Early Edition Slayer Style

Author: Brian Williams

Author: Kyle Bernard <csktech[at]yahoo.com>

Copyrighted: Aug 16, 2003

Category: Crossover

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: None

Keywords: None

Warning: Crossovers ahead (Yes Plural.)

The Following TV Series or books have been included in the story.

Disclaimers appear at the end with the cast list.

* Buffy the Vampire Slayer

* Early Edition

* Quantum Leap

* Original Characters from the Journeyverse

Disclaimer: All characters with their respective rights, properties, and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers, and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

Warning: Crossovers ahead (Yes Plural.)

Rating: PG-13 to PG-16; for mild cursing, violence, and demonic horror content... in other words a bit more grown up then the series...but only cause I don't have to suck up to censors.

Author's Notes: Based in Tenhawk's Journeyverse this story in meant to compliment his visions. I am not the writer that Ten is and never will be but I count him a friend and thank him for letting me play in his universe and even destroy them once or twice.

Huge thanks to Tenhawk for his help with this and all of my stories, If he didn't let me play in his verse, my life would be less joyful. And as Always to Robert Stevenson, The editor from whom I can never give enough credit to.

This story is dedicated to Tim Knight. I miss you my friend.

Latest addition

Chapter 1

"What if you knew, beyond a doubt, what was going to happen tomorrow? Sure, I know it's crazy. But, what if you did? Whether you'd be rich or poor, a hero or loser, lucky in love, unlucky in life... what would you do? What if, by some magic, you found the power to really change things? People, events, maybe even your life. Would you even know where to start? Maybe you 'can't' know. Until it happens."

Metatron floated in nothingness, The bearded angel was enjoying the fact that at least for a little while there was nothing for the voice of god to do. <Bloody rare enough these days> With a bottle of tequila by his side, he decided to indulge himself in his secret passion, baseball.

The stadium was full of screaming fans, white banners and pom-poms almost obscuring the individual people and the noise was deafening. Metatron, a die hard Yankees fan couldn't believe that his Yankee's were forced to a game seven against a team that wasn't even ten years old.

It was the bottom of the seventh with two outs and the game was tied, of course that's when God in its female form interrupted. "What..." Said The voice of God... He listened to the ensuing silence, the only one that could hear the divine word spoken. Metatron's face fell when he heard what she was saying. "But... But... I thought you did away with that fooli… err, brilliant newspaper plan decades ago, something about the innocents couldn't handle the constant stress, and Bloody Hell. It's the 2001 World Series." The bearded angel paused for a second, "Oh all right, A possible World Series, which I hope to God doesn't happen." A wry smile crossed Gods face. "I suppose your are right, I do have a slight advantage when it comes to that saying." Metatron added, as he fell into silence listening to his instructions. <Who ever heard of the Diamondbacks?"> He scoffed to himself.

God's eyes filled with empathy, she cocked her head and insisted that he carry out her instructions. Metatron's eyes widened slightly "Oh, I hadn't realized that." He then waved his hand at the floating screen making it vanish into the nothingness that it had come from, "Well," he said in a resigned tone of voice, "At least My brother didn't interfere in this one."

Somewhere hidden in the Chicago Sun Times printing facility. May 1996

The voice of God walked into the plant ignoring the workers, the foremen, the group of tourists and the rotund security officer. None of them stirred at his passing save the guard dog, who tilted its head to the side slightly as he silently passed it. As he went He passed presses, he passed bundling machines, traversed two sets of stairs, certain of his destination and his task.

He stopped finally in front of a door after following a short Hallway. A slight smile fell across his lips. "I wonder how the old man has been the past few decades." He reached out and turned the doorknob and entered casually. "What do you want Voice? It's not enough that I have to sit in this dark dank room all day; now I have to listen to your incessant babbling?" The old man few had ever known spoke.

The Voice lost his smirk and his lips fell flat. "Some things need to be changed for your early edition tomorrow."

"What!" the old man got swiftly up from his stool and moved closer to his visitor. He continued, "What do you mean 'Changes' for the early edition? That young man is finally getting a break and now you want me to…" The old mans eyes glazed over with curiosity, "what exactly do you want me to put in?" The old mans eyebrows scrunched together s he tilted his head back and to the side a little trying to gain more information from the Voice by his mere stance.

Metatron came as close to smiling as he pulled a small paper tablet out of his inside pocket. "You'll find all the information here, now you know the rules, no ad libbing, no substitutions, etc… etc…"

The old man took the tablet and started reading, soft words barely making it to the Metatron's ears. "Summers…Sisters…Fire…Hemery High… four dead… Sunnydale… five dead… three sophomores, old man killed in fire believed to be arson." the wrinkled face looked up at the Metatron finally "Gangs on PCP?"

The Voice shrugged, "kids and their slang, that term has been floating around Sunnydale for about 20 years now."

The old reported turned back to his stool and sat down breathing heavily. "Anyway, what does this have to do with my guy? Like I said he just got passed some heavy events recently."

"It has recently come to my attention that…this…" Metatron swung his arm around in an encompassing motion "experiment, if you will, in giving the innocents a chance in helping themselves has finally bared some fruit." The Voice sighed and sat back on nothing. "Basically, this is how it is, most all of our major players are out taking care of something of a situation right now and your guy happens to be the best we can field right now, he also happens to be the only one that can get there in time. So, if you would please..."

The reporter broke in, "Wait a second, I've heard rumors about some souled up vampire you guys have floating around over in L.A., why don't you use him?" The accusation clearly imbedded in his voice.

Metatron looked away from the old man and then looked back and let out another sigh. "The broody bastard is depressed. Sulking about like some child that didn't get a sucker at the grocery. Don't look at me like that, it wasn't any of US who did it to him. Besides, his time hasn't come yet, but Gary's has. We need him, Hell, the world needs him!"

The old man looked straight into the Metatron's eyes for a second's long eternity and finally nodded. "Alright, but if Gary gets killed, so help me God I will hurt you." Metatron nodded and left the sounds of the ancient arms of the mechanical typewriter clacking away before the door closed behind him. As the voice made his way up the stairs and passed the presses and bundlers he couldn't help but wonder if the mortal by the name of Gary Hobson would be able to save not only the new Slayer, but the Key and the others as well. He sent up a silent prayer that he knew God would hear, but whether it would be made true was as yet unknown.

The meeting with the old man left Metatron feeling less that confidant in the outcome of this encounter. The never ending conflict between the powers of light and dark were at a critical spot, one mistake on either side could decided the future of the human race.

Truth be told... Metatron had no faith whatsoever in the Early edition program. "Too many close calls for my taste. There is no way I can leave this totally in the human's hands." The Voice of God started thinking through his other assets. In the back of his mind there was a little nagging feeling, one that just wouldn't go away. It was then that Metatron decided to stack the deck. "Lets see, Hmm…" he pondered. "He's been out of circulation for a bit, but I think he will fit in nicely, quite nicely indeed."

With a backup plan in mind Metatron stopped in mid stride, closed his eyes and concentrated for a fraction of a second and accessed the roads and highways that God granted him.

Some place in time and space that resembles Cokeburg PA August 8th 1953.

The Voice of God pulled the door to Al's Place open, it was empty, as he knew it would be. The only time it had business was when a Leaper was going through his final tests before he or she became.

Al the bartender looked back over his shoulder through the mirror behind the bar and nodded to his boss. His slightly craggy face wrinkled when he smiled slightly. "What's going on bub?"

The Metatron coughed in surprise or annoyance; the bartender didn't really care which it was. "All these hucksters that thought they were higher up always trying to act cryptic, they wouldn't know cryptic if it bit them on the ass" the bartender thought to himself as he turned to face his boss.

"What's going on Voice? I was starting to get worried; I haven't had a customer in…" Al chuckled "in what seems like eternity".

"We need your latest graduate." The Metatron said getting straight to the point. "Well, actually, we don't 'need' him per se. However, something of a minor situation is about to occur and I want to stack the deck if you will."

Al's eyebrows raised unconsciously. "You want to use one of my guys to stack the deck? You know what, ok, I'm not going to bother asking, you want to know why Voice? Because it doesn't matter how much, or what I say, you'll yank one of my kids back into that dimension and jerk them around like puppets. So fine, go ahead."

The Metatron sighed. "Normally I wouldn't bother with telling you this, but I feel that it's necessary because of who I am calling back."


"Samuel Beckett"

"NO Not Sam, anyone of them but Sam! Do you have any idea what his last leap was before he ascended? He went back to 1969 and told his BEST FRIENDS WIFE that her husband was coming home from Vietnam. He didn't go to see his own wife, he didn't go to see his father, he chose his best friends chance at one true love over the possibility of ever seeing his own family again. And now you want to YANK HIM BACK?" The semi-portly bartender backed away from the Metatron sitting at the Bar and shook his head. "No way, I will not agree to that."

