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Summary: Xander always hoped Tony wasn't his father. Jim never expected to be one. Jon just wants to get through high school without dying of boredom. Fate is a funny thing.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-CenteredSherzaFR1542113,99820307144,88923 Jul 1117 Nov 14No

Interlude: Sam Zabuto, Kendra, and Spike

Interlude: Sam Zabuto, Kendra and Spike

A/N: Disclaimer's in the first chapter.

Samuel Zabuto, like his father, and his father before him for a multitude of generations, was a Watcher. He had learned the Watcher creed at his father's knee. He'd learned five languages and studied under the best field Watchers in the Council before he'd been allowed to work on his own.

He had worked hard and sooner than he thought, he had distinguished himself enough that his elders felt he was ready for the responsibility of raising and training a Potential. He had been given Kendra, then just two years old.

He had begun her training at once. Demon names and identifying characteristics had been her nightly recital in place of prayer. He had drilled her relentlessly on languages, weapons, and fighting techniques from dawn to dusk. More importantly, he had borne upon her the solemnity of her duty, should she be Chosen. The fate of the world rested on the shoulders of the Slayer. She could not be found wanting in any particular.

He had impressed on Kendra the need to hold herself apart, to keep separate, to keep her secret safe. He had taught her to find fulfillment and purpose in her duty, with no need for praise or approbation from any source, including himself. In short, he had taught her to be the perfect Slayer, as described by the Council.

As Watcher to a Potential, he had been kept abreast of the current Slayers and the battles they faced. This had more to do with having a heads up on particularly ugly upcoming fights, just in case the Slayer died, than it did anything else. Thus, he had been informed about Buffy.

Undiscovered Potentials were fairly rare. Demons and vampires were drawn to Potentials and frequently killed them, given the chance. As a result, Potentials without a Watcher seldom survived for very long. Undiscovered Potentials who became Slayers were all but unheard of, and invariably died very quickly. Without the training provided by the Council, such girls usually perished in their first battle.

Sam hadn't known Buffy's first Watcher, even by reputation. He thought the man a fool, to have gotten involved in matters enough to end up dead. That was not a Watcher's role. A Watcher wasn't there to fight, he was there to watch, to guide, to inform.

He had not approved at all of the appointment of Buffy's second Watcher. Rupert had always been something of a black sheep in the Watchers, a bit wild and unpredictable and given to questioning Watcher dogma unnecessarily. Sam's objections to the man were borne out when Sam discovered Rupert was permitting some local teens to 'assist' his Slayer.

That had been cause for a great deal of consternation and outright horror in the Council. Something like that simply wasn't *done*. Civilians weren't to even *know* about the demonic, never mind getting into the fight. It wasn't their place. That mere children had presumed to do so, and not been sent packing two seconds later by Rupert was horrifying. Children were indiscreet. They were braggarts. Rupert risked the discovery of the demonic world allowing their involvement.

The news, of course, kept getting worse. Evidently, Rupert was permitting his Slayer to consort with a vampire, permitting the creature to continue existing. It had been a relief to everyone when the next prophecy rolled around and Buffy's death so imminent. Hopefully the next girl would be a proper Slayer.

Unfortunately, it proved to not be that simple. Oh, Buffy had died, that much was for certain. After all, Kendra had come online as a Slayer, and there was only one way for that to happen. The problem was that Buffy was still alive and still had Slayer powers.

The Council had had enough. They told Sam to get Kendra fully up to speed as a Slayer as soon as possible, and then they were going to be transferred to Sunnydale. Buffy and Rupert and that gaggle of kids were going to be dealt with one way or another.

Kendra had made the transition from Potential to Slayer seamlessly. She'd actually fully adapted to her increase in speed and strength before a month was out. Unfortunately, things in Sunnydale had become rather chaotic. Buffy had apparently abandoned her duty for a time, and then so had Rupert. There seemed to be a lot of going back and forth for a bit, along with the appearance of a new 'helper' among the crew, and worse, several new adults who were apparently now in the know, including Buffy's mother. The Council had ordered him to hold off until they could figure out what the heck was going on, and how to insert Kendra into Sunnydale without alerting any authorities to anything suspicious.

Fortunately their chance came when it was discovered that a student exchange program was scheduled to be taking place in Sunnydale. While they could have just moved into the town, Kendra's distinctive accent would have garnered unwanted attention. As just another foreign student in the exchange program, she would go essentially unremarked. Sam got his own marching orders. He was to observe, record, and then report the interactions of the group. Once more data was on hand, he would confront Rupert. It was very likely that Sam would be asked to replace Rupert at least temporarily, until a suitable replacement could be found for Buffy.

Sam did not envy the Watcher they found to replace Rupert. Reeducating Buffy was going to be a Herculean task. Driving off the so-called helpers would be even more problematic. It wouldn't surprise Sam in the least if the Council had to resort to extraordinary measures to fix the mess Rupert had created.

"Kendra, pack your gear. We will be driving to Sunnydale in the morning." Sam informed her.

"Yes sir." Kendra said. She immediately headed for her small room.

