I Heard a Rumor
Buffy Fanfiction; Willow
These characters are Joss Whedon's and not mine. I'm just
borrowing them. Nothing too 'terrible' in this one – no sex,
no drug use but of course you have standard 'Buffy' violence.
PG – 13 for adult themes. Willow/Giles shippers might not
like this one since the gang isn't too big on their possible
pairing. If you like it drop me a line at email@example.com
After Willow gives Giles a warm welcome after returning from
England to Sunnydale, Xander and the gang believe the two had
a love affair during Willow's stint overseas. Buffy is the
only voice of reason until….
This story takes place in Season Seven before the episode
"Him" but after Willow's return to Sunnydale.
Nobody. Everyone's either dead, broken up or in Buffy and
Spike's case – both. This is just a 'scoobies at large'
I Heard a Rumor
Buffy cleared her throat to
get the attention of three vampires who were starting to
emerge from a crypt. They turned to see her standing
confidently, hands on her hips. She noted a wooden crate they
tried to put down casually.
"Grave robbers? Hard up
for cash boys? I hear the Double Meat Palace is hiring. You
should look into it."
As the leader pointed to
her, Buffy readied herself for the attack. She traded them
blow for blow as their vamp commander looked on with a
satisfied smirk. When Buffy was unable to block one swing that
landed on her chin, the force of it picked her off her feet,
carrying her six yards away and into the back of a head stone.
She quickly shook off her
disbelief as they raced over to engage her again. With two
solid kicks they forced the stake from her hand. It was only a
matter of seconds before she found herself in flight again.
This time she landed back where she started - just a few feet
away from the vamp leader. He began to menace toward her,
followed by his two accomplices. She looked for something,
anything, she could use as a weapon. Thinking quickly she
pulled her cross necklace out, thrusting it forward.
All three vamps laughed. The
leader ripped it from Buffy's neck and began to toss it in his
palm. "Look fellas. Slayer wanted to give me a
Buffy had to retrieve her
jaw from the ground. He should be burned, screaming in pain
but he played with her crucifix as if it were nothing but . .
. a necklace. "What are you?" Buffy asked.
"The last sight you'll
ever see Slayer." He started to advance and Buffy threw a
kick he easily blocked.
Willow raced around the tomb
following the voices. All three vamps looked up to see the
intruder and began to back away slowly. He pointed to Buffy as
he spoke. "Don't think this is over Slayer. We'll meet
With a nod to his partners,
the leader and the other two vamps darted into the shadows.
"Okay," Buffy said
cocking her head toward Willow, "What the Hell just
happened here? They're tossing me around like a rag doll but
the second they see you it's Splitsville."
Willow shrugged. "Beats
me. Maybe my stakes more pointier than yours?" she
Xander rounded the corner,
looking winded and trying to catch his breath. "Okay.
Don't say it. I know I'm out of shape on the patrol gig."
Buffy made her way over to
the box they had left behind. She moved to her knees and
looked inside, riffling through it.
"What is it?"
Willow walked over.
"Something those vamps
were taking," Buffy answered tossing them around inside
the box. "It's loaded with crucifixes."
"Why would they want
crucifixes?" Willow asked, kneeling beside Buffy to see
for herself. "And how could they even pick them up?"
"Maybe they found
Jesus," Xander offered.
Buffy stood up and dusted
herself off. "Let's get this stuff home. See if we can
figure out what's going on." Willow picked up the box as
Xander looked down at the glimmer he saw at his feet. It was
"Must have been a rough
fight," he said as he picked it up and handed it back to
"Yeah, maybe too
Xander and Willow didn't
quite understand the Slayer but they knew from the tone that
whatever it was, it wasn't good.
The next day, Xander and
Willow entered the Summers house briskly, deep into their
nothing?" Xander asked.
"Nothing, Nada, Zip.
It's like these vamps don't even exist. If we-."
Willow stopped mid-sentence
and a small grin quickly grew wider. The reaction forced
Xander to look over to the sofa. Buffy and Dawn sat on either
side of Giles who had an equally warm expression for Willow.
He rose slowly and made his way over. "You look beautiful
Willow," he told her softly. "You have your glow
"Because of you,"
Xander watched as the two of
them hugged, a content smile on Willow's lips and her eyes
closed, her head resting on his chest. Giles ran his hand down
the back of Willow's head and through her red strains before
pulling away and giving her a kiss on the forehead. He seemed
almost lost in the redhead before his senses grabbed him and
pulled back to make his way to Xander.
Giles offered his hand to
Xander. "I hear your construction business is growing
leaps and bounds. Congratulations."
Xander did the ritual
handshake but the welcome that Willow just received still had
him momentarily stunned to the point that he wasn't paying
much attention. He knew that Willow and Giles always have a
special sort of bond – a love of books, a love of magic.
They had a connection quite similar to the watcher and the
slayer. After Tara's death and the all to near apocalypse that
Willow created he knew that bond had probably grown closer
when he took her to England. But this welcome…it just seemed
overly friendly like . . . perhaps . . . Forget it Harris.
You're reading too much into it. They're just . . .
Xander looked over at Willow
and saw the admiration and excitement on her face at seeing
Giles. Quickly, he scanned the room. Was anyone else seeing
this or was it just him? He watched as Buffy stood up and came
"He's not here for
good," she warned everyone.
"Yes, the council sent
me. There's something very odd happening here at the Hellmouth.
Well odder than usually I should say. They thought it best I
come to lend a hand."
"Well a watchers hand
is always welcome," Willow grinned.
I bet it is Xander
"Have you had any luck
with this latest problem?"
answered Giles despondently. "We've look at sites, in
books, everything. But no solid leads. Spike is doing a little
recon work – local haunts, things like that. But even he's
hit dead ends. No pun intended."
"One thing's for
sure," Buffy offered. "Whatever they are, Willow
scared the Hell out of 'em."
"Maybe it's mystical.
Perhaps they could sense your magic," Giles offered.
Willow shook her head.
"I don't think so. I mean I was already in the area and
they were ready to pounce on Buffy. It wasn't until I rounded
the corner and they spotted me that they backed off. It
doesn't make much sense."
"Does the council have
any ideas?" Xander asked.
"At the moment no, but
they are working on it. I told them to call here as
soon as they had any word," Giles explained.
"Anyway," he said turning to Willow, "Are you
free tonight? I'd like to take you to dinner. Keep you abreast
of some things."
"Can't say my dance
card is full," Willow grinned. "Can't say I've been
wanting a dance card period. So tonight's not a problem."
"Seven it is,"
"Well I thought I would
stop by the Magic Shop. Say hello to Anya. Maybe do a bit of
research." Giles began to make his way to the door and
"Care for some company?
I have no class…Quick rephrase. I have no scheduled courses
today but loads of class."
"That would be
wonderful. Anyone else?"
"Dawn and I have to go
to school and Xander is off to the site I'm sure," Buffy
"Well then looks like
it's just you and me," Giles smiled to Willow.
"We'll report as soon as we come across anything."
With that, Giles led Willow
to the front door as she waved goodbye. Once the door was
closed Xander quickly turned back to the Summer sisters.
"Okay, what's up with
Will and the G-man?"
Buffy scrunched her eyebrows
in examination. "What do you mean?"
"You mean you didn't
see it? He couldn't keep his hands off of her."
Buffy laughed out loud and
walked over to the desk, starting to look through her purse
for her keys. "Will and Giles? I can sum that up in one
word…ewww." Buffy gave a little shake of her body at
the mental image it conjured up.
"He touched her three
times in a two minute conversation," Dawn offered.
Xander began to nod
dramatically pointing at Dawn. "See? See? She saw it
"Saw what?" Buffy
asked in frustration.
Xander began to mimic Willow
with a lovesick voice. "A watcher hand is always
welcome." Dawn giggled from the sofa as Buffy placed her
hands on her hips. The speculation was beginning to bother her
but it didn't stop Xander from continuing, "And did you
see the way he put his hand around her shoulder when they
technically," Dawn began, "it wasn't around her
shoulder. It was his palm against her back. And come to think
of it that makes four times instead of three. I didn't count
"See that? Not three
but four times he touched her," Xander nodded
dramatically. "I'm telling you, Buff. Something is
Buffy traded a few glances
between Xander and Dawn before she sighed. "I think
you're both crazy," she said shaking her head.
