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A Walk in the Park in 10 Movements

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Independence in D minor.

Independence Day used to mean lighting sparklers and writing the names of the boys she was crushing on in the air. This year, pyrotechnics means lighting vampires on fire and watching them go poof. Also getting busted for illegal fireworks.

It' not like Buffy can explain to the friendly neighborhood cop that sparklers don't have the same effect as cherry bombs or silver salutes.

Buffy's slapped with another truancy demarcation, and her parents -- who fight constantly, mostly about her behavior -- send her to one of those 'find yourself' walkabouts with other juvenile delinquents. Happy Independence Day.

White in D major.

The first thing he sees after stepping off the bus is a skinny, little white girl with a shiny blue backpack sitting on a rock. Great. This was going to be just as bad as Gunn figured. Fucking plea bargains.

He looks around and finds a couple of other faces that look like his. But that doesn't put him at ease. "Charles Gunn," he says to the man checking off his list of delinquents. If only people knew what Gunn had actually been doing, not robbing a Safeway, but snagging garlic to fend off vamps.

Gunn joins the girl on the rock.

Water in G minor.

Buffy takes a sip from her water bottle. She turns and smiles at the boy next to her. He frowns.

Whatever. This walkabout's going to be long, and she's going to need someone to talk to. "So what are you in for?" Buffy asks. When he doesn't answer, she shrugs. "I got caught with illegal fireworks. Apparently, they're very bad."

The boy snorts. "Figures."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Buffy crosses her arms. She sucks at this friend making thing.

"Lame. Lame ass crime for the pretty, spoiled princess."

Slayer, not princess, Buffy wants to correct. "I'm not a princess. My name's Buffy."

And in G major.

"What kind of name is Buffy?" Gunn asks as they move out. The hill doesn't look that steep...yet.

"The kind my mom found in a baby book." There's something about Buffy Gunn likes. His sister would say it's all hormones, but what does she know anyway. "You haven't introduced yourself," Buffy says.


"Is that like some crazy gang name? Because if you're in a gang, I might have to make an exception to my strict 'no-talking to gang members' rule."

Gunn rolls his eyes. "No. It's my last name. Two 'n's." He holds up two fingers. "And I'm not in a gang." At least, not the kind Buffy's seen on Ricki Lake or Cops.

"Well, good."

Shade in C major.

They hike for about two hours before they're given a break in the shade, and Buffy talks the whole way. She tells Gunn about how she's really just here due to a misunderstanding. Normally, she's the stay in school, keep away from drugs and gangs type girl.

"Sure, we all are," Gunn says. He stretches out in the shade.

"You haven't said much." Buffy breaks out two granola bars. She's starving. "Want one?"

Gunn nods and takes it from her. "There's not much to say. My lawyer thinks this is better than juvie."

"You didn't shoot anybody, did you?"

"No, you dumb bitch, I didn't."

Spade in E locrian.

Gunn instantly feels bad when he sees tears on Buffy's face.

"Sorry I asked," she says, drying them away. "You're probably right. I'm a dumb bitch. Dumb Buffy."

"Well, you are kind of dumb, but maybe that was a little mean." Gunn holds his hand out to her. The adults order them to once again walk. "I don't know if being an asshole is any better than being a bitch."

"Guess you just have to call a spade, a spade."

"So do you want to keep walking and talking to this asshole?" Gunn grins at her. His mom always said his smile would drive the ladies wild.


Sound in B flat major.

It's starting to get dark outside. At least Gunn turned out to be a good hiking companion despite the slow start. And he's a cutie.

Of course, Buffy reminds herself, fraternization amongst teenagers is explicitly forbidden, and she can't afford to mess this wrist slapper up. So she listens to Gunn's story about the Halloween he dressed up like a girl and fooled his own mother.

There's a loud crack, and two men come out of the bushes. Buffy turns to Gunn.

"Vampires," they both say.

Gunn clutches a stake. "You know?"

"Duh." Buffy's ready to go after the first one. "Just stay back and follow my lead."

Spirit in G minor.

Gunn doesn't follow anyone's lead, especially a 95 lb girl. But Buffy's already flipping the guy over and attempting to stake him. The girl's got spirit.

He decides to take on the other vampire, who's trying to make a snack out of a boy with a blazing blue mohawk. "I'm in the mood for veal," says the female vampire, reaching out for mohawk kid. Mohawk kid's definitely peed his pants.

"Get away." Gunn runs toward her, brandishing a cross in his other hand.

The vampire hisses and lets go of the kid, turning her attention toward Gunn. "Attitude's like salt and pepper."

Orange in C major.

Buffy stakes her vampire and hunts for the other one. The one Gunn's trying to fight. Didn't he get the memo that she's the Chosen One? Besides, they don't let boys be Slayers.

The vampire hits Gunn in the face, and Buffy cringes. She also plants her foot right in its lower back. Buffy's not going to waste her time here. She grabs its hair, positioning it for that perfect kill.

Gunn's faster and drives a stake into its heart. "Team effort," he says.

"The Slayer works alone." Buffy looks up into the orange-tinted night sky and wonders who came up with that dumb rule.

"What's a Slayer?"

Superhero in F major.

"It's not important," Buffy responds. She dusts off her khakis.

"You're super strong," Gunn says, "like superhero strong." He used to wish to be Spider-Man, Luke Cage, or Iron Fist. But that was just kid's stuff.

Buffy snorts. "What about you? You knew about vampires."

"Who doesn't?" Except idiots who ignore what's in front of them. "Someone has to keep L.A. safe while you're doing your nails."

"Do these look manicured to you?" Buffy holds up her dirty fingers.

Gunn's stomach rumbles. "Why don't we get off this hill and find some food?"

"Only if I can wash."

"Whatever you say, Black Cat."