Disclaimer: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have been borrowed for the purpose of this fiction. No infringement is intended by their presence here.
This fic is rated General for all audiences. While subtext is slightly present, there are no graphic scenes with sexual content. This story is the second part in a series concerning Buffy meeting with a vampire Xena and Gabrielle, who in this fic remained vampires after being bitten by Bacchae as seen in the second season episode of Xena titled "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." It occurs during season five of BTVS.
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Buffy slammed the book shut in irritation. She despised studying. All of this sitting around when she could be out doing something made her want to pound the stuffing out of somebody.
Glancing up, she saw Giles staring back at her, apparently startled by the sound. She smiled sheepishly. "You know how I get when the answers aren't coming."
Clearing his throat, Giles reached up to adjust his spectacles. "Why don't you head home and get some sleep, Buffy? I can finish here."
"I'm fine," she answered. Then she stopped herself. "You have something, don't you?"
"Now, they may be unrelated…" Giles hedged, paging through his book once more.
Buffy jumped to her feet. "Give it to me," she said, crossing over to him.
Giles sighed, obviously annoyed that she'd made no move to leave and let him go back to bed. He still wore the rumpled shirt and trousers he'd probably fallen asleep in. She'd found him on the couch after he hadn't answered her knocks. Funny, he hadn't seemed to appreciate her demand to start scouring his library for any mention of a vampire named Xena.
"I have found a small mention of an archeological discovery in the early twentieth century. Several ancient Greek manuscripts dating before the birth of Christ. They have since been lost to a series of private collections, so there's nothing here about the primary sources themselves, but they were supposed to have been written by a woman named Gabrielle, also known as the 'Scourge of Poteideia.'"
"That's what you found?" Buffy asked, disappointed.
"Well, you said she mentioned a Gabrielle. The documents are said to relate the exploits of a woman known as the Warrior Princess. And it's certainly old enough to be the right time period. Perhaps these stories discuss Xena's life before she became a vampire."
Buffy fell into a nearby chair, exhausted. "That still doesn't help much, Giles. I have a feeling she's a little bit different now."
"Did she tell you outright that Gabrielle is still around?"
"I think I can assume Xena has a few followers. She seems very…seductive," Buffy mused.
"Unfortunately we might be dealing with a very powerful circle of vampires. I'll need more assistance in researching this," Giles said.
"I'll call Willow," Buffy answered, rising.
"Buffy, it is six o'clock in the morning," Giles chastised. "Xena won't be going anywhere for awhile and you haven't slept. Now if you're intent upon making yourself completely useless when she finally does make a reappearance—"
Holding up her hands, Buffy stopped him. "Okay, I'll ease up. I'm sorry, I don't know what's got me so charged here. It's just something about her really rubbed me the wrong way."
"It's fine," Giles said. "You've been under a lot of stress lately with…" he trailed off, not wanting to say the words.
Buffy still felt the pain, however. Her mother's death had pushed her in directions she'd never gone before, even with the multitude of experiences she'd already surpassed. She knew she was forcing herself to the brink of collapse, working to take her mind off things. Sleep only meant dreaming about that day again.
"I'll go home now," she murmured. "Let's meet at the magic shop early this afternoon. Get the gang together for it."
Giles nodded. "Of course."
While Giles and Buffy said their goodbyes, a dark-haired figure rolled over in the spacious four-poster bed she shared with her partner. Opening her eyes, Xena smiled. She knew the Slayer was discussing her with her Watcher. She felt a tremor each time her name was spoken. The Slayer had been affected by her presence, she noted with satisfaction.
Bacchae and humans alike, it was the same wherever she went. Where the mortal Gabrielle had drawn all to her with her innate goodness and light, Xena now attracted people with a darker promise. They did not understand their desire for her, but could not ignore it completely, no matter how virtuous or untainted they were.
She stared at their surroundings with a speculative eye. Gabrielle hated this hotel with its heavy furnishings and dour appearance. But they were well-protected from the sunlight, and paid enough for the rooms that no one dared question their eccentricities. Americans as a rule allowed less personal privacy, she'd observed, wanting to barge in on every little detail of a person's life. Xena had to admit that Paris held more opportunity for the Bacchae. Rio had a nice nightlife.
But neither city was home to the Slayer. After meeting the whelp Xena was determined not to kill her but to turn her toward their everlasting darkness. The destruction the two of them could accomplish together was unimaginable. She was practically drooling just thinking about it.
"Old Drac-boy was right," Xena murmured. "She'd be a welcome addition to any family."
The small blonde beside her stirred at the sound of her voice. "What's the matter?" Gabrielle asked sleepily.
"Just thinking out loud," Xena answered.
Gabrielle sat up, sighing. "More scheming about the Slayer? Xena, why are we still here? You said you wanted the challenge of destroying her. Instead, you simply tease her a bit and then let her escape. Do you even know what you're doing anymore?"
Xena smiled lazily. Stretching a bit, she stifled a yawn and responded, "My dear, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were jealous."
Gabrielle snorted. "It's just that I'm bored! There is nothing to do in this wretched place. I hate the United States," she finished, her lower lip trembling.
Rolling over, Xena presented her friend with a view of her back. "I'm not going to discuss this with you. You could have stayed with Marie."
"Well excuse me for wanting to be with you," Gabrielle said sourly.
