Chapter Eight


Buffy stood silent as she stared out the library windows, not looking at the trees or buildings that graced the landscape, but beyond them, at Xander, hidden somewhere she couldn’t find. She watched him writhe in agony as Angelus tortured him mercilessly, taking as much pleasure out of it as he could. Buffy knew full well that that’s what the vampire was doing—torturing her best friend for fun—because that’s the kind of evil Angelus was: inherently evil.

The young girl set adrift on a memory bliss of Xander. She remembered the way the boy had been before he’d been kidnapped: very handsome, with his dark eyes being his best attribute. She loved the way he’d call Giles “G-man” although he knew the Englishman hated it, and she loved the way he could bring humor to even the bleakest of situations. Buffy remembered the warm smiles he sent her way every time he saw her, and she could still hear him making his smart retorts and throwing in his two cents, even when no one asked him to. But that was just another one of the many things on her long list of why she loved Xander.

But what Buffy loved the most was when Xander gazed into her eyes and made her feel as if she were the only woman in the world—special and beautiful. He possessed such a penetrating stare that Buffy often felt as if he were reading her mind and scrutinizing her soul at the same time. Funny thing was that the slayer never minded it one bit. She didn’t care if he were interpreting her thoughts or was reading her soul, just as long as he was with her. The connection was so strong between them in moments like that, and Buffy loved that, too.

As she thought about all the traits she adored about her missing friend, she deftly placed her hand on her waist and remembered the last night she’d seen Xander. The slayer hoped that wherever he was he knew that she was missing him terribly and that so was everyone else. Buffy would have given anything at that moment to have Xander back, safe, with her and the rest of the Scooby Gang. She would have given anything to have things back the way they were—the group of them just hanging out and joking around, solving crimes together, saving the world together when it need saving—back to the way it belonged. Now was the time for her to take action and right the situation. “Enough of this standing around moping. Let’s get cracking!

“Giles! What do we know?” shouted Buffy. They weren’t going to accomplish the feat of getting Xander back if they didn’t start moving.

The Watcher looked around nervously for a second, trying to tell the emotionally ruined slayer the truth without crushing her spirit completely. “Well, uh, nothing much because we don’t exactly know where the scene of the crime is. That’s a crucial piece of evidence. Without it, we can’t determine much, such as the way they went, or how badly Xander is injured.”

“Then that just means we have to find it,” Buffy offered surprisingly optimistically. “Willow, at what time did Xander leave your house last night?”

“He stayed till about 10:30, then he rushed out. But I didn’t watch him leave, so he might have been taken right outside my door for all I know.”

“Fine then. We’ll start outside Willow’s house and work our way to his own. He had to have been taken somewhere along that route, that is, if he told you the truth as to where he was going.”

“But what if he was grabbed on the way to school this morning?” asked Cordelia.

“Impossible. It was really sunny out there today. Even the Great Angelus isn’t stupid enough to wander out into sunlight as pure as the rays that were shining down earlier.”

“Besides,” Willow added, “I always walk to school with Xander. He wasn’t at our meeting spot this morning, so I assumed he was sick. I don’t think his parents know; they’ve been on vacation since last week and are supposed to be on it for the next one as well.”

“Which brings us to the next question,” Giles began.

Oz finished with, “Should we call them?”

Buffy decided to answer since everyone else looked as if they had nothing to offer, “Not yet, let’s try and get him home first. I don’t wanna worry them.” At that, Willow scoffed as though that were an impossible feat. “Anyway, what would we tell them? ‘I’m sorry, but your son has been kidnapped by my ex-boyfriend-slash-bloodthirsty vampire. Don’t worry though, we’ll try and return him to you with all of his liquids still inside him.’ No, I don’t think they should know yet. If worse comes to absolute worst, we can always make up some story.”

“But worse won’t come to absolute worst, right Buffy? We’re gonna find him before that?” Willow questioned fearfully.

“Of course we will. All of this is just hypothetically speaking.”

“Well, I wish you wouldn’t speak so hypothetically. It scares me.” Buffy nodded to her friend in agreement, and soon positive conversation about finding Xander was resumed.

“So how are we going to get out of school?” Cordelia wondered aloud.

“There’s always the door,” Oz suggested, motioning to the library doors.

Cordelia rolled her eyes at the fashion victim in front of her. “Ha, ha, Oz. Very funny. But we all know that Snyder patrols the hallways. He’s caught me trying to leave more than once, and I only ended up spending more time here…in detention.”

“We don’t have time to get detention today, Cordy. We got to get to Xander,” Buffy informed.

“Yeah, well trying telling that to Snyder.”

“We can exit through the windows, okay?” Buffy started for the window she’d been looking out of earlier. “Oz, you go out first so you can help me down; I don’t wanna injure my leg more than I already have. I need to be ready when the time comes for my showdown with Angelus.”

Oz did as he was ordered, squeezing through the window and then motioning for Buffy to come down. She passed her crutches down to him and then slipped out, feet first. Next came Willow, followed by Cordy, who was followed by the spunky Faith. “Giles!” Buffy yelled, “You coming?”

The librarian peered over the sill and said, “Ah, no thank you, Buffy, I think I’ll just use the door.”

“Giles the Great Comedian,” the slayer muttered under her breath.

Leaves whispered secrets to each other as they scraped their dry fingers across the road, while the group waited impatiently for Giles to appear so they could finally start their search for their lost friend, the one who would complete the Scooby Gang; they went in search of Xander.

On their way to the Rosenberg house, Buffy decided they weren’t prepared enough for the mission ahead. They couldn’t just show up without anything with which to defend themselves. What they needed were reinforcements—weapons. So, she left the group to head back to her home in hopes that her wooden trunk would have sufficient weaponry for the six of them.

