"I will.." Buffy promised with fire in her eyes.
'This latest surge in raw testosterone can't be a good thing..' Gohan thought as he went through his new locker, his last one being repaired from his last interactions with it. 'They are rapidly losing contro..'
"Do you have any idea what's going on with Xander?" Willow asked from behind him.
Managing not to bust his locker handle this time, Gohan turned around.
"Hey, your okay!" Gohan began as he looked Willow over.
"You're avoiding the question.." Willow said as she looked into Gohan's eyes.
"No, I'm not, I'm just more concerned about you and Lance." Gohan replied.
"So does that mean that you do know something?"
"Now why would you think tha.."
"Gohan?" Willow said as she noticed Gohan's gaze was focused on something behind her.
"You guys went way too far in that game!" Gohan said as he walked away from Willow and approached Xander who had just appeared on the scene with the Pack.
"Calm your tits bro, dodgeball is a harsh game.. only the strong survive." Xander said with a cruel smile.
"You understand that better than us anyway.. monkey boy." Kyle added as he glanced at Gohan's waist.
"Good one Kyle!" Tor cackled.
Hearing the raised voices, students began to appear from classrooms and hallways.
"Your not okay, the Xander I know wouldn't pick on other people." Willow pleaded as she approached them.
"Willow, Willow.. sweet naïve Willow, how you seem to think that you would become anything other than a friend to me." Xander mockingly sang as he stared at the confused girl.
"Stop it Xander, before you and your 'friends' say something your gonna regret." Gohan warned as Willow's eyes began to widen.
"I'm done hanging around with you.. why on earth would you think I would ever consider dating someone as worthless as you when there is a beauty like Buffy to impress?" Xander continued as he ignored Gohan's words and smiled at the effect that his own was having on his best friend.
'No way, the geeks are going solo?!' Thought some of the students as they continued to watch the scene unfolding in front of their eyes.
"Xander.." Willow replied as her eyes began to fill with tears.
"Take it back Xander," Gohan said quietly. "There is still time to.."
"I mean every last word I say.. she needs to grow up and realize that I have higher goals than her pasty... looking.. face.." Xander said as the hallway grew silent from Xander's cruel words.
"Dig the knife in deeper Harris!" Rhonda laughed.
"So this is your vicious side... worse than I thought." Said a familiar voice from behind the crowd.
"B...buffy?" Willow sobbed as she turned to find the source of the voice.
"So you'd cast away your friends to get with a girl? That's not something I'm into." Buffy said as the crowd made way for her to come through.
"You'll be surprised, at what I'm into." Xander laughed as he led the Pack away, the crowd of students parting like the red tide.
"Xa..xander.." Willow exclaimed as she reached out a hand.
"Look after Willow, Buffy.. I need to go and have a little 'talk' with our friend Xander." Gohan said quietly as he began to walk after the group.
"No... don't, I...i'm sure he did..didn't really mean it." Willow said as she grabbed Gohan's shirt.
"Willow, no matter what he's going through, you've been there for him through thick and thin and this is how he repays you?" Buffy said as the crowd began to clear.
"I'm sure it will be alright by tomorrow... thanks for looking out for me guys." Willow said with a teary smile.
But it wasn't better the next day... not only had Xander not even attempted to apologize to his best friend but his grades continued to slip even further due to skipping classes with the Pack.
"So it's come full circle..." Willow said as she sat with Buffy outside the school.
"What has?" Buffy said in confusion.
"He's finally decided to let me go to focus fully on you."
"No there has to more than just hormones affecting his judgement.. he's hanging around with the goon patrol." Buffy said firmly.
"Something weird, and we know a guy that deals with weird stuff." Buffy said as she got up.
"So you think Giles can bring Xander back to normal?" Willow asked, hope in her eyes.
"Maybe.. maybe not, but it's worth a try."
"Hey, maybe we can also find a lead on where Herbert got to!" Willow exclaimed as she also got up.