Another Dimension:

"Boy, am I bored" the ascended being thought to himself. "I thought these new missions were going to get harder, not a waste of time."

A voice reached his existence.


"Yes? Who is that? Is it finally time to do something?"

"Samuel, follow my voice"

He did.

As he traveled, his physical body began to form again, the confining existence seeming to be almost a prison slowly becoming home again as he got used to it. The white fog of nothing slowly got darker, then wetter. He could feel himself walking, feet touching what must have been ground. No he was walking on pavement, the slapping of his bare feet returning ever so softly in the fog. He saw a light up ahead and he continued towards it. Closer and closer it came, the fog fading away slowly as he got closer to the light, then he noticed that there was more light, dimmer, off to the side. Suddenly he was in front of a window; the brilliant light that was his beacon in the sea of fog was really an outdoor light over top of a door into a bar. He looked over to the side directly beneath the giant pane of glass, the bench that he had had his final conversation on.

He swallowed, a somewhat uncomfortable feeling surrounded him as he reached with his left hand and pulled open the heavy hardwood door and entered the Bar he hadn't seen in eternity.

Los Angeles, California

The deafening quite ruled the dinner table, broken only by the clink of forks against the plates. There were three ladies sitting there, each pretending to enjoy the dinner that Joyce had prepared for the family. The tension wasn't caused by who was there, rather who wasn't.

Dawn peeked up at her sister and mother, even with her knowledge she couldn't believe how messed up the situation at home still was and she hadn't thought of anything that might save her parents marriage. "Mom, this is really good meatloaf," she said just to break the tension.

"Thank you honey," Joyce said absently, her mind not on the food or even her daughters. Her thoughts were on her missing husband. Recently Hank had been more and more distant, almost as if it were easier to stay away than face his family. She didn't want to say anything to the girls, but she had started to worry about the unexplained absences and flimsy excuses, It all added up to the same thing, it lead her to visit a lawyer that afternoon. She didn't really want to tell the girls just yet, as she had no real proof of he husband's infidelity.

Buffy Summers wasn't as shy about breaking the tense silence, in fact in a teenagers direct way she broke the whole thing apart at the seams. "Mom, is Daddy having and affair?"

Dawn's fork hit the plate with a clatter and she glared at her tactless sister. "Gee Buffy did you learn that at charm school." If looks could kill Dawn would have been sorely tempted.

Buffy stared back at her sister. The nightmares that she'd been having didn't help and she really didn't want to deal with her bratty kid sisters. "Dawn stay out of this. I only said what we all have been thinking."

Dawn was furious with her sister; "You don't have to be a bitch about it."

"Did I raise you to talk like that young lady?"

"Sorry Mom," Dawn apologized sheepishly. She kept forgetting that she wasn't 16 years old now.

"Dawn… Buffy… That's enough of that. Finish your dinner and go to bed." Joyce was a little harsher with the girls then she meant to be but the visit to the lawyer had her on edge.

"But Mom…"

"That's it I don't want to hear it." Both of the girls looked like they were going to reply but Joyce cut them off at the pass, "Not another word… Finish dinner, do the dishes and then bed."

The dead quiet that had ruled the table returned punctuated by death glares the sisters aimed at each other.

O'Hare international Airport
Chicago, Illinois

Gary Hobson made his way quickly down the concourse of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Ahead of him he saw who he was looking for. A friend he had made less than two weeks after first receiving the paper. Marcus Bailey, Commercial Airline Pilot stood at the American Airlines desk talking to the attendant.

"Hey Marcus!"

"Gary! I'm glad you made it, I was beginning to wonder. It's not often that a person gets a call at 7am asking for a favor, especially one like this. Now, don't get me wrong, I told you after you saved Amanda that if you ever needed an emergency flight anywhere to just call me. Just tell me though, is everything OK?"

Gary nodded "Yeah Marc, everything has a lot chance of being better now, you don't know how much this means to me, and to a few others too."

"No problem Gary. I know I've said it a lot, but I can't help but say it again. Thanks for saving my little girl."

"Don't mention it. All in a days job." Gary smiled and the men shook hands.

Marcus continued "Ok Gary, here's your ticket, it's first class because that's the only section that had an open seat. You better hurry because your gate closes in 5 minutes." Gary was already backing away towards the wing where his Gate was located.

Minute's later Gary latched his seatbelt together in the First Class section of American Airlines Flight 179 direct to L.A. He took one final glance at both papers to make sure nothing had changed and then closed his eyes hoping to get some rest before the day really began when he reached L.A. His mind wandered, as it often did, back to that first day of having The Paper. Of discovering that he had a physical link to the future, one that he could alter, had the power to change it for better or for the worse.

That latter possibility was the one that scared him the most.

Quantum Leap Virtual storage facility, AKA the waiting room.

Cordy found herself in a pure white room. Shielding her eyes from the glare she quickly looked around, seeing nothing the high school student became worried, she had after all read the life after death stories and now she was worried that she'd died in the shower. "Hello." She said in a tone that only an annoyed teenager could achieve, "anyone there? They don't have to be rude about, I mean really you'd thing god would have the common courtesy to not keep people waiting."

A shaft of light appeared and instantly expanded into a doorway. A short dark-haired man smoking a cigar and wearing a bright yellow suit that would blind an elephant walked in.

Al's cigar dropped to the floor as he quietly went mute. It took him a minute to find his voice, "Wow."

Cordy responded in classic Cordelia Chase fashion, "Perverted much?"

Al still gaped at the beautiful young woman whose body Sam had taken over. "Sorry miss, but… But… He stammered.

Cordy didn't give him a chance to finish his sentence, "You should be ashamed of yourself standing there like a moron staring at a girl, who I must add is way underage for you old man. I hope to god that the rest of heaven is better organized."

Al bent down and retrieved his cigar. He quickly stole a glance at Cordy's legs and sighed. "Sorry miss but this isn't heaven. Well it's a little hard to explain." Al pulled out his communicator and queried Iggy about who this was, and where she came from hoping for a clue on where he could find Sam.

"For Christ's sake get me some clothes," Cordy demanded. "I think this space suit is giving me a rash."

"Let me see what I can do." Al rapidly punched the buttons on Iggy's hand held and then let out a quite snicker.

A few moments later a somewhat attractive blonde wearing a pair of too-high heels, neon pink Vinyl Skirt and a dark sky blue top entered carrying a small pile of clothes. She handed them to Al then left without saying a word.

"You've got to be kidding me." The scorn in Cordy's voice was thicker that green pea soup. "

"Sorry Miss," Al said in false humility, "It's the only thing we had in your size," Al shrugged, "its that or the suit. By the way, Who are you and where do you come from?"

Cordy reluctantly got dressed, "I just bet you are the type that just loves looking at underage girls dressed like this, You just so look the type."

Sunnydale California

Steam filled the elegant bathroom as hot water cascaded off the young ladies body. She reached for the expensive shampoo and lathered up her long dark hair. As the suds worked down her long tresses and onto her shapely body a small bit of soap got into her eyes and she yelped in surprise. At that very instant a soft blue glow encapsulated her young body. The blue light flared briefly and then faded into nothingness.

Sam found himself standing under the now cooling shower with the sharp sting of soap in his eyes. He ducked under the water, removing the majority of the suds, but he was still blinded by the soap in his eyes. Groping for a towel, he discovered that he was once more in a woman's body. <Oh geeze not again. Al is gonna all gaga again. >

Sam dried his, err, her current body. When she dried her chest there was a soreness that made them nearly untouchable. Sam dried off the best he could, given the tender state of his current body and quickly grabbed a dry washcloth and cleared the mirror of steam.

The glaring stare of Cordelia Chase's face shot back at him. It was only then that he felt the warm trickle of blood on his thighs and a cramp that nearly double him over. <Oh Christ, I'm a teenager, and I'm on her period. > "Oh Boy."


Chapter 2

Quantum Leap Virtual storage facility, AKA the waiting room.

Cordy found herself in a pure white room. Shielding her eyes from the glare she quickly looked around, seeing nothing the high school student became worried, she had after all read the life after death stories and now she was worried that she'd died in the shower. "Hello." She said in a tone that only an annoyed teenager could achieve, "anyone there? They don't have to be rude about, I mean really you'd thing god would have the common courtesy to not keep people waiting."

A shaft of light appeared and instantly expanded into a doorway. A short dark-haired man smoking a cigar and wearing a bright yellow suit that would blind an elephant walked in.

Al's cigar dropped to the floor as he quietly went mute. It took him a minute to find his voice, "Wow." Even in the Fermi suit this woman, girl, was drop dead gorgeous.

Cordy responded in classic Cordelia Chase fashion, "Perverted much?"

