Bad Things

Author: AlanP <alan.p[at]>

Summary: Bad things happen to good people.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Feedback: Please! I love feedback! I don't bite, honest!

Chapter 1


Chapter 2

The following morning found Xander shivering on the cold stone floor. He had gotten little to no sleep during the night, and the grey halflight of dawn kept his paranoid eyes open.

A clang announced the presence of someone, and Xander tried to turn his head as his ears pricked up.

But the iron restraints held fast.

"So eager to help me?," the man smiled. "I'll start preparing for the ceremony, now. Are you wounded in any way?"

Xander blinked. "Absolutely. I think I broke my leg trying to get out of these things last night."

The man crouched by Xander's legs, but did not release them as Xander had hoped he would. "I detect no break, I'm afraid. Are you certain?"

"Sure," Xander said. "It was right after you gave me dinner."

The man smiled as he got back to his feet. "Ah, an example of American levity. Very droll."

Xander's eyes were restricted to a narrow view of the rafters overhead, chained to the floor as he was, but he could hear the sound of something being dragged around. "What's that?"

"Hmm?," West said. "Oh, merely the pentagram component."

"Is that all?," Xander said. "And here I thought it might be something important, like liquified Twinkie."

West sighed, exasperation clear in his tone.

"A warning to anyone still in command," Xander quoted, "of their possible future... to take care."

The sound of powder sliding down a funnel rasped around the warehouse, as the man worked in silence, steadfastly ignoring Xander.

"I know the Slayer," Xander tried.

"Do you always attempt to annoy your betters?," West demanded. "Or do you always hide behind the skirts of females?"

"I laugh in the face of danger," Xander retorted. "Then I hide until it goes away."

"Laudable... most... laudable," West said, pausing as he checked his layout of his powder.

The sound of scraping began. Rasp. Rasp. Rassssssppppp.

"What's that sound?," Xander asked.

"That is the sound of inevitability," West quoted. "No, I'm afraid it's merely myself correcting mistakes brought on by your incessant babble."

"Hey, do you know an asshole called Ethan Rayne, by any chance?," Xander asked.

A long pause ensued, during which the rasping noise of West tidying his lines continued. Finally, the Englishman answered. "Yes, we've met. No discipline, that man."

"He tried some possession thing once," Xander continued. "I got possessed by some soldier, the Buffster by some noblewoman. The whole town. Then we kicked his ass."

West paused again, carefully setting down his trowel. Then he gave in to a long, loud laugh. "Hahahahahahaha.... hahahah... oh, that's a good one. Ethan Rayne, actually capable of summoning something."

"It happened," Xander protested, feeling that the man was denigrating what Xander had gone through. "I still get nightmares from Soldier-boy."

West managed to bring himself under control, composed himself, then the sliding sound of powder moving down the funnel began again.

"No, that wasn't possession," West said. "That was channeling, and undoubtedly through a third party of some sort. Probably Loki, Janus, Coyote, one of the trickster gods. No, the only possession Rayne ever managed was when he had several other people helping him. And even then, he botched it up."

"Eyghon?," Xander asked. "Man, that was some bad juju."

"Yes," West said. "How did you know the name of the thing?"

"Ol' Ripper is, or was, my school Librarian," Xander said easily. "Trust me, no one ever returned a book late."

True. He'd never seen anyone get any books out.

"You're an amazing find," West said.

"Amazing enough to consider letting me go?," Xander asked. "I promise I won't come back."

Well, he wouldn't, but the Slayer would...

"No," West said. "Ah, and here is the final line."

The sliding sibilance of shifting sand sounded for a period, then stopped. Xander tried huffing out the corner of his mouth, to disarrange the patterns West had laid down.

The Englishman laughed. "That won't do anything."

"What is that stuff, anyway?," Xander asked.

"Let's just say that I'd probably be number one on the conservationist's hitlist if they found out," West said. Xander could almost hear the smirk in the man's voice. "No, they wouldn't be happy at all."

A tongue of flame teased the corner of Xander's vision momentarily, and he opened his mouth.

"Before you ask, I'm lighting the candles in preparation," West said, annoyance plain in his voice. "This will take several hours to complete and if you interrupt, I will gag you."

"I think I'd be happy if even Dad turned up about now," Xander muttered.


Giles looked around. Something was teasing his senses, both real and mystical, even though his mystical senses had almost atrophied through disuse.

Something was coming. Something bad, even by Sunnydale's previous standards.

