From across the street a shadowed figure watched as the young blonde helped a middle aged woman carry boxes into a small yet comfortable looking bungalow. The blonde teen easily hefted the moving boxes, her ponytail bouncing as she moved. She was lovely, and he couldn't wait to meet her.
"I'm sure you'll make friends in no time." Joyce Summers assured her daughter as she drove.
"Yeah, but friends aren't everything." Buffy replied, fiddling with her bag strap. Her mother side eyed her thoughtfully, before sighing.
"That's true, but it's an important part of life to socialize. Don't isolate yourself just because of what happened in L.A."
"You know I won't." Buffy smiled tensely. An awkward pause followed, finally cut by her mothers voice.
"Make sure you respect your teachers and pay attention in class." Her mother continued as they pulled up towards Sunnydale High School.
"Yes mom. See you later, ok?" Buffy quickly slid out of the passenger seat of the car as soon as it rolled to a stop. Slamming the door, she heard Joyce call through the open window.
Buffy turned back.
"Try not to get kicked out?" Her mom smiled nervously.
"I'll do my best." Buffy saluted her mom through the window, then turned towards her new fresh slice of hell. Sunnyhell.
Buffy walked the school hallway, absentmindedly smoothing her hair down. To the casual observer, and there were many of them, she was just a curious new girl. Behind her innocent facade, her bright eyes and keen senses were soaking up every minute detail of Sunnydale High.
A girl walked by her with a scarf strategically placed over two-day old bite marks. "She probably woke up with the world’s worst hicky after a kegger." Buffy mused.
A few lockers down she could see a goth guy with very strange looking ears. "Probably a half breed."
A greasy looking boy stole some unsettling looks at Buffy, scratching the inside of his ear then placing the finger in his mouth. "Now that guy is just a freak." Buffy's eyebrows shot skyward at the uncomfortable attention. She reached her new locker and began shoving her stuff inside just as a tall and fashionable brunette approached her.
"Hi, you must be the new girl. I'm Cordelia and you really want to get to know me." The haughty teen introduced. They walked to their first class together, Cordelia telling a bemused and slightly off put Buffy about the school and student body. They parted company with a tenuous agreement to meet at a local club called the Bronze later that evening.
"Shoot, I don't have any books for my next class!" Buffy remarked, immediately bee lining for the library.
She darted through the swinging doors and found herself in an abandoned but well stocked library.
"Hello?" Buffy called out. Behind the counter a door creaked open, and an intelligently dressed man stepped out.
"May I help you?" He intoned with a bit of condescension.
"Um yeah, I'm looking for school books? One for pretty much all my classes, I'm new here."
The man’s eyebrow raised in silent question, quietly ducking down behind the counter to grab something.
"Was this the book you were looking for?" The bespectacled man stood back up and slammed a large book on the counter, the aged leather cover titled 'Vampyre'.
Buffy lazily chewed her bubblegum, swinging her backpack off of her shoulder.
"Nope." She popped her P for emphasis.
"I've already read that one."
The librarian pushed his glasses higher on his nose then slid the book away.
"So, you are the Slayer, then? Good, I was worried it would be difficult to locate you." He sighed.
Buffy leaned over on the counter casually, sizing the man up. Tweed vest, bags under the eyes, British accent. Oh yeah, definitely a Watcher.
"That would be me, Vampire Slayer comma Buffy Summers. But I've got to tell you." She leaned towards the man in a conspiratorial manner, her words quieter than before.
"Me and the Watchers Council, very un-mixy considering they got me landed in Sunnydale. I can do it by myself just fine." The Watcher blustered, but Buffy cut him off and patted the man on the shoulder.
"Don't worry about it Jeeves, I'll still be all sacred duty girl and whatnot." She placated.
The tweed clad man straightened up, attempting to gain control of the situation.
"Actually, my name is Rupert Giles. I'm very aware of what occurred in Los Angeles and although the situation is... difficult, you cannot simply be allowed to slay unattended. Slayers do not slay without Watchers to..."
"Watch?" Buffy cut in with a smirk.
The man blushed a bit, taking his glasses off and cleaning them frantically.
"Listen, Giles, I'm sure you're great at Watching, Watchering, whatever, but I don't want you getting underfoot. What I do is dangerous." She joked casually, slipping off the counter to manhandle a few books on a nearby table.
Giles angrily shoved his wire frames back on his face, rounding the counter to confront the young blonde.
"Underfoot? I have been training in martial arts, defense, and survival skills against the undead and other nefarious creatures longer than you've been alive! You cannot simply turn your back on the council because your first Watcher perished in the field."
Buffy turned sharply towards the older man, her flighty countenance dissolving into a riotous scowl.
"Yeah, Merrick died. Do you know why he died, Mr. Giles? Because of his association with me. If you have a death wish, then be my guest. Watch." She said coldly, quickly grabbing her book bag and leaving the library. After exiting the swinging doors, Buffy swiped at an errant tear that had fallen down her cheek.
She didn't want the death of another intelligent man on her conscience.
Back in the library, Rupert Giles was softened by the young Slayers obviously raw nerves in regards to her former Watcher, but he would not simply give up.
