Part 1: It
A squeaking ring was heard as Buffy opened the door to the Magic Shop. It had been closed for weeks now and there were no news of Anya since the failed marriage experience.
Buffy ran her finger over the counter. There was about half an inch of dust covering it. She sighed and remembered the days when everything as normal. She pictured Giles dusting the old books, Anya taking her place behind the cash register, Willow peacefully skimming through a book without having to worry about the magic addiction, while Tara sat by her side absentmindedly caressing her lover’s back. Dawn would probably be desperately trying to hide from Xander, the Tickle-Master.
Buffy smiled at the memory. She really missed the past, where everything and everyone was carefree, except for Giles of course.
She tried to move in the shadows, she didn’t want to turn on the lights. These days she took comfort in the dark and tonight was one of the murkiest nights in years, with clouds concealing practically all the faint light emanating from the full moon. “Perfect night for all the beasties…” Buffy wasn’t able to finish her thoughts as she heard a noise coming from the back door. “Anya…?” she thought as she made her way to where the sound came from. Hidden in the shadows, the slayer saw a dusky figure coming towards her. As it moved between the various cupboards, Buffy struggled to get a good look at it. One thing was for sure: it wasn’t human. Far from it. It was short, couldn’t be more than twenty inches tall, and extremely thin. Its long arms reached for a specific book and Buffy was able to tell that it had only three very long fingers, and slime was dripping from them.
“Great! Why do they always have to be slimy?” she thought to herself as she prepared to confront the demon. She crawled her way toward it and when she thought she was close enough she stood up and shouted:
“Hold it right there, buster!”
The strange creature turned to face the Slayer, as it looked up she saw two large eyes staring at her. Then it gave her a forced smile, revealing its total lack of teeth. Buffy frowned and just stood there two feet away from it. Suddenly it started running away from her. And boy did it run fast. Fortunately, it wasn’t very smart, either that or it had a very bad sense of direction. It seemed to move completely at random, making tight u turns, zigzagging all over the place, hitting everything that was in its way as it frantically searched for a way out.
“Hey, put that book down or Anya is gonna kill me!” Buffy shouted as she tried to get her hands on the damned thing. “Stop moving, you idiot!” yelled.
Suddenly it stopped and stared at her with a very serious face, huge eyes gawking at her in discontentment.
“Me no is idiot.” It squeaked with a high pitched voice.
Buffy saw her opportunity and threw herself at him. Tough it slipped away, she was able to grab the heavy book.
“Give it back!” she cried out at the funny looking creature that still clung to the book as to dear life itself.
“No!” it squealed.
“Yes, yes, yes!”
“No times infinity!” it finally added as a silly grin spread over its mouth. “Me win!”
“What are you, 6?” Buffy frowned, still lying on her stomach, her arms reaching upwards as she held onto the book.
It just stared back. It didn’t understand what she had said.
“Give. IT. BACK!” she shouted off the top of her lungs.
“NO!” it squeaked back “Master want it for ritual.”
“Ritual?” Buffy asked. The creature realised it had said too much, letting go of the book to cover his mouth with both hands.
Buffy stood up and tried to grab it, but it started running again and this time, after a few zigzags, it found the shopping window breaking it as it hit it. Buffy made her way to the window trying not to step on any shattered glass and looked out. In the middle of the street lay the strange creature scratching its wounded head.
Buffy reached for the knob of the door to open it, but when she came out of the shop it was gone.
“So let me get this straight: last night a slimy, short Kate Moss version of ET tried to steal one of Giles’ books for his master, who wants to perform a ritual?” Xander asked as he finished patching up the big whole left by the broken window.
“That pretty much sums it up, yeah.” Buffy agreed as she sat down next to Willow. “You ok with being here?” she whispered to her best friend.
Willow glanced around, looking at all the books and magic objects: “It’s hard but I”ll manage. I know you need my help and sooner or later I would have to come to the Magic Shop. Plus it’s easier with Tara here.” She finished as she smiled at her former lover who was sitting across the table from her skimming through a book with Dawn looking over shoulder.
“Is-is this it?” Tara asked handing Buffy the large book in her hands.
“Yep, that’s our ET. What is it?”
“It’s a Khind’Ara. It says here that it’s-it’s pretty harmless, not very bright. But it’s not very usual to find him in this dimension’ and it’s very big on-on serving other larger, stronger demons in order to survive. Not much more on this Khind’Ara demon.” Tara explained.
“Well, that we already knew. Anything on the book he tried to steal, Willow?” Buffy asked taking her place next to her again.
“Not really. I”m still trying to translate some interesting parts. It’s written in Djaklan.” As she saw everyone staring at her, she explained: “It’s a common demon language. Giles taught me a few things.” She paused flipping the pages. “It has a very confusing past tense, but I think I can translate it. I’ll have to take this home and check some things on the net. It’ll take the rest of the day probably.”
“Well, I guess that’s it then. I’ll take a walk around town, check out the usual haunts, try to see if I can get something out of the low lives at Willie’s. Tara, can you go through the latest newspapers and see if anything unusual has happen in the last few days?”
“Xander, can you take Dawn home? I don’t want her out while some beastie is trying to perform some obscure ritual.”
“Sure thing, Buffy!”
“No, Buffy!” Dawn protested “Can’t I stay here with Tara and go through the newspapers, please!?!” she begged.
“No. That thing might come back for the book again.”
“What? Little ET? I think I can take him.” Xander said with a bloated chest.
Buffy looked at him and couldn’t help smiling. He looked so silly when he tried to play the strong leading man.
“Please, Buffy! At least lets set up the centre of operations back home so I can help.” Dawn suggested.
Buffy sighed as she pondered the issue.
“Fine! Xander, keep an eye on her. Also, see if you can get something else on our jittery little friend.”
Xander nodded and Dawn sighed in relief.