"We don't know what
happened in England," Xander continued. "Willow's
been pretty stiff lipped about her time over there. And we all
know she was pretty torn up when she left - Tara's death,
killing Warren, that whole trying to destroy the world lapse
in sanity. It takes a lot outta a girl I'm sure."
being?" Buffy pressed.
"Think about it.
Willow's a beautiful woman longing for something to cling to.
Giles is a middle-aged man who doesn't have a steady lady in
his life. Late night conversations and middle of the night
confessions leads to…you know…"
"A rehabilitating black
magic addict," Buffy answered firmly. "And if you
think there's something deeper than Wicca and mentor going on
between Willow and Giles I'd venture to say that Will isn't
the only one whose had a lapse in sanity recently."
Buffy found her keys and
motioned Dawn off the couch.
said as they made their way to the door. "All I'm saying
is we should keep our eyes and ears open is all. I don't want
to see Willow get hurt."
"Will won't get
hurt," Buffy sighed reluctantly. "There's nothing
for her to be hurt over. I'm telling you there's no hot
international May-December romance going on here. Beside, like
I said, the 'eww' factor just creeps me out so you can be as
paranoid as you like. Just don't drag me into it, okay?"
"Can we go now?"
Buffy asked opening the door.
Xander held it open.
Xander finished his shift
for the day and walked into the magic shop to find Giles,
Willow and Dawn seated at the table. Anya finished ringing up
a sale as he made his way over to the group.
"So what's the latest
from the front lines?"
nothing," Giles answered as he closed yet another book in
"Wasn't just me,"
Willow added. "Seems Giles isn't having much luck on this
Willow looked at her watch
– 6:01 pm. She turned toward Giles, "Any chance of
grabbing dinner earlier? My tummy is rumbling."
said starting to rise from the table to grab his jacket.
The bell jingled and the
group turned to see Buffy entering the shop. "How goes
"Not well," Willow
answered. "We haven't heard anything from the council and
the book worming hasn't dug up anything except my dormant dust
"Well you guys will
find it," Xander commended. "With the two biggest
brains at the Hellmouth working together it's only a matter of
Willow grinned at Xander as
she rose and pulled her coat from the back of the chair.
"Where's everyone off
to?" Buffy asked as she watched Willow zip her leather
famished!" Buffy watched as Giles got an uncomfortable
look on his face. "Or maybe not…"
Reluctantly Giles gave a
sigh. "I would invite you but there's some matters I need
to discuss privately with Willow. I'm sure you all
Buffy nodded. Her voice conveyed confidence but on the inside
she had to admit she felt a bit jilted. Besides they were
'the' gang, all of them, together, one team, working for the
greater good of humanity. Besides Giles was HER watcher not
Willow's and where the hell did Willow get off stealing HER
watcher. And while she was at it…Buffy put on the breaks.
This was ridiculous. She couldn't be jealous. What was there
to be jealous of? So Giles wanted to catch up with Willow
privately. It made sense. He helped Willow overcome a powerful
force, perhaps something stronger than any of them realized.
He just wanted to touch base
with Willow – making sure she was on the straight and
narrow…well…at least the narrow. Buffy hadn't asked Willow
if she still considered herself gay now that Tara was gone.
That would be just plain…tacky. If anything, lately Willow
had become asexual. Love, romance, sex…the topics never came
up in their discussions and Buffy assumed that was best for
now. Willow had lost Tara because of her magic addiction. When
Willow finally won her back Tara was dead less than 48 hours
later. She watched first hand what kind of pain that caused.
And like Willow said earlier that morning, she didn't have a
dance card and for the time being that was fine. Besides the
most important person in Willow's life at the moment should be
Willow, the slayer surmised. Once the reforming Wicca was
comfortable with herself, learning the true ways of the Wicca
life, maybe then she could focus on bringing someone else into
her circle. Buffy was so lost in her thoughts that she nearly
missed Giles suggestion.
"Maybe we could all go
out for breakfast tomorrow? My treat."
Anya asked excitedly. "Count me in."
Giles smiled and looked
around the room. "That's one."
"Me too," Dawn
piped in. "It's been ages since I had pancakes. The last
time…" Dawn immediately looked to Willow hoping her off
handed comment hadn't offended Willow by conjuring up old
memories. Both knew that Tara would make Dawn pancakes in the
morning and always with the same question 'Funny shapes or
rounds?' Since Tara had been gone Dawn hadn't ate a single
pancake. She was quite capable of making them on her own but
they just didn't taste the same. They would never taste the
same, ever again. "I'm sorry," Dawn whispered to
"It's alright Dawnie,"
Willow told her. "Nothing to be sorry for. It's okay to
remember her and it's okay to talk about her. You should in
"Who?" Anya asked.
answered, not taking her eyes off of Dawn. "She used to
make Dawn's breakfast and her specialty was pancakes. Not to
fluffy and not to thin huh?"
Dawn nodded. "I wonder
how she did that."
Willow grinned. "I've
tried…" Willow stopped her sentence when she realized
she was using the present tense. She bit her tongue for a
brief moment before correcting herself. "I tried
to get her to tell me the secret but to no avail. Hey! Maybe
you and I can start practicing in the kitchen? Do a little
culinary experimentation in the mornings?" she offered as
she smiled to Dawn.
It was the first time since
Willow's return that she made the attempt to do anything with
Dawn - something that was for just the two of them, outside of
the Slayer Circle. Dawn hadn't pressed Willow because she
knew, or rather Buffy warned her, that Willow need space and
time to heal. Buffy also told her that at some point Willow
would 'come around'. She'd be more like her old self. The
suggestion that Willow just made put a smile on Dawn's face in
spite of the fact her older sister was 'right again'.
grinned. "But we should head to the restaurant first -
just for a refresher course."
agree," Willow said with a confident nod. She turned to
Xander. "You coming tomorrow too?"
"That depends," he
said looking to Anya.
Anya rolled her eyes.
"I can handle you being there Xander. You're standing in
my magic shop right now, aren't you?"
"Our shop," Giles
"Fine - our shop. I
think I can handle the social engagement of eating eggs with
Xander gave a small grin
which melted Anya's icy demeanor if only a little when she
gave a small grin of her own.
"And then there was
one," Willow grinned as she walked over to Buffy.
"I'm sure you'll be attending so I'm not going to
"What if I have other
plans?" Buffy asked. The group began to chuckle with
various skeptical comments of 'sure' and 'yeah right'.
"Hey! I have a life you know? Not everything I do
revolves around you guys." The group fell silent, knowing
the truth and waiting for her to admit it. "Okay. I have
no life and yes I'll be there."
"Welcome to the
club," Willow grinned as she patted Buffy on the
"Good. It's all settled
then. Tomorrow at Buffy's? 7 AM?" Giles asked.
"On a Saturday?"
Dawn asked. "Better make it nine."
offered in compromise. "Besides, I don't know how much
slayage I'll have to do tonight. Might be a late night."
Giles nodded. "We'll see you back at the house
With that Willow and Giles
left the shop. Immediately Xander turned to Dawn. "Okay
what did you see?"
"Well he spent a lot of
time leaning over Willow's shoulder while she was surfing for
"Close huh? Like too
close?" Xander asked.
"I don't believe
this," Buffy sighed.
Buffy pitched a thumb to
Xander and her sister. "These two dweebs think that
something is going on between Giles and Willow – something
romantic," she added in clarification.
Anya said before stuffing her nose back into the accounting
"Okay. Putting on the
brakes here," Buffy said making Anya look up. "What
do you mean 'Oh yeah, that'? Did you see something?"
"Well it's not like
they were kissing or anything. You could just tell."
"Well the way-."
The door to the magic shop
opened and Spike strolled inside. "Spike reporting for
patrol Slayer. Wanna take out some baddies tonight Love?"
"Don't call me Love and
at the moment no," she answered turning back to Anya.
"You were saying something about Giles and Willow."
"Giles is back?
Again?" Spike asked. Buffy nodded. "For a guy
determined to leave he sure makes his rounds in Sunnydale."
"Yes and for some
reason these two-."
corrected. "Anya sees it too."
Buffy said with a brief pause, "…delusional…people
think Giles and Willow are having an affair."