Chapter 3

Xander's breathing started to quicken as he felt cold steel touching his chest.

"What are you doing now?," he demanded. "I want OUT of here! Stop this crazy thing!"

"Calm yourself," West chided Xander. "Your clothes will only hinder the flow of energies."

The young scooby tried to move, but the numerous restraints he was encased in prevented him from twitching as West slowly drew the razor sharp knife along his clothes. Spread-eagled, ruthlessly chained, Xander could do nothing except lie there.

"Let me out!," Xander yelled again. "HEEEEELLLLLP!"

"I'm afraid that will do you no good," West said, sounding quite amused. "We're quite well insulated, sonically."

West pulled Xander's shirt and singlet away from him, and Xander's body tried to shiver as it came into direct contact with the cold cement that the restraints were cast in. West then began to slide the knife up Xander's shins, circling the base of his knees and then stripping away those two rectangles of denim. The thin British man put them under his belt for the time being.

"You're not gonna take away my underdaks, are you?," Xander asked nervously. "I mean, I really do not like you that way..."

"I could leave you with your underwear, I suppose," West said thoughtfully. "For my sake as well as yours."

"Thank God," Xander muttered under his breath.

The knife then began to move up the remainder of Xander's jeans, after West had undone Xander's fly and belt. The fear that Xander felt intensified -- he was still only able to look directly up at the rafters, and could only feel the cold blade sliding along his flesh.

"Get away from me! Shoo! Scat! Baaad demon summoner!," Xander scolded.

Finally, Xander was laying almost naked on the concrete, faintly shaking. West stood up, and took a look at what he had done.

"Very neat, very tidy," West said approvingly. "Not one nick, not one cut."

"I'm gonna have to take your word on that," Xander grumbled. "All I can see are dustbunnies and spiders."

He then felt the knife again, but pain was present this time. The pain slid around his upper torso, above his heart, but did not descend as far as his ribs.

"Aaaagh! Owwww! I thought you were after my clothes!"

West kept the knife moving, but felt obliged to explain slightly. "This is merely another pentagram to focus power in your body instead of in the area of the center of the ourside pentagram as per normal."

"Oh, is that all?," Xander said. "Not something important?"

West completed the design, then stood up. His knees popped as he did so.

"Hey, it's kinda cold here," the teenager tried.

"Would you like a blanket?," West asked, a sneer present in his voice.

"That'd be nice," Xander said.

The British wizard carefully stepped over the lines of powder he had drawn, and put down the knife and the clothes he had stripped Xander of down on a work table that Xander could not see. The sound of a tupperware container being opened resonated around the empty warehouse momentarily, before West returned to where he had been crouching by Xander.

"Are we talking world endage, world take-over-age, or general evilness here?," Xander asked, mind wandering.

"You could consider self-interest general evil, I suppose," West said, putting the container between Xander's legs for lack of a better empty place that would not smudge his lines. The container was of a considerable size.

"That doesn't feel like a blanket," Xander said, feeling some kind of hair, or fur, being placed on his chest.

"It isn't," West said distractedly. "This is a complete lion's mane."

The fur that was placed directly above the pentagram carved on Xander's chest matted as it mixed with the freely flowing blood, feeling strange against his skin.

"You don't mean that the powder...," Xander trailed off.

"Yes, powdered lion bones," West said, quite happy. "Cost a pretty penny, too. Why, it used to be far cheaper."

Xander felt sick.

West continued carefully placing the pieces of mane on Xander, then paused. "I seem to have reached a quandary. While I've placed as much mane on your torso, I fear no more can be placed there lest it start to fall off."

"No go on the ceremony thing, then? Oh, such a shame. I feel for you, I really do."

Xander felt the cold steel blade slide across his hips, as the mage removed his underwear.

"HEY! You said you'd leave them on!"

"I'm very sorry," West apologised. "I did say that I would leave them on you, but it would appear they must be removed. I can't have a barrier between yourself and the component."

Well, at least the fur that West was placing over Xander's pelvis and upper legs was giving him some sort of modesty.

The British man got up again, picking up his box as he did so. "There, that's that. Time to light the candles and begin."

The sound of a Zippo being lit rasped at Xander's ears, as his heartbeat began to quicken.


Xander had helped the Slayer for three years, now, and had often faced evil alongside her.

Never, though, had he ever experienced it like this.

Before, it had been to break up ceremonies and kill the demons and vampires present. If his skin had crawled, it had only been to look on the distorted visages.

