“What's going on?” Dawn asked in that whiney voice that could get on Buffy's nerves in ten seconds flat.
“I'll explain after I talk with Willow,” Buffy said, pulling into their hotel. Dealing with check-in with the ruthless efficiency of experience, Buffy refused to say anything until they were in their room.
“That privacy gadget would certainly come in handy,” Dawn told her, flopping down onto her bed.
“Just something else to break,” Buffy muttered, lying back on her own bed before pulling out her phone to call Willow.
“Hey Willow!” Dawn yelled.
“Yes, we're in Middleton. Let me put you on speakerphone.” Buffy pressed a button on her phone before propping it up on the small table between the two beds.
“Hey Dawn,” Willow said, her cheerful voice flooding the room.
“Hey Willow, why didn't you tell us there was a slayer in Middleton?” Dawn asked.
“And why doesn't she show up on our active slayer rolls?” Buffy added.
“So, you've met Bonnie? She kind of reminds me of an early Cordelia.” Willow said. “With evil stepsisters, but without the growing up on a Hellmouth vibe. She's even a cheerleader.”
“Bonnie who?” Buffy asked, confused, looking at her sister. Dawn shrugged.
“Bonnie Rockwaller. She's the only slayer in that area. She's one of our reserves. Kennedy's been keeping an eye on her. She doesn't have to do much. There's some secret government project over near Colorado Springs that keeps the area clear of most demons and some teen hero type who scares away the rest.” Willow said. “I think Bonnie has issues with her, sort of like Cordelia did with you.”
“Great,” Dawn grumbled, covering her face with her pillow. “Just what we need.”
“Willow?” Buffy asked, shaking her head at her sister. “Do you have any idea why we're in Middleton?”
“It's another round in the Giles, Doctor Director dance,” Willow said, giggling. “She wanted a favor, he agreed.”
“Not how I would have put it,” Buffy said. “But close. We're here because the local teen hero is one of Betty's pet projects and she wants to learn how to fight vampires.”
“Local teen hero? Not the one Bonnie hates?” Willow asked, the concern in her voice clear.
“If it's Kim Possible, yes,” Buffy said.
“Crap!” Willow grumbled. “Umm… Buffy?”
“Yes?” Buffy answered in a very sugary voice, that sent Dawn into a fit of giggles that was only partly drowned out by her pillow.
“If you didn't know about Bonnie, who are you talking about?” Willow asked as soon as Dawn calmed down.
“Guess,” Dawn said, from under her pillow, loud enough for Willow to hear.
“Double crap!” Willow swore. “How did that happen?”
“You tell me,” Buffy said. “I'm just a poor country slayer. You big city witches are in charge of such things.”
“Okay, we've had competing slayers in the same town before, haven't we?” Willow asked. They both ignored Dawn's snort of amusement.
“Only if you count Faith and myself,” Buffy said. “Of course, we ended up trying to kill each other. But I think we've got bigger problems.”
“Like what?” Willow asked.
“Do you remember doing any research on ‘Team Possible’ last week?” Buffy asked. “Before you sent me the tickets?”
“What would happen if Doctor Director found out her precious Kim Possible was suddenly a slayer?”
“We'd never hear the end of it,” Willow said. “And she would finally get her hands on a slayer.”
“Exactly. I need you and Giles to figure out a way to keep her out of Global Justice's hands before Betty figures this out. The sooner the better. Tomorrow even.”
“Got it,” Willow said, her tone now sober. “What do you plan on doing?”
“We're going to have to wing it tomorrow. Betty knows we're here but I don't think it would be a good idea to send anyone else. Which is too bad, we could really use Xander for this one, he's much better with the parent thing.” Buffy sighed. “Dawn and I'll have to keep a lid on things when we explain this to Kim. Her parents are supposed to be geniuses. Hopefully we can convince them this is a good thing.”
“You're dreaming,” Dawn muttered, her comment ignored.
“Okay.” Willow said. “Anything else?”
“Yes. Have Kennedy pass a message to this Bonnie. We're going to be at Middleton High School after cheerleader practice. Tell her and her watcher to meet us there. I'm assuming she has a watcher of some sort?” Buffy asked.
“Not as such,” Willow told them.
“Which means?” Buffy asked, feeling the urge to reach over and throw her phone across the room.