"Let's just sleep. I should finish things up tonight."
Buffy jerked awake, shaking. The final image of her dream sat vividly in her mind, and she finally understood what it was about Xena that was bothering her so much. She'd dealt with so many vampires in the past, but only one had effected her in a similar manner. Xena reminded her of Dracula, the only vampire who'd been able to penetrate her defenses for one brief moment and taste her blood.
She pulled the blankets aside and got out of bed. Her skin felt clammy and her breath quickened. The dream had been so real she nearly wanted to check her neck for bite marks. Thinking about that last moment, when Xena had leaned in toward her neck, her teeth bared, Buffy shivered again.
"Got to get to the magic shop," she muttered, quickly getting dressed.
"Well, Giles filled me in on this Xena person," Willow explained a half-hour later. She and Tara sat hunched over her laptop. "Haven't found anything yet, but I'm thinking a vampire that old has to have a rap sheet somewhere."
"Maybe she's lived this long because she's kept a low profile," Buffy said. She reached up to touch her neck gingerly. Giles glanced at her and she dropped her hand.
The bell over the front door jangled suddenly. Xander breezed inside, immediately blurting, "We're late, we know, but we were…kinda busy."
Behind him, Anya bustled inside. Glancing up at him, she turned to the others and said, "We were having sex."
With Xander's blush and the responding expressions of the others in the room, Anya asked, "What?"
Buffy shook her head. "Anyway, join in. We're trying to find whatever we can about a vamp named Xena…she may have a buddy still around named Gabrielle, but we haven't—"
Anya interrupted, strolling behind the counter and nonchalantly opening the cash register. "Ah, Xena. She's a crazy one all right. What?" she asked again when they all stared at her. "I'm checking to make sure you counted the till correctly," she informed Giles.
Giles brushed aside her comment. "You know Xena?" he asked.
Anya nodded. "Sure. Most demons do…or did—" she shook her head. "You know what I mean. Anyway, she overthrew Bacchus years back. Caused a big ruckus. Most of his devotees ended up losing their heads after that. It's pretty dumb going after the Warrior Princess."
Giles cast a smug look in Buffy's direction, which she pointedly ignored. "Bacchus…I thought he was a god. I mean, I remember some things from high school."
"Actually, there is a theory in some circles that Bacchus was a demon. His cults were well-known throughout Greece and the Roman empire. In fact, the Roman senate was forced to outlaw a few of their more outlandish practices, merely because of their raucous nature…" he trailed off when he saw that Buffy was losing interest. "It could be one of the rare instances in history when demons and vampires were actually working together cooperatively."
"All right, Giles, the history lesson is really gonna help us out with this one," Xander said. "So what do you say we figure out a game plan for the present day?"
"Game plan is kill her before she manages to cause any more harm," Buffy responded. "Anya, does Xena travel on her own or with a group?"
Anya shrugged. "Just her girlfriend. You know, the Scourge of Poteideia? That's what they called Gabrielle after the two of them laid waste to half the Greek countryside. You did know that she's into girls, right?"
Catching the look on his face, Buffy gave Xander a shove before his thought could find its way out of his mouth. "That is irrelevant," she said firmly. "But it does change things if there is more than one of them. We might have to find a way to take out Gabrielle first. It should shake Xena up enough for us to get to her."
They were interrupted once more by the sound of the bell going off above the door. When Buffy saw Dawn standing in the doorway, she froze. "What's the matter?" she asked, seeing the look on her sister's face.
"Glory's coming," Dawn answered. Before she finished the words, Buffy was at her side, pulling her into the shop.
Slamming the door shut, Buffy peered outside. Night had already fallen once again. She couldn't believe the entire day had passed them by so quickly. "Why the hell did this have to happen now?" she demanded.
"It was only a matter of time before she returned to find you," Giles answered.
"To find me, you mean," Dawn said, shuddering.
"Don't worry, I'm not going to let anything happen to you." Buffy pulled the door open once more, her expression determined. She'd find Glory and settled things once and for all…somehow.
"Why so glum? Looks like the party's just starting," a familiar voice drawled behind them.
She appeared unaffected by the teleportation spell inflicted upon her by Willow and Tara. Her blonde hair perfectly coiffed, her red dress without a wrinkle, Glory looked the same as when she'd left them those weeks before. She'd snuck inside the building from the back, entering through the room Buffy used for physical training.
Buffy grabbed Dawn once more and pushed her to one side.
"You have something of mine, as you know," Glory purred. "We can play this game for as long as it takes, little darling. Where is the key?"
"Now, I know for a fact that I got into this before you did. I think there are too many men on the field."
Buffy wanted to scream upon hearing that voice. She didn't have to turn around to know that Xena stood in the open doorway. How the vampire had managed to find her so quickly was a mystery, but one that would have to remain unsolved for the moment. With the two of them together, Buffy didn't stand much of a chance. And in between it all stood the people who meant the most to her in the world.
"What, do you have a vampire fan club or something?" Glory sneered. "Mind your own business, meat puppet!"
Buffy edged away so she could catch the look on Xena's without losing sight of Glory's position. The vampire woman was scowling. "I don't know who you are, and I don't really care," she said coldly. "But I don't share." She turned her head to gaze at Buffy. "Now, aren't you going to invite me in?"