Spike began to laugh and
took a seat on the stool by the counter. "Like that old
coot would be lucky enough to shag a sexy bird like Red."
began, happy that someone was agreeing with her. But then the
jargon he used to express his opinion sunk in. "Wait a
second. For one thing, Giles is not an 'old coot' and
second…Did I just hear you call Willow sexy?"
At first Spike looked guilty
but he let it go and started to grin. "Jealous
"Hardly. And stop
calling me Love. Do it again and I'm staking you," Buffy
answered. She shook her head to clear her thoughts.
"Anyway, they think something is going on for some
"Well it's not
unknown," Anya answered. "You can just see the way
they look at each other all 'doe-eyed'. He had his hand on her
shoulder most of the time and even rubbed her back when she
started to get frustrated."
"That doesn't mean
anything," Buffy countered.
"Oh no of course
not," Xander answered sarcastically. "We all know
Giles isn't a stuffy uptight Brit. He's all good with the
touchy feely side of himself."
"Even though that did
come from Xander," Anya began, "That is a very good
point. Giles isn't known to be a physically affectionate
person on a regular basis. I mean sure when it's life and
death but while researching…I'd have to say his behavior was
"There's only one thing
left to do," Dawn spoke to the group.
"And what's that?"
Buffy asked, getting agitated with the speculation.
Xander snapped his fingers.
"The Slayer's sis comes up with a winning plan."
"Hold on!" Buffy
said waving her hands. "We are not going to spy on
Giles and Willow. That's just…wrong. So forget it. Besides
you don't even know where they went."
"The Happy Komoto,"
Anya added. "The new Japanese restaurant on Elm? Willow
"Thank you Anya,"
Buffy nodded, frustrated with the 'help'. "Thank you very
she answered, oblivious to the sarcasm.
"Come on," Xander
said getting his coat. "I'll drive."
Anya made her way around the
register. Dawn began to stand up and Buffy pointed at her.
"You. Sit. And
you," she said pointing at Xander. "You leave them
alone. Giles wanted to speak privately with Willow and you're
going to respect that."
"Oh come on Buffy. This
has nothing to do with respect. I think you won't go because
you're afraid of what we might find there."
"Is it? Maybe you just
can't deal with the fact that Giles has more interest in
Willow than he does you. So now you're refusing to see what's
really going on here."
"I know what you're
tryin' to do. You're trying to bully me or use reverse
psychology to get me to go but it isn't going to work."
"Fine, you don't have
to go. But I am," he said putting on his coat and walking
to the door.
"And let me ask you
this Xander," Buffy asked, making him turn around.
"What if you get there and you see something that proves
without a doubt that you're right. Not that you will, mind
you. But what if you do…then what? Are you going run their
lives for them? Do the overbearing father bit and forbid
them to see each other?"
"I plan on having a
long talk with Giles about responsibility."
Spike began to chuckle.
"Oh yeah Mr. Responsible. If that's not the pot
"Nobody asked your
opinion dufus." Xander turned back to Buffy and took a
few steps toward her. "I love Willow, Buff. I've known
her my whole life. I know losing Tara has left a gap in her
life and I don't want Giles taking advantage of that."
"Giles would never take
advantage of Willow or any of us for that matter."
"Okay poor choice of
words. Like Spike said, she's a sexy 'bird' and I don't want
Giles 'spreading her wings'. If Willow went to him looking for
some type of solace from it all maybe something happened
between them. And if that did happen it would only hurt her
more. So if I can protect Willow from getting hurt I will.
Just like everyone else in this room…well except for
Spike…I don't give a damn what happens to him."
"Love you too
hero," Spike retorted, adding a kissing noise.
Xander turned back to Buffy.
"Look, you don't have to be there Buffy. I hope you would
but if it seems like a great disrespect to Willow and Giles in
your eyes, I won't hold it against you if you stay."
Buffy considered everything
that Xander said. He wasn't doing this out of jealousy or
petty games to fill his time. He was doing it out of love.
Plain and simple. She also knew there was only one way for him
to get past it and move on. He needed proof; evidence. She
gave a deep sigh and muttered. "Alright. Let's go."
With that, the Circle left
the magic shop. When they arrived, Xander parked a block from
the restaurant and the group walked back trying to look as
inconspicuous as a group of five people possibly could. Xander
peered through the large bay window to see Giles and Willow
sitting at the sushi bar, their backs to the window.
"There they are,"
Xander said softly.
"Why are you
whispering?" Anya asked. "They can't hear you out
"Force of habit okay? I
like to be stealth-like when working recon."
Buffy rolled her eyes to
Dawn who gave a chuckle.
"Well tell me Commander
Harris," Buffy began with her back against the
building refusing to look through the window. "What's
"Well at the moment it
appears that Giles has said something humorous and Willow is
laughing. Wait! She just touched his arm and he smiled."
Spike stood in front of
Buffy ignoring the show too. "I'm dead and I have more of
a life than you people."
"Shut up Spike,"
Xander warned. "This is serious."
"Oh yeah sushi and few
laughs. Tragic," Buffy retorted as she smiled at Spike
who returned it with one of his own.
"Oh my God,"
Xander said softly, a hint of shock in his voice.
"What?" Buffy was
"Giles has his hand on
Willow's cheek," Dawn replied. "She's covering his
hand with hers."
"What?" Buffy and
Spike said in harmony. It was too much. They had to look too.
They forced their way to the window to see for themselves and
sure enough Dawn gave an accurate play-by-play description.
"Okay. Okay. That
doesn't mean anything," Buffy said quickly. If Xander
didn't know any better he might think she sounded a bit
nervous at what they were witnessing. "It's not like
they're kissing or any-."
Buffy stopped her sentence
when she watched Willow turn her head slightly and place a
lingering kiss in Giles palm before turning back to smile at
him. They watched as his hand slipped from Willow's face and
made it's way to her neckline to the charm that hung just
above her bosom. They watched him playing with it as a gradual
smile came to his face.
"You were saying?"
"I'll be damned,"
Spike chuckled after the shock wore off. "Guess the old
dog does have a few new tricks left in him. I have to admit
though...I figured Giles would be a man to make a woman
lesbian and not bring her back from the other side of the
"You get extra points
for tacky with that statement Spike," Xander replied,
shaking his head.
They watched as Willow began
to turn around to reach for her jacket and they all ducked out
"Did she see us?"
Anya asked, crouched on the sidewalk like everyone else.
"I don't think
so," Dawn answered.
"Well we better bloody
well move" Spike whispered. "They're probably on
their way out."
"Now why is he
whispering?" Anya said softly. "And why am I
whispering?" she added with a confused look on her face.
"We're all whispering
because we're guilty of spying on our friends!" Buffy
retorted in a heated…whisper. "Come on, before they
leave," she waved toward Xander's car.
As quickly and quietly as
possible the group made their way down the street.
"So what do you think
now Buffy? Are we still all crazy?" Xander asked as they
moved briskly along.
"There has to be some
explanation," she answered.
"I think the writings
on the wall Pet," Spike answered.
"I warned you about a
"I didn't call you
'Love' that time. And you made no rule about the word
Spike grinned as Buffy shook
her head and continued to walk on. "Giles and Willow
can't be together. They just can't," she whispered more
to herself than anyone in the group.
Dawn tapped Anya on the arm
as they walked behind the three in front of them. "I have
to admit this is more fun then egging and teepeeing."
Buffy looked back at her sister with a scowl. "Not that I
would know about those things first hand," Dawn said in a
rush. "I've heard other kids talk about the adrenaline
rush of property destruction."
"Uh huh," Buffy
countered. "You better hope I don't catch those other
kids out some night."
"What's egging and
tee-peeing?" Anya asked.
"It's when …other
kids," Dawn stressed, "throw eggs at houses and
rolls of toilet paper in trees."
"And this is fun
"The risk of getting
caught doing something you're not supposed to be doing."
"Like spying on your
friends," Buffy added as Xander unlocked the doors of his
car. Spike, Dawn and then Anya climbed into the backseat as
Buffy and Xander faced off over the roof.
"We weren't exactly
spying. We were checking up on them. That's all."
"Well now that you have
this new knowledge Xander what do you plan to do with
"I plan to wait. See
what happens while Giles is here…I'm not going to make any
rash accusations Buffy. At this point it's speculation only.
But you gotta admit. I got more evidence in my favor at the
moment than you do in yours."
