"You have got to be kidding!" Xander stared at the creature chained to the wall.
"We've had this discussion," Giles said wearily.
The monster showed its teeth and jerked against the chains that bolted it to the stone wall.
"But we haven't discussed it when I knew what vampires looked like!" Xander started backing away, but Giles grabbed his arm to prevent his retreat.
"You are the sacred hunter, the one born to this generation. You will not disgrace centuries of hunters who came before you.
Xander might debate that. Right now he was almost sure he was about to pee his pants. Vampires were *scary*. "I could just shoot it from back here. A head shot with a shotgun..." Would spray brains all over the wall right before it all turned to dust. Xander's stomach rolled miserably. Two weeks ago he was normal... average... ignored. Now he had a British tutor or nanny or something and suddenly people had expectations that he was going to save the world or something. Xander actually preferred being ignored--he had more experience with it.
"Remember what I said," Giles said. "You need contact with the vampire. That is how you absorb their powers. This works with some other demons as well, but sacred hunters were designed to fight vampires, so you will always be able to steal the strength of vampires. Now put your hand on his chest."
"Do I have to?"
"Yes!" Giles snapped. Then he sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Please."
Xander trembled as he reached out to touch the monster. It snapped its teeth and growled.
"Now maintain contact while you stake it," Giles said in a tone of voice that implied this was all normal, boring even. He handed Xander a stake and Xander held tightly in his right hand while his left tingled where he was in contact with the vampire. "You will feel the effects of the sacred hunter spell as it dies, so do not break contact."
"I can feel it now," Xander said as his fingers seemed to warm where he touched the vampire. The vampire had stopped growling and now it looked confused, or as confused as an undead monster could look.
"That's your imagination," Giles said. "Now stake the creature."
Xander was on the verge of disagreeing when he just shut his mouth. It wasn't worth arguing because he never won when it came to Giles. The man was annoyingly right about everything, even when he wasn't. However, Xander had to admit that slaying the people-eating monster was probably a good idea. He could this and then go eat a gallon of ice cream with Jesse and Willow.
"Hit the heart, and keep contact until the creature turns to dust," Giles coached him. Xander took a deep breath and brought the stake down so that it sank into the vampire's chest. The vampire's eyes went large, and then Xander had a weird flash. He saw a vampire with blond hair standing at the end of a table. He looked up at Xander.
"Well, what do we have here?" he asked in an English accent. "Better watch yourself, pet. I'll find you eventually and I will have my third sacred hunter," he warned. He smiled, and suddenly the image was gone, and so was the vampire Xander had staked. As the creature turned to dust, Xander stumbled forward until his palm was flat against the stone wall.
"Excellent." Giles rested a hand against Xander's shoulder. "You should feel the monster's strength in you now. We need to train so you understand how to use your body while you're carrying the additional power."
"And then what? You'll chain up another monster for me?" Xander's voice was going up into dangerously girly territory.
"No, then you'll need to start hunting your own vampires, and every time you maintain contact while they die, you will get more power. So now we go upstairs and we train." Giles slapped him on the back and then turned toward the stairs. "Do hurry up. We have a lot of training to complete tonight."
“Oh God. You’re him.” Xander stared at the bleached vampire standing in front of him. The two brutes holding his arms gripped tighter. “You’re the one I see in my visions.”
“That’s right, pet. Spike’s the name. So, you’re the latest sacred hunter. You took out a lot of my minions tonight. There are consequences for that.”
“You sent them to kill me!” Xander’s voice broke on the last word. Spike smirked, his cheekbones growing more pronounced.
“Actually I didn’t, luv. I told them to bring you here so I could kill you.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. That makes all the difference in the world seeing as how I’m dead either way.”
Spike stopped right in front of him and studied Xander. It wasn’t all that long ago that Xander was the class loser, so he knew the look a bully got right before pounding the crap out of his chosen victim. And Xander didn’t have the strength to fight. He kept trying to get his hands on Brutes One and Two, but they were careful to hold his arms without letting him touch them. Maybe they knew what Giles seemed intent on denying—that Xander got his powers from touching vampires, not from killing them.
“Fine. Do it. Go on before you bore me to death.” Xander tried hard to keep his voice steady, but it had a slight tremor to it anyway.
“You bloody little sod. Did you just call me boring?” Spike drew up to his full height, which was still shorter than Xander.
“If the fang fits…”
“You’re trying to talk me to death. You kinda are.”
Spike gestured to the two thugs and they dropped Xander onto the cracked linoleum floor. He was going to die in a tacky abandoned house. Before Xander had time to think anything else, Spike grabbed him by this throat and backed him up against the wall. Spike pressed his body against Xander’s, trapping him. Of course, the long fingers holding Xander’s neck did a pretty good job of that too.
Xander grabbed Spike’s wrist in one hand and rested his hand against Spike’s neck with the other. Immediately Spike went dangerously still.
“Pet, if you’re using mojo on me, I’m going to make your death last a lot longer than I had planned, and you won’t enjoy a second of it,” he warned.
“Hey, that’s just me. Sacred hunter here. We are mojo.”
“Wha… you’re feeding!” Xander might have confirmed that, only he was suddenly flying across the room. He crashed into the far wall head first and collapsed to the ground.
“Grab him, you nits. Don’t let him touch you. You, get a sheet and pull it into strips. You, get rope or chains,” Spike snapped the orders off one after another, and by the time Xander even tried to right himself, he had supernaturally strong hands pinning him to the ground.
“Hey! Get off me you overgrown Chihuahua!”
“Pipe down or I’ll gag you, pet,” Spike warned. Xander might have kept yelling but he got the feeling that Spike didn’t say things he didn’t mean. “Right then, there’s something here I don’t understand. Now either you’re going to help me understand or I’m going to eat you.”
“You’re going to eat me anyway,” Xander pointed out. He tried really hard to be calm, but it wasn’t easy when he was essentially out of gas and he had three vampires sitting on him and a Master Vampire issuing threats.
“Maybe,” Spike said, “but I can make your end far more agreeable. So, I thought you lot had to kill us to get power. Let’s start by talking about that.” Spike crouched down near Xander’s so that Xander could see him bounce on his toes. He was so screwed.
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