always meant to be a short little ficlet, and for a change, the muse
and the characters agreed with me.
Hope you're still enjoying - as always, please feel free to comment.
Just one more chapter left to go - see you next Monday, hopefully!
Buffy arrived at Giles’ home bright and early the next morning after a rather miserable night’s sleep. Anxious to get her fight back, she hadn’t been able to settle down until just before dawn. Forgoing a greeting, she simple asked, “We got a plan?”
Giles was bustling about his living room, pouring sacred sand in a circle and settling candles in a specific order. “Good morning, Buffy,” he said, looking up from his task. “I believe so. I’d like to begin by confirming that Willow’s spell is the only thing in play here. I take it you’re ready to start?”
“Yes, please,” she said, nodding enthusiastically.
“Then have a seat, my dear.”
All in all, the first step wasn’t particularly taxing – a little chanting, some waving of burning sage, and a flash of green indicating a spell had indeed been cast – and the original spellcaster was revealed.
“So?” Buffy asked, when the silence had gone on too long. “What’s the what, Watcher-mine?”
“It’s as we feared, I’m afraid,” Giles admitted. “It looks like Willow was indeed the sole culprit here.”
“Well, duh!” Buffy’s laugh was small and brittle. “She admitted it to us yesterday, so why the extra-long face?”
“Because, in the revelatory flash, there were indications that the spell wasn’t quite as benign as young Willow led us to believe.”
“Succinctly put, there were traces of black within the green, meaning that, perhaps unwittingly, darker magicks were called into play.” Giles rubbed his forehead, setting his glasses askew. “It was a mind-bending spell, Buffy, and it was performed against your wishes. I’m afraid our witch is headed down a very scary path.”
“So, what can we do about it?” Buffy asked, worry for her best friend trumping her lingering anger towards her.
“I suppose I can attempt to school her in the principles of responsible magicks,” Giles mused. Removing his glasses, he began to scrub the lenses with his handkerchief. “I-I don’t know if she’ll be receptive to any wisdom I have to share, but I can try.”
“Thanks, Giles. Willow’s always thought of you as a mentor, so –”
The sound of a door opening and slamming shut interrupted whatever else Buffy was about to say.
“Dear Lord!” Giles exclaimed, as a smoking blanket-covered vampire appeared in the living room. Spike tossed the blanket to the floor, stomping on the smoldering parts and swatting at his hair and skin to eliminate embers.
“Spike! What the hell are you doing here in broad daylight?” Buffy asked, finding herself oddly less annoyed than she sounded. “You remember you’re a vampire, right? You know: sunshine equals crispy critter?”
Spike ran his fingers through his hair, trying and failing to smooth it back into its gelled configuration. “I go where I want, and I do what I please,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “Besides, was hopin’ to hear the good news in person.”
“So far, we’ve only gotten to the bad news portion of our show,” Buffy replied. “Yes, it was definitely a Willow spell. You were right,” she acknowledged begrudgingly, “but don’t expect me to make a habit of admitting that kind of thing to you in the future.”
Spike preened momentarily over his vindication but a frown quickly overtook his features. “So how are we going to remove the bloody spell?”
“We?” Giles harrumphed. “Since when is there a ‘we’ here? And how do you benefit from Buffy regaining her abilities?”
“In for a penny, in for a pound, I’d say.” Spike shrugged his shoulders as if he didn’t have a care in the world. “Was there for the discovery portion of our program… might as well see it through to the end.”
“It’s fine, Giles,” Buffy said quietly. “Spike did me a solid last night when I needed of a safe place to hole up. If he wants to watch me power up, I’m fine with it.”
“Thanks ever so, Slayer,” Spike snarked, sketching a deep bow. Then he howled with laughter when Buffy took advantage of his position, scooted behind him, and booted him in the ass with her foot.
“That’s quite enough, you two.” Giles’ tone brooked no arguments. “It’s time to remove the bloody spell and get things back to normal.”
“Do I need to do anything?” Buffy asked, twisting a lock of hair around her pointer finger. “Hop on one foot and cluck like a chicken, maybe?”
“Yes, yes, very funny,” Giles countered. “Just sit in the center of the circle, making sure you don’t actually touch it. As for you, Spike,” he said, staring at the fidgety vampire, “you just stay out of the way and keep quiet. Complete silence would be a blessing.”
Buffy watched as Giles threw little bits of this and that into a stone bowl, then ground it all together with a pestle. He traversed the circle on the floor in a counter-clockwise direction, muttering something in an indecipherable-to-her language, before blowing the contents of the bowl in her face.
Of course, she sneezed, but she managed to remain still and not break the circle of sand.
“Just a few more moments,” Giles said, reaching for a slip of paper. “I need to perform a revealing spell known as Tirer la couverture. It will check to see if all aspects of the spell have been lifted.”
A little more chanting, and Giles announced that the spell had officially been removed.
“Are you sure, Rupes?” Spike pushed doggedly. “Sure there’s no need for Buffy to cluck like a chicken?”
Shooting a look of annoyance in Spike’s direction, Giles turned back to Buffy. “So, how do you want to test this?” he asked. “Would you like me to run you through a few training exercises?”
“She’ll likely fall asleep from boredom, Watcher,” Spike stuck in his two cents. “What she needs is a real challenge.”
“And you’re proposing what, exactly?” Giles sneered, a glimpse of ‘Ripper’ beneath his librarian façade. “To lick her to death? Are you forgetting the chip?”
“Lick me to death?” Buffy’s eyes glazed over a bit as the words rolled around in her brain. “No, no – there will be no licking of me at all,” she hastily countered. “But Spike has a point. I need a real workout, something to get my Slayer mojo up and running. Sorry, Giles… I’d probably kill you.”
She could almost feel Giles’ deep sigh of relief, and had to hold back a chuckle at his expense.
“I think we can work around the chip, Slayer, if you’re willin’ to give it a go. Since the chip works on intent, if we both spar (with no intent on actually maiming each other) it should remain inactive.”
Before Buffy could say a word, Giles interrupted, “If you’re going to attempt faux-fisticuffs, might I’d suggest doing it somewhere other than my apartment? No offense, but I’d like to keep my belongings intact.”
Buffy smiled, gave Giles a quick bear hug, and headed towards the door before realizing that it was still full daylight outside. She paused; there was no way Spike could manage several hours of outdoors fisticuff fun.
With a pout, she asked, “Giles, do you mind if we hang out here until the sun goes down?” She nodded her head in Spike’s direction with a look that said ‘I’m sorry.’ “I promise we’ll be out of your hair as soon as it’s dark enough.”
Giles sighed. “I guess he’s of no use to you as an opponent if he immolates in the first minute.”
Buffy smirked “True, maybe Mr. Adventure here will think twice next time about playing around with Mr. Sunshine.”
“Mad dogs and Englishmen, Slayer,” Spike muttered sotto voce.
This time it was Giles trying to suppress a laugh.