Patrolling had been
kind of slow during the summer, which wasn’t unusual as many demons tended to travel to Cleveland when California became
too hot. But whenever school was about to start, they’d migrate back to town, ready to devour a new crop of freshmen.
Knowing this, Buffy decided we all needed to patrol. We split up into two groups: Buffy took Willow and Xander with her and
Tara and I went off with Riley. We were sent to one of the rarely inhabited cemeteries where Riley would try to train us in
a variety of methods of vampire and other demon killing. Let’s just say I’d already done the reading.
really wasn’t a very good teacher. He kept telling us to duck behind gravestones and run to the next closest one, as
if the demons would be shooting bullets at us. Occasionally he’d want us to roll on the ground, which I refused, having
experienced the horror of grass stains once after a pleasurable event and not being too eager to try it again for something
not nearly as interesting.
There Riley would be, whispering and ducking and covering and acting increasingly strange,
and Tara and I would just look at each other, occasionally giggling when he wasn’t looking.
Now, the only reason
I was doing this was for Xander’s sake. I had, mistakenly, thought that if I got to patrol, it meant that I’d
get to spend more time with him. Now they had split us up.
So after a very unproductive night of patrolling, we went
back to Giles’ to give our report.
Buffy, Xander and Willow arrived and started telling about their patrol and
how they had come upon Dracula. My ears perked when I heard his name. Dracula. I hadn’t thought about him in ages.
only met once, but it was an experience that could not be forgotten.
In demon circles, there are very few vampires
as famous as Dracula. The Master, sure, but even he was no Dracula. All the other vampires wanted to be Dracula. He had these
dark piercing eyes that looked right into your soul. He was an enigma. No other vampire had his skills for drawing victims
in. He wasn’t big into the chase, but then, he didn’t have to be.
The one time I had met him, he had said
that he knew who I was. I could still remember the shock at that. Sure, I knew that all the other vengeance demons were envious
of me, but for Dracula
to have heard of me – that was completely unexpected.
He had captivated me in a
way that few others had ever done. I was entranced by him, I’m not ashamed to admit it. The way his dark eyes bore into
me…I felt like the only demon in the room. Time lost its meaning. By dawn, though, he was bidding adieu and gliding
into his coffin. Alone. I went back to Arashmahar and immediately told my friend Halfrek all about my encounter with Dracula.
when Buffy was surprised that he had heard of her, I could definitely relate. Because of my highly honed ability to read people,
I could tell that Riley was getting jealous. His meathead first instinct was to load up on weapons and go after him. Luckily,
Buffy was smart enough to realize that it would take more than mere weapons to defeat Dracula.
Giles gave out assignments
for research, which thankfully did not include me.
Xander and I left not long after that. We were walking back to my
apartment as I told him about my experience with Dracula. For some reason, Xander became jealous. Another opportunity for
firsthand insight wasted while Xander rolled his eyes and fumed and tried to pretend that I hadn’t had a life –
several, in fact – before him. Oh, well. It wasn’t like I wasn’t used to it.
I went home that night
and put on my favorite nightgown, the fluffy one with the frill around the neck. Xander was back to his basement (alone –
it was whites’ day) so I got into bed and read one of the romance novels Xander tended to tease me about. I fell asleep
reading and began to dream. It was my favorite dream in which I was a princess in a tower waiting for Xander to arrive on
his steed. On the horizon, I could see my bare-chested knight coming and my heart would skip a beat. Breathless, I waited
and the doors swung open and my knight came to the bed, where he began showering me with kisses. Only this time, his body
was cold, and I looked up and stared into the dark pools of Dracula’s eyes. I hesitated for a moment, thinking of Xander,
but then I gave in and let the vampire ravish me. It was only a dream, after all.
I woke up the next morning, covered
in sweat. I looked at the clock and discovered that it was 11:00. I had missed Giles’ meeting, but I didn’t care.
The memory of the previous night’s dream made me want to forget everything else.
The ringing of the phone startled
me. It was Xander, calling to let me know that he needed to meet me at his house for an important assignment. I took a long,
hot shower, still remembering those eyes. Reluctantly, I got out and made myself get ready.
When I got to the basement,
I found Buffy sitting on the couch. Xander told me that Giles wanted us to keep an eye on her, because she had been “enthralled”
by Dracula. Who wouldn’t be, I wondered.
I was beginning to protest that I wasn’t allowed to go look for
Dracula, when Xander shoved me into a closet and barricaded the door. I screamed for him to let me out and then I heard him
I really did not like dark, enclosed spaces and I began to freak out, not understanding why Xander had pushed
me in there in the first place. I screamed and screamed and I heard the upstairs door open and steps coming down the stairs.
