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Lima, Ohio: The Other, Other Hellmouth

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Summary: Instead of moving to Sunnydale, Joyce drags Buffy to the Midwest. The slayer expects to find boredom in Ohio but instead she finds vampires, witches, werewolves, zombies, robots - and glee club. Eventual Faberry and Buffy/Santana.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > GleerakestrawberryFR1535180,239047,17911 Oct 1219 Oct 12No

The Chosen One

Disclaimer: Any characters and plotlines from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Glee are owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy and Ryan Murphy and Fox, respectively. No infringement of existing copyright is intended. All rights reserved.

This is a story I originally posted of fanfiction.net, but I decided to start posting the chapters I have written on this site.

Season 1
The Master

Buffy Summers jerked her head back as a foam microphone was thrust into her face.

"Jacob Ben Israel. You must be Buffy Summers," said a scrawny guy with jam-jar glasses and a Jew-fro; a guy in suspenders holding a camcorder behind him.

"Uh, yeah-" said Buffy, pulling her cream colored Ralph Lauren sweater around her and anxiously eyeing the school entrance.

"There's a forum on my blog dedicated solely to your arrival," said Jacob, looking her up and down through his glasses, pausing on her ruffled pink skirt she got from a Topshop back in L.A., "We had no idea the new kid would be so…delectable."

Jacob's lingering stare and wavering voice made Buffy's skin crawl.

"Well, uh, thank you… but I have to get to class! My first day, wouldn't want to be late!" she chirped cheerily, and pushed past Jacob and his hovering camera man.

It was Buffy's first day at McKinley High, and Ohio was a big and not necessarily good change from what she was used to back in Los Angeles. The chilly weather and socially challenged locals were a little uninviting, but Buffy had no choice but to remain optimistic. Her silver stilettos click-clacked cheerily against the linoleum floors of McKinley High. It was more or less like her old school on the inside. Her sandy blond hair bounced against her shoulders as she walked around, finally finding the library in the last place she looked in the small school. She stepped in, her heels softly thudding against the thick carpet.

She waved her fingers at the sour-faced librarian and weaved through the bookcases, trying to get to the back of the library where she was told by Principal Figgins her school books for the year should be. Buffy walked briskly to the back wall, almost tripping over someone. She balanced herself and looked down apologetically at a guy who was sifting through a few music sheets.

Buffy smiled. "Sorry!" she whispered, grinning at him.

He was unconventionally good looking with a strong chin and a head of chestnut brown cropped curls. He was young, but too old to be a student, Buffy noted with a little disappointment. The guy stood up and stared at her slack-jawed, making Buffy a little uncomfortable.

"Um, uh, you must be Buffy," he said.

Buffy nodded. "I guess I'm the only new kid," she said, chuckling awkwardly.

"Yeah, I… I'm Mr. Schuester!" he said, holding out his hand.

Buffy put her hand in his limply and let him shake it up and down. Sometime she could underestimate her own strength.

"Let me help you find what you're looking for!" he exclaimed, dropping his music sheets and moving to another part of the library, down in a dusty corner.

"Uh, actually-" Buffy started, awkwardly following him.

Mr. Schuester turned around from the dusty corner of the library and held up a book with a big dorky smile on his face. The book had a thick wood-colored cover with dust collected into the crevices of the carved etchings of fangs and weird Wiccan symbols. 'Vampyr' was written in big bulky letters across the front. Buffy stared at it, and back at Mr. Schuester's naively cheerful face.

"That's not what I'm looking for," she said, her eyes darting around the almost empty library.

"Oh," said Mr. Schuester, looking down at the bulky book, disappointed.

He turned around to look at the other dusty volumes in the corner, but Buffy had already run off in her silver heels.

Buffy pushed past the few students still bumbling around the corridors. She didn't need this – not now in a whole new town. Didn't small town equal normal? Not for me, she thought to herself before she knocked right into a bespectacled boy in a wheelchair, almost stumbling to the floor before she balanced herself, her backpack thrown over her shoulder, spilling out the pencils and notebooks she'd brought to school with her.

"Sorry!" she exclaimed, "I'm such a klutz today!"

