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CHALLENGE: Submitted as part of the 'Vampires, Ghosts and Zombies' challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Facts of Buffy
By zennie


Part Two: Getting to Know You

"Fine," the blonde said, unblinking in the face of Jo's stare, even though the dark-haired schoolgirl had several inches on the diminutive blonde. There was a hardness in those green eyes that Jo hadn't anticipated. "You'll die, then."

Jo's eyes narrowed, the first step to a major throwdown, but the expression on Buffy's face softened a little and she spoke quietly in the space between them, so that only Jo could hear. "I know what I'm doing. Trust me."

The softness in the tone and a sadness lurking in those eyes almost worked, almost, except that Jo remembered a similar look from another blonde, employed whenever she wanted the biker to do 'just a little something.'. So Jo dug in, held the glare, crossed her arms over her chest, and tightened her jaw. Let the annoying little twit deal with that.

"Oh for christ's sake…" muttered the blonde before she caught the brunette by the front of her t-shirt and flung the unsuspecting girl across the room with perfect precision onto Mrs. Garrett's bed, the slight bed frame cracking under the force of the throw.

"You will take orders from me," the petite girl told her, firmly, "You will do exactly as I say and you will like it." Eyes as wide as saucers and gulping for air after her flight and subsequent not-so-soft landing, Jo merely nodded. "Everyone understand?" Two more answering nods greeted her. "Ok, good." She extended a hand and pulled Jo up from the bed effortlessly. "Now how defensible is that room of yours?"

Jo's mouth twitched, still smarting, but she answered grudgingly, "Pretty much like this. One window, one door. But bigger."

"Ok, I'm up front. Mrs… Garrett, right? you're behind me. And uh…"

"Natalie," supplied said girl.

"Right, Natalie, you're behind her, and Jo, bring up the rear."

They formed up by the door; Jo gripped the chair leg in her hand, feeling the coarse, splintered wood against her sweaty palm. As they moved through the door, the lack of monsters was surprisingly anti-climatic. As the others barred the door, Jo rummaged through her toolbox, pulling out a couple of knives, a heavy wrench, and a barbed chain. Buffy, meanwhile, broke two of the chairs at the table and lined up the broken pieces, ready-to-hand.

"There," she said with satisfaction as she surveyed the assembled weapons, "now all we have to do is survive until morning."

"Survive…?" asked the dietician in a shaky voice.

"Don't worry, Mrs. G," Jo laid a hand on the older woman's arm comforting her, "nothing is going to happen to you." Her eyes, however, were locked on Buffy's, seeking some measure of reassurance herself.

While a few seconds of silent communion passed between Jo and Buffy, Natalie was rooting through her footlocker and pulling out a box of Twinkies, two packages of salted peanuts, and a whole super-sized bag of M&Ms. Three sets of eyes settled on her. "What? I'm not going to die on an empty stomach."

Buffy bit down on her usual 'nobody's going to die' bit, because she had a queasy feeling deep in her gut: she was alone, severely outnumbered, and out of her element and on unfamiliar territory. Things, she knew, were going to get worse before sunrise.

To make matters worse, the dark-haired girl was staring at her as if she could read the doubts swirling around her brain. Jo abruptly turned and pulled out a deck of cards and seated herself on the bed with an army blanket and began to shuffle the cards expertly. "Anyone up for a little game of poker?" she suggested. Buffy settled on the edge of the bed and let the girl deal her in while Natalie and Mrs. Garrett declined, preferring to polish off the box of Twinkies in one sitting.

After an hour of losing hand after hand, Buffy had to admit she had met her match in cards. Pouting over the tops of her horribly mismatched cards, she asked, "How much do you make a night when you play?" This earned her an honest-to-god grin from the dark girl and Buffy suddenly realized, in the sparkle, how green the other girl's eyes really were.

"You really wouldn't want to know," Jo answered, her pleasure not quite secret in the amused tilt of her eyebrows.

Buffy grinned in answer and realized that if things weren't so dire, she would actually be enjoying herself. As it was, her souped-up slayer hearing heard a slight rustling outside the door, and then a whimper.

The whimper became a whisper, quiet and choked with tears. "Jo?" The dark-haired girl threw her cards down and jumped up, and Buffy took a moment to notice that she would have actually won the hand before she followed the other girl to the door, where she was already wrestling with the heavy dresser.

Buffy put a hand against dresser, stopping its movement across the floor. "Who is it?"

"It's Blair!" yelled Natalie from behind them, trying to get past the two girls to push against the dresser. "What are you guys standing around for? Let her in!"

"She might…" began Buffy but a look from Jo stopped her.

"Nat, we have to be careful," Jo told her quietly, but the younger girl wasn't listening; instead, she was throwing herself against heavy wood and pushing it back from the door.

Jo moved in front of Natalie. "Natalie…" she began, but the voice from outside cried, "Jo? Natalie? Let me in. I'm scared."

"Jo, we left Tootie; we're not leaving Blair." As Natalie began her work on the dresser again, Buffy pulled Jo aside, and away, from the door.

"Who's Blair?"

"Blair's our other roommate," Jo explained tersely, her expressive eyebrows narrowed in concern, watching as the dresser inched further and further away from the door. When Natalie had edged it far enough away, Blair slid through the door.

One perfectly manicured hand reached out, "Oh, Natalie, thank god," and wrapped around the young girl's neck, yanking her into perfect proximity for a pair of pearl-white fangs. For a second, the sound of tearing flesh and a most-unladylike slurping was the only sound in the room, until the sound of Mrs. Garrett falling over in a dead faint rumbled through.

The blonde heiress made a face and tossed her ex-friend to two football types wearing Bates letterman jackets. "Sugar rush," the vamp exclaimed, and then laughed. "That Natalie," she chuckled, delicately dabbing at the trickle of blood with a lace handkerchief, "couldn't go out without a Twinkie or twelve."

Then she locked eyes with Jo, tilted her head, and said, in that sickly sweet faux-delighted voice she always used when she wanted something, "Jooooo."

To Be Continued

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