Xander climbed inside the
car and Buffy let out a sigh. She'd never admit it but it was
shaping up that way. Quietly and without comment she sat down
and shut the door. There has to be some explanation.
Willow called out as she and
Giles entered the house but no one was answering upstairs. The
living room was dark but there appeared to be a light in the
"Maybe they're in
back," she offered.
Willow and Giles walked
deeper inside the house to find the two of them sitting at the
kitchen island, eating a pizza.
"There you are,"
Willow grinned. "I called but you didn't answer."
"Sorry. I didn't hear.
Dawn was talking," Buffy answered. "So how was
Willow let out a ragged
sigh. "Educational." However, her mood changed in an
instant to one of promise. "And productive
"Giles has a theory on
the latest vamps."
"Great! Let's hear
Willow motioned to Giles who
took off his glasses and began to clean them. "Well when
Willow and I were at the restaurant I noticed her
Willow scrunched her
eyebrows at Buffy's reply. The tone in Buffy's voice and the
comment of 'really' just seemed…off. But she brushed it
aside and listened to Giles continue.
"Yes, she wears the
Star of David."
"Well that's probably
because she's Jewish Giles," Buffy grinned. He grinned in
"Yes she is and I think
that had something to do with why those recent vampires turned
heel when they saw her. You said you found a box of crucifix,
o-one's they were taking from the crypt?"
"Here's the best
part," Willow grinned excitedly, motioning for Giles to
"What if they weren't
affected because they're religious sect at the time of their
deaths had no connection to the cross?"
"Are you saying we have
a roaming band of Jewish vampires thugs in Sunnydale?"
"Oy Vey," Buffy
"You said it
sister," Willow grinned.
Giles ignored their banter
and continued, "…I asked Willow if she had the Star on
that night and she said yes so it's possible that SHE didn't
frighten them as much as the necklace did. Most of the world
religions pray to the same 'God'. The ah - the Christian God,
the Judaism God and even the Islamic God are all the same
'God'. However each religion has different teaching and
different symbols it uses. The Star of David is just one of
many holy relics you could say."
"So where does that
"Well at the moment
nowhere," Willow answered Buffy. "I've been up since
5 this morning and Giles is exhausted from his flight so were
going to bed."
asked with a slight chuckle.
"I mean you're both
going to bed now?" She hopped that would be enough and
not alert them to any suspicious she was having. Silently she
cursed Xander for making her paranoid. Anxiously she waited
for Willow to respond.
"Oh yeah," she
said after Buffy's 'clarification'. "If we look at any
more books tonight our eyes will fall out of our heads. We're
gonna get some rest and hit it again tomorrow after
"Sounds like a
plan," Buffy nodded. "I'm gonna head out on patrol.
Keep an eye on Dawn?"
"Buffy I'm old enough
to take care of myself now," her sister argued.
"Yeah I know that but
this is still Sunnydale after all and I don't like leaving you
"We'll be here,"
Willow answered, nodding back toward Giles.
Buffy said as she rose from her stool and started toward the
"Oh hey!" Willow
called out. Buffy turned and watched as Willow walked over,
taking her necklace off and put it around her own neck.
"Just in case," she added with a grin.
"If I have to start
carrying religious icons of every possible sect out there I
won't be able to lift my head or fight," she grinned.
"Well let's hope it
doesn't come to that," Willow grinned in response as she
opened the door.
"So what's the latest
Buffy recognized Spike's
voice as she passed a gravestone and turned around.
"Well the short version
– Giles and Willow think we've got Jewish Vamps on the
loose. Longer version – Reason being, Willow of all people
scares them away. We think it might be the Star of David she
"I meant the theory on
the latest lovebirds," Spike grinned.
Buffy sighed, her shoulders
slumped in defeat. "Oh no, not you too."
"Come on Slayer. You
saw what happened in that restaurant – just like the rest of
"There has to be some
"Yeah, the watcher's
dippin' his wick in the Wicca."
The grin on Spike's face was
too much for her. Buffy pushed Spike, sending him on his
backside. "That happens to be my family you're talking
"Some say incest is
best," he chuckled.
"And you're in
denial," Spike said rising, a seriousness returning to
his voice. "Think about it Buffy. Red's been through Hell
on her knees this past year. Rumor has it she even killed a
man. Don't know if that's true. No one's found a corpse. But
the black voodoo, the loss of the cute, lil bird of
hers…she's had it bloody rough I tell ya."
"Point is, desperate
times lead to desperate acts. Wasn't that long ago that your
desperation to feel made you do things you regret. Am I
"Obviously, I'm not as
smart as Willow. She's got her head on her shoulders."
"She used to
have her head on her shoulders. I'm willing to bet dimes to
dollars that some days she doesn't know up from down."
"Since when did you
become an expert on my best friend?"
"I can see the forest
Buff. I'm not standing next to the trees."
"Thanks for the cryptic
message Spike. I'd love to stand around and listen to cheesy
metaphors all night but I have patrolling to do."
"Buffy all I'm saying
is maybe you can't see it all because you're too close. Too
close to Giles. Too close to Willow."
"And right now you're
too close to me so go away."
sighed. "But whatever happens just be easier on Red.
She's getting her soul back. And I know how that feels."
Spike turned and walked
away. Buffy opened her mouth to form an apology but stopped
herself. So wrapped up in watching Spike she didn't feel the
vamp approach but the snap of a twig did ring in her ears. She
turned swiftly, stake at the ready, as he advanced. He let out
a battle cry, which Spike heard. The sound sent the reformed
Vampire running back in Buffy's direction. He arrived to see
two other vamps beginning to descend upon the Slayer.
He charged into battle but a
single blow from one of them sent him back three feet. This
bloke's got a bloody swing, he thought silently as he
tried to steady himself for the next melee round. He watched
as one of the vamps grabbed Buffy while the other ripped the
stake from her hand. Instead of dropping the weapon, he raised
it. They were going to slay the Slayer.
Spike raced over to the vamp
that held Buffy captive but before he could reach her Buffy
kicked the stake from his hand and tripped the other vamp that
held her. Not releasing his hold as he toppled over, both vamp
and slayer fell to the ground. He rolled her over but she
worked an arm free and reached for the star on her neck. She
pressed it to his forehead and watched as the smoke began to
pour from his dead flesh. He admitted a howl of pain and
jumped to his feet. Spike tackled him and they rolled to the
stake. Acting quickly, Spike swiped it first and buried it
quickly in his heart. Within seconds he turned to dust.
The two remaining vamps
looked on slack-jawed before scurrying off into the woods.
Buffy rose to her feet and walked over to Spike who still
knelt on the ground but now with only ashes below him. Buffy
offered her hand and pulled him to his feet.
"That fellow had one
hellva jab. Same vamps you found the other night?"
nodded. "Minus one now."
"Head home tonight.
Tell the big brains what happened. I'll see what the word on
the street is."
"Have you seen them
"Not in my
lifetime…well…you get the point."
Buffy turned to leave but
stopped. "Spike what I said earlier…I'm sorry I got
harsh. The thought of Giles with Willow is
"They're both adults
Love," he offered shrugging his shoulders.
"I know," Buffy
answered, letting the endearment float by without comment.
"But Giles is like a father to us. Well, a rankish uncle,
as he likes to say," she grinned. "And the thought
of them together after all this time is just…"
Buffy nodded. "Among
"Love can be crazy
Spike didn't add anymore.
Buffy just considered all she knew at the moment. Love could
be crazy but with Spike it was just lust; a lust to feel life
again. Life via a dead man – it was ironic really.
Spike cleared his throat.
"Well if you need me you know where to find me."
She watched as he walked
away slowly, "Hey Spike," she called out making him
He gave a nod. "Just
remember. Whatever happens – go easy on Red."
Buffy returned the nod and
When Buffy got back she
found Willow and Giles sitting on the sofa.
"Hey. I thought you two
were going to bed?"
"I was but I couldn't
sleep," Willow offered. "You know how you reach the
point where you're too tried to sleep and too tired to be
conscious. I'm right in that area at the moment."
"She's hoping I'll bore
her to sleep with my stories of Bathe," he grinned.
Willow slapped his knee
before resting her hand there. "That is not true and you
know it." She gave it a light pat as she stood up.