"She must see reason, she must!" He muttered under his breath as he disappeared back into his office.
Above in the stacks, a shaggy head popped out from between the shelves.
"V-vampire slayer?" A bewildered Xander Harris stuttered.
Later in the quad, Buffy stopped short as she saw Cordelia and a few other girls interacting with a mousey redhead.
"Wow, nice dress Willow." Cordelia deadpanned.
The redhead stood up from stooping at the water fountain and nervously shuffled.
"It really looks like you've seen the softer side of Sears." The brunette mocked, turning to her friends with a laugh.
Buffy quickly approached the cluster of girls, standing near to the redhead.
"Hey, 'Delia. How about you quit picking on people like this is elementary school, and like, grow up?" The blonde crossed her arms and stood between the redhead and Cordelia.
The brunette laughed, looking to her posse.
"Wow, like a girl named after my aunt’s schnauzer can really talk." She turned back to the enraged Slayer as her gaggle of barbies chuckled.
"Listen, Buffy, if I need advice from a desperate wanna-be then you'll be the first to know." Cordelia began to rally her group of yes-girls but left a parting sentiment.
"Oh and by the way, don't bother coming to the Bronze tonight. You're not invited." She turned and began walking away.
Buffy's eyebrows scrunched in anger as she called after the squad of cheerleaders.
"It's crazy, but I can actually go where I want without your permission."
Buffy stamped her foot petulantly on the pavement before turning towards the shocked silent redhead.
At seeing the stunned girl’s expression Buffy sighed deeply, her shoulders slumping.
"Hey, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have jumped in like that. I'm Buffy, by the way."
The redhead nodded indulgently, smiling slightly at the blonde.
"So I've heard, and I'm Willow. It's really fine, I'm used to Cordelia. She's just kind of like that."
The two girls began walking towards an empty bench in the quad.
"Just kinda a bitch?" Buffy snarked, causing Willow's eyes to widen.
"You said it, not me." The redhead laughed as she took a seat next to the new girl.
"You know..." Buffy smiled at Willow.
"I've heard some of the best friendships were formed over a mutual dislike for something. Or someone."
Willow cracked a grin.
"Well, that must mean we're going to be really, really good friends."
Later that evening.
"Would you like a copy of the Watchtower?" Buffy snarked at her reflection, huffing in frustration as she shoved the frumpy dress back in her closet. It didn't matter that her invitation had been revoked, Buffy was determined to make a showing at the club that night.
"I used to be so good at this..."
"Going someplace, sweetie?" Joyce said from the doorway, arms laden with clean sheets. Her mom moved inside the room, slowly putting the sheets on her bed as Buffy sorted through her wardrobe.
"Yeah, to a club on Booker Street called the Bronze. I was invited by someone at school today." Buffy winced as she told her mom the location of the club, but it was best way to have her not worry. If Joyce at least thought she knew where Buffy was, then she didn't pester.
"A boy invited you?" Joyce asked nervously, fitting a pillow into the lilac pillowcase.
"No mom, not a boy. A couple girls from my world history class did. They seem keen to hear about L.A. shopping, and who am I to disappoint them?" She gave her mom more half truths, picking out a blue satin halter top. It would look good with the black hip huggers she had on now, which was a bonus since slaying in skirts was so hellish.
"Already making friends, I'm so proud of you, Buffy. I think..." her mom paused, giving her a sincere look.
"I think we can make it work here in Sunnydale."
Buffy smiled halfheartedly at her mother, slipping the halter off the hanger as the guilt of her lies passed over her.
"Of course, we can. And hey, how's the gallery going?" She expertly redirected the conversation to safer topics, allowing her mother to chat about the new location of her pet project.
Buffy agreed with her mother on one thing though, they could make it work. It had to.
Buffy's black boots clacked against pavement as she made her way downtown to the Bronze. It was luckily still warm out, so she went without a sweater over the shimmery blue halter top. That choice came into question as she felt a shiver run down her spine, but all too soon it became clear that it wasn't from the wind. Her eyes widened feeling the all too familiar tingling on the back of her neck as she went deeper into the warehouse district; there was definitely a vampire nearby.
A faint boot scuff somewhere behind her made it clear that this vamp was tailing her.
She ducked into an alley, and spotting a horizontal pole, jumped off the crates in the alley silently up to it, using it as a perch to trap the vamp in the dead end.
She watched, teeth gritted as she held her muscles steady in her handstand, as a tall, dark, and handsome vamp came strolling into the alleyway, clearly looking for her. She let herself begin to fall, kicking him hard in the back and sending him flying. Buffy rounded on his prone form and stuck a booted foot on the center of his stomach, whipping her stake out of her back pocket.
"Is there a problem, mam?" The thing panted, trying to play innocent. She dug her heel into his stomach deeper.
"Yeah, there's a problem. Why are you following me?" She replied.
"I know what you're thinking..." he smirked up at Buffy with a smarmy grin. "And I don't bite."
"The nerve on this thing, as if I can't sense a vampire right in front of my face." She internally fumed.
"Ooh, nice try but sorry, wrong answer. Lying to the Slayer, not as easy as you think.” Buffy grinned darkly, raising her stake in preparation to strike.
