It only took two days for Chloe to show up with a stack of papers, a notebook, and Pete.
Xander laid claim to Clark’s loft, with Clark’s permission, and sweet talked lemonade and snacks from Martha. Cookies couldn’t completely blunt the coming conversation, but the sugar, and chocolate, would help.
So he planted himself on the dusty old couch with chocolate chips and lemonade. And waited.
Chloe didn’t make him wait long. “These are for you.” She handed him the thick folder of papers.
“Your notes on Sunnydale?”
She shook her head. “Nope. Those are on Smallville.” She flipped open her notebook. “This is my notes on Sunnydale. Those are for you to review and see if what we’re dealing with is anything like what you deal with.”
Snorting, Xander set the folder on the floor by his feet. Later.
“Well, first and foremost, the death rate in Sunnydale is absurd.” She looked pointedly at Xander.
“Vampires. Mostly. Occasional apocalypse and alternate form of demons.”
“Apocalypse?” Pete squeaked.
“Would the reason the high school blew up during graduation last month be demons or apocalypses?” Chloe asked.
“Both.” When that got him funny looks, Xander shrugged. “Long story. Maybe you should start with something older and we can come back to that one.”
Chloe flipped back a page. “Well, there’s small things, thefts, murders, earthquakes.” She shot a pointed look at Xander. “The entire town was rumored to have gone crazy, like they were drugged, for a little over a day.”
“They were drugged. Magic band candy that made everyone act like teenagers. It was a cover for… well, thats back to the long story.”
Clark frowned. “Maybe….”
“No.” Xander shook his head. “Next?”
“A modern day witch hunt?” Chloe reasonably seemed uncertain about that one. “It seems connected to some murders.”
Pete peered over her shoulder. “Children?”
“Demon with a cycle. Drives a town into a frenzy over witches and mythical things every fifty years. We almost lost a lot of good people because it latched onto the slayer’s mother, who knew about everything going on in town. But Buffy slayed and everyone mostly forgot.”
“Uh, strange murders a few weeks before that. Looked like animal attacks.”
“High school student messed with a Jekyll and Hyde routine and started killing. We caught him when he started beating his girlfriend. Buffy won’t admit what killed him.”
Chloe considered her options, but Clark leaned over her shoulder, flipped back two pages, and pointed at a line.
“Entire town goes mad on Halloween. People become monsters and demons? I found that one in blogs. The media never touched it.” Chloe said.
“Chaos mage cursed everyone’s costumes,” Xander said. “Everyone then became their costumes. I can still field strip an M16 in fifteen seconds after being soldierfied. Everyone else seemed to recover okay.”
Clark pointed again. “Animal attack in the school. First the mascot was eaten, then the principle?” Chloe read.
Xander shuddered. “Students possessed by hyena spirits. They… ate him before the situation was identified.”
“What happened to the students?” Pete asked. “You slay them too?”
“Depossessed and sent back to their lives,” Xander said, then sipped his lemonade to cover the urge to cough, blush, and otherwise wig.
Studying Xander, Clark pushed to the next page and pointed again. “Gangs attacked the school during parent teacher night?” Chloe read.
“Vampires, not gangs. Buffy’s mother took their leader down with a fire ax.” Xander chuckled. “That was a… no, it was a horrible night for me, but good for Joyce.”
Chloe ignored Clark’s next suggestion. “Computer teacher found dead in school librarian’s bedroom.”
Xander mis swallowed and coughed lemonade all over himself. “Angelus,” he gasped.
“Xander?” Clark came back to Xander’s side and pounded him on the back, a bit too hard.
“You mentioned Angelus the other night,” Chloe said.
“And the slayer,” Pete added.
“Sunnydale is built on top of a portal to hell,” Xander said, leaning back into the couch and Clark’s touch. “Quite intentionally. The man who founded it was still alive until last spring, when his long term efforts finally came to fruition. At graduation, he ascended, became a great demon capable of destroying the world. Fortunately, we had the slayer, Buffy, and some good researchers, and a lot of desperate students who didn’t want to be lunch.
“The last time someone tried that particular road to immortality, Mount Vesuvius blew and killed him. This time, we blew up the school. That is what happened at graduation.
“Much of what happened the previous year, the cover ups through the years, were Mayor Wilkins covering his deals with demons or otherwise making a nice place for the nasty elements.”
“The… candy thing?” Pete asked.
“He needed babies to feed to some demon he had a deal with. Damn that was gross.”
“And that vampire… you knew him,” Clark said softly.
“Been in town twice before,” Xander admitted. “We prefer the find and slay approach, but sometimes they get away.”
“You said… your friend…” Pete stuttered.
“That was the week Buffy moved to town. One girl in all the world, mystical destiny to kill vampires and contain the forces of darkness. Best I can tell, they usually last a week.” Xander snorted. “She saved Willow, but was too late for Jessie. With the Master gearing up to escape the Hellmouth… honestly, it was a miracle we didn’t die that week, let alone made it through to summer.”
“So… Sunnydale is special,” Chloe said. “But what about the rest of the world?”
“Sunnydale is the Hellmouth,” Xander corrected. “It collects dark and nasty things interested in destroying the world. But those dark things do live other places. Killed four vampires in Metropolis the two weeks I was there. Mostly they stay in the dark, people just don’t run into them enough for anyone to notice.”
“Teach us how to deal with them,” Chloe demanded.
“You don’t want that,” Xander insisted.
“I don’t know, Chlo. He’s got a point. This stuff is dangerous.” Pete fidgeted, leaning away from his friend.
“Are vampires…” Clark said. “Do vampires… I mean…. Do you have to kill them?”
Xander bit his lip, hard, before answering. “Vampires are demons walking around wearing corpses, the corpses someone left behind. The kindest thing you can do is destroy them, release the memories, make sure some demon isn’t out there wearing a friend’s face and killing with a friend’s hands.”
They got more out of him. Of course they did. And a promise to teach basic vampire and demon lore. And go through Chloe’s Smallville notes.
The notes Xander felt least guilty about. The kid was right. There was something weird going on in this town. And it did seem to tie back to the meteor shower.