Al still gaped at the beautiful young woman whose body Sam had taken over. "Sorry miss, but… But…" He stammered.

Cordy didn't give him a chance to finish his sentence, "You should be ashamed of yourself standing there like a moron staring at a girl, who I must add is way underage for you old man. I hope to god that the rest of heaven is better organized."

Al bent down and retrieved his cigar. He quickly stole a glance at Cordy's ass and sighed. "Sorry miss but this isn't heaven. Well it's a little hard to explain." Al pulled out his communicator and queried Iggy about who this was and where she came from hoping for a clue on where he could find Sam.

"For Christ's sake get me some clothes," Cordy demanded. "I think this space suit is giving me a rash."

"Let me see what I can do." Al rapidly punched the buttons on Iggy's hand held and then let out a quite snicker.

A few moments later a somewhat attractive blonde wearing a pair of too-high heels, neon pink Vinyl Skirt and a dark sky blue top entered carrying a small pile of clothes. She handed them to Al then left without saying a word.

Fire raged in Cordy's blue eyes and her slim nose flared in anger. "You've got to be kidding me." The scorn in Cordy's voice was thicker that green pea soup. "

"Sorry Miss," Al said in false humility, "It's the only thing we had in your size," Al shrugged, "its that or the suit. By the way, Who are you and where do you come from?"

"Why should I tell you anything, she scoffed at him. "I'm either dead or this is my worst nightmare; Stuck in hell with a ugly, dirty old man."

"Al had had enough. Normally the old navy man was easy going, but that didn't mean that he was a pushover and this girl had pushed him as far as he could be pushed. The Admiral kicked in full blast. "Look Missy, where you are isn't important, but if you don't want to be stuck here indefinitely then get dressed, or not your choice, can the attitude and answer the question.

Cordy reluctantly got dressed, "I just bet you are the type that just loves looking at underage girls dressed like this, You just so look the type."

Silently Shanna Micheals continued her sweep through the near 20 acre Goldenview cemetery on the Lower East Side of Santa Clara. Originally from the north coast of Maine, the eighteen year old was almost literally sweating her ass off in the near summer heat in California; her only saving grace was that California lacks the humidity that she is used too. Her hair was showing it too, frizzed and sticking all over the place, her night was definitely not going well at all.

She had been searching for the latest Evil, which was trying to end the world via some mysterious ritual, for the past three months now.

The search came to fruition two nights before where she and her watcher Thomas Rene-Gerald, finally got the one piece of information that they needed and three hours from now they would be putting that information into use.

Shanna stopped and huffed. "Ugh that stupid man!"

Shanna huffed once more and then suddenly hit the ground; with her eyes wide she looked left and right, and then slowly started crawling backwards. Her heartbeat quickened the warm evening air took on a sudden chill causing her skin to raise Goosebumps. She backed up further, her mind not noticing nor caring about the grass stains running the length of her tan cargo pants. The front of her shirt started riding up her tight stomach as she crawled backwards a little faster.

Jason Ericks walked swiftly through the graveyard; the boss would be ticked if he was late, especially tonight. Tonight was the big night.

Five minutes walking out from the cave entrance Jason smelled something human. <Not Human, stronger. More, Dangerous> He grinned. Finally there was something in the stupid town worthy of his attention.

He increased his speed after making a slight course alteration. The scent was even closer than he thought. The Master Vampire grinned evilly as he silently made a wide circle around the source of the wonderfully powerful scent. Keeping the source to his right he had the location narrowed down in less than 10 minutes.

Ericks stalked to his prey's location. He sneered at an invisible audience knowing that the charms he wore and the enchantments that the Boss had cast upon his being were working overtime on his target.

Shanna Brianne Micheals was about to go nuts. The demon had been circling for the better part of ten minutes. Her lungs felt like they were going to burst. Tears silently streamed down her face. She also couldn't understand why she was reacting like this.

Before being called Shanna was a mild mannered school geek who minded her own business and was more than willing to stay out of the lime light. Then five months ago Thomas showed up.

"You are the chosen one." The black-haired, twenty-something-British male whispered to her in a somewhat demanding voice.

Shanna backed away from the counter. "I-I don't know what you are talking about." Her voice trembled she couldn't imagine how anyone would know about the exponential increase in her strength, the incredible increase in her reflexes, she could even see better at night, but how could anyone know? She hadn't told anyone.

Suddenly Mark, the night manger of the McDonalds Shanna was currently employed at, came around the corner from the grill area. "Is there a problem here sir?"

The apparent customer backed away from the counter "Why no sir, I was merely inquiring about whether you might have any real chips in the back; I would guess not." He then turned back to Shanna. "I will take a, what exactly is ON a Big Mac here in the United States?"

Shanna swallowed, her face becoming tight as the foreigner feigned ignorance of anything wrong and proceeded to make some stupid request for food.

Shanna's thought were interrupted a moment later as the left foot of the source of her fear stepped less than four inches from her face.

Shanna's eyes bugged almost beyond their ability and then slid closed when the weight of a steel-toed boot backed with vampire strength met the back of her head.

Thomas was frantic Shanna was more than thirty minutes late. She hadn't been thirty minutes late to anything, ever combined, since he had met her exactly five months ago, three days from now.

Suddenly there was a harsh knocking on his motel room door.

"C'mon Tom! Open up! Shanna's in trouble! " The familiar voice of one of the two local hunters came through the paper-thin door.

Thomas made it to the door in less than two steps from where he had been pacing back and forth and flung it open.

"What? What do you mean she's in trouble?"

Alan pushed his way through past Thomas and started gathering weapons from the various bags through out the room.

Edgar continued "Shanna was captured by Jason Ericks over three hours ago. His boss could have her anywhere by now."

"Wait just a bloody minute." Thomas broke in. "Over three hours ago? Where at?"

Alan answered. "Over in Goldenview cemetery, we just found out, over heard one of those stupid ones gossiping down at the pier."

Thomas cursed loudly "That girl, oh I swear when I get my hands on her I'm going to…" He trailed off mumbling curses as he pulled on his modified dual holster shoulder harness, the silenced nickel plated Beretta under his left arm and three wooden stakes under his right. He then pulled on his steel toed brown leather Wolverine work boots and laced them up snug tight. He then grabbed his denim jacket with the sleeves rolled up and flipped it around and slid it on easily.

Edgar and Alan tried to hide their laughter. "God that jacket is still funny. You do know that it went out of style like 4 years ago right?"

Thomas made a mock laughing face at them. "Look you ponces, it may be out of style, but so are most of the vampires out there; besides, I don't know of any other jackets that are easily modified to carry 6 stakes, 2 vials of holy water and 'Niccy' without showing heavy modifications. Plus the material is pretty strong and they last forever."

Edgar and Alan both cocked their heads to the side in slight disbelief. After a moment they looked at each other then shrugged and headed for the door. Let's go then."

Thomas agreed. "Yes, lets, bastard vampire demon thinks he can kidnap my..."

Alan and Edgar shook their heads slightly as Thomas started a long string of mumbled obscenities.

The world came back to Shanna full of pain and darkness. She thought her eyes were opened but still she couldn't see anything. An accent that sounded slightly familiar brought her entirely into consciousness.

"Ah! The young slayer has finally come around. See Jason, next time, you don't need to hit little girls that hard to knock them out…Oh wait there won't be a next time for you."

The undead Santa Clara native looked at the Boss in confusion, and then gasped as he was suddenly lifted from the ground by his neck. The Manhattan native known as the Boss to Ericks sauntered over.

"You see Jason, as much use as you have been to me, your time if usefulness has run its course. Well, almost. You see, you and this fine young specimen of a Slayer are the two primary Keys to my new apartment, if you will." The Yank then pulled out what seemed to be a chicken bone and then broke it and started chuckling which turned into a full blown laughter as he turned away from the vampire which was now struggling against the invisible hand keeping him lifted several inches above the ground.

Shanna looked on in horror at the events. Whatever the mysterious stranger broke seemed to have stopped whatever it was that was affecting her because she was starting to get more control over herself. The more control over her fear she gained the more infuriated she got. <I wonder if anger is a Slayer trait? > She wondered to herself. Shanna's wrists were being rubbed raw with her continued attempts to loosen or even break the bindings that were holding them together behind her back.

Thomas, Alan and Edgar made their way through the cavern system, their headband flashlights lighting the way for them.

"Guys I can't believe we are following the biggest tracks we can find. This is insane. Damn, why did you let Shanna go out patrolling tonight?

"Shut up boy, you know Shanna was just doing her job, besides, Like Thomas could have stopped her if he wanted to. Shanna'd break his leg off and then beat him with it. God," Alan stopped and looked up to the ceiling in mock wonder, "Why did you allow a slayer to have menstrual cycles?" Edgar and Thomas groaned.