Buffy tromped through the cemetery, taking the same route she and Xander had used the previous night. For some reason, the air just felt right for reminiscing, and before she knew it, Buffy had become nostalgic. Upon glancing to her left, where she had been ambushed, the slayer became teary-eyed when she discovered two translucent images dancing like demons amidst the headstones, surrounded by an obscuring fog. In fact, they weren’t demons at all, but rather projections, of her leaning on Xander after the attack, his arms wrapped about her in a protective embrace, emanating from Buffy’s mind.

The young girl was soon entranced, taken in by the appealing sight of the couple holding each other so close. Slipping silently behind the pair at a snail’s pace, she watched, bemused, with an intense curiosity nagging her all the while, what were the two thinking? She’d been there, yet she still didn’t know. The supernatural scene unfolded in front of her, frame by frame, and Buffy scrutinized herself closely.

She walked alongside the eerie couple, silently reliving their last night together. Buffy stared with a hushed awe as they stopped in the middle of her street and simply communicated with their eyes, soundlessly speaking to each other on a different plane, a telepathic one. Buffy clearly remembered those few seconds in time—how could she possibly forget those feelings racing through her? She’d heard that Scott had gone out with Faith and she had been devastated—she felt betrayed and alone, yet Xander just held onto her, staring deep into her eyes, reading her thoughts and comforting her as best he could. Though she was limping, the ghost Buffy seemed content to be with the ghost Xander, and to the real Buffy, it seemed the feeling between the two was mutual. Instead of concentrating on the best way to get home, the blonde just watched the pair, following them slowly, knowing where they were goings anyway. Perhaps that had been how he had known the list of things she’d wanted when they’d reached her house—he’d read her mind.

Buffy walked with the transparent shapes all the way to the threshold of her house. They opened the a phantom door and entered as spirits would through the real one. The actual slayer opened the portal to her house and quickly slipped inside so she wouldn’t lose track of the two for even a moment. Xander carried Buffy upstairs, just like he had a mere night ago, with extra care, and laid her down gently onto her bed, making a huge fuss over her.

She watched as the pair acted out the last time Buffy had seen her best friend and she wanted desperately to cry, but didn’t, couldn’t, because she was all cried out. It was time to move, time to stop all the sulking and sobbing and feeling guilty in favor of fighting.

As she turned her back on the pair, Buffy began to root through her wooden chest of weapons, every so often pulling a mean-looking crossbow or sword from it and setting it to the side. All in all, when she had finished her searching, Buffy had two crossbows, a sword, two bottles of holy water, and two big wooden crosses, all spelling disaster for any vampire. The last thing she withdrew from the large oak box was the stake Kendra had given her—Mr. Pointy the other slayer had called it. Buffy smiled as she held the wickedly sharp piece of wood in her hand, thinking of Kendra, her friend, her fellow slayer who was now dead, killed by Druscilla’s hand. She shoved the vicious killing machines into her duffel bag and slung it over her shoulder, ready for battle.

Leaving the room, Buffy eased herself down the stairs, dragging her crutches by her side and holding on tightly to the railing for added support.

When she had reached the ground floor, Buffy decided to write a note to her mother to explain why she wasn’t going to be home that night.

Gone a slayin’ for the night. Gotta save Xander Harris from certain doom. Home 4 dinner.
Luv ya, Buff

She wondered how she could be so jovial about the whole Xander-being-kidnapped subject when she’d been so touchy and prone to tears earlier. The only explanation she could offer herself was that she had passed up the terrified stage she wasn’t used to, and moved onto the slayer’s normal let’s-kick-some-vampire-ass stage.

After pasting the note to the refrigerator, Buffy left her house ready for the war that lay ahead, and she observed the tumultuous sky undulating above her. Within the ten minutes she’d spent inside, already the weather had gone from calm and warm, to windy and cold. The once clear blue sky hung low and threatening over the Hellmouth—fitting—with huge gray and black clouds disseminating throughout the empyrean, their underbellies heavy with the burden of tons of water. The steady boom of thunder rolled throughout the land and echoed off of the walls of houses with the cataclysmic clash of metal screeching on metal. Blinding bolts of lightning lashed the air and the inauspicious clouds began to weep the first few droplets of rain.

Something on the lawn caught her attention, and Buffy saw the phantom Xander before her, looking back at her bedroom window, waving, with a mischievous grin on his face. Nevertheless, an underlying presence of guilt surrounded him, probably from lying so blatantly to her (at least, that was what she hoped the reason for the look was). The rain fell through the boy and splashed the ground on which he appeared to stand. The sky seemed to be crying her lost tears for her, picking up on her melancholy mood.

Stepping out into the storm, Buffy, consequently, became drenched almost immediately, but she didn’t seem to mind at all. It was for this kind of weather and these types of situations that Buffy had been born. She was the slayer, destined for a life of hardships and pain. By now, she’d come to accept the fact that she would be the slayer for a long time to come, and when she could finally give up the crazy profession, she would miss it: the action, the adventure, the friends that came along with it.

She trudged on through the rain, onto bluer skies and sunnier days, but she knew she’d never get there without Xander. She still had a job to do, and damned if she weren’t going to do it and do it well.

Angelus wanted a battle and he was going to get a war. This time Buffy would really put him in his place, even if that place were Hell. He was Angel no longer, and it was high time that she realized that, though she’d only wished she’d seen the light sooner.

Off she went, to fulfill her destiny, not to mention, save someone else’s, all the while thinking, Watch out, Angelus, because here comes Buffy the Vampire Slayer.