Disclaimer: Any Buffy characters belong to Joss and Mutant Enemy. I also have no ownership claims to Sunnydale, vampires, frat houses (thank God), the 103 bus (likewise), or anything else. Robyn owns a daily growing but completely justifiable ego, as well as Karen and Denise. However, I do own the characters of Jamie and Alice. Please do not use them without permission.
Archivest's Note: Siobhan, you crack me up.
It Was The Hellmouth, I Tell You
Alice was wet. Being in Hull, this was no great surprise; much of her time seemed to involve getting rained on. Fortunately, the deluge was being kept off her by her best friend Jamie, who was holding an umbrella in one hand and a mobile phone in the other.
Most of the people who knew Jamie and Alice were surprised that they got on so well. They were the embodiment of the phrase "opposites attract". Jamie was a true "lad", famous for being the only person in Thwaite Hall to successfully down a yard of ale. Which is how he first met Alice, who was serious about work and fun. After the yard of ale extravaganza, Jamie staggered back to the hall, and feeling the urge to vomit, lurched into Alice's bedroom and promptly threw up in her bin before passing out in a heap on the floor. Alice found this incident both repulsive and amusing and Jamie cute. She found him even cuter when he woke up the next morning with an intense feeling of embarrassment. Jamie and Alice had been best friends ever since and, and although there had been an "incident" at the Christmas ball, neither of them had ever felt the need to take it any further; after all they already spent all their time together.
And now they were partaking in their Thursday ritual, waiting for the 103 bus to arrive to take them to their 9:15 lecture. They, like the smartly dressed man with a suitcase who was standing next to them, were unimpressed. The courses that Jamie and Alice took was another area where they differed. Whilst Alice was a rational Scully studying for a degree in Bio-medical Science, Jamie was an "out-there" Mulder studying (if that was the word; "drinking" was a more accurate description of his primary activity) for a degree in anthropology, and was currently engaged in finding material for his dissertation on folk-tales of the world. But where they differed in their interests, they shared a common bond; they were both running late.
Jamie lurched with umbrella. "What are you doing?!" shrieked Alice as she tried to avoid getting her eyes gouged out. Jamie's umbrella had a mind of it's own. A one track mind. And that track was "Kill! Kill!" Jamie put his mobile phone away.
"Reading a text message from Matt; he's just missed the bus."
"Shock me." Said Alice dryly. Matt missing the bus was not an irregular occurrence. Matt waking up with a hangover, rolling over, going back to sleep and not waking up until one minute before the bus went was. "Still, at least we know it's coming."
Matt lived at another hall of residence, the Lawns, a mile further out from campus. When Matt made it out of bed he met them on the not-so-trusty-103. But apparently today that was not going to happen.
"Hey, Alice, I got a postcard from Denise today."
Alice was not as thrilled by this as Jamie was.
"Jamie, with all due respect, your cousin is certifiable."
"She is not!" Sunnydale's a weird place to live."
"Oh yes, it's built on a "Hellmouth", right? 'Cause that sounds sane."
"She's being doing some research into the area since her graduation. She's even picked anthropology as her major."
"I hope you aren't encouraging her, Jamie. Denise needs therapy, not people who indulge her in her wild fantasises."
"I told you about graduation. I giant snake attacked her class. She even has pictures."
"Sure she has! Would that be the same snake that evolved from her hot-dog? Although, actually after tasting what Thwaite try and pass off as hot-dogs, I'm more inclined to believe her that one."
"Well, the latest is really exciting. She went to a Halloween party at a frat house and it became real."
"The spiders and zombies and stuff. Buffy, this creepily strong girl and the former school librarian managed to stop it some how. But before that, actual skeletons were coming out of closets, vampires-"
"-Ah I was wondering how long it would be before we got on to that one."
"It's the Hellmouth, vampires are attracted to its mystical energy."
"Right. You know, Alice, one day this cynicism of yours is going to get you into serious trouble. You know Kelly off my course couldn't speak for a week after reading out that silencing spell from one of the books in the occult section of the library."
"That was purely psychological and you know it. Sometimes, the unconscious can be responsible-"
"-I know, I know. Sometimes the unconscious can be responsible for actions that the conscious mind wants to occur but the power of will won't allow. I really wish you hadn't taken that psychology module."
Jamie furrowed his brow. It was something he was very good at, but did little. To Alice, it was a sign that Jamie was frustrated; an emotion that he rarely displayed.
"Look. I don't mean to sound harsh, but vampires? Come on, Jamie"
"What about the guys in The Room?"
"Well, I'll admit that their make-up, is very, very good, but that's no reason-"
"-How many people do you know who can do prosthetic make-up?"
"One. My uncle works for one of those companies where they re-enact accidents to train paramedics."
Does he do protruding foreheads and razor-sharp incisors? And do people who talk to his victims disappear in mysterious circumstances?"
"Becky Tomlinson. Last seen at The Room. Talking to one of those people with very, very good make-up."
"Well, that's weird, but Hellmouths? Vampires?"
"Denise knows what she's seen."
Alice and Jamie contemplated the uneasy silence that fell between them. Or, not so much as fell but sauntered vaguely downwards. They also contemplated the rain, which seemed to exist for the sole intention of drowning them before they graduated.
"Where is this bus, anyway?" grumbled Alice. "If Matt said he missed it, then it should have been here five minutes ago."
"Maybe there's a Hellmouth between here and the Lawns."
"A Hullmouth?" said Alice, grinning.
"Whatever. It wouldn't surprise me. Under that creepy shut up petrol station. I bet there's a vampire king down there plotting to rise up and take out the student population."
"You didn't have an extra cup of coffee this morning, did you Jamie?"
Jamie waggled his eyebrows at Alice. "Guilty as charged."
"I can't believe you! You know what caffeine does to your imagination. Well, this explains a lot."
Jamie was pleased; he knew that Alice was happy that she'd found an alternative scientific explanation for Jamie's babblings. But he knew she had being beginning to wonder and that was enough for him. His psychoanalysis was interrupted when the man waiting at the bus stop with them approached.
"Excuse me," he asked. "Could I trouble you for the time?"
Alice took a glance at her watch.
"Sure. It's 8:55."
"Thank you so much."
As man left them Alice turned to Jamie.
"That's it. We're walking. If we get a move on we'll make it in for our 9:15 and burn this hyper-active imagination out of you in the process."
And she set off, dragging Jamie with her. As they moved away, the man with the luggage reached into his breast pocket, took out a plane ticket and checked it. A single trip to Sunnydale. Wesley Wyndem-Price smiled to himself as he put the tickets away again. He was happy. True, the Council had fired him, but hearing of his friends exploits battling evil made him keen to get on his own trail again. He was a rogue demon hunter; a lonely existence, but he felt he could take on the world. He had just taken on and vanquished a vampire lord hidden in a disused petrol station and, despite the incident when he had shot himself in the foot with a crossbow, things were looking up. Besides, that had been three weeks ago and now he was barely limping. He was going to Sunnydale and would move on secret to wherever he was needed.
Perhaps, he wondered, Alice would learn the truth behind Jamie's ramblings and the disappearance of the 103 bus, but until then, Wesley was content to know that he wasn't leaving his homeland without hope, even if it wasn't much hope. He listened cheerfully as Jamie and Alice left, laughing and arguing as Jamie tried to assert himself,
"It was the Hellmouth I tell you!"
He smiled. If only they knew. Then he frowned. If only they knew… the monsters under you're bed are really there, there are things that do go bump in the night, and wow, you really don't want to meet them, giant snakes do eat school principals when given the chance… Still, though t Wesley, the world would always be safe, because the world would always have him.