The three suddenly grew quiet as they heard a scream come echoing through the passage. Upon its quieting they suddenly took off. Down and down they went, through twists and turns and even once went through a loop back. Then they heard another scream, extremely close. Following a hunch Thomas reached up and turned the light on his headband off and motioned the others to follow suit.

When the passage was completely engulfed in darkness they then realize that there was light coming from up ahead of them in the distance. That's when they were all grabbed from behind.

Shanna was in so much pain that the ache from her vocal chords from her screaming was just a minor footnote in the book of torture.

The insane asshole torturing her was named James Caruthers. He was from New York. Shanna still couldn't believe that the idiot had wasted time introducing himself. Then the reality kicked in. Caruthers was just literally wasting time away. The ceremony that he was planning on using a human sacrifice for couldn't take place for another hour.

"Hello what is your name? I mean if I am going to kill you I might as well know your name." The less than average height, overweight, balding man spoke at Shanna.

"Go fuck yourself, you pathetic piece of shit." Was her reply.

The man laughed. "You impudent little bitch, it doesn't matter anyway Shanna. I am James Caruthers, you can call me Jimmy though, I mean you're only going to live another two hours or so until the proper stars align with their corresponding constellations. But, I shouldn't say too much more; can't give away all the details in case your compatriots decide to risk a rescue mission. Undoubtedly they will, I mean you yourself were planning on trying to intervene with my ascension. That stupid fool over there decided to try and think for once and knocked you out and brought you here over three hours too soon. Oh well, shit happens."

Jimmy shrugged and turned away from Shanna and started to set up some materials throughout the roughly 50 foot in diameter cavern. He placed a multitude of items on various pedestals and natural rock shelves; items ranged from poured blood on a dagger which was then plunged into a rotten gourd then smashed against a wall, the juices flying everywhere including onto the white robe in which jimmy was wearing. Over Shanna's bloody-slime covered feet hung a cow's brain no more than a foot away.

The vampire that had knocked Shanna out Jason was still hanging from nothing almost in the middle of the room. Some would say he was lucky he didn't have to breathe being a vampire, but it still hurt holding your body up with nothing other than muscle and sinew.

Minute after slow agonizing minute passed as the man known as Jimmy seemed to do numerous meaningless tasks. Meaningless was one thing they weren't each spot, each item, each word said had meaning, very important meaning; as Shanna began to visualize in her minds eye what Jimmy was doing might look like from above it finally hit her. Everything was put in a giant S shape--with the Mouth at her feet and the tail where the dagger was.

Jimmy smiled as he saw Shanna's eyes flash open in the dimly lit room. "Ah I see you have slightly more intelligence and imagination than most your age. You see little one; I am going to become a demon. A full fledged demon, not some half-breed like that pathetic moron over there." The bald man said as he made a motioning towards the seemingly floating vampire.

The bald man suddenly lifted his head from his current task of mixing some items in a giant medicine bowl. "Well, well, well, it looks like your guests have arrived."

Shanna looked to the entrance to the cavern with wide eyes and then groaned as she saw her watcher being pushed roughly into the cavern by a rather ugly looking THING; Edgar was next to follow as another demon pushed him in even rougher then Thomas had been handled. Edgar was next walking calmly while the demon had one hand on his shoulder.

Once the commotion had settled down Edgar looked around at the looks of disbelief that were being thrown at him.

"What? I'm not stupid, this thing is like 400 pounds bigger than me. You think I'm going to try and wrestle with it? I don't think so."

Shanna sighed almost on the verge of tears again.

Jimmy simply laughed the words of the youth evidently sounding hilarious.

The bald man spoke to the new arrivals "Well, since we have more people here, guess what?" He then clapped. "That means that I can summon and even stronger demon to take control of!"

He started laughing an insane laugh again.

Thomas struggled, well tried to struggle, against the monster that out-weighed him by, at the least, 250 pounds. He soon gave up however and looked up at it. "Why are you working for him? If he becomes a demon he'll most likely kill you first you know."

The demon looked down at the puny human and made a deep rumbling sound, possibly laughter but maybe hunger. It then spoke "Foolish human, you know nothing of my kind, or of what he has planned. Do not speak again or I shall break your neck and be done with it."

Thomas nodded once and turned away from the monster that was holding him.

"Shanna are you…" Thomas words were broken off with his own scream as he felt his arm snap.

"I told you human, do not speak again." The monster growled at him.

The slayer was in full rage mode now. "You, big, ugly, son of a Fyoral whore. I will break your leg off and shove it up your ass so far you'll be able to spit shine your shoes without even spitting."

Jimmy had had enough. _That's it, fighters to your corner!_ he laughed at his own pathetic humor.

He continued, "Seriously though, time has arrived. Bring the humans over here. Now, Shadrak, Meshak"

"You have got to be kidding me." Alan busted into the bald mans words. "You guys are named after people who were in the bible, People who survived being burned to a crisp in a furnace because of their belief and love of God? Three DEMONS named Shadrak, Meshak and Abednego?" Both Alan and Edgar started laughing near uncontrollably at the thought.

A new voice suddenly filled the air of the dim cavern. "Yeah, those names are kind of funny aren't they?"

The three demons, and five humans turned to the new voice, the vampire would have but it would have meant breaking his own neck.

The human at the entrance spread his arms in a holy looking posture. "Lady and gentlemen, and well, ugly bastards, let me introduce myself. Well actually, no, forget that part. How about you bible brothers let them go and leave? I don't want to have to kill you."

The three demons looked at each other and made some high pitched noises at each other and were slightly shaking up and down.

<Hunger. Definitely Hunger> Thomas thought in pain as his arm slightly throbbed against his side, luckily it was his left arm that was broke and he could still pull out his pistol if he needed too, if it would do any good, and against these hulking brutes it wouldn't.

The demons threw the three humans down to the ground, Thomas gasped as he hit the floor, and they turned bodily to the new comer.

Jimmy sighed in boredom and waved at the apparent human in the entranceway. "Go kill him already, I need to get this ascension underway, and the stars will align in the next 30 minutes, so do hurry, and don't play with your food this time!"

The three lumbering brutes moved towards the human at the entrance of the cavern and stopped in front of him. "You have it?"

Lothos nodded. "Yeah, it's all in the Shaved Ice stand's freezer over at the carnival."

Shadrak stepped closer, "they better all be there or we will find you and rip you apart organ by organ; and we count the skin. You ever see someone have their skin ripped off slowly? It can't feel nice from all the times I have seen it."

As the leader of the three hulks passed the vampire the other two growled softly at him.

Lothos lost no time. He clapped his hands together "well, now that that's all settled, let's see what we have going on here. We have my Slayer tied down a dais How quaint. A-and we have a watcher…oh my, oh my…remind me to kill you as soon as possible. That brings me to the Frog brothers. Do you two have any idea how annoying you are to the demon community in this town? It's kind of funny really. The boys all sit around down at the Olive Garden after hours and trade stories of you when you first started out."

Jimmy's jaw was wide open as he watched in disbelief as the, now obvious, Master Vampire meandered around the cavern looking at things and speaking at the other occupants.

Jimmy finally got over the shock of his hired minions abandoning him. "What the hell is going on? Where did they go? Who are you? A- and do you mind?" his voice growing louder with each word and his voice finally cracking on the last word.

Lothos looked at the short, bald man and sighed. "What are you still doing here? Can't you take the hint?" Lothos then glanced down at his watch. "You know it is too late for you to summon that demon right? You forgot to take into account Leap year. Fool."

Jimmy's eyes bugged out momentarily then he made a snap decision and motioned towards Jason Ericks still hanging in the air and then suddenly wasn't.

"Get up you fool and kill this son of a bitch!"

Jason got to his feet slowly with his left hand rubbing his throat.

He looked the Master Vampire up and down slowly and their eyes met.

Jason nodded imperceptibly to his new master and then made a sudden leap and jumped at Jimmy who, having already realized that events were going against his plan and dodged his former minion making a beeline for the other passage out of the cavern opposite the entrance.

Lothos watched slightly amused as Jimmy dodged the first attack and then ran, surprisingly quickly, out of the cavern via the rear passage. Then he turned towards the three humans and bound Slayer.

"Well, well, well. What have we here?" The blonde vampire spoke as he slowly made his way towards them.

Lothos stopped several steps from the group that had managed to gather closer around Shanna, and backed off slightly then sniffed the air, then his face then took on a slightly sickly appearance. He backed up a few steps.

"Ok, here's the deal. You three can leave, unharmed, I'll let you live, all I want is the Slayer."

Lotho's words were cut off.

"Go shove it in yer arse you vampire piece of shit." Thomas said through gritted teeth. His arm throbbing with what he thought was pain that was impossible.

Lothos chuckled. "So be it then." His face transformed. His eyes took on a bright sickly yellow tone, his teeth grew longer, and some becoming jagged while others simply became longer and sharper.

