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New Fic-With-No-Name, Part 4b

Spuffy alert by Kathyh
Next part! This is technically the second half of chapter 4, thus the "4b." But at this point, I figure it's better to just get the posts up as quick as I can and see how far I can get before RL starts getting crazy again.

Title: (No Name Yet... working on it)
Author: thedeadlyhook
Rating: This chapter, PG-13. Not sure where it's going overall yet.
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters not mine; no infringement intended, and no profit is being made here.
Summary: A complete reimagining of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 7. Some ideas from the season will appear, but I'm making no real attempt to track canon here, so others probably will not. We'll see where it takes me!

Previous installments: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4a.


___________


The alley door to the Doublemeat Palace opened and Buffy emerged, breathing a sigh of relief. She slumped against the wall, purse over her shoulder.

Dave, the smoker, was there again. Or maybe he had never left. "Hey again." He made a lazy wave with his cigarette hand.

Buffy smiled, but dropped her eyes again almost immediately. She was already regretting having asked him for a cigarette--probably too many mixed messages there. And the whole getting-too-close-to-somebody-from-your-workplace thing? Always a bad idea.

"Don't mind me, I'm just on my way to lunch." Avoiding eye contact, she fished her cell phone out of her purse. "I mean, that new salad was pretty tempting, but fresh air sounded better."

She didn't see him raise an eyebrow and glance around the trash-strewn alley. Fresh air?

"Want another one?" The cigarette package was suddenly under her nose. She pulled away.

"No... thank you. Do these lights mean I've got a message?" Brow wrinkling, she fumbled with the buttons, then held the phone to her ear with a hand cupped over it, listening.

Getting the message, David returned the pack to his back pocket, flicked his cigarette away with two fingers and subsequently ground out the butt with his heel. He lifted his head just in time to see the manager, Lorraine, holding the back door open and beckoning with one finger.

At her gesture, he dropped all semblance of cool and quietly slid inside, head down.

"I'll talk to you later," Lorraine murmured as he passed, then cleared her throat for attention. "Buffy."

"What? Look, I told you I don't want one." Buffy waved a hand behind her, not looking. "Ohmigod. Ohmigod. I gotta go. Can you tell them--" She snapped her phone closed and rounded on one heel, her mind already on its way to the school, then simultaneously a) saw Lorraine and b) realized that she was in big trouble. "Hi."

"Going somewhere?"

She groped for an explanation. "Look. I know what this looks like, but it's my sister. It's an emergency."

"Buffy, I wish I could tell you that it's okay, because you know what? I know what it's like to be a single parent. But you can't expect to keep this job if you're going to run off every time you get a call from your sister. I need to know I can rely on you."

"I'm sorry." Buffy was already moving, her feet taking over from her brain. "Sorry!" she called again, and then she was just running, the Doublemeat Palace completely forgotten.

"Buffy!" Lorraine's voice grew fainter with every step. "Buffy!"

__________

Suddenly very aware of the ax in his hand, Xander cleared his throat. What am I doing here? Right, I can do that. "I got a call from my, uh, cousin Dawn, and she said there was an emergency, so I--"

"Brought an ax?"

Xander put the ax down on the floor and raised his hands. Look ma, not a serial killer! "She didn't say what the problem was. Just that people were screaming, and I thought, y'know, better safe than--" Wait. Who was this guy? "Excuse me, but who the heck are you?"

"I'm Principal Wood," the man said. "I'm in charge of this school. And you look like you're from the construction crew outside."

"Yeah, that's right, I'm the foreman. Nice to meet you. Can we--"

"You know, I just got into town last week. And I have to say, I'd heard that Sunnydale High had problems, but ax-wielding construction workers on the first day is not exactly what I expected."

"Yeah, okay, look, I think there's been a misunderstand--"

"I've called security." Wood cut him off yet again, and yeah, he was starting to really dislike this guy. "You can tell them all about your problem and why it required you to bring a weapon into the school."

And just like that, Xander had had enough. He put his hands down and made a show of looking around. "Yeah, I'd do that, except no one is here. Or did you not notice that nobody answered your alarm?"

Wood frowned. He crossed to the desk, eyes on Xander, who obediently backed away. He picked up the phone and was greeted with a wailing sound from the other end. It was hard to identify words through the overall noise, but some did come through--Xander heard "kill" a few times, "blood," possibly "pain" or "chain" and what sounded like chanting in Latin.

After a long moment of staring at the screeching handset, Wood put the phone down.

"Right." He said. "Nice prank. Took someone a while to make that recording, I'm sure. You celebrate Halloween early in this town?"

"Not exactly," Xander said. "Believe me, I wish you were right."

Wood gave him a brief, unreadable look, then unclipped a cell phone from his belt. Tried to make a call. Got the same result. He closed the phone without comment.

"So are we in agreement that something weird is going on?" Xander leaned over and picked up the ax from the floor. "I'm gonna find Dawn now."