"It's fine," said the boy, leaning down and picking up what he could.

"Thanks," said Buffy, shoving the stuff back into her plain blue JanSport backpack, "I'm Buffy."

"Artie," he said in a nasal voice, hitching his glasses back up the bridge of his nose and smiling shyly.

Buffy smiled gratefully and walked off briskly to get her class schedule at the receptionist's desk.

"Wait, you forgot your… stake?" said Artie, picking up a sharp wooden spike that rolled under his feet. New girl sure is interesting, he thought to himself.

xxx

Quinn Fabray smoothed her glossed lips together, and took down the History notes Mr. Perry was scribbling on the whiteboard. She didn't tend to pay much attention during class, but she took enough notes to study when she got home and get good grades whenever a test would come along. She knew school was the time for looking great and climbing the social ladder, but that didn't mean she was going to let her grades fall. Quinn Fabray wasn't a one-or-the-other girl. She was everything she wanted to be.

As she scribbled dates into her notebook with her 2B pencil, Finn Hudson passed her a folded note. She didn't bother looking at her buff boyfriend as she took the note and unfolded it to reveal 'Check out the new girl beside Puckerman' in her friend Santana's scratchy handwriting.

Quinn folded the note thinly between her fingers. She turned her head discretely and looked at Santana and Brittany behind her in their matching red and white McKinley cheerleading uniforms. Santana nodded her dark chocolate brown ponytail towards a girl sitting at the back beside Noah Puckerman.

Quinn pursed her peachy glossed lips together and looked the new girl up and down. She was thin and petite with athletically curved legs under her flowery designer skirt. She had the same sandy blond hair as Quinn did, only it wasn't glossed in place to perfection; it was in cheerful waves, brushing her shoulders. Quinn squinted hatefully as Puck bit his bottom lip in a cheeky smile and eyed the new hottie up and down. Quinn looked back at Santana and all-American Brittany. They were both eagerly awaiting her opinion. Quinn frowned, but nodded in approval, and her minions nodded back.

She turned back in her seat convincing herself she had the situation under control. Quinn was top dog here at McKinley, and no cute blond new girl was going to change that. The Cheerios stamped out any threat that arrived. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, Quinn thought to herself.

Buffy hitched her backpack over her shoulders and walked out of class. This whole blending in to the background thing wasn't working very well with all of these teenage horndogs staring at her like a piece of meat. These Lima losers must not get a lot of action. Buffy imagined they'd all get together at the annual corn festival in their denim overalls and their straw hats and make out with their cousins. But Buffy stopped herself from daydreaming about backwoods hicks because she promised her mom she'd give Ohio a chance.

Her thoughts flew away like flies as she was swarmed by two cheerleaders. Buffy held her breath a moment, almost stunned. A tall, poised blond appeared on her left side with a deceiving smile and a Latin girl with amusement in her eyes appeared on her right side, a swing to her hips.

"You must be Buffy," said the blond, her voice smooth and sultry.

"Uh, yeah, I am. Everyone seems to know who I am," Buffy laughed nervously.

The blond chuckled quietly. "I'm Quinn Fabray, head cheerleader, president of the celibacy club, and this is my fellow Cheerio, Santana."

Buffy dropped her smile and looked at Santana who smiled quickly and falsely.

"So you're from California, right? I heard the new kid was coming from Los Angeles," said Quinn, as the cheerleaders on her either side steered her aimlessly through the school.

"Yep. Me and my mom needed a… change of scenery," said Buffy.

"Why Ohio?" asked Quinn.

"My mom thought a small town sounded like a nice change of pace. And, uh, she found a space here to open up her gallery-"

"Oh, an artist! That's so… unique," smiled Quinn.

"Not an artist. Just a gallery owner," said Buffy.

"Right. A businesswoman. Smart. Money is power."

Buffy half-smiled. "Yeah."

"I saw you hanging out with Jew-Fro this morning," said Santana, eyeing Buffy out of her peripheral, the corners of her mouth edging down in a judgmental frown.

"Oh, I wasn't really… hanging out, with Jacob. He just sort of came up to me, with his camera guy. Started asking me stuff," said Buffy.