“Buffy, you know we don't have enough real watchers to go around,” Willow said. “Besides, she's just a reserve, in a place that has fewer demons than the Vatican or Hawaii.”
“Tell me she at least has someone she can call in an emergency?” Buffy said.
“Of course! We even found her a local trainer,” Willow said. Buffy could almost see the pout she heard in her voice. “Riley recommended him.”
“Riley?” Buffy choked. “Tell me we don't have someone from the Initiative training one of our slayers.”
“Not exactly,” Willow said. “He gave us the names of several people who retired when Maggie Walsh took over. One of them just happened to be living right there in Middleton. He agreed to help Bonnie out.”
“What did Kennedy think of him?” Buffy asked, ignoring Dawn's surprised expression. In Buffy's opinion, a little Kennedy went a long way but she had an amazing and almost scary ability to analyze the probable success of Watcher candidates. Not that she would ever tell her that.
“She said he was like one of the retired drill sergeants that used to visit her watcher when she was growing up,” Willow said. “Rough around the edges but she couldn't be in better hands.”
“Okay.” Buffy yawned, the last week finally catching up to her. “I would definitely like to meet him.”
“I'll take care of it,” Willow said.
“Great. I'll talk with you tomorrow afterward.” Buffy told her. “Bye.” Reaching over, she closed the connection and flopped back on her bed.
“Are you sure it's a good idea?” Dawn asked her. “Meeting this Bonnie and Kim at the same time tomorrow?”
“No, but it's all I've got right now,” Buffy said, yawning again. “Hopefully they're just friendly competitors.”
“Buffy?” Dawn asked.
“Yeah?” Buffy rolled off of her bed and started digging through her suitcase.
“You do remember being a teenager, don't you?”
“Yes…” Buffy wondered where she was going with this.
“And you were a cheerleader back at Hemery.”
“Stating the obvious…” Buffy said, pulling out her favorite shampoo.
“Do you really think Kim and this Bonnie are just friendly competitors?” Dawn asked, shaking her head.
Buffy gave her the only reasonable response she could think of. Sticking out her tongue, she grabbed her pillow and threw it at her sister.
“Woah!” Kim blurted out, coming to a stop just inside the gym door. There were mats all over the hardwood floor, though she suspected they were there to protect the floor and not the two women using it.
Walking towards the stands, Kim couldn't take her eyes off of the action in the middle of the floor. Yori and Buffy seemed to be everywhere, in constant violent motion.
They used the walls, the stand, even the ropes. Everything seemed fair game, though they avoided the small section of stand containing their audience. Every move Yori made in the signature Yamanouchi style, Buffy countered with something that looked familiar to Kim but she couldn't quite place.
She'd actually spent some time researching the Yamanouchi school the previous summer, after she'd found out Ron's connections to it. Its disciples weren't into fancy moves like so many modern martial arts. It was the ultimate in stealthy fighting, which made sense since the Yamanouchi school turned out some of the best ninjas in the world.
Kim had never had the opportunity to spar with Yori herself but from the way they moved, almost dance-like as they attacked and counter attacked, she suspected she might have met her match.
“Who's that with Bonnie and Mr. Barkin?” Ron asked, peaking over her shoulder. Hopping up onto his shoulder, Rufus muttered “Uh-huh, Bonnie.” before diving back into a pocket.
“Did you know Yori was going to be here today?” Kim asked, turning and giving her best friend a piercing look, his comment not really registering.
“Maybe?” Ron said. “She might have said something about being here for summer…” He looked puzzled for a minute. “But it's still spring.”
Kim groaned. “Ron?”
“Yeah?” he said, following her over to the bleachers, keeping Kim between Bonnie and himself.
“Did you look at that video from Wade when you got home last night?” Kim asked. “At all?”
“Watched it on the plane.” He told her proudly. “Can't wait to meet all those cute girls who hunt vampires. I think they're going to like the Ronster.”
Kim shook her head at his comment. “And you remember the names of the vampire hunters we're meeting with today?” she asked.
“I believe they call themselves ‘vampire slayers'” Ron corrected. “Something Summers? Oh… yeah.” Kim could almost see the light coming on over his head as he connected the name with Yori's comment.
Trying to ignore Bonnie's unexpected presence, to say nothing of Mr. Barkin, Kim focused on Yori and Buffy. As their bout progressed she could see the strain appearing on Yori's face while Buffy looked as if she were out for a stroll. In the background she could hear Buffy's sister having a quiet chat with Ron and Rufus, occasionally giggling at something one of them said.