"There's my Willow." Buffy said as the two made their way towards the library.
"Ah Mr Son! Any sign of Herbert yet?" Flutie said when he answered his office door to Gohan.
"Yes... and no sir." Gohan replied looking quite uncomfortable.
"What do you mean?"
"I asked around and apparently earlier this afternoon..."
"Go on son, you won't get into trouble." Flutie said when Gohan seemed to consider his next words.
"Some students noticed the troublemakers more commonly known as The Pack, loitering around Herbert's room the other day." Gohan said.
"You think they had something to do with Herbert's disappearance?"
Sighing, Gohan reached into his pocket.
"Why thank you, Son but what does this have to do with Herbert?" Flutie asked as he took the tissue wrapped gift from Gohan.
"So Xander's acting more like others his own age?" Giles said as Buffy told him of Xander's weird behavior.
"Yes... I mean no! Look even if Xander was going through some sort of puberty stage he would not have been that mean to his best friend or been that aggressive to his classmates." Buffy replied.
"Buffy, hard as it may be to hear this Xander is a male.. a young male at that and he will, like other young males go through phases like all men his age, teasing and preying on others is just one of many." Giles said as he glanced at one of his books.
"What did you just say?" Buffy suddenly remarked.
"No about preying on the weak," Buffy muttered. "I know I've heard that before but where.."
"Oh yeah at the zoo!" Buffy shouted making Giles jump. "Ever since Xander left the Hyena enclosure at the zoo he's been a totally different person."
"So your theory is that Xander is turning into a Hyena?" Giles said with a raised eyebrow.
"I don't know maybe? Or perhaps been possessed by one?" Buffy sighed as she threw her hands up in the air. "And not just Xander either.. all of them."
"What do you expect me to do Buffy, the information you are giving me is sketchy at best, if you had some concrete leads that I could follow up on.." Giles began before the sounds of running feet drew his attention to the library doors.
"Bad news guys.." Gohan and Willow said as they entered the library.
"What do you mean?" Buffy asked.
"Herbert's been found." Willow said.
"Well that's a relief, but you said it was bad news?" Giles said in confusion.
"His bones were found, picked clean of flesh." Gohan replied making Giles and Buffy go pale.
"Now do you believe me?!" Buffy said as she looked at Giles.
"Well, this is more my field I guess..." Giles sighed.
"So what's the plan?" Willow asked.
"Gohan, go and find the culprits.. I'll try and find something in my books related to this incident." Giles said as he walked over to the bookcase.
"Good idea I'll go with him." Buffy exclaimed.
"I'll go alone, Buffy. I was also in the enclosure with those guys but my biology rejected the attempted possession, you have no idea what you may be up against." Gohan replied as his eyes sharpened.
"Is that why you haven't been weird as well?" Willow said.
Glancing at the fearful teen, Gohan smiled.
"Don't worry, like I said my biology resisted the possession, however that made them far more wary around me as a result, also it seems that they found out about my tail via their enhanced senses."
"Are you really a part monkey?" Buffy asked curiously as Giles continued to search through his books.
"The whole Darwin evolution theory would have more merit on my father's homeworld." Gohan laughed as he left the library.
Walking briskly through the schoolyard, Flutie caught sight of the lounging four rebel students.
"You've really gone and pushed your boundaries to the limit this time haven't you?!" Flutie said as he walked across the grass.
"What do you mean Principal Flutie?" Rhonda said innocently.
"Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about, I heard through the grapevine that you four were hanging around Herbert's room earlier today!"
"How is poor little Herbert anyway?" Kyle asked.
"Crunchy!" Heidi muttered making the group laugh.
"You four my office now!" Flutie ordered. "Perhaps a talk with your parents and a weeks detention will sort you all out!"
"Do we have to?" The group sang.
"Okay, okay.. no need to get too hot and flustered." Kyle said as he looked the Principal up and down.
'In fact.. maybe that's just what we need you to be...' Rhonda thought, licking her lips as her stomach rumbled.