He turned back toward the hallway, but he'd covered only a few feet before he was brought up short by the screeching sound of a drawer being hauled open and a familiar click. Dread in his stomach, he turned to look.

Sure enough, Wood was holding a handgun. The black, staring eye of its barrel was pointed directly at Xander's head.

And Wood was holding it police-style, with both hands. Like he'd actually been trained to use a gun, not just seen them used in the movies. Big difference.

Xander froze. The ax suddenly felt very heavy in his hands.

They waited then, staring at each other, holding their weapons. Like gunslingers waiting for a silent signal to start a duel.

__________


Buffy arrived at the school in like a sprinter reaching a finish line, having covered the couple of miles or so from the Doublemeat Palace at a dead run. She took the stairs three at a time and banged through the school's double doors, only to plunge directly in between some kind of standoff between Xander and... some guy with a gun.

Without even thinking, she swept-kicked the gun out of his hand, punched the heel of her hand into his sternum to drop him, and spun to face Xander.

"Where is she?" Buffy panted. She dropped her hands to her thighs for a moment, tried to catch her breath. "I got... voicemails... Dawn said... hah..."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Xander helped Buffy straighten up. "Slow down there, pardner. Dawn's not here. We're still looking."

"What do you mean she's not here?" Buffy was already moving again, heading off down the main hallway. "Dawn?"

"Stop!" Wood, holding his chest, was struggling to his feet. "You people... who are..."

Buffy ignored him and raced around the halls in a circle, much as Xander had already done. She completed the loop and came back to the door. "No one's here. I don't get it."

"Neither do I, but the last I heard from Dawn is that she's right here, by the door, with everyone else in the school." Xander gestured. "It sounded pretty freaky, like they're in another dimension or something."

"Either they are or we are." Buffy glanced at Wood then and made a face. "Who's this? Wait, you know what? I kind of don't care. What are we going to do?"

Xander shrugged, then waved his hands between the two in a parody of introductions. "Buffy, Principal Wood. Principal Wood, Buffy."

Buffy's eyes widened a little. It was a new idea, a principal being both young and good-looking. Wood had a smooth-shaven head and chocolate-brown skin, the whole tasty package wrapped up in an immaculately cut gray business suit. Evil? Not evil? Considering the gun, the jury was out on that one.

"Right," she said, directing the full power of her Slayer-in-charge-here voice at Wood. "Here's the sitch. You're gonna leave. We're gonna figure this out." She took the ax from Xander, who obediently handed it over. "You too, Xander. I'll be in touch the best I can. Think of something to tell the parents if they start showing up before I get back." Xander nodded.

"Wait just a damn minute." Wood's voice cut across Buffy's commands. "Fluffy, or whatever your name is, if you think I'm gonna let you wander the halls of this school with an ax like some action movie, you're crazy."

They both stared at him, like annoyed adults whose conversation had been interrupted by a rude child. Then they resumed talking as if nothing had happened.

"Keep everyone else away from the building," Buffy said to Xander. "And take him with you, maybe he can help with that."

"Got it."

"I am not leaving here." Wood had regained his breath, was standing straight again. "This school and its students are my responsibility."

Buffy wrinkled her brow at him, annoyed, then shrugged. "Do whatever you want, just stay out of my way." With that, she gave Xander a curt, busineslike nod, and disappeared down the main hallway, ax in hand.

"C'mon, let's go." Xander took hold of Wood's arm. Wood promptly yanked himself free and ran off down the hall after Buffy.

Xander watched him go for a moment, then shrugged and exited through the front door as he'd been told. Buffy could handle Wood.

He had his own marching orders to worry about.

TBC...

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
rahirah
Aug. 15th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
Heh. Wood has bitten off more than he can chew, perhaps...
thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
Most definitely. : )
zanthinegirl
Aug. 16th, 2013 12:57 am (UTC)
Very interesting twist on season 7! I really like the scene with Xander & Principal Wood.

err, I'm hoping you're feeling inspired. I'm anxious to see where you're taking this, and how Dawn ended up in Hell. And what the heck is going on with Spike!
thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
Well, Spike thinks it's hell. The reality may be slightly different. Stay tuned!
kerry_220
Aug. 16th, 2013 07:39 am (UTC)
Having a crazy week, but letting you know that you've got readers who are a little slower at getting to this than they would like.
thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC)
No worries; my posting schedule tends to be erratic at best, so I have no expectations for readers. Enjoy when you can (or rather, I hope you enjoy!).
timeofchange
Aug. 16th, 2013 11:53 am (UTC)
Nice interaction with Wood. And thanks for the scenes in the Doublemeat. In canon Doublemeat felt like a place filler, but you made it very real.
thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks! The fast-food jobs of my youth were worth something, then. : )
red_satin_doll
Aug. 16th, 2013 02:47 pm (UTC)
They both stared at him, like annoyed adults whose conversation had been interrupted by a rude child. Then they resumed talking as if nothing had happened.