Out of the corner of one eye she could see that Mr. Barkin had his eyes glued to Buffy, the expression on his face approaching awe, or as close to it as she'd ever seen. She wasn't sure what to think about Bonnie sitting there next to him. They seemed like such an odd couple. The moment the thought crossed her mind, Kim blanched. That was just so wrong, she thought.
She couldn't remember the last time she'd seen Bonnie this nervous looking. If she didn't know better she would have thought she was even terrified of something.
It wasn't until Yori and Buffy were finished, and were once more in the middle of the floor and bowing to each other, that Kim acknowledged the presence of Mr. Barkin and Bonnie.
“Hi Mr. Barkin, ‘B’,” Kim said, before taking out her kimmunicator.
“'K’, Stoppable,” Bonnie muttered, otherwise ignoring them.
“Miss Possible,” Mr. Barkin murmured in his gravely voice.
“Bonnie! Your turn!” Buffy called out, to Kim's surprise.
“Bonnie?” Ron squeaked.
“Watch carefully, Stoppable.” Mr. Barkin growled, giving him a look Kim recognized as the one he usually reserved for someone who was speaking in detention. “You might learn something.”
Nodding to Bonnie in passing, Yori seemed to almost float, a huge grin on her face, as she settled into the space between Ron and Kim.
“You did well.” Dawn told her from her position on the row above them.
“It is always my honor to be defeated by such a one as she,” Yori said.
“You know Buffy?” Kim asked.
“Yori spent some time with us in Cleveland last year.” Dawn said. “Buffy was on a trip for most of it but she promised Yori a chance to test her skills the next time they met.”
“What's Bonnie doing out there?” Kim asked, turning back to the center of the gym where Buffy and Bonnie seemed to be discussing something.
“Pep talk.” Mr. Barkin said bluntly, watching them intently.
“Pep talk?” Kim echoed, not sure what someone like Buffy could have to say to one of her least favorite people.
“It'll make sense in a minute,” Dawn said.
“Uh, huh!” Rufus added.
“You know?” Dawn asked Rufus. He nodded his head vigorously before jumping from Ron to her shoulder. Reaching up, she gently rubbed his head before offering him a cracker.
“He likes you,” Ron said, grinning at her.
As far as Kim had been able to discover, there were two things Ron was powerless to resist. Bueno Nacho and girls who fell for Rufus. Kim shook her head, turning back to where Buffy and Bonnie were still talking and trying to hide her smirk. But even with her very sensitive hearing, Kim couldn't make out what they were saying. It was almost as if they knew how good her hearing was and were intentionally talking too low for her to hear.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of her kimmunicator. “What's up Wade?” she asked in a low voice.
“Hey Kim.” Wade smiled at her like he knew something she didn't. “Can you put the kimmunicator up where I can see everything?” he asked.
“Sure thing.” Looking around, she pointed at the bleacher row above Dawn. “How about there?”
“Good.” A few clicks and the kimmunicator sprouted a clawed foot. When Kim put it down, it grasped the bench, rotating until the small camera pointed towards the center of the gym. “Thanks.” Kim nodded, turning back towards the action herself.
They started out very slowly. Buffy would move and Bonnie would follow with a counter to the move. Kim had the feeling that Bonnie could tell what the move was almost before it started. It was as if she was already moving seconds before Buffy. It could have been choreographed. Where the bout between Buffy and Yori had been an acrobatic ballet, this session was more like a waltz.
As Kim watched, she listened with only half an ear to Dawn as she narrated, naming each move in a language that vaguely sounded like a cross between Portuguese and Norwegian. She couldn't believe her eyes as Bonnie easily kept up, their movements speeding up to a pace that was almost a blur. Something very strange was going on.
“And this is where those of us who aren't slayers have to stop watching and rely on modern technology.” Dawn said, pointing to a small video camera nearby.
“You've been recording them?” Kim asked, taking her eyes off of the action for only a moment.
“Yup,” Dawn said. “Sometimes it's the only way for us ordinary mortals to keep up.”
“What are they doing now?” Kim asked, as the style shifted and became more like a kick boxing match than a dance. She winced at the sounds. She could almost feel the blows as Buffy blew past Bonnie's guard time and again.
“That would be the lesson in humility part of the exercise.” Dawn said, wincing herself at an especially loud sound as Buffy knocked Bonnie into a wall.