"Good," said Quinn, stopping in front of them and walking up to a big slushie machine outside of the cafeteria, "You don't want to end up slumming it with glee club freaks and A/V losers. You just stick with me and mine and you won't go wrong!"

Buffy smiled gratefully. Sure, Quinn and Santana were a little overbearing with suspicious intentions, but Buffy was just glad to have some sort of group to fit into. She did not want to stick out in a place that was already so small.

Quinn took a large sized plastic cup and filled it to the brim with a cherry flavor slushie. She sipped a little off the top, and walked on again slowly, not bothering to put a lid on her drink.

"Of course, there's the mandatory test of character," frowned Santana, already proving to be much less friendly than her blond cohort.

"Test?" asked Buffy, "But it's my first day."

Quinn laughed. "Don't worry, Buffy. I'm sure you'll pass. Let's see… fishnet tights?"

"Um, over?"

"So over. Armie Hammer?"

"Needs to call me," giggled Buffy. This was her kind of test.

Quinn smiled, gripping her large slushie, but not drinking it. "Pinkberry."

"Trendy, yet tasty."

"Kanye West."

"The devil."

Quinn smiled brightly. "Well, that was pretty much a gimme, but, you passed!"

"Yay," laughed Buffy as they walked through a hallway of lockers.

"Hey, Rachel, heads up!" called Quinn.

Buffy just stared in shock as a girl in a preppy sweater whirled her dark brown hair around and Quinn, gripping her slushie, threw the icy drink right in the girls' face. The slush dripped down her top as the girl grimaced in pain. Quinn and Santana cackled and high-fived, and stood tight on either side of Buffy as they walked on.

"Some people just need to know their place in society. Rachel Berry is a total loser. Glee club freak, theatre geek. Straight A student because she has no friends!" said Quinn, Buffy's mouth still open in surprise.

"And did you see those cable knit tights? Ugh, my grandma is sexier than that tranny," Santana sneered.

"You'll learn to tell the difference between the losers and the cool crowd real quick," said Quinn, "And don't worry; we'll tell the football team and the other Cheerios not to slushie you."

Buffy nodded, and looked over her shoulders. Rachel Berry was hobbling stiffly to the girls' bathrooms.

"Um, I have to go, uh, get my stuff for the next class. I'll see you later though," said Buffy, stopping in her tracks and backing away.

"Bye," said Quinn, waggling her fingers.

She dropped her friendly smile the second Buffy was out of sight.

"She's nauseating," sighed Santana.

"She'll learn. And if she doesn't? Good. We won't have to worry about her," said Quinn, holding her chin up high and dumping the empty slushie cup in the nearest trashcan.

xxx

Rachel Berry took a pile of scratchy handwipes from their holder in the girls' bathroom and started to wipe the slushie off of her face. She grimaced at her reflection, seeing the red dye seeping into her navy Anthropologie sweater.

"Quinn Fabray must have some serious self-esteem issues if she feels the need to humiliate everyone just for the sake of impressing the new girl," said Rachel, cleaning off the ice dripping down her collar.

"Don't you think I know that? I've been hiding in here all day trying to avoid a slushie facial. I spent all my allowance on a trip to a dermatologist out of town this weekend and I'm not going to waste it on the amusement of Little Miss Peroxide and her pretend friends," sneered Kurt Hummel, sitting up on the girls' room sink with his denim-clad legs crossed.

Rachel took a retractable hairbrush out of her sleeve and attempted to brush flavored slush out of her taupe colored hair when the new kid, a Quinn-Fabray-alike girl with beach curls and designer clothes came in looking nervous.

"Hi, I'm Buffy," she said, smiling awkwardly.

Rachel and Kurt looked at her expectantly and Buffy shuffled on the spot.

"Um, I'm so sorry, for, uh, what Quinn did... to you…," she said, staring sheepishly at the red stains all over Rachel's face.

Sure, Buffy was technically just an innocent bystander in the slushie incident, but she still felt guilty.

"It's not your fault," said Rachel, whipping her head around to the mirror and wiping her face with paper towels.