"I'm going to try a glass of milk. Anybody want
"I'm good," Buffy
said taking off her coat. "But could you grab me another
slice of pizza? I'm hungry again."
"She gets the munchies
after slay time," Willow nodded toward Buffy. "It's
amazing what you learn about someone after you live with them.
Giles? Need anything?"
"No thank you. I'm
Willow headed to the kitchen
as Giles idly thumbed through a magazine.
"Teen Beat?" Buffy
asked looking at the title.
He turned it over and
examined the cover. "Yes, I'm hoping the feature on the
Backstreet Boys will be enough of a sedative to lure me to
dream state," he grinned. "How did patrol go
tonight? You're home a bit early."
"Well I ran into those
Vamps from the other night."
Willow had just come back to
hear Buffy's comment. "What happened?" she asked as
she handed over the plate.
"Well let's just say
there's one vamp that will be missing Chanukah this year. Or
is that Hanukah without the 'C'? Why is that Will? What's with
the different spellings?"
She shrugged her shoulders
as Buffy took a large bite of her pizza. "Heck if I
remember. I can't claim to be a practicing Jew. And if I
walked into a temple now my non-kosher diet and lesbianism I'm
sure it would be grounds for the boot. Oh! And let's not
forget that pesky black magic and part-time hacker thing I've
got going on. I'd probably give the rabbi a heart attack if I
sat down for heart to heart talk."
Buffy smiled. "Well if
the synagogue won't take ya, we will."
getting back to the matter at hand," Giles prompted Buffy.
"The star worked. One
of them knocked me down and I put it to his forehead. It
toasted him pretty good. Spike slayed him before I could get
any information out of him but that's fine. Those boys are
tough to contain."
"Super vamps? I mean
more super than usual?" Willow asked.
"Yeah, it's like their
juiced up or something. The one that Spike tangled with
knocked him off his feet. That doesn't happen often. Even he
remarked on how strong they are."
"We'll get it figured
out so try not to worry," Willow told her.
"Nah no worries,"
Buffy answered finishing the last of her pizza. "Right
now bed sounds good."
Willow took the plate from
her. "Head on up. I'll take care of this."
"Thanks Will. I'll see
you guys in the morning." Buffy said as she rose and made
her way to the stairs.
"Good night," she
offered before heading up.
Willow and Giles issued
their goodnights and watched as Buffy slowly climbed the
stairs to her bedroom.
The next morning came too
soon for Buffy and she looked at her alarm clock with the one
eye she managed to open. She heard her door open and rolled
"Giles is here,"
Willow grinned. "You coming?"
"Yeah just give me five
minutes to hop in the shower," Buffy answered pulling the
covers from her body. When she emerged six minutes later fully
dressed and hair in a wet ponytail, she and Dawn went
downstairs. When they came to the bottom landing they saw
Giles and Willow waiting in the living room. Willow sat on the
sofa; Giles on the coffee table. Her head was down and her
shoulders appeared slumped. Giles hands rested on her upper
thighs as he whispered something to her. He looked over and
upon seeing Buffy and Dawn his hands darted away and he shot
up to his feet.
"Yes, just fine. Shall
we go to the restaurant?"
Buffy took a moment to
examine them both before shaking it off. "Sure but don't
we have to wait for Xander?"
"He's meeting us there.
He's picking up Anya."
"They're riding in the
same car?" Buffy asked. "Alone?"
"Anya said things are
better. She's not as angry anymore and they seem to be civil
with each other…now and then," Giles replied with a
half grin. "I have my rental outside."
"Okay, to the
restaurant it is," Buffy said going to the door. She let
Giles and Dawn walk ahead to the car but she slowed Willow
down as she locked the door. "Everything okay Will?"
"You just looked…I
really," she answered.
"Are you sure because
you can tell me if something is wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong Buffy.
A little stressful but that's par for the course lately,"
she managed with a half grin.
Dawn called from Giles car.
"Are we gonna eat breakfast before lunchtime?"
Buffy ignored her sister.
"Well just remember I'm here, okay? It might not seem
like it with everything I have going on but if you need it,
I'll always make the time."
Willow gave a genuine grin.
"That's good to know. I hope you always feel that
way…No matter what I might have to tell you."
Willow began to walk away
but Buffy caught her by the elbow. "So there is
Willow said before starting down the stairs. "Let's get
your sister fed before she gets too cranky."
Buffy examined Willow's
departure for a few moments before making her way down the
stairs. Something was definitely weighing on Willow's mind and
shoulders based on the cryptic response and her body language.
She just prayed Willow would come to her instead of leaving
things bottled up as she had the last year of her addiction
and Tara's death. With a tug of her jacket collar, putting it
in place, she followed.
The restaurant was a much
lighter affair. Everyone laughed and joked and Buffy had to
admit it was a wonderful feeling having everyone there again.
No 'big bads' to face at the moment. She mused that these were
the moments that made her go out every night and why she
didn't give up slaying when adversity struck like a sickle.
Although they weren't joined by blood, Buffy had a family
better than those that people are born into. Even Xander and
Anya managed to smile at each other during the meal proving
that truth could be stranger than fiction. Quietly, she sat
next to Dawn and across from Giles and Willow.
As she watched them interact
with each other Xander's accusations kept coming back in her
mind. There was a certain closeness there, an even tighter
bond than before, Buffy had to admit. Whether that bond was
non-platonic, as the group had assumed she couldn't quite
tell. And Giles was very 'touchy feely' as Xander had put it,
more so than Buffy was used to seeing. Buffy tried to put it
aside but slowly Xander's paranoia was becoming her own. Was
Wills and Giles involved? Would they end up shattering the
group with a romance gone bad? Things would never be the same
if that happened.
But then again perhaps
things could go right for them. Maybe they were what they both
searched for, never realizing it was right in front of them
until now? It was true that Willow was an adult now and not
longer a girl but still…how would Buffy handle it all? She
was sure, at first, it would be much like when Willow came out
about Tara - the initial shock, replaced by a denial, which in
the end led to acceptance and understanding.
By the time of Tara's death
Buffy had to admit she was quite fond of Tara. Not that Buffy
disliked Oz. He was quite a character but Tara was different.
Subtle, caring, dependable…She could cry on Tara's shoulder
without a sense of regret or remorse for her actions. She
didn't feel like she had to be the 'Slayer' in front of Tara
all the time. That was something Buffy could never do with Oz.
He was a sweet guy. He adored Will to no end. But he still
lacked the warmth that Tara always brought to a room. Buffy
looked over and saw Dawn eating her pancakes. And Buffy felt
herself choke down a tear.
She missed Tara too and in
the rush of everything after Tara's death some days it seemed
like it never happened. But once in awhile Buffy would peek
into Willow's room and find her alone, going over her college
notes and not see Tara there. At those times, Buffy could feel
that flutter of loss. She felt it for Willow who sat alone
studying. And she felt it for herself for losing a confidant
she'd grown to love. Her thoughts must have shown on her face
because she heard Willow's voice.
"Are you okay?"
For some reason Buffy felt
like she was going to break inside. "Yeah," she said
softly. "I'm okay. Excuse me."
Buffy got up and headed
toward the restroom swiftly. The group looked around at each
other and Willow rose. "I'll be right back," she
told Giles, her hand running across his shoulders as she made
Buffy heard the entrance of
the restroom open. "Buf, are you sure you're okay?"
she heard Willow call out.
Buffy stood inside a stale,
dabbing the side of her eyes with some tissue paper. She took
a breath to steady her voice before she spoke. "I'm okay
Wills. I'll be out in a second."
Willow paused a moment.
"Okay," she answered. She opened the door to the
restroom but instead of going out she stayed inside. Thinking
she was gone Buffy emerged from the stall to see Willow
standing by the sink.
"I thought you
left," Buffy remarked as she walked to the sink and
started to wash her hands and dry them quickly.
"Yeah that was the
point," Willow grinned. "Had to get you out of there
somehow to talk …What's the matter? You know, the same rules
that apply with me also apply to you too?"