“Shouldn't we stop them?” Ron asked, looking slightly pale as Bonnie somehow returned the favor.
“They're slayers,” Dawn said. “It isn't safe to interfere in their dominance games.”
“Games?” Kim said, not turning from the brutal spectacle. “Bonnie's just a cheerleader. Like me. Mostly.”
“She's also a slayer who doesn't get much chance to use her skills,” Dawn said. “Middleton isn't exactly hopping with the supernatural night-life.”
“She needs this,” Mr. Barkin added gruffly, his attention not wavering.
“This is as much for your benefit as hers.” Dawn told Kim.
“My benefit?” Kim stared at her, finally pulled away from watching Buffy and Bonnie.
“We know you had no idea what a slayer was until yesterday,” Dawn said. “And I'm sure that finding out Bonnie is one is a surprise.”
“Major,” Kim admitted, turning to watch them again. They weren't fighting any longer. Buffy was standing there watching Bonnie pace back and forth in front of her ranting about something. She wondered how she'd missed the signs that Bonnie was different.
“Bonnie's a vampire slayer?” Ron blurted out. “What about him?” He gestured at Mr. Barkin.
“Uh-huh. Slayer.” Rufus interjected. “Scary.”
“We know the four of you,” Dawn gestured at Kim, Ron, Wade, and Rufus, “are good at what you do. You have the whole world traveling, crime fighting circus gig. But when it comes to the supernatural showing up in the Upperton-Middleton area, Bonnie's the closest expert. You're going to need to learn to work with her.”
“Why does she get Middleton?” Kim asked. She wasn't sure what she was feeling but it sure wasn't jealousy, but it was her job to do things, not Bonnie. “We live here too.”
“Because she's the slayer for this area.” Buffy said. Obviously not having heard her approach, Ron squeaked in surprise. Kim jumped in reaction to Ron's reaction but she hadn't really been surprised. She'd somehow known that Buffy was behind her. “But she's not going to prevent you from helping out in an emergency, right Bonnie?”
“Yes ma'am,” Bonnie grumbled. “As long as they don't get in the way.”
A polite, respectful Bonnie being almost as rare as unicorns, in Kim's opinion, she stared in amazement at her, a number of wildly different thoughts running through her head.
“How come no one ever told us about Bonnie.” Ron asked. Kim nodded in agreement.
“Does Clark Kent advertise?” Mr. Barkin asked. “Does the concept of ‘secrecy’ elude you Stoppable?”
“Gotcha.” Ron said, ignoring Mr. Barkin's tone. “Secret identity. The no-credit plan for world saveage.” Kim covered her mouth in an attempt to hide her giggle. Ron and Mr. Barkin had a very unusual relationship, like the gruff uncle and his annoying nephew.
“We don't advertise where our slayers live.” Buffy told them, her voice firm. “It's dangerous enough without every evil creature in the neighborhood interrupting dinner.”
“I don't know.” Dawn said. “You used that as an excuse to get out of chores more than once.”
“So, you're a master of Tai Shing Pek Kwar.” Buffy said to Ron, ignoring her sister's comment. Grabbing several bottles of water, she kept one for herself and threw the other to Bonnie.
Ron blushed, something Kim hadn't seen him do in years. “It comes and it goes,” he said.
“Yori seems to believe in your abilities,” Buffy told him.
“Stoppable-san is much too modest,” Yori added. “Sensei is very pleased with his progress.”
“Kim does all of the real fighting,” Ron protested. “Rufus and I are just her sidekicks.”
“I'm sure Kim doesn't see you that way,” Dawn said. “Right, Rufus?”
“Well, he is my official sidekick.” Kim said, winking at him.
“If I understand it correctly,” Dawn said, “isn't that just how things work in your profession? There's the hero and sidekick versus the super villain and their minions?”
“It is traditional, though we usually call them henchmen.” Kim agreed. “And most of our foes are big with the tradition.”
“Except Shego,” Ron said.
“Shego's different.” Kim agreed. “So, what are you going to show us?” she asked, quickly changing the subject, not wanting to discuss Shego.
“Let's see what you have first,” Buffy told her, putting down her bottle.
Kim grinned. She didn't think she was as good as Yori but she certainly was better than Bonnie, even if she didn't have whatever it was that made Bonnie a slayer. She did fight Shego on a regular basis after all. She wouldn't be surprised if Shego was at least as strong as a slayer.