Buffy squirmed awkwardly. Rachel didn't sound very forgiving despite what she said. Buffy didn't even bother to question why a boy was hanging out in the ladies' restroom.

"I, uh, I'm sort of behind, because I'm new and all, and the teachers here are doing different stuff than my teachers back in L.A… And, well, I heard somewhere that you're a straight A student, and, well, I just wanted to ask, because, I thought you could help me-"

"You want me to help you study?" asked Rachel, holding her paper towel midway to her face and looking at Buffy through the mirror.

"Only if you're not busy!" exclaimed Buffy.

"Aren't you hanging out with Quinn Fabray though?" Rachel asked softly, looking down into the bathroom sink.

"Can't I hang out with both of you?" asked Buffy.

"Not legally," the boy said sarcastically, "I'm Kurt."

"Hi," Buffy smiled, "Look, don't worry about Quinn."

Rachel dumped her squished tissues into the trash can.

"OK. Why don't we go somewhere quiet to study? Do you have your school books?" she asked, turning around gingerly and smiling widely at Buffy.

"Uh, no, I didn't really have the chance to get them yet…"

"Well, we'll just pick them up at the library-"

"No! I mean, uh… We don't have to start studying right this second. We can just… hang. Where's the cafeteria?" asked Buffy.

"We don't generally hang out in the cafeteria. Too big a risk of a slushie facial," said Kurt, hopping up off the sink.

"We can spend lunch in the auditorium! We have to be there next for free period, anyways, to audition for glee club," said Rachel.

"Glee club? Cool," said Buffy.

"Liar," said Kurt, "Glee club is not cool. L.A, that's cool! That close to that many shoes? Heaven!"

Buffy chuckled as the boy slung his cognac leather satchel over his shoulder. He and Rachel walked out of the restroom tightly on either side of Buffy, but not as predatorily as Quinn and Santana had. Buffy didn't dwell too long on how much easier it was for her to fit in with the so-called losers than with the 'cool crowd'. She just let Rachel and Kurt steer her to the school's auditorium.

There were red imitation velvet seats and a bulky wooden stage like in her old school. Buffy took a seat in the front row with her new friends in the empty auditorium.

"So why in Marc Jacobs' name would you move to this hell hole?" asked Kurt.

Buffy squirmed a little in her seat. 'Hell hole' was too literal for her liking.

"Mainly, my mom wanted a fresh start from city life, but she also found an open space to start up an art gallery here."

Kurt grinned and raised an eyebrow, clearly impressed. "Art gallery? So chic! You're too fabulous for Lima. Is that a real Ralph Lauren?" he asked.

Buffy looked down at her sweater. It was, in fact, a real Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater. She was surprised that anyone in Lima would notice. It was a present from her dad – a parting gift as she was about to move hundreds of miles away. She promised him she'd wear it on her first day of school.

"Uh, yeah, it is. How'd you know?" asked Buffy.

"I know the Fall catalogue like the back of my hand!" gushed Kurt.

Buffy smiled warmly and looked at Kurt's androgynous brown wool Alexander McQueen sweater that went well past his hips.

"Well, I don't think you'd fit into my sweater, but I have a loose Ralph Lauren cotton jacket you might like to borrow."

Kurt's eyes lit up and leaned he forward to look at Rachel who was gargling a water bottle on Buffy's other side.

"I love the new girl!"

Rachel smiled, and swallowed her mouthful of water.

"Have you signed up for any extracurricular activities yet?" she asked, flicking a lock of brown hair behind her shoulder.

"Uh, no, it's my first day, I was more concerned with just fitting in," said Buffy, shrinking in her seat.
Rachel's eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"But high school's a time to make something of yourself, Buffy!" she exclaimed, "Why don't you try out for glee club with us?"

"I'm not much of a singer."

"That's okay! Every show choir needs background singers!"

Buffy smiled awkwardly. "I don't think so. I'm already behind on school work. Maybe in a few weeks."

Rachel nodded slowly, her smile faltering a little. "So what do you like to do Buffy?"

Buffy started to feel uncomfortable. It was an innocent enough question, but Buffy couldn't help but feel like she was being interrogated.

