Prompt: Man walks
into up to (a woman on her way to) a bar. Ouch!
Replacing this scene from the pilot episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
In an AU where Jack Harkness, some short time after getting stranded in 1869, wanders into the Watchers’ Council rather than being scooped up by Torchwood. Decades later, estranged from the Council, he has made his way to 1997 Sunnydale, California to help the latest Slayer. Angel, meanwhile, was never approached by Whistler to join the fight and support Buffy, and remains, for now, a reclusive and repentant vampire with a soul elsewhere in America.
Buffy was on her way to the Bronze for the first time (yay, social life!) when she realized someone was following her. A man, she realized after some concentration—and he was barely bothering to be sneaky! Either an idiot or very confident…?
Not good. Not for him, anyway, and probably not for her night, either.
By the time the stranger sped up, turning a corner brought him only the view of an empty street. He stepped forward and finally came to a halt, sighing—
Buffy, balanced in a handstand on a metal rod above his head, let gravity take over. Silently, her legs swung down and caught him a blow in the back of the head.
He went down with a startled ‘oof!’, rolling. Before he could get back up, Buffy planted a foot on his chest, pinning him to the ground.
Unexpectedly, he laughed.
“What?” Buffy demanded.
The man grinned up at her. “You’ve got flashy moves. I’m a fan.”
Buffy dug her heel into his chest until he winced. “Why are you following me?”
The smile turned placating, friendly. “I just want to talk. Got my words in order a little late, I guess—thought I’d manage it faster. Let me up, alright?”
“I don’t bite,” the man said. His voice was almost gentle, now; combined with a level gaze, it…seemed believable enough, at least for now.
Besides, she’d knocked him over once, even if he’d laughed after. Buffy let him up.
“Thanks,” the man said cheerfully. He got to his feet and brushed himself off. It was hard to tell in the dim lighting, but his shirt seemed blueish (or maybe purple?) and the jacket he tugged straight was both leather and very definitely black. Grimacing, he rubbed the back of his neck, but didn’t mention it when he spoke. “You know, I kind of thought you’d be taller? This is good, though. Should give you an advantage. No one’s going to look at you and think ‘this girl can kick me through a wall’—no offense,” he added. “Should be good for getting the drop on the stupider ones, that’s all—even the smarter ones might underestimate you a bit.”
“Right,” Buffy said, drawing out the word. “So, that’s what you wanted to talk about? ‘Ouch, you’re short’?”
The man chuckled. “Never did quite manage to get out of the habit of giving advice. But no, that’s not quite it.” He took a step closer, sticking his hands in his pockets; the streetlight illuminated the kind of face one expected to see on a Hollywood actor, not some random creepy guy in Sunnydale. What was he even doing here? “I’m here with a warning.”
Buffy glared at him. “I don’t want a warning. I want to be left alone.” She shoved past him, hoping he’d take the hint; just once, couldn’t something be easier?
He was following her. Again. “Believe me, I get that,” he said. He even sounded kind of sympathetic. “I really do. But you’re the Slayer, and this is a Hellmouth. It wouldn’t leave you alone if you bribed it.” He’d caught up to her now; glancing to the side and up was enough to meet his eyes again. “Unfortunately, it’s about to open, and that means you have got to be ready.”
Buffy refused to take a step away. “What for?”
That was definitely sympathy. She wasn’t sure she liked it, especially if her first impression hadn’t been wrong and he really was a vampire.
“The Harvest,” he told her, and then, “Here.” One hand dug briefly deeper in its pocket, and then emerged with a medium sized jewelry case, which he handed her.
Buffy took it, partly just out of curiosity. “Who are you?”
He smiled. Definitely Hollywood; definitely annoying. Why couldn’t she just be approached by normal guys in normal ways? Well, normal guys a bit closer to her age, she amended: darkness was generally forgiving, but he couldn’t possibly be even in his early twenties.
“I’m a friend,” he told her. “And I should probably let you get back to your night.” With a nod and another smile, he was off, patting her shoulder quickly twice along the way.
Not that she didn’t approve of him leaving, but—
“Yeah, well, maybe I don’t want a friend!” she called after him.
He laughed, and didn’t turn around. “Maybe not, but I’m useful. I’ll see you around, Buffy.”
She let him fade into the darkness. Let him go; she was still going to the Bronze, even if this Harvest thing didn’t sound too good. She was not going to let this wreck her life.
Before she left the streetlight and tried to capture a bit of normal life, there was one more thing to do. She was still holding the jewelry case: now, she opened it.
There was a cross inside, on a thin but sturdy-looking chain. The chain itself seemed new, but the cross was older: recently polished silver with an inlaid fleur-de-lis at every point and a simple set of lines engraved along the middle of the bars. They looked almost like grasses, from which each fleur-de-lis sprouted.
Buffy set it carefully back in its case, and closed the lid.
The necklace (vintage German sterling silver, apparently).
Quite open to feedback. Thanks to Neshomeh for the lone bit of betaing this has had so far, and for helping to accidentally spark this idea to begin with!