Kim followed Buffy out into the middle of the gym. “How did you want to do this?” she asked, thinking about the completely different ways Buffy had sparred with Yori and Bonnie. If there had been any rules, she'd missed them.
“The goal is simple. I want to assess your current level of training.” Buffy told her. “But I'm not concerned about any specific style. How many black, blue, or green belts you have in whichever forms of martial arts you prefer doesn't matter here. I want to know your chances of surviving against a super strong foe that has no problem with killing you.”
“You mean like vampires?” Kim asked, sobered by the sudden seriousness.
“Yes,” Buffy said, kicking off her shoes. “Those are the kinds of supernatural creatures you are most likely to run into.”
“And then you're going to teach me how to kill them?” Kim asked skeptically, watching Buffy wiggle her toes and fingers. She couldn't quite see herself as a teenage Van Helsing. That was more of a Ron fantasy thing.
“Not necessarily.” Buffy gave her an enigmatic smile. “The first goal is to improve your chances of surviving. If you and your friends encounter any demons you need to know what to do. Demon hunting is a very dangerous occupation. My understanding is your future involves other things that you are better suited for.”
“You've been talking with Dr. Director,” Kim said, frowning unhappily. “She has all these plans for us.”
“The Council of Watchers, of which I'm a member, doesn't exactly see eye-to-eye with Betty.” Buffy told her, stretching as she talked. “She thinks slayers would make excellent agents. We don't agree.”
“Wouldn't they?” Kim asked curiously, removing her own shoes and socks to keep things fair. “You are super strong. With Global Justice training there aren't many criminals you couldn't defeat. If Global Justice had slayers, Team Possible could retire.”
“There are certain things you need to understand about slayers.” Buffy said, taking a swing at Kim that she easily dogged.
“Like what?” Kim did a backflip to give herself more room.
“We're mystical creatures. Destiny and prophecy aren't just fairy tales to us.” As she talked, Buffy threw another punch that Kim easily blocked, followed by a combination of punches and kicks that Kim just barely avoided. “We go where our dreams take us. In the long run, what a slayer does will hopefully benefit humanity but we don't really play well with others.”
“You mean like Bonnie?” Kim asked, smirking slightly.
“Yes.” Buffy agreed. “Or you.” She didn't give Kim any time to think, driving her back towards the far wall with a number of very quick kicks.
“I play well with others,” Kim protested, attempting to keep her breathing even. She hadn't had to work this hard to defend herself against anyone other than Shego in years.
“Do you?” Buffy asked, blocking a kick to her stomach. “If we asked Ron or Wade would they agree?”
Shrugging, Kim jumped up and grabbing one of the poles supporting the backboard, flung herself away from Buffy, cartwheeling back into the middle of the gym. Even as she stopped, she could feel Buffy right behind her. Diving to one side, she swung almost blindly behind her where she thought Buffy would land. Her hand hit a soft but immovable object, jarring her entire shoulder. Pivoting around her trapped arm, Kim managed to turn herself around.
“Clever,” Buffy said, gripping her wrist tightly. “But you can easily break a shoulder that way.”
“So slayers don't take orders well?” Kim asked, thinking she got the point about Global Justice.
“Exactly. Slayers are loners. It's in our nature. The younger someone becomes a slayer, the worse that tendency is.” Buffy said. “That lone wolf tendency is there no matter how much we try to deny it. Even when we have a group of friends, a pack, we still think of ourselves as alone and expect to do things our way.”
“Which means Dr. Director would only be able to trust them with missions they could do alone.” Kim said.
“Yes.” Buffy smiled at her, making Kim feel proud. “And what kinds of things would a government entity like Global Justice use the loner, James Bond type for?”
“Well, I don't think they would need to have assassins.” Kim flipped Buffy, though she didn't end up on her back like Kim expected. In a maneuver that would have done Shego proud, Kim found herself flying across the room, once more ending up against a wall. Ducking down, she just barely dodged a foot that was aimed at her chin.
“No, that's exactly what dear old Betty wanted some of my slayers for.” Buffy told her. “And that would be bad for a number of reasons that we won't get into right now. Fortunately, we managed to come to an agreement. We would train her people to survive the run-of-the-mill demonic creatures…”
“Vampires?” Kim frowned at the thought of Dr. Director being ruthless enough to need assassins. Sure, if she thought about it, ninjas like Yori were actually trained assassins but she seemed so innocent, and not very assassin like.