"It's kinda stupid. I
mean…I saw Dawn eating her pancakes and…" Buffy
trailed off on berating herself and started to cry. Willow
took two strides over and pulled Buffy into her arms. "I
miss her Will and I don't want to unload on you. I know you've
had a Hell of a time dealing yourself and – and-."
said running her hand over the back of Buffy's head as she
held her. "I know. It sneaks up on you. There are good
days and there are bad days. Sometimes in the middle of a good
day I'll see something or maybe I hear a song on the radio
and, and I remember…But it's okay," Willow gave a light
chuckle and Buffy pulled back with a questioning look. "I
have to admit I wondered if you cared she was gone."
"What? How could you
"I know you've said you
miss her Buf. And I believed every word but…Now don't take
this the wrong way. And please know that I am sorry you're
hurting. Okay? I truly am…But in an odd way, I'm glad to see
you're hurt because I can see it's not just me. Misery truly
does love company sometimes. It's good to know I'm not the
only one who blubbers at what seems like the oddest
"Oh Will I never meant
to come off cold about all this-."
"I know. You've tried
to be strong for me. I realize that and I do appreciate it.
All I'm saying is…it's nice to know I'm not the only one who
gets weak about it once in awhile." Willow paused and
started to grin. "Actually, I think Tara is watching us
right now laughing her ass off at the two dorks crying in the
Willow chuckled slightly but
Buffy could still see the onset of tears in her eyes. Buffy
issued a half-laugh in response until turning serious again.
"You're not alone Will.
Don't think that, okay?"
"Well now I know for
sure," she proclaimed optimistically.
Buffy said in a chipper voice. "So from now on we're free
to be depressed together whenever we feel like it."
Willow chuckled and took
Buffy by the hand. "Come on, let's hurry up and get back
before they send Anya in to look for us."
By the time they made it
back to the table both women were all smiles and they sat down
Xander asked Buffy.
"Sure. Just girly
quality time," Buffy grinned.
"Count me out,"
Xander replied. "Nearly twenty years with Willow and
seven with you I'd like to keep what testosterone I have
left." Giles smiled before taking a sip of his tea.
Xander then turned his attention to Giles. "You know I
say this in the most masculine and heterosexual of ways Giles,
but I really miss you sometimes. I think I'm starting to
become one of the girls and it's way scary."
"That's not entirely
true," Willow said with a coy grin. "We do girl
watch together at the Bronze."
Xander chuckled and held up
his hands. "Don't take this the wrong way Will but it's
just not the same," Xander replied before turning to
Giles again. "At least when you were here it evened
things out a bit. Any shot of bribing you to come back for
good? I can get you a great deal on building a house," he
Giles chuckled. "At the
moment no but in the future…we'll see. It could be quite
possible that I may return to Sunnydale for an extended period
of time in the coming months."
group asked in harmony.
"Yes, really but
nothing is settled with the council at this point. But if it
does come to that then it appears that I'll be happily
accepted back here."
"Are you kidding? With
open arms and all. This is great news," Willow replied.
"It's not news. It's
only a rumor at this point," Giles corrected. "We'll
have to wait and see how things go."
The open arms comment from
Willow forced Xander to shoot a hunched eyebrow at Buffy. Dawn
started to giggle in response.
"Did I miss
something?" Willow asked looking around the table.
"No," Dawn said
quickly, "Just thinking of a joke someone told me.
Anyway, do we have new some new theories on the latest vamps?
I know you guys didn't go to sleep right away last
"No we just vegged out
for awhile. We're gonna hit the books when we finish up
which," Xander began. "Mind dropping Anya off at the
Magic Shop? I've gotta head out to the lumberyard," he
said looking at his watch.
nodded. "Are you leaving now?"
Xander rose, grabbing his
coat. "Yeah I've gotta get some things in order for
Monday so I better take off. But thanks for breakfast Giles.
It was great getting together again for something other than
an impending apocalypse. We should do this more often,"
he grinned. He paused a moment and looked to Anya. "I was
thinking if you're not busy maybe I could take you out to
"Where did that come
from?" Anya asked.
"Oh I don't know, the
kindness of my shallow heart," he countered with a warm
"I don't know what to
"I've said yes before
but it didn't quite work out," Anya retorted.
Xander nodded. He wasn't
going to argue and decided to just let it drop. "It was
just a thought. If you change your mind give me a call on the
He began to make his way
from the table when he heard Anya say, "Yes."
"6 'o' clock sound
"Okay. I'll be at the
shop then. I'll see you all later. Ring if you need me,"
he added to Buffy giving her a light pat to the shoulder.
Buffy replied before he made his way from the table.
sighed. "The research isn't going to get done on it's
"Right you are. We all
finished here?" Giles asked the table.
With a chorus of various
agreements, the group began to make their way to their feet as
Dawn asked, "Can I help? Look through some books, do some
Giles looked to Buffy for
approval. "Fine by me," the slayer shrugged.
"Dawnie's become quite
the bookworm in recent months. Even helped finger that flesh
eating monster I got to know all too well," Willow nodded
"You don't say?"
Giles smiled proudly.
Dawn blushed and Buffy
patted her on the back in support. "Look Will. She even
blushes like you used to when you got a compliment."
"Too true," Willow
"Any chance of showing
me some hacker tips soon?" Dawn asked the witch.
"After all Buffy's been training with me physically. Only
fair that you sharpen my mind too."
"Yeah but if we train
you physically and mentally what good would we be then? That
would be a threat to our egos," Willow countered.
"Let's just take it one step at a time before you put us
old folks out to pasture."
Giles chuckled. "You
don't understand the concept of old my dear. Give it another
"Since a Slayer rarely
makes it out of her teens let alone 40, I'll drink to
that," Buffy said, before downing the rest of her orange
juice. "Let's get going."
"I think I found
something," Dawn said as she continued to read from one
of the many books. She handed it over to Willow and pointed to
the section she was examining.
Willow began to read as
Giles and Buffy waited for her appraisal. "The sword of
Mattathias," Willow muttered.
Really?" Giles asked.
"Okay Gentile Slayer
here. What's the story on Mattathias?" Buffy piped in.
Willow looked up, "Oh,
sorry. Mattathias started the revolt against the Greeks in
Jerusalem when the Greek ruler Antiochus took control of the
region and forced the Jews to worship him as a god. Mattathias
who was a high Jewish priest refused and killed a Greek
officer which began the rebellion."
"The rebellion which
became Hanukkah, correct?" Giles asked.
"Well, yes and
no," Willow answered. "Mattathias died before then
but his son Judah Maccabee took charge of the army. Judah won
but that was about three years later. When they got back to
the temple for their victory celebration they wanted to light
the menorah symbolizing the eternal covenant between God and
the Jewish people. They looked for oil but only found a small
flask that contained enough oil to light the menorah for one
day. Problem was it would take eight days to make more oil.
The miracle at Hanukkah occurred when the one day supply of
oil burned for eight days and nights until more oil could be
"So that's why you have
the eight candles," Buffy replied.
nodded. "It represents the miracle of the eight nights
the menorah burned."
"So where does that
leave us with our latest vamp problem?"
"I haven't a
clue," Willow shrugged.
"Well that was good
while it lasted," Buffy retorted.
"But it may not be a
total wash out," she walked over and handed the book to
Giles and pointed out the passage to him. "See here. It
says he who controls the sword of Mattathias will control the
Jewish Army. It supposedly has mystical powers – like King
Arthur's Excalibur. Anyone who has this sword has the power to
lead the Jewish nation. At the time of the original battle the
Jews were out manned and out weaponed. Logically there was no
way they could win but they did. Maybe the Jews are getting
ready to battle again."
"Or a band of Jewish
vampires? A group of hell demons working for God?" Dawn
"Perhaps. Those vamps were tough. Tougher than average
right?" Willow asked turning to Buffy who nodded.
"What if they got the sword? And what if this sword gives
their followers unspeakable power."
"That's all well and
good," Buffy agreed. "But what's up with the
crucifix collection? And why did they beat the crap outta me
yet run away from you?"
"Again, I haven't a
clue. But it might be something to look into
further…Actually that's not true. I think our original
assumption about religious sects is on the mark…I mean the
Jews don't see Jesus as the son of God. Grant it he was a
swell guy and all but we view him as more of a …what would
you call it?" she asked resting her hand on Giles
"A prophet or a
saint?" Giles offered.