"Well, I was a cheerleader at my old school," said Buffy.

Rachel and Kurt's faces fell immediately.

"Figures," murmured Kurt.

"No wonder Quinn Fabray and Santana Lopez were talking to you! They probably sensed the coolness wafting out of your thick hair," said Rachel.

"Huh?" asked Buffy, a little taken aback.

"Are you going to join the Cheerios?" asked Kurt.

"Of course she is! And you'll never talk to us again when you become a part of the In Crowd. Why would you? Reputation is everything," said Rachel, folding her arms over her small chest.

"Guys! I'm not ditching you for Quinn and the Cheerios, okay? Even if I joined, I'd still hang out with you. We're friends, right?" Buffy asked, smiling hopefully.

Rachel looked suspiciously at Buffy before a smile formed on her face. "Y-Yeah. Of course!"

Kurt nodded on her other side as the bell sounded for classes to start again.

"It's free period, right? I'll watch you guys audition!" said Buffy, smiling a little too eagerly, anxious to make – and keep – friends.

"Great!" said Rachel, pleased to have an audience, "I'm singing On My Own from the Broadway seminal classic, Les Mes!"

Buffy nodded, trying to match Rachel's enthusiasm. She couldn't quite get there.

"Who runs glee club anyways?" asked Buffy.

"Mr. Schuester. He took it on after Sandy Ryerson got fired for…" Rachel started saying, but her words became muffled sounds as the cogs in Buffy's mind started turning.

Mr. Schuester?, she thought, Can I never escape this madness?

Sure enough, just as she turned around, Mr. Schuester was entering the room with a clipboard, the auditorium's dim lighting making his brown curls look darker. Buffy shrank even more where she was sitting.

"And despite whatever rumors you may hear, I wasn't the one to turn in Mr. Ryerson for inappropriate touching. And even if I was, I'm not homophobic. In fact, I have two gay dads!" Rachel said smugly, as the sound of her voice came back to Buffy.

"Uh huh," said Buffy, grabbing her JanSport bag from the ground in front of her and leaping up, "Y'know, I'm such a ditz! I totally forgot; I can't stay to watch you guys! I, uh, I have to meet Principal Figgins during free period! He needs to talk to me about transferring, and my permanent record! I was quite the trouble maker back at Hemery!"

Buffy babbled loudly as she backed away from the seats, Kurt and Rachel watching dumbstruck as she stormed out of the auditorium, right past Mr. Schuester. She strode away briskly on her thin heels, until she heard the squeak of Mr. Schuester's off-white All Stars. Her legs were strong and fast enough to run and be rid of him, but Buffy knew that some things you had to confront. Buffy whirled around in the empty hallway, her golden hair swishing over her shoulder, making Mr. Schuester skid to a stop in his sneakers.

"Why can't you just leave me alone?" she demanded.

Mr. Schuester blinked, clearly surprised. "You're a slayer," he said in a hushed tone, looking left and right, but there wasn't a soul in the corridor.

"Maybe I don't want to be a slayer! Maybe I just want to be a cheerleader or a prom queen or-or… or a glee club loser! I don't want to have to hunt the occult in my spare time! I want to date boys! I'm sixteen!" Buffy stressed.

Mr. Schuester swallowed, not sure how to get through to the resistant teenager.

"Buffy, you were chosen. You have a sacred birth rite. In every generation, a slayer is born…" Will gulped and took a sneaky peek down at ink scrawled on the palm of his hands; words that he'd reminded himself again and again to memorize, "One girl in all the world with the skill and strength to fight the-"

"-vampires. To stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. Yeah, my old watcher gave me the same old spiel and he didn't have to use cheat tactics to do it!" Buffy said, rolling her eyes at Schuester's inky hand.

"Well, then you know. There's no escaping it," said Mr. Schuester, sheepishly sticking his hand in the pocket of his buffalo plaid vest.

"Easy! I don't do it. I came here for a fresh start, not to prey on the living dead," said Buffy.

"It's not a coincidence that you're here, Buffy! This town is a Hellmouth, literally! Mystical energy is drawn to it, and that means vampires, and God knows what else! Someone has to stop them."