The candles burnt far, far brighter than they should have been able to during the several hours that West had spent performing his ceremony so far. The light they cast lit up the rafters he could view as if they were five suns. A red light emanated from the powdered bone, and also from the blood that West had so carefully dribbled onto them from living creatures. The fur laid on Xander's chest and pelvis was hot with a wholly unnatural heat, and somehow the blood kept flowing from the pentagram carved on his chest, and he did not black out from blood loss.

For the very first time, Xander appreciated how Amy Madison never, ever wanted to help the Slayer. She had gone through this with her mother, albeit at a very, very diminished level of pain.

The red lines of light cast by the pentagrams flared through the red fog as the lines were consumed. Five candles dotted a circle around Xander, and the design carved into his flesh had healed to nothing. The lion's mane on his chest started to meld with his skin, and for the first time since this ordeal had started, Xander started to genuinely scream as the demon began to manifest itself in him.

Chapter 4

Xander heard someone screaming, as he felt his bones twist and crack. He distantly realised that he was the screamer. Compounding the physical pain was a feeling of wrongness that permeated the air, even his very blood. His eyes flashed a pale gold as the pain went up a level. The screaming abruptly stopped, but not because the pain stopped. Xander would have liked to have been able to continue screaming, but he found that he was no longer in control of his body.

What he liked to term his 'mental hyena', or the remnants from that unfortunate incident in first year, roared out of his subconscious. Xander felt it as a third presence, racing around his head. A cat screamed defiance at the spirit, and the teenager was suddenly glad that he was not in control of his body.

Pure revulsion would have forced him to vomit, at the presence of the Demon.

The teenaged male body's back arched as the muscles reshaped themselves as well. His shins shortened, as his foot lengthened and grew long claws. The somewhat simian stance that would be normal for this body was wholly replaced by a more feline skeletal structure. Then his skull, and grey matter followed suit and he screamed again, in the silent jail of his mind.

Then it was gone.

No more pain.

Just an overwhelming sense that Evil was present, in a form that Xander had never experienced. The closest thing he had come across prior to this was a vague sense of wrongness adhering to the Mayor's ascended form.

He tried to blink, only to find that still, he was not in control of the body. Even if it didn't look even remotely like his old Xander-shaped body, it was still his!

"I command you to stand," he heard West say in a stentorian voice.

The scooby 'felt' another consciousness stir, in the depths of his mind. It gave off rage, or so he perceived even though he could not see it. His body began to move, obviously by the will of this other consciousness, snapping the steel restraints cast into the very cement of the warehouse floor with ease.

As the cat (for so he assumed it was) stretched, he took the opportunity to look over the paws of the creature. While he could not control the body in any fashion whatsoever, he could take the chance to look passively out the staring eyes of the demon.


Buffy whistled as she sauntered through the Happy Rest graveyard, flipping a stake in her hands. The whistling stopped suddenly as what Xander called her 'Spidey Sense' started screaming at her that Something Was Here.

She looked around. The grey halflight of suburban night mocked her. The blonde Slayer gasped as she saw a faint outline of a great cat in one of the pools of shadow. The lion, for so it seemed, glimmered faintly with an internal light. This, then, was what had tripped her internal alarms.

Well, it was glowing white, wasn't it? Buffy decided to try and befriend it.

"Niiice kitty kitty," Buffy whispered to the proud male lion, beckoning to herself. "Heeere puss puss puss."

The great cat looked at her with a supremely insulted expression.

The blonde put her stake away, and slowly approached the supernatural animal, one hand outstretched as she continued to whisper to it.

"Aren't you a pretty kitty?," Buffy whispered. "Yes you are! Yes, you are! Come to Buffy..."

If the cat had not liked her initial vocal offerings, he surely did not like her new attempts. It bounded off, tufted tail flicking irritably.

"Darn it!," Buffy frowned. She blinked as it disappeared under the brilliant street lights, only to have it's glimmering outline reappear once it had returned to the safety of the blanketing night.


"Hey, Giles," Buffy called out as she obediently wandered into the school Library. Man, this sucked. She had to come to school during the holidays?!

"Er, hello, Buffy," her Watcher said, looking up from an old book. "How did your patrol last night go? Alright, I hope?"

"Just a few newbies at Eternal Heaven," the Slayer shrugged. "I think the old vamps all like migrate, or something."

"Quite possible, given the climate we enjoy here in sunny California," Giles nodded. "However, this does not mean that we can dare lessen our vigilance."


"Er, lower our guard," Giles continued. "Was there anything else, during patrol?"