She didn't have much to pack. Clothes enough for two weeks, Mr. Pointy, a crossbow and a sword was the sum total of her belongings. It only took her a few minutes to pack everything into two suitcases, one for her clothes, the other for her crossbow and sword. Mr. Pointy stayed with her at all times. Once she had finished with her own packing, she headed to Sam's office to assist him with packing his myriad of books, scrolls, and other items.

She was not looking forward to having to interact with the 'other' Slayer. The girl seemed to be ... sloppy. Lazy. Careless. Among other adjectives Kendra could think of. Did this Buffy not understand how serious being a Slayer was? Did she care so little for the lives of innocents that she would let untrained civilians attempt to fight with her? Did she care so little for the fate of the world? Kendra didn't understand it at all.

As much as Spike would have liked to hole up somewhere and grieve Dru, he simply couldn't afford to. The very next morning, Spike dragged himself out of the office where he'd gone to grieve in private and gone to the main floor to deal with the minions who had responded to his demand to appear and swear fealty to him.

Some half dozen or so minions had made their way to the warehouse after the Slayer and her crew had burned down the other warehouse, giving Spike just over twenty vampires to start his court with. It took about an hour, maybe two to accept their oaths. Once that was done, he folded his arms over his chest for a moment and glowered at the assembled vampires.

"Right, this is how it's going to work. You lot can feed all you like, but turnin's my job. You turn someone without my permission, you and they are dust. I do *not* want to hear about any of you jokers being caught and dusted by the Slayer. Learn her patrol pattern and stay the hell out of her way. If you fuck up and get her attention, I ain't gonna save your ass. The lot of you combined don't have what it takes to take that bint on and win. Leave her to me. Also: Do not bring dinner home with you. Do not bring any attention whatever to the lair. You bring the Slayer or her groupies down on us, I'll dust you."

He dropped his arms and started to pace, duster flaring behind him. "As of this mornin', any vamp not in this warehouse is fair game to be hunted and dusted. I want every known vamp lair searched for anything of use to us, before the Slayer thinks of it and steals everything. I want guards on all the entrances to the lair at all times. Anybody spots the Slayer, her groupies, or anyone else that don't belong in the lair heading this way, get the hell out of the lair. You lot understand all of that?"

He got a ragged chorus of agreement. Satisfied, at least for the moment, he turned on his heel and dropped down into the tunnel access to do a bit of hunting. He needed to start eliminating any lingering vampires as soon as possible, to send a message to any stragglers that they needed to get the heck out of town as soon as possible. The fighting would also serve as a damn good way to work out a bit of his foul mood and grief.

New-risen minions weren't much of a challenge to Spike's fighting skills, however, and that was pretty much all that remained in Sunnydale. If there were more than a half-dozen vampires in town that had been undead for more than ten years, Spike would have been surprised. In order to give vent to his anger and grief, Spike soon began to make a game of just how much damage he could do before each minion he found dusted.

Needless to say, by mid-day, word had gotten around the demonic circles that Spike was on a tear. There wouldn't be all that many vampires remaining for his Court to hunt. That was fine with Spike.

Come evening, after everyone had slipped out to feed and then returned, Spike started assessing his Court's abilities when it came to fighting. Most of them, as befit minions turned by minions on the Hellmouth, were pitiful fighters. Spike planned to change that, and teach them some of his tricks.

The next few days set up a routine. Spike hunted the tunnels by day, eliminating whatever vampires he found along with the occasional 'other' demon that managed to piss him off or show its face at the wrong time. He would head to the surface at dusk and feed. Then he would return to the lair and wait for his Court to return from their forays, and start the evening's training.

Through that next week, Lucas proved himself to be invaluable. He was a shit fighter, and probably always would be, but he was more clever than most of the rest of the minions. He was able to think things through and act on his own recognizance a lot better than the others. After thinking about it a few days, Spike went ahead and started feeding Lucas small amounts of his own blood, a process that would eventually elevate Lucas to Childe status. As a result of that, Lucas became his first Lieutenant, the one that gave orders in his absence and ensured Spike's orders were followed.

The other real prize was the quiet, efficient fellow that had been one of the first to join Spike's Court. Spike had eventually named the guy Silent Bob, as he rarely spoke. Bob wasn't as intelligent as Lucas, but he followed orders without whinging and was pretty competent, and was a better fighter than Lucas. He served as Spike's second Lieutenant, the one that dealt with the inevitable inter-Court squabbles.

All the training and hunting at least served to distract Spike from the worst of his grief. It was also giving him time to think, to try to plan how to deal with this Slayer and her followers. It was not going to be easy. Spike wasn't going to be able to predict anything about how she fought or worked.

The only other thing Spike dealt with was the Hellmouth itself. He made it known that anyone who tried to open the damn thing would have him to deal with. The old Master had done much the same, so Spike taking up that mantle didn't surprise the demonic population all that much. Spike knew there'd be demons that tried anyway, especially at first. They were going to have to find out just how determined Spike was to make them bow to his will. Once they figured that out, the weaker sorts would give over, leaving just the bigger, nastier sorts that didn't give a damn what anyone said.

In short, by year's end, Sunnydale would largely be under control, between himself and the Slayer. It would probably mark the first time the town had been anything approaching calm and normal since its creation.
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