Scanning a few old books while Willow watched some documentaries on hyena behavior. Buffy showed Willow a passage about Hyenae.
"It reads here that Hyenae were denied access to Noah's Ark, because they were believed to be an impure evil mixture of both dogs and cats."
"Man looks like hyena's got the short end of the stick there." Willow said.
"They just do what they have to to survive," Buffy sighed as she closed the book. "Just like every other race."
"Why couldn't Xander be possessed by a puppy or a duck?" Willow said sadly as she continued to study the wild creatures.
"If possessed is the right word for it." Buffy said as she grabbed another book off the table.
"No your perfectly correct in assuming that it is a possession." Giles approved as he walked over to the duo. "The Masai of the Serengeti have spoken of animal possession for generations, there's one particular sect that deals in animal worship known as Primals."
"Primals?" Buffy and Willow said as one.
"A group of animal worshippers that believe that to truly be alive you must give in to your bestial instincts, however since humanity has come a long way since the stone ages they rely on letting themselves be possessed by animals." Giles continued as he looked through the pages of an old book.
"And they chose Hyenae?" Buffy replied with a raised brow.
"Of all the predatory animals in the animal kingdom hyena's were the most sort after due to their primal nature."
"So what happens after the possession?" Willow asked.
"To begin with nothing too drastic... but if left to their own devices and no restraints.." Giles finished as he passed Buffy the book.
Face going pale from the very graphic images on the book. Buffy's eyes went wide.
"I've got to find Xander!" Buffy exclaimed as she placed the book on the table.
'What could be so bad to make Buffy's face go like tha..' Willow thought as she looked at the page that Buffy and Giles had been looking at.
"Oh my god.."
"You four... never before have I heard of such a thing happening in my life, and I have heard a lot!" Flutie exclaimed as he stood by the front of his desk while the four students stared at him.
"Now here is what we're going to do, we are going to have some school councilors talk with you and your parents because this is not normal student behavior."
"You smell reaalll nice Flutie," Heidi said as she looked the Principal up and down. "New cologne?"
"No, it's what I normally wear, and stop trying to change the subject!" Flutie said angrily.
"So if it's not cologne what is it then?" Rhonda asked as she and the others began to inch closer to the Principal.
"Now stop that, your only making it worse for yourselves!" Flutie exclaimed as his danger sense began to flare up.
"Now I am going to call your parents and have them take you home to help you get over... whatever this thing is that makes you eat live animals." Flutie decided as he reached for the phone on his desk.
Grabbing the phone just as he reached for it, Tor stared hungrily at the older man before passing the phone to the Principal.
"Thank you, now that wasn't that complicated was it?" Flutie said as he thanked the teen.
"Now all we have to do is.."
"I'm sorry all your calls are canceled for today." Rhonda smirked as she grabbed the receiver and threw it at the wall.
"What is wrong with you all? Can't you see I'm trying to help you?!" Flutie exclaimed as his instincts as a teacher battled against his fight or flight instinct.
"Oh, you're helping alright.. just not the way you think you are.." Kyle said as they began to corner Flutie.
"Wh...what are you talking about? I haven't done anything yet!"
"Hmm that smell.. so potent so tasty.." Heidi said as she leaped onto the table.
"Miss Barrie get down from there this instant!" Flutie exclaimed as his body began to sweat.
"Keep sweating teach... you're making me much better already.." Kyle said as Rhonda slashed Flutie across the face with her fingernails drawing blood.
"Y..you kids need a time out!" Flutie stammered as he found himself backed into the corner of his own office.
"Tasty.." Tor said before leaping at Flutie.
"Xander wouldn't hurt Buffy would he?" Willow said as she and Giles continued to go through stacks of books on possession.
"Depending on Xander's strength of mind it could vary, but seeing as he has already started eating living creatures it would appear that in this case including that of the four individuals that he is hanging around with, they appear to be very easy to manipulate." Giles sighed.