"Yeah a prophet, much
like the Islamic faith . . . which is kinda ironic when you
think about all the fighting between the two," Willow
added after considering it. "That's the closest thing I
could use to describe him – a prophet. And since the cross
represents Christianity and the fact that Jesus, the son of
God, who died for the sins of mankind according to the
Christians, then it would have little holy relevance to a pack
of dead, blood thirsty Jews…And please…no anti-Semitism
remarks to that 'blood thirsty Jews' comment."
Giles took his glasses from
his face and began to chew on one of the ends. "Forgive
me for asking Willow, I realize I should know, but when is
Hanukkah this year?"
to December 7th. Why?"
"There may be a
connection. What exactly I-I'm not sure but…perhaps these
vamps are planning something of a celebration
"Well if that's the
case we have two weeks," Willow answered. "The
Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles so when the sun sets
on November 30th , then Hanukkah begins."
"And the vamps come out
to play," Buffy added."…But hey! Maybe we'll get
lucky and their diabolical plot to take over the world will
happen at the end of the Hanukkah. That gives us another eight
days." Everyone at the table looked at Buffy. "Okay
nothing ever goes according to plan but there's a first time
for everything." Willow got a perplexed look on her face.
"What is it Will?"
"What if that's
"What if what's
what?" Buffy asked.
Willow went over and pulled
two books off the shelve handing them to Dawn. "Look
through these. Find out whatever you can on Christian-Jewish
"I thought the holy hot
spots were between the Jews and the Arabian nations?"
"To the outside world
yes. But since we're at the Hellmouth let's expect the
unexpected for a moment…Consider this: thanks to the
Crusades much of the world holds the Christian belief system.
Judaism and the Islamic faiths are in the minority in the
media spotlight. What if the Jews staged a 'rebellion' against
the highest profiled religious order on earth? Would anyone
expect that or see it coming? Honestly? The answer is they
"You raise an excellent
point," Giles pointed out. "The world is focused on
the relations between the Jews and the Palestinians as it has
for thousands of years. What if these vampires decided to use
the - what would you call it …the 'back door' to world
domination by taking out the Gentiles first?"
"And what if they
aren't waiting for Hanukkah to stage the new rebellion? What
if this years Hanukkah will be the celebration after their
efforts? If that's the case that means we have even less
began. "Is it too late for me to convert?"
"You have to be either
be born of a Jewish mother or be honest about your conversion.
Otherwise, it won't 'stick'," Willow offered.
"So I'm a dead woman
walking when they decide to 'roll out the barrel'?"
much," Willow grinned with a chuckle. "Who ever
thought being a Jew might actually help me in life?" she
muttered in afterthought.
"Well I for one am
grateful," Giles remarked. "And I'm crossing my
fingers that you know more about your faith in the hours and
days to come."
"Not sure if I can help
you there," Willow answered. "It's been a few years
since I've practiced but it might come back to me with a
little more research," she added optimistically.
They heard the door of the
Magic Shop open and watched as Spike walked in. "Well if
it isn't the invisible man," Spike grinned, walking over
to Giles. "Heard you were back in the old stomping
grounds. I've got some information that you might find useful.
It's not much but-."
"What is it?"
"Seems your theory
about the Moses demons might be right on. Word on the street
is there's a gang planning a naughty shindig thanks to a big,
"You don't say?"
Willow grinned as she looked over at Giles who began to smile.
Spike looked to Buffy.
"Does Red know something I don't?"
"We've been kicking
around ideas but this helps confirm a few speculations,"
Buffy told him. "Anything more?"
"Afraid not," he
answered. "Told you it wasn't much."
"No, actually that's
quite helpful Spike," Giles answered.
Anya walked over to the
group. "Giles? The council is on the telephone."
"Excuse me," Giles
said to the group as he quickly got up and walked to the
phone. Spike took his seat and began to thumb through the book
in front of him.
"I don't have a
location on them yet but it's just a matter of time,"
Spike said, tossing the book back on the desk.
"Well if our theory's
correct, time might be in short supply," Willow told him.
"We think they're
planning something for Hanukkah in the next two weeks. Maybe
sooner than that."
The door of the magic shop
jiggled again as Xander walked in. He turned around the open
sign in the window before making his way over to the group.
"Giles is on the phone
with the council and Willow has a new theory," Buffy
"Not so great,"
Willow answered. "If these recent Vamps have their way
then… you, Dawn, Buffy, Giles and Anya are all doomed."
"And how did you
managed to escape the end of the world, Will?"
"Well thousands of
years of persecution seems to have paid off. The Jews will be
spared if our theory is right."
"So the JAP gets to
live while we all get toasted?" Xander pointed to Willow
while taking a seat at the table.
"I'm not a Jewish
American Princess," Willow retorted as a playful grin
came to her lips. "I'm a Queen," she added batting
The entire table, even
Spike, chuckled at the comment.
"Check out the attitude
on Red," the vampire replied. "Good on you Love and
about bloody time."
"What does that
mean?" Willow asked.
"From what I've heard,
you've got power. Lots of it. About time you started throwing
it around," he smirked.
Willow closed the book she
was thumbing through and tossed it on the stack in front of
her. "Some powers just shouldn't be thrown around,"
she said softly, leaving the table. She made her way over to
Giles and listened to his side of the conversation.
Buffy watched her leave and
then threw a disapproving glare in Spike's direction.
"What?" the vamp
asked. "It's true."
She just shook her head and
went to watching Dawn read. "Anything yet?"
"Not really," Dawn
answered, not looking up from her book. "It's kinda
interesting though, seeing what's happened over the
"Well keep reading.
Once Spike and I do some patrolling maybe we'll have more
information. A hideout would be nice."
The group watched as Giles
hung up and motioned Willow over to the group.
"The council thinks our
conclusions are on track. They've had reports of soothsayers
claiming the rise of a new Jerusalem in the world. Here in
Sunnydale as a matter of fact. They too feel that the sword is
the key to the power. We get the sword and we strip them of
enough," Buffy answered. "We've faced worse,
"I don't want you to
take this lightly Buffy. On the surface it would appear that
we have faced worse but let's not under estimate these chaps.
They have super strength and a religious zealot attitude to go
along with it. They lost their souls but not their faith. The
council's not sure what to make of that fact and they're
currently researching how it's possible. But as we know it's
not impossible for a demon to regain their soul."
Spike chimed in. "So Buffy and I should check things out
then? Find out where the holy lair might be?"
"That should be the
first order of business yes. We'll continue our work
With that Buffy and Spike
rose from the table, leaving the group to their studies.
"Where should we start?" Spike asked the slayer.
"Let's cut through the
graveyard. Follow their path of departure from the other
night. It's a long shot but it's starting place."
Spike gave a nod and
obediently followed. They made idle chit chat as they walked
along but once they got to the graveyard they quieted their
conversation and took a path that lead out the other side of
the cemetery. They walked along, pushing past overgrowth until
they came to the onset of a lake.
They peeked through some
bushes and found what looked like a compound filled with
trucks, weapons and vamps. Loads of vamps. On the grounds they
also found an assortment of small structures and one large one
filling the area.
Spike whispered. "How many of them do you think there
"More than we can take
on that's for sure," Buffy whispered back. "Let's
get to the Magic Shop and put a plan in motion."
Buffy and Spike returned
about an hour after they left to the surprise of everyone.
"We found it,"
Buffy said despondently. "They're held up at Lake
Higgins, just outside the cemetery."
"Oh yeah if the place
wasn't surrounded by hundreds of vamps that would be even
kidding," Giles asked as he stood up. "Of course
you're not kidding. What am I saying?"
"Well how many do you
think?" Willow asked.
Buffy looked to Spike,
"What? Around 300 or so?"
"Yeah at least. With
that big building it's hard to say. It could be barracks of
some kind. Maybe more than 300."
"I didn't think
Sunnydale had a Jewish population that large…especially not
Jewish vampires," Xander answered.
"They may not all be
from Sunnydale," Giles offered. "Perhaps they've
been 'recruiting' from other areas."
"I think you're onto
something Giles," Buffy answered. "Aren't Jews
required to make a pilgrimage of some kind?"
"Yeah they are. To the
holy land," Willow replied.
"Maybe Sunnydale is the
new Jerusalem for the Jewish undead like the council
"Speaking of the
council they called back again," Giles began.
"According to their sources they believe they have the
name of a leader - someone powerful, ancient."
"Oh really?" Buffy
"Yes…he goes by the
name of Judah."