“And some of the other minor demons, hell hounds, that kind of thing.” Buffy continued, attacking even as she spoke. “She agreed to leave our slayers alone and not try to recruit them. It took some arm twisting but she finally saw the light. Giles tends to win in the end.”
“Giles?” Kim gasped out as she dodged another blow.
“Rupert Giles, the head of the Council. He used to train slayers, now he runs it for us.” Buffy said.
Thinking about the things Wade had discovered in GJ's secret files concerning Team Possible, Kim wondered if they could get this Giles person to help them out with their own negotiations.
“And now there's you.” Buffy said. “Our agreement with Betty is going to need some adjustment.”
“Me?” Kim squeaked out, jumping over a low kick.
“I think we've warmed up enough,” Buffy said, not answering her question. “Why don't you show me how strong you really are.”
Afterward, Kim couldn't really remember every move, kick, and punch Buffy threw at her. The rest of the world became a blur as she struggled to keep up with the insane speed Buffy was exhibiting. Kim didn't think about how to fight back. It was like some of the fights she'd had with Shego. Her reactions were all on an instinctual level. Thinking was a luxury she didn't have.
Kim lay on the floor for a minute, not sure how she'd ended up there. It wasn't the most comfortable place to be. She could feel her sweat covered back sticking to the mat under her.
“You'll do,” she heard Buffy say. Blinking her eyes to clear the sweat from them, Kim looked up to see Buffy standing over her. Grabbing the hand she was offered, Kim shakily pulled herself to her feet.
“Thanks. I think.” Kim mumbled as she gingerly followed Buffy over to the others, hoping none of the new bruises she was feeling would show when she got home.
“Wow!” Ron said, the expression on his face closely resembling the one when he'd received his first naco royalties check from Bueno Nacho. “You were moving really fast there Kim! Like Bonnie.”
Rufus chittered to himself for a few seconds before saying, “Uh-huh, slayer too.”
“What?” Kim looked at them, confused. “I'm not a slayer.” She then glanced at the others to see what they were thinking. Dawn grinned at her; Bonnie looked bored by the whole thing; Yori nodded to her as if to an equal, for the first time; Mr. Barkin seemed to be watching all of them very carefully.
“You're in luck.” Buffy told her, squeezing her shoulder in a comforting grip. “In the old days, one of the ways the Council proved to someone that they were a slayer involved sharp pointed objects flung in their direction. If you survived you believed you were a slayer.”
“Or knew you had very good reflexes.” Dawn said. Kim shuddered as the image of a rain of knives and arrows crossed her mind, like some demented Monkey Fist trap.
“Don't worry, we have better ways now.” Buffy told her. “The easiest is this.” She pulled a small box out of a pocket and tossed it to Kim. Opening it up, Kim found a small clear crystal. When she touched it, it flared with a bright, almost neon, red light. “If you pass it around, you'll see that it gives off different colors, or no color at all.”
Kim handed the crystal to Ron. It glowed a faint yellow in his hand, turning green when he handed it to Dawn. When Rufus touched it, it emitted a faint purple light. Kim noticed that nothing happened when Yori and Mr. Barkin touched it but when Bonnie reluctantly took the crystal it glowed a solid red. When Bonnie handed it back to Buffy it turned an even deeper, almost blood red.
“What do the colors mean?” Kim asked, handing the small box back to Buffy, who put the crystal away in another pocket.
Buffy gestured to her sister for an answer. “It measures the level of magic a person has. Yori and Steve have no discernible magic, though I'm kind of surprised.” Dawn shook her head at something before continuing. “I've never seen it turn yellow before so I can't tell you what that means.”
“Mystical Monkey Power,” Ron said, grimacing.
“Okay…” Dawn raised an eyebrow in obvious question. Kim wasn't surprised when he shook his head and didn't elaborate. “Green, blue, and black are magic wielder colors - witches, wizards, sorcerers, mystics, and others who can manipulate magical forces directly cause it to glow those colors,” she continued. “I'm a green, which means I can do a little bit of real magic, though I prefer to stay away from the really hard stuff. The purple was a surprise.”
“Why?” Ron asked, frowning at her.