Edgar nodded and jumped up. "Oh you think that wrinkled forehead and glowing-eye shits enough to scare me? You vampire faggot! I'll rip you a new ass."

With those words Edgar lunged towards Lothos and received a solid punch straight in the nose before he could even blink.

Edgar screamed out in pain. His eyes shut automatically, tears streamed out from under his eyelids and down his face, blood started flowing down to his lips.

Alan jumped up and grabbed his brother by the upper arms and pushed him back and leaned him against the dais Shanna was strapped too. "Get her untied while I keep this bastard busy."

Thomas watched the vampire lackey chase his slayers kidnapper out of the cave to the rear and cursed to himself, he really wanted a piece of him.

When the intruder finally started talking and got to the part about 'his' slayer, Thomas got pissed and started rising to his feet, casually trying to place himself between the stranger and the dais Shanna was currently being untied from. He cradled his left arm to him, the humorous bone snapped in the middle.

"I don't care who you think you are Sir."

Thomas grunted as he reached back with his good hand and pulled 'Niccy' loose from the sheath sewn into the back of his denim jacket.

Lothos snorted and interrupted. "You stupid humans are really starting to annoy me, you do realize this of course?"

Alan turned back around to face Lothos, his right arm reaching backwards towards Thomas. "Alright buddy, how about we start making this conversation exciting?"

Lothos chuckled and turned his head to view the rear entrance to the cavern. _Oh I think it's getting exciting enough._ With that Jason Ericks emerged.

Edgar finally got the Slayers hands free and Shanna had had enough. "Ok, that's it you damned vampire bastard. I am so going to kick your ass into the next millennium." With that said she sat up and reaching down ripped the ropes tying her ankles together.

Upon getting up she turned and got close to Thomas and placed a gentle kiss on Thomas's lips and pulled a stake from inside his jacket. "Don't worry love, this fool doesn't stand a chance with my mood." She whispered into his ear.

She then pushed Thomas gently towards Edgar. "You two start working your way out of here." Edgar nodded and grabbed onto Thomas undamaged arm.

Shanna stepped up next to Alan. "You ready to kick some vampire ass?"

"You betcha Shane."

"I told you not to call me that Eddie."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, beat me up over it later alright?"


Alan turned and stepped towards the first vampire. He brought his right hand forward and showed the eight-inch blade of the Dragon Lord Knife he was holding. As light from one of the lit torches gleamed in his eye, reflecting off of the blade he remembered the conversation Thomas and he had about 'Niccy' only the other day.

Alan's eyes glistened in delight as Thomas handed over 'Niccy', a fourteen-inch knife. He spun it around slowly the light reflected off of it and shown onto his face.

Thomas let out a laugh at the sight on his new friend's face.

"She's a couple hundred years old. She was forged by a weapon smith by the name of Constance Johanson, He lived in the realm of the King of England just as the crusades were beginning.

"The legend goes that a Knight of the King came to the smith and asked for a special knife to be made for him.

"The legend doesn't really go into a lot of details of why the Knight wanted the knife, it did go into specifics on how he wanted it made. The fire that heated the steel was lit from a flame from the candles of the papal cathedral, supposed to be a cleansing flame; and it was cooled by blessed holy water, and a priest was on hand to bless the water after every submersion of the blade.

"It is supposed to cleanse and purify the soul of those it kills so that they can enter Heaven when they die. If it's true then Niccy should have a rather interesting effect on a Vampire."

"I believe that the knight thought that the crusades were unjust and unholy, but still afraid of speaking out against the King and the Church._

Thomas shrugged as he took the knife back from Alan. "I haven't had a chance in all this time to find out if it will do any of that stuff, but I am anxious to find out."

"Ok, that's interesting and all, but why do you call it 'Niccy'?" Alan asked.

"Ah, well, that is a little more personal, so I shan't go into details. However, 'Niccy' was the name of a Slayer I met once back when I was around 5 years old; lovely Black young girl in her late teens. I thought I was in love with her. Anyway, her watcher was my Uncle and I received it from him after Niccy's death. He took her child in and raised him as his own."

Shanna lowered her stance as Lothos did the same, in her peripheral vision she could see the other vampire and Alan begin to circle each other.

Nearly simultaneously the four struck out at each other. Shanna, using one of the few martial arts moves she knew blocked the punch Lothos threw at her and landed her own punch to his sternum driving him back three steps.

Alan, only having normal human strength was doing more evading than striking, but so far his opponent hadn't managed to land a solid punch yet. The vampire swung with a wide haymaker left, Alan ducked and suddenly shot up, with a burst of speed somewhat surprising the vampire, and landed a solid uppercut on the vampires chin. Alan mentally noted with satisfaction the disgusting crunch of his foe's breaking jaw.

Jason Ericks's eyes nearly jumped out of their sockets when he felt the impact of his adversaries punch land on his chin. A muffled scream, mixed of rage and shock laced with pain, escaped his lips as the pain of his shattered jaw reached his brain. His hands involuntarily moved to his mouth and a second later he realized that it was a mistake.

Alan saw the vampires hands move to his mouth; taking advantage of the opening he did a quick shift of his balance moving his weight forward and thrust his left hand forward and up shoving the knife into the vampires.

Jason Ericks had been a vampire for nearly six years now. He had known pain during his natural life. He had known pain during his undead life; but the pain he felt now was as if it came straight from the hand of God.

Alan's eye grew wider. his hand was stuck to the knife hilt as if attached permanently, his brain refusing to let go. From the very edges of where the blade had entered the flesh slowly started to turn black. The black area slowly starting to expand, then cracks started to appear around the wound. The cracked flesh separated, the gaps becoming wider and wider running out away from the blade, as the cracks widened a soft yellow-red glow started to light up Alan's face.

The vampire screamed in agony. Thomas and Edgar jolted to a stop at the exit into the cave system and turned back to look at the source of the scream.

"Oh My Lord."

"Holy shit!"

Shanna and Lothos continued their fight. Punch. Block. Kick. Evade. Around and around they went, both staying within an unspoken-agreed- upon twelve-foot diameter circle and neither could get the upper edge.

"C'mon fang face." Shanna panted out. "Let's kick it into another gear. What do you say?"

Lothos laughed. "You think you can handle that Slayer?"

Shanna grunted and stopped where she stood and then tilted her head slowly to the left and cracked her neck and then did the same with her head tilted to the right. "Let's rock asshole."

Shanna was slightly shocked when the vampires fighting abilities seemed to actually get worse the harder he tried. Soon she was blocking and evading every attack the vampire threw at her, agonizingly slow seconds passed as the vampire tried to hit her and she got sick of it, and she launched her own attack.

Lothos smiled inwardly as he tried harder and harder to miss hitting the slayer. He also frowned inwardly when he realized that he didn't have to try hard to hit her. This slayer was good. Then she made the move that he had been waiting for.

Shanna gasped as her left cross completely missed her target, she over-balanced, the vampire slapped her arm even more and as she started to spin around she could feel the vampire's right arm slide up and around her throat.

Thomas's heart stopped beating in his chest. His vision became tunneled. He couldn't move. All he knew was that his beloved was now at the mercy of the vampire she was fighting and he didn't seem to be the merciful kind.

The only thing Thomas could think of was the conversation he and Shanna had had the night of their wedding.

Thomas and Shanna were wrapped in each other's arms. The wedding had been in a Las Levas chapel earlier that evening and ever since they had been in their hotel room.

Shanna looked up to Thomas, her blue eyes meeting his. "Thomas."

"Not now love." Thomas replied.

Shanna sighed. "Yes, now. We both know the dangers of what we do. Hell, that's part of why I agreed to marry you, because our lives are probably going to be way to short and I want to enjoy as much of it with you as I can. If we live long lives, then Hey, we'll be together even longer. Just, listen to me, if things go bad; and well, you know. I don't want to be killed by a vampire."

"If that ever happens, if a vampire has me for good and you know there is no way out. I want you too…" tears filled her eyes and her voice faded out as breathing became harder, shortly she began sobbing into her lovers chest.

Thomas held his new wife tighter to himself as he clenched his eyes shut as he felt his own tears forming. _I know love. I feel the same way._

Later that night they made new vows to each other in the privacy of their room.

Alan was in complete shock. The vampires skin was completely black now pockmarked with cracks and areas that had turned to dust. Finally the beast released a strangled gurgle and a final curse as the remaining chunks of his body fell apart from each other and finally crumbled to dust.

Alan stood there for a long few seconds and gulped his eyes still wide.

Finally he was able to find his voice. "Wow."

Moment's later Alan turned and saw the predicament that Shanna was in; his mind formulated a plan immediately and he began, as quietly as he could manage, to sneak upon the blind spot behind the vampire.

Thomas reached slowly with his right hand under his jacket and pulled his silenced Beretta out.

