It’s over eight years before he sees anything like it again.
He’s leaving work one night when suddenly there are three of them – ridged foreheads, yellow eyes – vampires, coming out of the alley opposite. And he’s instantly back in junior year, with killer quarterbacks, and danger, death, and burning school buildings, and one kickass chick.
Then the memories flash off, fade back to nothing, and it’s just him and three vampires… and, weirdly, the kickass chick.
She’s got red hair, though – not the same one. (Obviously not the same, idiot.) But she fights the same.
Kicks, flips, and punches, and then she’s elbowing one in the face while staking the other – but as he explodes into dust the third one grabs her stake, and suddenly it’s two on one and she’s out of weapons.
It might be eight years away, but it’s still automatic: he runs in to help, doesn’t even think. Pure muscle memory, or something.
And he’s ducking punches, blocking what he can, doesn’t really do damage, obviously – but he’s a distraction, and after a few moments he gets the chance to pass her, well, not much, it’s a pencil, but it’s all he’s got and at least it’s wood.
They end up standing there, out of breath, with dust slowly settling to the ground.
He grins and says, “Hi.”
“That was actually helpful,” the red-head says, like that’s unusual.
“What, that surprises you?”
“Yeah, kinda.” She shrugs, and retrieves her stake from the gutter. “Usually it’s a big handsome guy being chivalrous, and rescuing the helpless little girl from the bad guys. Then I just end up with extra people to keep safe.”
Apparently he’s not handsome. Good to know. “You’re the Slayer, right?”
“A Slayer.” She raises an eyebrow, speculatively. “Do you know one of the others?”
And she’s using present tense. Weird. “Yeah, I knew a Slayer when I was in high school.”
“But you don’t look…” She frowns. “Huh.”
Suddenly she’s looking at him like he’s from another planet, and he’s not sure why him having met the Slayer is stranger than whatever else she must be used to, but if someone doesn’t break the silence soon it’s going to get awkward.
He sticks out a hand. “I’m Pike. I’m a mechanic, and I suck at vampire hunting.”
She smiles uncertainly. “Vi.”
“Want to get a coffee, Vi?”
“Actually, I should probably…”
“Mocha? I promise not to be chivalrous. In fact, if we’re attacked, I’ll probably shriek like a girl and you can save me.”
Another smile – this one maybe a bit less uncertain. “Coffee. Sure.”
And that’s how the night begins.