“It's the color for neutral or non-evil demons. Rufus must have some demon ancestry.” Dawn paused for a moment to drink from her own bottle and give Rufus a sip. “And red is the color we see with slayers.”
“Why the different shades of red for them?” Ron asked, trying to look at all three of them at once, switching his eyes quickly between Bonnie, Buffy, and Kim until he became cross-eyed.
“Because Willow wanted it that way?” Dawn answered with a shrug. “And as our head magic user she usually gets her way. The different shades of a color have different meanings. For a slayer it tells us how long they've been active, compared to other slayers anyway.”
Kim could hear Wade's keyboard clicking away as he searched for something she couldn't see. “So it isn't exact?” she asked. “It doesn't tell you when someone becomes a slayer?”
“It's useful after that happens. It isn't really a warning system.” Dawn said.
“We have other ways to pinpoint when and where a slayer is called.” Buffy said. “That's how we found Bonnie.”
“Okay, given the shade it gave off when Kim touched it, and when she became a slayer…” Wade mumbled, his fingers flying faster.
“You know when?” Buffy asked, frowning in the direction of the kimmunicator.
“Yes.” Wade said.
“Wade?” Kim said, trying to keep her tone even. “I never told you that. And I'm not sure I believe it anyway.”
“A slayer has increased strength. Correct?” Wade asked. “And speed, sense of smell, better hearing…”
“Correct” Dawn answered while Buffy gazed at Kim curiously.
“Strange dreams of vampires?” He continued.
“More or less.” Buffy agreed. “You said yesterday you've been having dreams?” she asked Kim.
“Of vampires and other things.” Kim admitted, wincing at the hurt look that crossed Ron's face as he realized she'd been keeping things from him.
“So… when?” Dawn asked, opening up her laptop.
“January 14th.” Wade said, still typing away. “Kim and Shego got caught in a lair explosion in New Mexico. We thought she'd been hit by one of Drakken's experimental weapons but I couldn't find any proof.”
“Huh.” Dawn mumbled, staring intently at something on her screen, her fingers joining Wade's in the keyboard dance.
“For those of us not you?” Buffy asked, prodding her sister for more than a grunt.
“Several slayers disappeared in Siberia that week. Faith went looking for them but she couldn't find any trace of them.” Dawn sighed. “Every other slayer is accounted for that month and no new slayers were called around then, as far as Willow could tell anyway. She's been waiting for them to turn up. Guess she was wrong.”
“Someone died to make me this way?” Kim asked, her voice rising. “Take it back!”
“Can't” Buffy told her sadly. “I warned you it was a dangerous profession. The only way for someone to become a slayer is for someone else to die. And the only way to stop being one is to die yourself.”
Kim slumped down next to Ron. He automatically wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. Following his example, Rufus jumped from Dawn's shoulder to hers and started rubbing his head against her chin. “Not die.” He stated.
“Not if we can help it,” Buffy agreed.
“So someone died to make Bonnie one too?” Ron asked, his voice barely audible.
“Not exactly,” Dawn said. “That was completely different.”
“Wow!” Wade exclaimed. “Based on when Kim became a slayer… Bonnie…”
“You want the exact date and time I became a member of the short life-span club? Not something you forget.” Bonnie asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
“The same day Sunnydale disappeared.” Wade announced, ignoring her response.
“It's an honor to be chosen.” Yori said, frowning at Bonnie.
“It's not a statue, or money for new clothes, or a scholarship.” Bonnie said dismissively. “I don't see people lining up for the honor.”
“I wasn't too happy about it myself.” Buffy told Kim. “But it was different then. I was the only slayer for a while so I couldn't refuse. But I tried.”
“Not sure I really believe it…” Kim mumbled, rubbing a sore spot on her right hip where Buffy had gotten through her defenses.
“What more proof do you need?” Buffy asked.
“I don't know.” Kim admitted, leaning back from Ron.
“There's one other way.” Buffy said.
“What?” Kim asked.
“One of the things a slayer has is sort of a sixth sense about people.” Buffy said. “We all have it to some degree or other. You should be able to pick out demons from a crowd of normal people. They feel different.”
“So… it's normal for a vampire to make me feel nauseous?” Kim asked, remembering her reaction to the one vampire she'd killed.
“Yes. That's a good example.” Buffy said. “We all have it to some degree or other.”
“Angel.” Dawn muttered under her breath.