“Xander! Xander! This isn’t funny,” I yelled.
There was no response.
door opened to reveal Xander’s dad. I could smell the whiskey seeping from his pores.
I said, relieved even to see him. “Thank goodness.”
“What are you doing here, girl?” he said,
staring at me.
“I was down here with Xander when he locked me in the closet,” I explained.
did he do that?” he asked, not showing any kind of sympathy for my situation.
“I don’t know,”
I answered defensively.
“Could it be,” Mr. Harris asked, “that he’s finally had enough of your
yammering, you selfish bitch?”
I stared at him in disbelief. No one had ever been so blatantly mean to me. Sure
Buffy and Willow would make comments about me (even while I was in the room), but they had never been so unabashed.
someone needs to teach you your place and I know it won’t be my son. He’s too pussy-whipped by you to know his
head from his tail.”
I held back the tears that were forming and started walking to the door. “I’m
leaving now, goodbye,” was all I managed to say before I closed the door behind me and let the tears fall.
can never make him happy,” I heard him yell as I climbed the outside stairs.
Later that night, Xander came to
my apartment and explained to me what had happened. He had fallen under Dracula’s spell and had been forced to take
Buffy to Dracula’s castle. After Buffy defeated Dracula, something I never thought could happen, the spell on Xander
had been lifted.
People under a spell cannot be held accountable for their actions, so I forgave Xander. I chose not
to tell him about my encounter with his father. Or my dream, for that matter, after all, Xander wasn’t the only one
to get a pass on accountability.
Not too long after our encounter with Dracula, Xander and I were in the basement having the good
feelings when Buffy called. She asked Xander if he would watch her kid sister Dawn.
Now, I had only met Dawn once during
the previous summer. She had been young and quite annoying. But I don’t think I really met her. It’s kind of confusing.
But in my mind, I know that we met. Well, more about that later.
Xander had known Dawn pretty much ever since Buffy
had moved to Sunnydale and he’d told me that she had a giant crush on him. Well, I didn’t like the sound of that,
so when he was asked to baby-sit, I insisted on helping him.
“What does a child do for fun?” I asked Xander.
they play,” he answered me as he looked through a closet that was packed with seldom used board games.
went in first and as I was saying goodbye to Buffy’s mom who was going out, the door started to close. I pushed it open
and said hello to Dawn. I told her about all the fun that we were going to have.
She didn’t look too enthused.
we had some pizza, we tried our hand at Clue, but Xander got upset when I beat him twice. He was always certain that it was
Colonel Mustard. It can’t always
be Colonel Mustard, but I guess Xander believed in the law of averages.
we began playing the game of Life. I wasn’t exactly sure what the goal of the game was. Finally, after I was saddled
with children and too much money to count, I told Xander I wanted to quit.
He told me I was winning. Then he told me
the most important thing I have ever been told.
He said, “Cash equals good.”
And he was right.
I have kept that proverb as my own. I even had it embroidered on a pillow.
So we were minding our own business, playing
the game of Life, when something smashed through the window. We looked outside and there was Harmony Kendall followed by three
of the ugliest vampires I’ve ever met.
She was calling out the Slayer. The only thing was that the Slayer was
Xander argued with her through the doorway, when suddenly the Slayer’s sister accidentally invited
Harmony vamped out and jumped on top of Xander, punching him in the face. I frantically looked for weapons.
Giving up, I finally grabbed a lamp. Harmony backhanded me, sending the lamp flying. My strong Xander was able to get Harmony
out and we closed the door on her, knowing that if Harmony wanted to come back in, she’d be able to.
and Riley got back from patrolling, we tried to tell them what was going on, but Buffy had a hard time getting over the fact
that Harmony now had minions. It wasn’t that
funny – the first time I’d met Harmony, she’d
been surrounded by brainless followers. But again, why ask me? I was only an unofficial un-Cordette for a few days, after
Instead, I delicately explained that Dawn had given Harmony an invitation into her house, and Buffy stomped off
to find her sister.
Xander called Willow to do her magic on the house while I busied myself in the kitchen. A few
minutes later, Dawn came running through the kitchen and I tried to stop her. Outside the back door, one of Harmony’s
minions grabbed her and knocked me unconscious.
I woke up to Riley, Xander and Buffy hovering over me. I was able to
tell them what had happened. But that’s all I remember until the hospital.
Xander was beside me and the doctor
was looking at my arm. Apparently the vampire had dislocated my shoulder and I had a slight concussion. I began to cry. I
hadn’t really realized until then just how frail the human body could be. I had to accept the fact that it wouldn’t
last forever. The last thousand years hadn’t mattered. I could now be easily broken by one of the lower demons and I
might even die the next time.
If this was the game of Life, I think I was ready to cash out.