Taking a step forward Thomas raised the gun and took careful aim; straight at the middle of Shane's forehead.

Shanna and Thomas eyes met across infinity shared tears sprung from the corners of their eyes as Thomas finger started to tighten on the trigger.

Lothos laughed out loud "Oh how heroic of you; making the ultimate sacrifice to stop the big bad vampire. Do you know touching that's not?"

That's when he suddenly swirled Shanna around in a one-hundred eighty degree turn as Alan brought 'Niccy' down in an arc that embedded the blade to the hilt in the center of Shane's sternum.

At the very same moment that Lothos swirled Thomas caressed the trigger of his pistol, the round burying into the vampires back causing him to throw the now dead slayer into the man who had stabbed her and sending him sprawling him back.

Lothos arched his back and yelled out a curse at the top of his lungs and then turned to the shooter.

"You, sir shall pay for that." His vampiric face seeming to grow even more evil as the hatred and anger started to almost boil off of him physically and started slowly towards Thomas.

Thomas's eyes grew furious and he did the only logical thing, he pulled the trigger, Over and over again; two shots fired, the vampire was still coming. Five shots and the vampire was still stepping with pure hatred burning in his eyes. The eighth shot whispered out of the silencer and caught the vampire in the leg causing him to grunt.

Edgar rushed the vampire as he realized that the gun was out of bullets; he cringed again as the vampire made an evasive maneuver and added its own vampiric strength to Edgar's already full out sprint causing him to fall face first less than ten feet from Shanna and Alan.

Thomas got the magazine ejected but he knew it was in vane. He threw the firearm aside and went for a stake, but it was already too late. He knew it for sure when he suddenly felt the fingers of the vampire seized him with both hands by his throat.

"You ruined my favorite outfit."

The Master vampire then squeezed with all of his vampiric strength and crushed the voice box, trachea, esophagus and nearly snapping the Thomas Rene-Gerald's neck.

Edgar hit the ground hard. <Mental note, don't ever go up against a Vamp that knows Tai Chi. > He groaned as he tried to push himself up. As he made it to his knees, he looked up and saw his brother cradling the body of the Slayer., Both covered in blood; for an instant Edgar wasn't sure if Shanna had been wearing a white shirt or a red shirt when they got there.

The almost silent whispers of the Thomas silenced Beretta caught his attention and he turned towards the sounds.

Feeling as heavy as the dais that Shanna had been laying on, Edgar tried to get up and into motion but he was barely more than five feet from his landing spot when Lothos grabbed Thomas and squeezed. Edgar felt his face go white as he saw his friends face turn a deep purple instantly. He lost the contents of his stomach as he heard the sickening crushing sounds as Thomas throat was crushed into nothing more than mush.

Lothos dropped the corpse and sighed as he heard one of the other humans retching. "Good help is so hard to find these days. He looked back at where he had shoved the slayer after the other human had tried to sneak up on him from behind.

<Well crap. She went and died on me. Oh well, guess I'll just move on to the next one. With those words Lothos left the cavern through the passage he had entered leaving the Frog brothers and the corpses of their friends alone.

In-flight between Chicago and LA

Gary settled back into the comfortable seat. He'd never flown before. "Flying first class for my first flight will probably spoil me" he mused as he tilted the seat back a little bit and pulled out The Sun-Times Paper out of his carry on duffel bag.

He glanced at the photo on the front page; an aerial photo taken from a helicopter that would probably be reporting the fire to the local TV station.

LOS ANGELES, CA. -- Investigators say a fire that destroyed the gymnasium of suburban Hemery High school was suspicious.

It was during the Prom that a fire broke out. Witnesses report that during the final hour of the evening's festivities a cadre of gang members crashed the party. Police believe that they were high on PCP, A drug that seems to be coming back into popularity. Fire Fighters have also unfortunately found four bodies. Two young girls; believed to be Buffy and Dawn Summers, sisters. The older sister Buffy, 15, was a freshman student at Hemery High, her younger sister Dawn, 11, for unknown reasons seen in the building about halfway through the dance.

Also a victim is Andrew Conner, local gunsmith who is noted for his custom work for the mayor and repair work for most of the LAPD. Another victim seems to be Mr. Conner's utility dog. The reasons for Mr. Conner being at the scene are unclear at this point, as he is not a Faculty member or a known guardian of any students. His presence here is a complete mystery to the authorities."

Gary rubbed his eyes and finally stood up, the call of nature becoming too much for him to shore off anymore, he stuffed the Paper in his back pocket as usual.

After making his transaction in the somewhat cramped restroom Gary returned to his seat. His eyes widening slightly as he saw a newspaper sitting on his seat still folded and unopened.

He glanced around at the other first class members as he picked up the paper and sat down. Gary glanced at the paper. Tomorrows date. Gary groaned.

As if by magic a flight attendant was at his side. "Is there something wrong? Sir" the lovely looking blond asked him, her blue eyes piercing his.

Gary coughed slightly to get his voice back and shook his head. "No, there's nothing wrong, but um, did you put this paper on my seat?" Gary indicated the newest Paper to be added to his collection.

Julie, by her nametag, shook her head in the negative, her hair waving a little with the motion; "No sir, I'm sorry I didn't. Would like anything for that cough? Some water? Coffee perhaps?"

Gary nodded, more subconsciously than anything as his mind started to think up reasons for the latest paper the Pasadena Star News.

Julie left for a few moments before returning with the ceramic mug and set it on the tray in front of him.

Gary looked at the picture on the front of the paper the smoldering remains of the gym in the background with a White Chevy van in front of it surrounded by "Do Not Cross" police tape around it being hooked up to a tow truck, he started reading.

"The Prom; for most high school students the Prom is supposed to be a night of dancing and rejoicing at the nearing of the end of the school year, for some the celebration of their passage into life after high school. This year's dance for Hemery High school students had a more tragic ending.

"At Approximately 9PM the gymnasium of Hemery High school, 12785 Grand Boulevard, burst into flames. Officials have determined that arson is the case here and are doing anything and everything to figure out who is responsible.

"The person who set this fire is also responsible for the deaths of three people, high school student Buffy Anne Summers who was attending the dance taking place at the high school, Dawn Summers her younger sister and local gunsmith Andrew Conner. The presence of the last two mentioned is a mystery to local officials.

"Precinct Captain Frank Johansen is quoted: "It's a shame that we lost Andy, he was a great guy. I've known him for about 2 years now; He was one of the most knowledgeable gunsmiths alive. The department had relied on his expertise in the past, I consider that a great lost. I'm sorry for the parents of these two young girls, this is a tragedy that shouldn't have happened."

"The local police will be filing charges as soon as they can narrow down a suspect, scuttlebutt is, however, that witnesses are reporting that the fire was set by Buffy Summers herself"

Gary folded the paper and closed his eyes. This was a weird one all right, but he was happy that most of the needed information was given in the article. It was somewhat surprising however that the full names of the two underage girls were given but he shrugged it off and he slowly drifted off as the happenings of the morning flashed through his mind.

Earlier that morning Chicago


The dark-haired man groaned in his bed and threw the covers off. "I wish for one day that I could sleep until 8."

Gary Hobson hauled himself out of bed and trudged over to the door and opened it wide enough to let the Orange and white cat enter then widened it further to allow himself to bend over and pick up his paper.


"Yeah I heard you the first time, I'm reading already alright?" exasperated by the cat Gary let out a grunt and bent down to pick up the newspaper.

Gary muttered as he skimmed over the article:

Investigators say a fire that destroyed the gymnasium of suburban Hemery High school… suspicious.

…A fire broke out. Police believe that they were high on PCP.

Fire Fighters have also unfortunately found four bodies Buffy and Dawn Sisters. Dawn, 11, unknown reasons seen in the building …halfway through the dance.

<Who names their kid Buffy? >

Andrew Conner, local gunsmith noted for custom work… mayor and repair work for most of the LAPD. Another victim seems to be Mr. Conner's utility dog. The reason unclear…not a Faculty member or a known guardian…complete mystery to the authorities."

"Hemmery High? I haven't ever heard of a Hemmery high around her…" Gary's eyes swiftly moved the byline and reread it LOS ANGELES, CA.

He set the paper down on his table and quickly picked up the telephone and dialed hurriedly.

Millennial long seconds passed; "Hello you've reached the residence of Charles Fishman. I can't come to the phone right now, However if you would like to leave a message and a phone number I'll return your call as soon as I can thanks!"

"Chuck! Answer the phone Chuck, I know it's early, but this is important. It's about the paper!"

Gary let out a quick breath as the other end was picked up "Gary? What is it? What's going on?"