"Uhhhh.... hey!," Buffy realised, brightening up. "I saw this really beautiful lion, last night."

"A, a lion?!," Giles gasped. "We really must call the authorities for this, Buffy."

"He was some kinda Hellmouthy lion," Buffy continued, ignoring the Brit. "You couldn't actually see him, you could just see this white light he gave off, you know?"

"Fascinating," Giles smiled. "It could, perhaps, be a ghost of some sort."

"It was kinda weird how he turned invisible under the streetlight, though," the Slayer frowned. "And I don't think he liked me calling him 'kitty', or 'puss'."

Giles rolled his eyes. "I doubt any cat would, if you were not offering it food. Er, hang on a minute, did you say it turned invisible?"

"Yeah, under the streetlight," Buffy nodded. "Well, ciao. Mum wants to do a mother-daughter lunch thing."

Giles nodded, a faint frown lightly covering his face. "Yes, yes, something about this seems familiar... I've read about this variety of lion somewhere... if only I could remember where."

Buffy shrugged, as her Watcher wandered absently into his office. Time for some Subway with Mum, in her opinion!

Chapter 5

Giles frowned, as he looked at the paper.

"How disturbing," he said.

"What?," Buffy asked as she and Willow wandered into the Library. "Hey, here's a thought. Maybe you should get a job at the 'varsity library, so I don't have to come here all the time."

"I tried," Giles said absently, holding the day's newspaper out to Buffy. "Here, look at this."

The headline for the day was 'NEW MAYOR VIOLENTLY MURDERED!', and a picture showed a bloodsoaked office. Giles was rather disappointed -- the new mayor had appeared to have been a hardheaded man who had little time for politics and empire building.

"Ouch," Willow winced. "He didn't last long."

"Quite," Giles agreed. "The most interesting part, for our purposes, is his manner of death. The officer at the scene said that it looked like he'd been torn apart by a wild animal. Please note, no mention of barbeque forks is made."

"Meaning a demon," Buffy nodded. "What's it look like?"

"I-I'm afraid I have no idea," Giles sighed. "I wasn't allowed into City Hall, and the paper makes no usable description. My advice to you is to perhaps make some extra patrols this week, to scout out some of the more obscure cemetaries in town."

"Check," Buffy nodded. "Okay, there was a big zip on vamps last night."

"Really?," Giles asked, assuming that by zip Buffy meant she had found no vampires.

"It was like dead for the undead," she shrugged. "Well, look at the time, Wills and I have to study! Ciao!"


Xander felt he now had a pretty good handle on how Deadboy had felt during that whole Acathla-Angelus deal. He'd found himself unable to sleep, unable to close his eyes, unable to do anything but passively watch as the demon possessing his body did the bidding of the demonologist West.

A minor high point -- the only high point -- was that the demon seemed to like expending it's rage on any vampires it happened across. Xander wished it wasn't so picky -- it treated any other demons it came across with supreme disdain. The Slayer disgusted it greatly, for some reason, and it refused to as much as touch the blonde.

The image of Mayor Newman stood starkly in his mind's eye, as the demon snoozed. West had disliked the man, as Newman had been far too resilient mentally to be susceptible to supernatural mental control. Gobbets of the deceased new mayor's brains, and flesh had decorated the paws and claws of the demonic cat until half an hour ago, when the demon had licked it's paws clean. Xander felt sick to his... well, not his stomach, what with the whole passive-possessed thing, but definitely really, really sick. It had tasted kinda like chicken. Xander didn't know whether that was due to the demon's tastebuds or what, and didn't want to speculate further.

Giles!, Xander thought. Buff! Wills! Heeeeeeeelp!


The Watcher paused a moment, then shook his head. Strange. He'd thought he'd heard something.

He pulled down one of the less detailed bestiaries he had lying around. Given Buffy's description of that peculiar cat, he had decided to try and find a generalised description in this book, then look up a more detailed description in one of the more esoteric books.

He looked up the Feline section, skipping over the Dire Tigers and Dire Lions. Buffy had said that it was translucent, if he recalled correctly.

"Hmmm... let me see... what on earth are Displacer Beasts doing under Felines?! Good grief... well, that would be a no. Hmm... Hellcats..."

The description was a match, although Giles was at a loss as to how Buffy had survived her encounter with it intact. He walked over to the telephone, and rang the cellphone number that Buffy had given him.

"Hello? Is this Buffy?"

"Ah, good. I've found out what the cat you encountered is."