The thing panicked.
"No wait, Slayer, Buffy Summers, I have a message. It's important." He began trying to dig something out of his tacky crushed velvet blazer pocket. Buffy's grip tightened on her stake at hearing the vampire say her name. She didn't like them when they got personal.
"This is a hellmouth, and the master, he's here, and the harvest..." he stuttered, finally managing to pull out a little velvet box from his pocket.
Buffy pretended to listen, then kicked the box from his hand.
"Cool story, buddy." She quipped, ramming the stake into his exposed heart in one quick and decisive motion. His eyes were wide with shock before his form burst into a cloud of dust.
Buffy slid the stake back into her pants before picking up the box the vampire had been trying to use. She opened it to find a silver cross necklace, and a shiver went down her spine.
"Creepy..." she muttered, tucking the small necklace box into her other pocket.
Somewhere in Spain.
"DADDY! No! No no no no no, it's all wrong!" Drusilla keened at the top of her lungs, her long fingernails scrabbling at her own skin and hair. William the Bloody grabbed his beloved’s arms and pinned them down by her sides, whispering to her frantically.
"Shhh, my plum, it's alright!" His voice was tense, he had felt the
link sever as well.
"No!" Drusilla screamed, slashing her claws against Spikes face violently. In his moment of pain, Drusilla wriggled free of his hold and took off running.
Spike let go of his face and scrambled to recapture the weak woman.
"Dru no! It's daylight outside!" He stumbled after his mad sire, watching as she sobbed and approached the doorway.
"I must join my daddy; my daddy needs me! You'll never understand!" She cried shrilly, ripping clumps of her own hair out.
Spike slowly approached her like he was going towards a scared animal.
"Dru, it's okay. Don't do this, who would take care of miss Edith if you went away? I love you, pet, and I know you love me. Don't do this!" He pleaded gently, inching closer to the terrified woman.
Drusilla slipped into her vampiric face as Spikes hands neared her, snapping at his fingers with her fangs.
"No! I hate you, doggie! Bad doggie! All your fault!" She began crying in earnest, all but sprinting for the exit.
"Your sunrise ate my daddy whole, and now I have nothing left! My daddy needs me! I hate you!" Her shrill cry rocked the small room as she grasped the doorknob, twisting it almost in slow motion as Spike watched in abject horror. He lunged towards his sire as she wrenched the door open, sunlight spilling into their flat. Spike tackled the black haired vampiress, covering her small frail body with his as his back began to smoke and burn in the high noon sun.
"No! Hateful little William! Why must you keep me from daddy!" Drusilla wailed, but was unable to do anything more. Her body, still weak from the incident in Prague was easily manhandled as Spike now burning to ash before her glassy eyes finally shoved her flailing body back into the room. He shoved the door closed again with his booted foot as he wrestled the thrashing vampiress.
Later she was finally lucid enough to be left alone with Spikes minions while he grabbed them takeout. After procuring two teenage boys for his princess to sup on, he returned to find the apartment covered in piles of dust. Spike dropped the two young men in the entry way, springing as fast as he could to the bedroom where he had left Drusilla. Instead of his dark princess, or even a dust pile, was a note.
William, my idiotic little boy.
I have gone to fetch the sunshine who ripped my daddy from this world. Don't bother coming after me, I'm very cross with you and won't be seeing you again. Once I find daddy I'll make him take me back and it'll be so much fun!
I don't really love you, it's just how one ends letters.
In a rage, Spike crumpled the note and slammed the clutched fist through the wall. Pulling it back slowly and watching the blood trickle off his wounded fist, he could see the two frightened boys in the front room shaking in fear. His face slowly shifted to that of his demonic face as he stalked back into the room with them. Their thin necks snapped like twigs before he could even begin to torture them, so he drained them both quickly and then left the little Spanish abode before she could get any farther than she already had.
He had a bird to catch.
Elsewhere in Los Angeles.
Darla snapped her head up from her recent prey with a growl.
The college boy in her arms dreamily looked up at the feisty blonde.
"Hey babe, my names Jack, not Angelus." He laughed, trying to guide her face towards his woozily. She easily batted his limp hands away from her, kicking him to the rough pavement. He landed with a cry, the almost inaudible crack of a rib making Darla feel slightly better.
"Who could have the guts to kill my Angelus? Huh?" She kicked Jack again, breaking another couple of his ribs causing him to scream.
"You're crazy! What the fuck!"
Squatting down to be level with the prone form of her catch, the blonde vampire grabbed the boy by the hair and lifted his head.
"You wouldn't happen to know about this, would you?" She questioned with a sickeningly sweet face.
"No! What are you talking about!" He yelled. "Help! Someone!"
Darla placed her other hand on his shoulder and slowly, methodically, began separating his head and neck from his shoulders. He wailed in pain until his larynx ripped in half, a gurgling noise his last proof of life.
"Pity. He was so cute too." Darla stood, licking the blood off her fingers.
"Whatever happened to Angelus, our Master is bound to know." She mused, stepping over the now decapitated body of Jack and heading off into the night towards the Hellmouth.
to be continued…