One of my top requirements for fanfic: that I can see and hear the actors in my head while reading. This is pitch-perfect.
slaymesoftly
Aug. 16th, 2013 08:24 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, wish I'd thought to mention this. Pitch-perfect indeed.
thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I do have a tendency to write dialogue by picturing how the scene would be performed, so it's no accident that a lot of my supporting text ends up looking sort of like stage directions.
slaymesoftly
Aug. 16th, 2013 08:24 pm (UTC)
Uh, yeah, good luck with that, Principal Wood...
thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC)
From his point of view, though, he's got to try!
rebcake
Aug. 17th, 2013 12:53 am (UTC)
Wow. Wood almost had a point there about bringing a weapon on school grounds, until he pulled out a gun! It might be Sunnydale, where the cops are deeply stupid, but really? Even wearing a suit and facing off against a guy with an axe, he's going to probably not get a chance to explain a dang thing to the cops. Where does he think he is? Texas? Also, I notice that, while the gun hasn't' gone off, it isn't exactly in safe custody at the moment. Loose ends, Buffy!

Heh, I love the gestures and glances you've sketched out. So easy to picture!

thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:08 pm (UTC)
Where does he think he is? Texas?

God, you really made me laugh there. But yes, there will be more about the gun issue.
treadingthedark
Aug. 17th, 2013 04:06 pm (UTC)
"Without even thinking, she swept-kicked the gun out of his hand, punched the heel of her hand into his sternum to drop him, and spun to face Xander."

I LOVED this part, I could totally see it. So perfectly Buffy.
thisficklemob
Aug. 17th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
Yes! I am frequently charmed by the Buffy without regular social skills, because they've been overrun by Slayer skills...
thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
I do love martial arts Buffy! At this point, I basically picture her fight scenes as being like Bruce Lee -- IMHO, she'd so be completely confident in her fighting ability that everything would be super-fast, fluid, and automatic.
thisficklemob
Aug. 17th, 2013 09:23 pm (UTC)
They both stared at him, like annoyed adults whose conversation had been interrupted by a rude child. Then they resumed talking as if nothing had happened.

I like how Buffy and Xander ignore Wood -- well, once he's disarmed -- because he's irrelevant, and they don't have time.

It's particularly interesting if we assume that Wood is, as in canon, a Slayer's son... so he should be more open to weird events than the average out-of-town transplant to Sunnyhell. Of course, vampires and demons are far different than disappearing/time/dimension-traveling students, so one can't blame him for the lack belief straight off.
thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:15 pm (UTC)
I'm gonna be keeping mysterious about Wood for a bit yet -- I'm actually not totally decided on whether his origin will be the same as the series or not (or even if it is, whether his personal history will or won't be the same). For the moment, you can read him as a standard normal person who doesn't know what to expect.
yourlibrarian
Aug. 17th, 2013 11:20 pm (UTC)
The desperate attempts to explain away the unexplainable are always fun, though if Carlos is any indication, there's fewer and fewer folks in Sunnydale living in denial.
thedeadlyhook
Aug. 18th, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
Most definitely. I keep thinking, if there were a real town like Sunnydale, where many supernatural things had happened in front of witnesses on a regular basis, what would really happen? How would people react?
hts_wasrubbish
Oct. 7th, 2013 03:51 am (UTC)
Maybe you could do me a favor and describe principal Woods voice as something completely different from what it was on the show,lol. Something about his voice just made me dislike him right from the get go. It was like he was always talking down to you or something. Anyway, I hate hearing that voice when I read his lines. (kidding about you describing Woods voice obviously, but If you felt like it...)

Other than that minor thing, this fic has been really amazing. The character voices and reactions have been just dead on, and your plot is beyond interesting to me at this point.
herself_nyc
Apr. 30th, 2014 01:51 pm (UTC)
Hey girl! Happy birthday!
thedeadlyhook
May. 1st, 2014 02:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! It was a very nice day. And the weather here was gorgeous!

How have you been? It's been way too long since I've had time to even look at LJ, so I have no idea what people are up to. How's life and things?
herself_nyc
May. 1st, 2014 05:19 pm (UTC)
LIfe's OK. It was a rough winter with very little work and terrible weather, and now it's spring and I'm busy again and feeling more optimistic about earning again.

I miss you! Do you do FB?
What have you been up to?
thedeadlyhook
May. 2nd, 2014 05:00 pm (UTC)
Miss you too! I have so little free time these days, unfortunately. It's rare when I actually have a chance to look at LJ. (Nothing too thrilling to report unfortunately -- mostly just trying to keep a roof overhead type of work.)

I do have a Facebook, but use it very rarely, mostly just to see what other people are doing, and even that not too often. The updates are so constant that it feels exhausting to keep up with, and I end up feeling no urge to post myself. I guess I'm just not that social, all told!
revdorothyl
Apr. 30th, 2014 02:45 pm (UTC)
"Duh-duh duh-duh DUH-duh duh-DUN! / They say it's your birthday!..."

Happy birthday to you!
thedeadlyhook
May. 1st, 2014 02:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I had a really super time. I hope you're doing well!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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