There's so much running. Melissa is getting tired, her breath coming in sharp gasps and her legs complaining as she tries to run on through the pain, she isn't sure that she can do much more of it. She skids to a halt.
Graveyard, middle of the night in a new town. Creepsville. Was this all such a smart idea?
Obviously not, more of those freaks are right in front of her, all bumpy foreheads and, were those things protruding from their mouths fangs? They all looked like nice friendly young men a minute ago, now if they were boys just pulling pranks, fair enough, but they had gone too far.
Buffy sighs and tilts her head on one side, her arms folded, tutting very loudly and shaking her head. "Oh come on boys, you can do better than this." she says loudly. She flips agilely over to Melissa like a cat, landing next to her.
"Hi," Buffy says, grabbing Melissa's hand and shaking it, "My name's Buffy, your name must be lunch. I'm the Slayer, I kill these things. Would you like to run now?"
"I-uh… you're a what?" Melissa asks confused.
One of the vampires straightens up, rolling his eyes. His face sinks back to the normal soft form of a human face.
"The Slayer, you know the Chosen One, here to fight evil, that being me, and save the world, blah, blah, blah. All caught up? Only we'd like to kill her. Is that the general gist, Slayer?" he asks with a shrug.
"Yeah, that's about right," Buffy replies lightly, "You guys okay to fight now?"
There's a consensus that travels around the circle. Buffy smiles to herself as the vampires begin to circle her and the girl.
"Oh, goody, I was hoping you'd say you were." she says.
She pulls Melissa over to one side and prepares to fight. The fight is brutal, punches and kicks fly from every angle towards Buffy, but most are blocked and followed through by a stake to the heart, then an explosion of ash. Its actually over very quickly. Melissa gawps at Buffy in amazement.
"Okay, okay, just you hold it right there missy," a tall man with a British accent battles his way out of a bush, "What did you just do wrong?"
"I Slayed 'em too quick? Oh, no, no, I know what it was!" Buffy replies, shoving her hand into the air.
Giles waits expectantly for her to continue. Her face falls and she deflates.
"Okay, I don't know, Giles." she says at last.
Giles takes his glasses off and polishes the lenses, shaking his head.
"Erm excuse me, I know, sir," says the vampire that talked before, Buffy had somehow missed him, "It's because she's just told some random, new to town kid who she was."
"Exactly, see Buffy, even the evil living dead get the point, if you excuse the pun. And do you know what else you did wrong?" Giles asks leaning in towards Buffy, his eyebrows raised, looking over his glasses.
Buffy shrugs and looks completely nonplussed.
"You left one alive." he adds in a whisper.
"Oh right," Buffy says grinning at the vampire, "Thanks for you help, with you know the learning and all."
"No problem, grade A student all the way through High School, until… you know." he makes fang motions at his own neck.
"The fanging." Buffy nods with a little grimace.
"Yeah, then not so much with the A's."
"Well if you feel better you'll get an A+ for this." Buffy says, throwing the stake through the air and dusting the vampire.
Buffy turns to Giles, waiting for some sort of approval. Giles however just stares at her for a second, blinks, shakes his head once and stalks off into the night.
"Oh come on, that turning to ash has got to be at least an A+, I think he's the best we've seen all night!" Buffy calls out to him.
Giles keeps walking, shaking his head once more.
"I know I was at least a solid A." Buffy pouted, huffing a breath in annoyance at her Watcher.
Melissa is sat on the grass still staring up at Buffy as she's joined by Willow and Xander who had secretly snuck along to training without Giles knowledge.
"The way you turned round and gave it Miss Attitude 'You'll get an A+ for this', then poof, I wish I could get trash talk down. Most I got going for me is, 'step off, bitch', and I'm not all that good at saying that." Willow says with a shrug.
"Any vampire dust should be an A++" Xander says, smiling at Buffy.
"I know," Buffy exclaims, "And the trash talk, Giles didn't even complement me on that!"
"Maybe it's a British thing." Willow replies.
"What the hell do they grade people with in England then, Will?" Xander asks.
"I don't know, but I think you get a cup of Earl Grey and a biscuit after a test."
"I wouldn't mind that after a pop quiz." Xander imitates a British accent, "'If you'd like to stop writing, detention for anyone who doesn't get at least a C, now if you'd like to go through to the lounge, tea and scones all round'."
"It'd sure make Mondays a little brighter." Buffy shrugs.
Melissa clears her throat and the trio turn around. Buffy pulls an 'oh yeah' face and crouches down.
"You new in town? Little advice, don't go out after dark 'specially not in spooky graveyards, don't trust anyone with a bumpy forehead and oh yeah, avoid that Chinese Food place on Gleason's Avenue, you can get food poisoning just looking at their menu." Buffy informs the scared girl.
Melissa pulls a horrified face, scoops up her bag and runs off into the night. Willow, Xander and Buffy watch her go, sad little looks on their faces.
"She won't be here very long will she?" asks Willow.
"Ten bucks says I'll never see that girl again." Buffy shrugs.
"I like those odds."
"Hey this is a girls life we're talking about. But how about we make this interesting and call it twenty?" Xander asks.
"Well get your wallet Mr Harris, cause I got a craving for crispy won tons!" Buffy replies.
They begin to move off slowly into the inky black, ploughing through the thick grass.
"So where were you thinking?" Willow asks.
"I was thinking the Chinese place on Gleason's, I have such a craving for their special fried rice." Buffy replies.
"As long as you stay away from anything with chicken you won't be off school all that long." Xander says.
"Wait, what's in their Won Ton's?" Willow asks puzzled.
"I think its dog."
"Oh, that's okay then… wait, what?"