"So why don't you do it?" asked Buffy, gingerly raising her eyebrows.

"Me? W-Well, I'm not a slayer! I'm a watcher! I-"

"Watch?"

Mr. Schuester's pursed his lips. His training didn't cover anything like this.

"Just… leave me alone…" said Buffy, and strode away, her heels clicking with every step as she walked away from Mr. Schuester, and right out of the school.

She knew school wasn't over but she would do anything to escape what she knew would still be coming up again eventually. Some things couldn't be escaped, and that fact nagged her from the back of her mind, cropping up whenever there was a morning when she woke up in a cold sweat from vivid dreams of vampires and underground lairs.

Deep in thought, Buffy's heels tapped against the concrete of the school parking lot as she headed towards the street, ready to find a coffee shop or somewhere people wouldn't bother her. Maybe a shopping trip, she told herself, but she figured instead of the designer shops she would go on shopping sprees in back in L.A, this town's only clothing would be sold in cheap brand department stores and the many Gaps she saw as her mom drove through the shopping district when they moved in yesterday.

"Hey, Busty!"

Buffy looked up before she crossed the road and saw an SUV full of jocks driving towards her from the car park, the mohawked guy she sat by in History leaning out of the drivers' seat window and squinting at her, a smarmy smile on his face.

"It's Buffy," she said as he drove nearer, his meat headed friends chuckling in the back.

Buffy noticed Santana sneering in the passengers' seat.

"Skipping class?" he asked.

Buffy squirmed and tried to look innocent. "Uh, my old school let us leave for free period. I, uh, I thought it was the same here."

The guy smiled wider. "Uh huh. Well, I'm Puck, and I am skipping class. Me and my bros are gonna go cow tipping!" he laughed, the corners of his mouth curled up mischievously, "Wanna come?"

Buffy faked a smile. "No, thanks," she said, eyeing Santana, who was leaning territorially into Puck.

Santana whispered something into Puck's ear, making him snicker quietly.

"Okay, have it your way, Bucky!" Puck sighed, and drove away.

"It's Buffy," Buffy grumbled. Not that anyone could hear her.

xxx

"Everyone was really… friendly. And the learning part was so… learny!"

Joyce Summers raised a sandy blond eyebrow at her daughter. "They have English classes at McKinley, don't they?" she asked sarcastically, as she struggled to grip a wooden packing crate.

Buffy picked up a crate with ease and followed her mom upstairs. Their new house on Rovello Drive was barely furnished and full of cardboard boxes, but the biggest feature were the wooden packing crates that flooded the house and blocked their entrance. They were full of eclectic pieces for Mrs. Summers' gallery downtown.

"How different is it from L.A?" asked Joyce, briefly laying a concerned palm on her daughter's dainty shoulder.

"Not that different, actually. I mean, the weather's worse and people dress differently… but a school's a school, right? Same gross cafeteria food, same weird mouth-breathing chess club kids-"

"And we're not going to have any problems like your old school, right?"

Buffy grimaced as she followed her mom back downstairs to pick up more packing crates. Problems at her old school were a sore subject.

"No. Of course not," Buffy said. But she wasn't so sure.

Joyce struggled to balance a crate on her forearms and heave it up the stairs again, as the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it," Buffy murmured as her mother disappeared up the staircase.

Buffy opened the door and looked out at her porch into the early night and sure enough, under a plaid golf hat was Mr. Schuester's head of bronze curls. Buffy almost shut the door again, but he wedged his foot in and stopped her.

"What do you want?" she hissed, keeping the door almost closed so her mother wouldn't hear.

"There's been an attack," said Mr. Schuester, his dull hazel eyes grave with concern.

Buffy bit the inside of her lip. Schuester didn't know what he was doing; not at all. He looked like he needed her more than she needed him. Buffy grimaced and stepped out onto the porch, shutting the door behind her.

"Who's been attacked?" she asked, folding her arms as a breeze blew by.

"Some football players. Most of them ran home, but a few are in the hospital. And Santana Lopez was with them, but they said she ran off. She probably went home, too," said Mr. Schuester, wringing his hands together.