"Cute is the last word I'd use. It was a Hellcat, a feline demon. Assuming it was summoned here, it should be gone by now."

"It would take an extraordinary demonologist to summon a demon and have it stay that long, Buffy. The summoner would need to... I don't know, perform a possession on an unwilling subject."

"Alright. I will see you later?"



Xander screamed out to the man below to RUN! Unfortunately, he still had no control over his body, so the blue-clad man

The Hellcat silently dropped from the leafy tree to the footpath, behind the man. In the brilliant sunlight, the silvery outline of the demon was almost invisible. As a result, when it took out the man's throat with a heavy paw full of claws, there was no visible aggressor to any witnesses.

West would be pleased. That meant, inevitably, that Xander would despair.

Chapter 6

Xander watched passively through silver-outlined feline eyes, as the Hellcat demon possessing his body glared at Ebenezer West. West had no use for an assassin for the time being, and so it had to wait on his whim.

The proud Hellcat hated being ordered around, and forced to surrender it's own will to another being. Xander could empathise -- if he were being forced into virtual slavery, he'd hate it too.

The nigh-invisible lion's jaws opened wide, as it yawned then settled down to sleep. Xander tried to resist the urge, but soon he too joined the demon in slumber.


Giles paged hurriedly through a bestiary as his Slayer watched on, intrigued.

"This, this really isn't normal," he tried to explain. "The demon, if it has been summoned into a possession as the latest attack would seen to indicate, would have no reason to lie low, as it were."

"Maybe it decided to go to the big smoke," Buffy suggested. "Go shopping in Hollywood, get it's nails done, you know?"

Giles gave the Slayer the Stare. "It is a demon, Buffy. It will want to return to it's home in the Abyss.

"What, what if the person who summoned it is forcing it to hide," Willow suggested.

"A very good idea," Giles nodded. "Quite possibly, in fact, the correct one. Buffy if you see anything, anything uh..."

"Weird, I let you know ASAP," Buffy nodded. "Gotcha."

"Well, I believe that that is all for the night," Giles said. "We may as well leave on patrol now. Willow, I'll drop you off home first."

"Okay," Willow said. "You know, Xander still hasn't sent me any postcards."

"Didn't he say he was going on a tour of all the states of America?," Buffy asked.

"He will have a spot of bother getting to Hawaii then," Giles observed.

"Especially as his car was in almost as bad shape as yours," Buffy remarked acidly, as they reached the 'antique' car.

"This car is a classic!," Giles sputtered.

"Did he take a cell phone with him?," Willow began to worry. "Because if he did then we can ring him, but if he didn't then he could be in all kinds of trouble with no way of asking us for help! What if he got attacked, and--"

Buffy quietened her friend with a finger on the red-head's lips. "Chill. He can always call collect."


If Xander still had a body (or at least control of one), he would have been sweating as he woke.

The male Hellcat, deprived of it's mates, friends and fellow demons, had been homesick as it slept.

Xander wouldn't have had a problem with that, except that he had been forced to watch the demon's dreams.

'Who'da thought that one guy cat could get it on with so many girl cats?,' Xander thought to himself. 'Oh, yeaaaaahhhh... But the whole biting in the middle, brrr.'

"I have a mission for you," West said, observing the Hellcat's stirrings.

The demon rumbled curiously.

West languidly held up a photograph of a young female police officer. "This one has been sent here. Kill her."

He held a glove out to the cat, formerly belonging to the officer.It sniffed it, then leapt up into the rafters of the warehouse, leaving via an open upper window.

The Hellcat felt a powerful entity nearby... the Traitor! It had encountered it before, but decided to meet it again. West had failed to instruct the Hellcat to not deviate from his orders this time.


Buffy stiffened as she felt the presence of that Hellcat-thing that she'd seen before. Despite what Giles had said about it, she still thought that it was cute.

The Slayer paused as it stood silently in the darkness, visible as a silvery outline in the murky night

"How am I supposed to dust you?," she asked rhetorically. "Stake? Beheading? Toenail clippings?"

*The one who orders the deaths is this man,* a deep, bassy voice said. Buffy abruptly realised that it was the cat, as an image of a thin British man in old, but clean clothes appeared in her mental vision. *He is at this location.*

"Why are you telling me this?," Buffy asked, confused. "Aren't you a bad guy?"

*I HATE you, traitor!,* the Hellcat spat at her. *But I hate that Summoner more! KILL HIM!*

With that, the feline leapt off to complete it's mission.