“And, as Dawn is trying to point out,” Buffy said, giving her sister a sharp look that surprised Kim by not drawing blood, “it can take a while to develop.”
“Huh?” Kim looked at them, wondering what she was missing.
“One of Buffy's old boyfriends was a vampire.” Dawn said, smirking. “She totally missed that he was a vampire when they met. Very clueless.”
“But I made up for it with my keen fashion sense.” Buffy winked at Kim. “It was almost a year after I became the slayer before I could use that sense reliably.”
“Can other things cause similar feelings?” Kim asked. “Besides demons?”
“Yes. With experience you should be able to sense who is or isn't a slayer.”
“You knew I was a slayer yesterday?” Kim asked, drawing the logical conclusion.
“Yes.” Buffy admitted. “Though it was a complete surprise.”
“Willow is still trying to figure out how we missed you.” Dawn said, closing her laptop and putting it away.
“Buffy?” Wade's voice interrupted. “If my calculations are correct… you've been a slayer for around ten years?”
“Sounds about right.” Buffy said. “Can we keep him?” she asked Dawn in a stage whisper. “Willow's gonna be impressed at our recruiting skills.”
“No.” Kim said, glaring at her. “He's an integral part of Team Possible.”
“No poaching. Got it.” Buffy winked at her.
“How is this sixth sense going to prove anything?” Kim asked, in an attempt to distract them from further plans for Wade.
“Really simple.” Buffy stood up. “Dawn, do you have that blindfold?”
“Yup.” Dawn pulled a long strip of black material out of a pocket. “And some ear plugs.”
“What do you want from me?” Kim asked warily after they'd proven she could pick out Buffy, Bonnie, and even Rufus by the feelings she got near them, even with her eyes covered and ear plugs.
“I'm not going to train her,” Bonnie protested.
“I'm not asking you to.” Buffy said.
“Why not?” Ron asked.
“Middleton doesn't need two working slayers.” Buffy told him, sitting down in front of them. “The whole state is close to being a mystical dead zone. Bonnie has more than enough skill and experience to take care of the few demons who wander through. Besides, according to Global Justice Kim already has a full schedule doing something important.” Bonnie sniffed at her pronouncement, causing Buffy to shake her head.
“But, if it won't interfere with your own training schedule, we would still like you to work with Bonnie several times a month.” Buffy said to Kim. “She could use someone to spar with who can keep up with her. Your style is very different from what she's learned. It'll do you both good. Steve can work out a schedule with both of you.”
“How does this affect Team Possible?” Ron asked.
Buffy looked at them carefully. Kim noticed she even looked at Wade in the kimmunicator. “We would like you all to keep an eye out for any unusual activity. You see any vampires, strange creatures, anything you can't explain using your usual methods, let us know and we'll investigate it.”
“So, no vampire hunting.” Ron asked sadly.
“Definitely not.” Buffy said firmly. “We're just giving you the basics because you'll need them now that Kim is a slayer.”
“Slayers attract the strange.” Dawn added. “If you lived anywhere else you would have noticed it already but slayers are magnets for the supernatural.”
“And this summer, I think you, all of you,” Buffy included even Rufus in her look, “should attend one of the slayer familiarity sessions we give at our training school in Cleveland. We can discuss any future involvement of Team Possible in Council business after that.”
“Anything else?” Wade asked.
“Don't sign anything from Global Justice.” Dawn said.
“Oh yeah, that's very important,” Buffy agreed. “Betty isn't going to be too happy with any of this. She'll think we're interfering with her plans for you, so she'll probably try to force the issue. If she does, call us. Hopefully we can work something out with her before that happens. You fall into a very grey area in our agreements with Global Justice.”
“And we need to speak with Kim's parents.” Dawn added.
“My parents?” Kim squeaked. She hadn't even thought about how to explain this to them.
“You're not eighteen yet, and you live at home.” Mr. Barkin said. Kim looked at him in surprise. He'd been so quiet for the last hour that she'd almost forgotten he was there. She wondered if it was Buffy's presence that had kept him so subdued. “There are strict rules.”
“We'll be here tomorrow also so you don't need to tell them tonight.” Buffy said. “Why don't we go over the basics now? It'll take just a couple minutes.”
Kim nodded, getting to her feet and following Buffy back out onto the floor. Ron was right behind her, Dawn and Yori each pulling on an arm, while Bonnie and Mr. Barkin moved further away and started discussing something Kim couldn't make out.