Buffy thought back to the SUV of jocks that pulled up to her earlier at school that day, Santana Lopez resting territorially in the passengers' seat.

"How'd you find out?" asked Buffy.

"A farmer found some of them wounded near his cattle. He recognized the letterman jackets and called the school after he called the ambulance," said Mr. Schuester.

Buffy bit her bottom lip. "Look, you seem to be able to handle this yourself-"

"Buffy, you're the slayer! It's your obligation to protect the town from this kind of thing!"

Buffy glared at the teacher. "It is not my obligation! My obligation is to go to school and get acne and have bad self-esteem! I'm-"

"Sixteen, I know," sighed Mr. Schuester, looking a little sympathetic for once, "But people are getting hurt. And you're the only one who can help them."

Guilt trip. Great, thought Buffy.

"Fine," she said, "But I'm not promising any miracles, OK? You can take me to the crime scene. I'll check it out."

"Great," smiled Mr. Schue, overly enthusiastic.

"Just wait here. I have to get dressed," she said.

"Dressed?"

Buffy looked down at her cashmere sweater and prissy ruffled mini skirt.

"You think I'm going on duty in this?"

Buffy closed the door on him and sprinted upstairs.

"Mom, I'm going out," she called as she swung into her room, still full of cardboard boxes and rummaged through her packed clothes.

"Going where?" asked Joyce, sticking her bob of frizzy blond hair in the doorway.

"Uh, my new friends. They're having a… hoedown," said Buffy, pulling out a pair of worn-out Old Navy jeans.

"A hoedown?" Joyce asked skeptically, a hand on her hip.

"Yeah. All the kids in Ohio love hoedown throwdown. Why? Can't I go?" asked Buffy, holding the leg of her pants out to see if they still fit.

"I guess-"

"Thanks, Mom," said Buffy, giving her mom a peck on the cheek and slamming her bedroom door closed.

xxx

Buffy squirmed in Mr. Schuester's tiny blue Honda.

"So, I get you're on a teacher's salary and everything, but doesn't the Watcher's Council give you enough to afford a bigger car?" asked Buffy, checking herself out in the mirror.

She'd tied her honey blond hair up in a ponytail that barely grazed the shoulder of her black leather Burberry jacket.

Who says slaying can't be trendy? she asked herself.

"I don't get paid to be a watcher," Mr. Schue chuckled.

Buffy furrowed her brow in confusion. "Wait, so… you do this for free? Risk your life and waste your time on slayer after slayer for… what?"

"Well… my father was a watcher. And his father. It's almost as much a birth rite as yours. We help make the world a safer place."

Buffy sighed, and stared out of the car door window, off into the dark pastures.

"You're pretty selfless."

His smile grew until a dorky grin was plastered on his face. "Yeah. I guess I am."

Mr. Schuester pulled over on a dirt road, beside a cobblestone wall. Buffy got out, balancing the short heels of her black leather boots on the wet gravel, grimacing as a cow leered at her from behind the wall.

"Over here," said Mr. Schuester.

In the middle of the field not too far out of town, Mr. Schuester shone his flashlight over a patch of grass.

"Is that blood?" Buffy asked over the incessant mooing, eyeing dark, wet splotches over the grass.

Mr. Schuester shone his flashlight over the torn, bloody remains of a letterman jacket. Buffy watched him grimace hopelessly.

"You say some of them are in the hospital," said Buffy.

Mr. Schuester nodded. "You think we should visit them?"

"They're the only witnesses we've got."

xxx

Somewhere in the dark that night, a willowy woman opened the back door to let one of her cats in, her slightly faded blond hair blowing in the night breeze. This woman was Phoebe Pierce, and she only stopped for a moment because she heard a rustling noise in her gardenias. Phoebe strained her eyes and held her breath, but the night stayed still.

"Note to Phoebe; Cut down on the pot brownies," she whispered into the darkness, pulling her silk robe around herself and closing the slide door.