'Well he does have demons of his own..' Willow thought as she remembered all the things Xander had told her about his childhood and late teens.
"At any rate, we should hope for the best but prepare for the worse." Giles concluded.
"Let's hope it doesn't come to that."
"Back off!" Gohan snarled as the group circled him and the unconscious, bleeding but not seriously harmed Flutie. Due to arriving just as Tor had leaped on the Principal, combined with the fact that Flutie passed out from the fear, he managed to stop the four from eating Flutie by making himself the target.
"I know the Hyenae affected you as well Gohan, why do you deny the animal what it wants?" Kyle said as the four began salivating.
"Trust me you don't want to eat human flesh, when we turn you guys back to normal you'll never be the same!" Gohan said trying to appeal to their reason.
"Enough talk, we shall feed off of you if you wish to protect this pitiful prey so much!" Rhonda said as she leaped at him.
Catching the teen mid-flight, Gohan smirked as she struggled in his grip.
"You want me you gonna have to do better than that!" Gohan retorted as the remaining three leaped at him, hands outstretched.
"Sorry about this Xander but it had to be done." Buffy said to herself as she hoisted the unconscious teen on her shoulders.
Upon finding Xander, Buffy had had to deal with his unrepressed aggressive sexual advances that grew to the point of sexual assault before knocking out the teen with a table.
'With that kind of stamina you'll back on your feet in no time so I got to put you somewhere safe.' Buffy thought as she went to the library.
"I've got Xander you guy..." Buffy began as she opened the library door only to see a half-naked, sweaty Gohan, talking with Giles by the desk, and a drooling Willow staring at him.
"Michelangelo ain't got nothing on Gohan..'
"Hey Buf," Gohan said as he turned around upon hearing her approach. "Found the other members of Xander's crew... they'll be out of commission for a while in the Principal's office."
"Ok... so why are you half naked?" Buffy asked as she found it hard to keep her eyes above his chest.
"I appealed to their lust instead of their hunger, it was either that or let them eat Flutie," Gohan explained. "Also... don't go into the Principal's office right now... kind of smells of sex also used my clothes to cover them up."
"My body may have stopped the possession, but it had other effects on my psyche that I hadn't noticed, also no I didn't mate with them.. I was more focused on letting off enough hormones into the air to distract them from their initial objective." Gohan said as his gaze lingered on Buffy's before shifting to Xander's unconscious body.
"I see you found Xander... any major problems?"
"None that I couldn't handle," Buffy replied as she put Xander in the bookcage. "He should be okay in there for now."
"So where did you put Flutie?" Willow asked as she closed her mouth and wiped her chin.
"The nurse's office, he was unconscious but not heavily injured so I took care of the more nastier looking wounds.. hopefully, he'll only remember the initial attack and nothing else."
"For now we need to get back to the source of the incident, the books that I have on possession shows that there is a way to reverse the process but it needs to be done as soon as possible." Giles said as he glanced at the trio.
"Well, I guess we're lucky that it's practically the end of the school day, otherwise it would look really suspicious if we were to carry five kids through the streets." Gohan replied as he rubbed his chin in thought.
"Wait you're not saying that we should take them all right now are you?" Willow said to Gohan.
"Only when everyone has left the school. Too many prying eyes right now." Giles warned.
"So in the next hour?" Buffy asked.
"You three should go on ahead to the zoo to get things ready to reverse the process, I'm more than enough for the pack." Gohan said.
"But what about Xander?" Willow asked.
"Willow... I understand your feelings for him, but right now the best thing that you can do for him is helping him get rid of the spirit controlling him." Gohan replied.
"Seriously.. do I look like I need any assistance?" Gohan laughed as Willow still looked uncertain. "Look if your worried that I will rough Xander up too much I give you my word that he will not have any permanent marks on his skin if it comes to that."
"Just keep him under control Gohan," Giles said as he took the girls away. "Also put on some clothes."