"The paper Chuck, I've got to get on the earliest plane to L.A. and then to someplace called Sunnydale. No I don't mean Sunnyvale! Chuck I have to go now! Help Marrissa today she has an appointment with her therapist and one with her eye doctor, make sure she gets to the grocery store too OK? Good, I got to go thanks Chuck!"

Gary violently pressed the catch home to hang up and after a second released it and dialed the number for information.

"Hello, City and State Please"

"Chicago, Illinois" Gary answered grumpily frustrated with how slow things were going.

"How may I help you?" the nasally sounding voice of the operator reverberated through the phone.

"I need the number for Marcus Bailey."

"Thank you, Just a moment" there was a silent pause as the operator transferred Gary over to the recording where he listened to the number then hurriedly hung up and started dialing.

In-flight between Chicago and LA

Gary jumped awake as Julie shook his shoulder. "Sir we're making our final approach to L.A.X. you need to fasten your seat belt now."

He nodded and muttered a thanks and belted himself in, as he went for a drink of coffee he noticed that the mug was, probably long, gone.

Los Angeles California

The early morning light filtered in through the window unnoticed. Buffy tossed and turned in her bed. She was hopelessly trapped in another nightmare.

The nightmares were getting more and more real. Each night it was the same general thing, Nightmares that were terrifyingly real. Set in places that Buffy had only seen in movies and history books, Buffy was always a young woman, trapped somewhere and being pursued by monsters. Tonight's was even more realistic than the previous ones.

She was walking down a dusty street dressed in a long dress and heavy petticoats. She glanced to the left and saw an old-time printing shop. She lifted her skirts to climb the short steps to read the headlines, The Tombstone Epitaph, October 21, 1881. The two personalities dueled, Dream Buffy was shocked; Her counterpart of the time broadcast a sense that there was nothing wrong, but Buffy couldn't help but think that there was something about that date that she couldn't quite place.

Buffy walked back across the street to the Oriental saloon where she was sure she would find her watcher playing cards. Banging through the swinging doors, sure enough Doc Holliday was sitting at the poker table and as usual he was winning.

"Girl git over here and meet the boy's"

Buffy walked over and stood next to Doc, as she knew he expected. "Boy's let me introduce you to Anna Faraday my current companion. Knowing glances flashed across the table. They all knew the type of woman that associated with Doc Holliday, Whores and women of low repute.

What the men at the table didn't know was that that reputation was carefully crafted to help the pair hunt demons and vampires, Still it caused a few problems for Anna. "Anna meet Morgan and Wyatt Earp."

Anna kept up the pleasant façade, "Gentlemen, it's my pleasure."

The man to the left of Doc casually nodded his head, that simple action sent a shiver of fear up Anna's spine. Stone faced, with lifeless eyes, this man; Wyatt Earp, was a stone cold killer.

"Got yerself a pretty one there Doc," as Wyatt spoke, his hand hidden by the table had crept between her legs. "Mind if I give her a try one night when you're too busy playing cards."

The pleasant look on Anna/Buffy's face never changed; she was used to this type of treatment and had learned over the last nine months just how to handle men like this. She took the gunslingers gun hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. She bent down so that her lips were next to Wyatt's ear, "Try that again and I'll crush every bone in your hand. Too prove that point She tightened her grip to the point where the Marshall had to wince in pain.

The panicked gunfighter glanced at Doc Holliday who gave him a barely perceivable nod.

Wyatt was saved further embarrassment when a scuffle broke out across the room. He'd just stood up when a single gunshot rang out…

Gasping and soaked in sweat, Buffy shot out of bed, the burning sensation of the bullet passing through her was still etched in her mind.

Dawn dashed into Buffy's room. "Are you ok."

Summers House hold Los Angeles California

Dressed for the school day Buffy came down for breakfast. Joyce handed her a glass of orange juice. "Buffy," she began, then took her daughter by the shoulders, "I'm sorry about last night. Things between your father and I have been a bit strained lately."

"It's cool Mom, It's like daddy isn't there anymore, I miss that ya'know."

Joyce blew an errant piece of hair out of the way, "I know." Joyce glanced around, making sure that her youngest daughter wasn't in earshot. "Buffy, I saw a lawyer yesterday

The half-filled glass shattered in Buffy's hand.

"It's not what you think. The Lawyer suggested that we seek counseling." Joyce busied herself with cleaning the broken glass up, as Buffy stood there in shock. Nothing this bad had happened to her since her cousin Celia died.

"Mom," she whined.

"Please honey don't worry. Your father and I will do everything we can to work this out." Joyce didn't feel nearly as confident of that as she pretended for her daughter sake, in order that Buffy wouldn't worry. "Now we better get you to school, I wouldn't want you to be late."

Sunnydale California

Sam stood there looking in the mirror for an answer that wasn't there. This wasn't the first time he's jumped into a woman's body, but it was a first in that he'd never had to deal with the after effects of one on her cycle. As a doctor he understood the in and outs of the female reproduction system. He could intelligently discuss the lunar cycle and the effects of the hormonal changes, but as a man, he didn't have a clue.

As he searched the cabinets for the things he knew he'd need, he talked to himself, "I said I wanted excitement, boy did I get it in spades." Finding what he needed Sam took care of that business relived that Al hadn't shown up, "Now that would have been just perfect."

Out of habit Sam wrapped the towel around his waist and went looking for something to wear, as he passed the full length mirror he notice his mistake, "Oops, Girls do not walk around with a towel around their waists."

He entered the bedroom and was stunned by the size and the magnificence. In the center of the room was a King sized, full canopied bed, with silk sheet that cost more than Sam made in a year.

Sam searched around the room for a dresser, but the closest thing he found was an antique desk that had a portrait of what was obviously the young girl and her parents. <Whew, well that one thing I don't have to worry about. >

Having learned from past leaps, Sam searched the desk. He found the normal things one would find in a high school students desk, pens paper, school books, but when he opened the bottom drawer he his pay dirt, He'd found Cordy's diary.

There was a soft rapping on the door nearest to the bed. "Miss Cordelia, breakfast will be ready in a few minutes."

"Umm, I'll be right there." <Think Sam think. Ok that door leads back to the bathroom, that one is obviously the hallway that leaves… Those>

'Those' turned out to be a set of double doors that led into a dressing room that was the size of a racket ball court, Thankfully there was a dressed in there. Sam dug through the dresser till he found where Cordy kept her underwear; he selected the most conservative set and still wondered how so little cloth could be of any support at all. He'd had handkerchiefs with more material in them.

That left Sam standing there in bra and panties and not a single clue as to what this girl would wear. It was then that a flash of inspiration hit the time traveler. He rushed back into the bedroom and grabbed the photo of Cordy and her parents.

Al materialized through the wall behind Sam's back. He let out a long wolf whistle, "Wow Sam you're a doll. What are you doing for the prom?"

Sam grabbed the towel that he'd left on the bed and covered himself up. "Damn it Al, where have you been?" The words came out much more intense than Sam had intended.

"Trying to find you of course."

"Well wait right there while I get dressed." Sam took off for the dressing room and quickly matched the outfit the Cordy had worn for the portrait. Dressed, Sam returned to the room only to find Al staring at the Diary that Sam had found. "That's none of you business Al."

"You know Sam you take all the fun out of this job."

"Can the crap Al, who am I and why am I here?" It took every bit of self-control that Sam could muster not to bite Al's head off.

"A little testy this morning are we?"

"You try having these hormones running though your body and see how you like it!"

Al pulled the hand held out of his jacket pocket and began banging on the keys with his middle finger. A series of beeps and buzzes echoed around the large room as Ziggy searched every possible database. When the noises subsided Al read the display and let out a long whistle. "That would explain this I guess… " Al sighed, "Ok you asked for it. You're a sharped tongued bitch that is used to getting your way all the time."

"Wow Sam this girl is a piece of work! Your name is Cordelia Chase. Your fifteen years old and you attend Sunnydale High School. You come from the wealthiest family in town," Al glance around the room gaping at the richly appointed decor. "I guess that explains all of this. You're a B student but could be an A student if your weren't so tied up with the local teen scene."

Al banged the hand held and his face wrinkled in worry "That can't be right." He gave the hand held a few more good whacks with the side of his hand. His faced relaxed, "That's better."

"What?" Sam had been paying close attention to Al.

"Well according to Ziggy, you not only are involved in the local teen scene you are the reigning queen." Then almost as if he were speaking to himself, "Well after meeting you in the waiting room I guess I can believe it."

"Oh Boy, that bad huh?"

"She's even bitchier than my third wife." Al saw the look of terror on Sam's face. Sorry Sam I shouldn't have said anything."

"No that's ok, better give it all to me at once."

Sam listened for the next few minutes while Al filled him in on the specifics of Cordelia Chase's schedule and attitudes. When they got down to the little facts that really didn't mean anything he stopped Al with a question, "Ok Al why am I here?"