Lurking in the shadows of Phoebe Pierce's gardenias, Santana Lopez emerged, the cool breeze tickling the beads of sweat that tread down her forehead. She felt ill and weak, her senses strained and giving her a massive headache. When Mrs. Pierce's hair had blown in the window, she felt the most tempting urge to drain the essence from her. Santana couldn't explain the feeling; it was as if Mrs. Pierce was full to the brim of this energy, and Santana needed to sink her teeth into it.

Santana gave herself a slap on the cheek. You're not here for that, Santana, she reminded herself, Just get to Brittany. Now that Santana really thought about it, she had no idea how Brittany would be able to help. Brittany was just the person Santana went to about everything; it was a force of habit. But what would her best friend be able to do about this? Where else are you going to go, San? she asked herself, The hospital? Your parents? No, not about this.

Santana struggled to swallow. She already made up her mind. More quickly than she ever did before, Santana sprinted across the Pierces' backyard and leaped onto a drain. She felt the sweat dripping down her neck and a burning sensation in her throat.

"I'm comin' Britt," she whispered, bracing herself for the climb up to Brittany's window.

xxx

A light knock came on the door of the hospital room, and Quinn sharply turned her head to see that vapid Buffy girl, and for some reason, Mr. Schuester, closely behind. Quinn squinted at her with her mouth open in confusion, giving the girl her best 'What are you doing here?' stare.

"Hi," said Buffy, giving a half-hearted wave.

"Hello," said Finn's mother, who was sitting on his other side.

Finn looked up and squinted his pale green eyes at Buffy, trying to remember where he's seen her before as the two women coddled him.

"Uh, I'm Buffy. I just- I heard about what happened and I wanted to… pay my respects," said Buffy, grimacing awkwardly at her choice of words.

"Oh, well, thank you," said Mrs. Hudson, smiling warmly.

"Uh, yeah, I just came to say that, Finn, I'm sure you've been through a lot tonight. Don't worry about homework until your arm heals," said Mr. Schuester, shifting uncomfortably as he and Buffy slowly entered the room.

"Thanks, Mr. Schue," Finn smiled sleepily.

"Are you gonna be OK?" asked Buffy.

"He's gonna be fine," Quinn said with a flat tone, eyeing Buffy up and down suspiciously.

Quinn's mouth only tightened into a stern grimace as Buffy ignored her. No one ignored Quinn Fabray.

"What happened?" asked Buffy, edging closer to Finn's hospital bed.

"I don't even know. It- it came out of nowhere," said Finn.

"What did?" asked Buffy, listening intently.

"I- I don't know. It was some kind of animal. I heard the guys freakin' out, and then when I turned
around… it attacked. It was like, lightning fast. I thought I was gonna die out there," Finn breathed out, looking pleased to talk about it, "Slashed up my chest. Thank God my arm's only sprained. If it were broken I wouldn't be able to play football this season."

"Can I see the scar?"

Quinn blinked and closed her lips in a stiff frown. "Finn is resting now-" she started to say, but Finn was already lifted the hospital gown, eager to show his impressive scars. And boy, were they impressive.

Quinn lost her train of thought and gave a small gasp. The doctors had stitched it up, of course, but that didn't make it any less disgusting. Claw marks like knives were carved all down the boy's chest, making grotesque, swollen gashes. Buffy took a step back, a little short of breath.

"Whoa," she said, barely audible to everyone else in the room, "Uh. Okay. Well…"

"It's not as bad as it looks," said Finn, making Buffy a little surprised by the hint of disappointment in his voice, "The cuts are really shallow, and my right arm is still intact, so I can still go to school."

Finn's mother smiled knowingly at his unenthusiastic tone.

"Okay, well, that's great! Um, I just came by to say hi, so… hi! And, uh, bye."

Buffy strode out of the room with Mr. Schuester, both about to die from the embarrassment of their own awkwardness.

"So, was it a vampire?" asked Mr. Schue.

Buffy stopped in her tracks and glared at her watcher. "Haven't you ever seen the movies? Vampire bites are two teeny clean holes on the neck. Did you see that kid? No, this isn't a vampire."

"Then what is it?" he asked.

"I don't know!" Buffy cried, "Some kind of animal? You figure it out. I have homework."
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