Al stuck the hand held back into his pocket and pulled the cigar from his mouth, "We really don't know. It's weird Sam, every time I ask Ziggy a question he gives me two totally different answers. I'll have to get back to you."

"Well what am I supposed to do in the meantime?"

"Go to school young lady." The doorway popped open before Sam could protest any further.

Stuck in the old carnival building, Lothos hated the sun. He hated it with a passion that would not be surpassed by any other hatred. The morning sun had trapped him in the wretched place and with nothing better to do he seethed. Normally the master vampire would be in his cushy mansion, comfortable in his own coffin and filled with the blood of willing women.

A concert violinist, and a handsome one at that, at the start of the renaissance, Lothos was used to having everything his own way. The women of his time fell to his feet begging to become his paramour, his fortunate change, as he considered becoming a vampire, didn't change his expectations or methods in the least.

He shuddered at the thought of actually hunting his food. <It's much more satisfying for it to come to him and beg to be taken. > The blood was sweeter and the submission made the meal all the brighter.

"Damn that fool for leading us on a wild goose chase." Even Lothos had to admit that his chief minion was the brightest candle in the chandelier, but this time he'd gone too far. The master vampire stalked over to where Amylin was leaning against the wall sleeping soundly.

Lothos slapped the minion soundly, with the fiasco in Santa Clara the night before he was in no mood to be generous. "Wake up you fool." He slapped the sleeping vampire across the face, tossing him to the floor.

Hitting the floor with a loud thud, Amylin, the black-haired bearded lackey eye's shot open. His eye's blazed in defiance of him master for just a second then assumed the properly deferential pose that Lothos expected. "Master?"

The blond master vampire raged at Amylin. "I don't know how I ever trusted you to carry out a simple task, Time and time again you make the simple difficult. One of the most elegant place in the Americas and you come up with a junkyard."

In a small act of rebellion Amylin rebutted his master, "But Master, You said to find some place close to the girl. This is close to both her house and the school." Inside the lackey curiosity raged. < How could he know where the next slayer be called? > "This was the best I could do."

Lothos wandered around the collection of left over carnival junk that was tossed about like a small child's toy box and in one of his frequent mood swings, "But it such a mundane place, Where is the luxury where are the finer things?"

"Master does that truly matter?"

"Of course it matters." Lothos raged as he charged back to Amylin. The grimace that had deformed his face faded as quickly as it had come on. "Amylin, my simple follower," Lothos took the shape place face of his lackey into his hands and with an almost loving touch, "Why live like peasants when its just as easy to live like kings?"

Amylin feared for his undead life. His master's rages were like a summer monsoon, Quick to flare and deadly in its effects, but like a monsoon it faded just as quickly as it ascended.

Lothos patted Amylin on the face. "Get some sleep my friend, for after tonight, the slayer will be dead and we will own this town."

Hemery High was one of the oldest high schools in the LA basin. Built in the early thirties it was built of brick and wood where as more modern schools were steel and bricks, The students didn't care what it was made of, they simply attended and went about their lives.

Buffy did her best to fit in, That was the key to success at Hemery High. She was pretty enough to hang with the popular crowd, the cheerleaders and the football players, she was careful to conform to the unwritten rules; you could be trendy, but not too trendy. Setting the trends was much better, but things like hair and clothes had to be carefully watched. What was in last week could be this weeks fax pas.

Playing the role of fashion girl had become harder since the nightmares started. Normally Buffy didn't over think things much, she lived and died by the opinions of others but with the nightmares had come the unsettling feelings that kept her in fear that she would be found out. Little did she know, that every other student was fighting the same demon, such is the life of a high school student, some just hide it better. In the parking lot, Buffy said hello to her friends, noting that she was going to be late to her first class she left them standing there as she climbed the steps.

Merrik waited in the parking lot for the next slayer. The death of the last slayer triggered all of the old memories. All the past years weighed heavily on the first watcher, it wasn't just the pain of watching young girls die, or the fact that even with the slayer powers, he knew he was fighting a holding action only. For every vampire killed there seemed to be five more that were made. Instinctively Merrik knew that his time was coming to an end.

<Enough of this. > He watched the young blonde climb the steps of the school and he knew, with the conviction of thousand of years of being a watcher, that this was his slayer. "Buffy Summers? He asked quietly."

Buffy turned towards the sound of the voice calling her name. She shaded her eyes against the morning sun and looked up at the stranger. Dressed oddly for California in a trench coat and wearing a hat that was straight out of the fifties, his grandfatherly face lined with the worries of the years were oddly comforting to her. There was a familiarity that she couldn't explain. "Do I know you?

"In a manner of speaking, you know me better than anyone else in the world." He answered in a strangely unidentifiable drawl, "In a manner of speaking." he add cryptically." Please come with me. I'm afraid that our time is short."

Buffy stared at the stranger with equal parts fear and respect but all of her life she'd been taught never go with strangers. "I'm not going anywhere with you. Now go away before I kick you where it counts."

The intensity of her anger startled Merrik. True he was very late in finding this slayer but in the past the connection that they shared was usually enough for her to trust him long enough to explain. "Very well. It's not like you are having the nightmares." With the last word, Merrik spun on his heels and walked away.

Buffy's head popped up. "How… How do you know about my nightmares?"

A self-satisfied smile on his face, Merrik spun about again. "They are all seeming familiar." He leaned down close to her ear. "The scenery changes but you are always a young girl that is being chased by monsters. No matter how hard you run or how well you hide, they always seem to find you. But you my dear always find the courage and the skill to fight back.

Buffy was shocked. She hadn't shared the details of her nightmares with anyone; not even Dawn knew those things. "That's impossible," she stammered.

Merrik recalled the last true meeting between the slayer and her watcher. "The most vivid one would take place in the late 1880's. I was a gambler and a card shark and you were a…

Buff could still feel the heavy petticoats and the hot woolen dress from her dream. "I was a dance hall girl," She said in a wooden voice. "And I was killed in a…"

"Bar room brawl. So you see my dear, You know me all too well, Just as I know you. Come with me if you want to fulfill your destiny, come with me if you want to live."

The morning light, filtered through years of dirt and grime, illuminated the floor of the abandoned warehouse that served as an ad hock training ground. Off to one side Buffy stood in the abandoned warehouse dressed in the tights that she normally wore for cheerleading practice. "Let me get this straight, one girl from each generation is chosen," Buffy spit the word chosen out like a curse, "To defend the world from vampires?"

Merrik still wearing the brown trench coat had insisted that Buffy change into some more comfortable, "Yes and No, essentially you are correct, the girl is always different, but the spirit remains the same. You see my dear, over countless generations you and I have always been together, you are the slayer and I am the watcher.

"The only thing you like to watch is girls in tights," Buffy scorned at Merrik.

"Now that's not quite fair now, is it. I've always seen the slayer as the child that fate would never let me have." Visions of past slayers played through the old man's head, all of them meeting the same fate. Some lasted longer than others did, but in the end they all died, leaving Merrik alone till the next one was found. " A sadness filled his soul as Merrik loosened his tie and tossed the coat on the dilapidated couch that sat off to the side. His eyes met Buffy's with a hurt look filling them. < Why does she always have to be so doubtful? > "If that were true I could certainly find some one more comely."

Buffy's hands went to her hips as if trying to figure out just what the old gray-haired man had said. Was in an insult before she could react, Merrik interrupted her, "Please try again."

"But I can't even do that flip thing even in cheerleading practice. That's why I'm junior varsity."

A wry smile filled the watchers face, "I think you will find it much easier than you thought it would be." Merrik watched as Buffy backed up. "There are gifts that come with being the slayer, Better balance, enhanced strength, accelerated healing."

Buffy drew in a deep breath and started to run towards the vault horse. The sound of her bare feet slapping against the old wood floors accented each of Merrik's words.

"At times you will simply know when vampires are about. You will find fighting skills that have been developed over centuries will come to you as simply as your own name."

"Buffy launched her self over the vault horse, Rising into the air ten feet above it she headed back down, just when she thought she would break her neck he body folded its self up and when her hands hit the ground she rolled with it landing the jump easily. With out a single thought or a break in motion, she translated into a series of front flips that landed her near the punching bag that was suspended from the ceiling. Her right hand flashed out, striking the bag, sending it flying. Buffy pivoted on one foot and caught the bag on its decent with her right foot kicking it so hard that the bag nearly went flying to the ceiling.

"I did it," she yelled as she spun towards Merrik. Time slowed, as Buffy spun around she instinctively knew that the glinting light that was coming towards her head was a knife. She watched and waited, not in fear, but in anticipation. When the thrown knife was close enough, she slapped her hands together trapping the sharp blade between her small hands.

"I don't believe that," she started to say as the punching bag, forgotten for just one second, slammed her to the ground.

Merrik shook his head slightly. "We have a lot of work to do."


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