"You mean THE
Judah?" Buffy asked. "The one that Willow told us
"The council is
researching to find out if he's one in the same."
"If it is the same
Judah, the Torah left out that small detail. You know, the one
about the leader of the Jews being..all blood sucky,"
"Yes and the council
believes that if we destroy Judah it will also destroy his
hierarchy," Giles continued.
"He has a hierarchy
now? You mean like a group of lackeys?"
"Yes and hopefully many
of the ones you seen tonight would be affected. If he allowed
them all to drink from his blood, which he may to give them
greater power then destroying him could mean destroying this
"So all we need to do
is kill the leader? Then Judah's blood becomes Jonestown kool-aid?"
Xander asked snapping his fingers.
less…yes," Giles agreed.
Buffy took a moment for her
mind to digest all the words.
"Well what's the
plan?" Dawn asked when no one continued. "What are
you going to do?"
"First I'm gonna get
that sword," Buffy answered. "Steal their
"Well it's not like you
can just walk right in there," Anya added. "Not with
that many demons held up."
"She's got a point Buf,"
Spike replied as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it.
"We've got to devise something other than becoming moving
targets. These boys were heavily armed. You saw the
"They had guns?"
"A bunch," Buffy
answered. "Bringing them in by the truck load."
"Well you can't just
walk in there," Anya began again.
"I realize that. We
need a plan," Buffy replied. "Look, it's past dinner
time. Why don't I call up the Pizza Shack, order us a few
rounds and figure out our next step?"
"Sounds like the best
plan so far," Dawn interjected.
Giles watched as Willow put
on her coat. "Where are you off to?"
"I've got a Torah at
the house I want to grab and some other books. Want me to
swing by and grab the pizza's?"
"A researcher and a
delivery person – cool!" Buffy smiled.
said tossing his keys. "Take my car. Just try to bring it
back in one piece."
Willow grinned. "I'll
try but no promises."
There's a young woman here to see you."
The vampire gave a slight
bow to another who appeared to be seated on a make shift
throne. The décor was much to be desired. It was an aluminum
barrack structure with no decorations with the exception of
crucifix hung all over the area. Guards lined the long
expansion of the wall on either side.
"Ahh," the ruler
said, rising to his feet, taking his sword along with him.
"The Gentile Slayer as finally arrived as foretold. By
all means, show her in."
With another nod the vampire
left and returned with his charge. He motioned her to step
deeper into the room. With a polite nod to her escort she
turned to face her 'host'.
nodded politely to him.
The ruler gave a chuckled
and walked several feet closer but not any great distance near
her given the size of the structure.
"My prophets have told
me you would come Slayer. At last we meet," he began,
taking notice of her apparel. She wore black boots with black
hip huggers and a solid black blouse with a row of numerous
buttons up the front.
"Thanks for the
villainous Darth Vadery welcome," Willow smiled.
"But I'm not the Slayer… I'm just a Slayerette…And
you've got something we need."
"Funny girl." He
grinned and pointed to two guards along the wall. "Kill
her please," he said politely. They charged ahead and
with a simple swipe of her hand the guards flew back against
the wall, shaking the crucifixes that hung there.
"You know," Willow
began. "It's schlemiel's like you that create all the
anti-Semitism out there," Willow began. "And what's
with all the crucifix decorations? Planning some elaborate
spell or concoction to knock off the Gentiles of the
"You're a smart girl.
But then again you are Jewish, aren't you?"
"So I’m right? Go
"Too bad you won't be
around to see the big show," he said confidently.
"And all those Christmas presents…they'll be useless
"I think I get
it," Willow told him as she started to walk forward.
"You use the 'link' of Christ to get to the
Christians…somehow the more crosses you have the larger a
key for what you've got planned. I gotta tell ya. Ya get an
'A' when it comes to creativity. But there's no way you're
gonna pass the final exam. The slayer…and the Slayerette…won't
let that happen."
"Is that so?"
"Yeah that's so. You
can call my alliance with the Slayer a merging of
Christian-Jewish relations – two religions with one goal -
getting rid of you."
"That's not gonna
happen," he said boldly. Willow just grinned and walked a
few feet closer.
"Look, we can do this
the easy way or the easier way," Willow told him.
Subconsciously, Judah found himself moving backward with each
menacing step Willow made toward him.
"Get her!" he
shouted. The remaining guards darted from their position.
redhead yelled, becoming shrouded in a ball of light.
As they moved in, the force
that encompassed Willow pushed them back several feet, leaving
them unable to harm her. They all looked at each other and
then to their leader unsure of what to do next. One guard
pulled his gun and fired a shot, which ricocheted off the
beams surrounding Willow, hitting a guard two vamps down from
"Son of -! Stop that!
I'm undead but it still hurts," the injured guard yelled.
Willow totally ignored the
commotion. She focused on one vampire and one vampire only,
getting closer step by step. She stopped in the middle of the
room as Judah scrambled up to his throne. "Easy way – I
take the sword. Easier way – you give me the sword. Either
way…I get the sword…So what's it gonna be?"
Anger and fear showed on his
face all at once. "Over my dead body."
"Well you are already
dead," Willow pointed out. "So I'll take that as the
answer." She reached out and the sword flew from Judah's
grasp, landing in her own hand. "It's been fun,"
Willow replied, as she examined the sword for a brief moment.
As quick as she could, she ran from the building and outside.
Judah and the guards stood
by totally stunned before Judah's senses took hold of what
"Well don't just stand
there! Get her!" he shouted.
The guards began to shout to
their cohorts outside and gave chase on foot. Willow was
already through the brush and climbing under the fence. Her
protection spell however was wearing off. She spotted Xander's
car parked in the cemetery to see the first wave of Vamps
following her, pushing under the broken chain-link fence.
muttered, feeling drained. She literally fell into the
driver's side and started the car as she pulled her legs and
feet inside. "Close. Lock" Abruptly the door slammed
shut and the locks flew into place. She threw the car into
drive as the vamps tried desperately to catch her. Unable to
stop her departure the leader of the hunt pointed to two
"You. Follow her. Find
out where she goes and report back here. Got it?"
They nodded and took off
running down the street.
Willow arrived at the Magic
Shop, stumbling inside with the sword. "Chest.
Table," she called out. Suddenly Buffy's weapons chest
from the house was sitting in the middle of the shop as the
group sprang to their feet. Buffy and Spike who were the
closest to the front door raced over. "Gates. Lock"
she called out this time. The window security and locks of the
front door closed with a loud clatter. She took a few steps
but started to collapse. Spike caught her decent and she
dropped the sword. Deadpan she looked up to Buffy who was
knelling over her. "Damn it. I forgot the pizza."
Buffy examined Willow and
spotted the sword. "What did you do? Did you go in
"Bringing the fight to us," she muttered. "Need
to secure the back." She nodded toward the training room
"We're on it,"
Xander answered as he and Anya raced to the training room to
block the back entrance.
"I can't believe you
did this," Giles said as he made his way over. Willow
could hear the displeasure in his voice.
"Had to," she
answered as she tried to sit up. Spike helped steady her
against the nearby bookshelf. "We need the sword and
Buffy couldn't get it. Not with that many vamps. It was the
"Yes but now you've
managed to lead them right back here!" Giles answered.
"They'll come for the sword."
"I'm planning on
it," Willow answered, slowly getting her breathe back.
"Now we fight them on our turf. By our rules."
"That doesn't matter!
You still should have consulted us!"
"Back off!" Spike
shouted to Giles before turning to Willow. "Listen Red.
What you did took guts. And it's better than sitting here
talking about what to do while they're out doing it. Good on
you, I say. At least someone in this bloody group has a set on
"She still should have
told us Spike," Buffy answered.
Willow gave a slight
chuckle. "So, you would have let me go then?"
"I didn't say
that," Buffy replied, unable to meet Willow's eyes.
"You don't have to. I
know the answer…which is why I did it in the first
place," Willow explained. "But you can all yell at
me later. Right now we need to get set for their arrival.
Battling 300 badies who have to fit through one or two doors
at a time is much easier than 300 in a warehouse. We've got
the sword, which means we've got their strength. But that's
not enough. We've gotta take 'em out."
Willow tried to stand and
Buffy and Spike lent a hand by hoisting her up on either side.
"I can't believe how
irresponsible you've behaved tonight," Giles sighed as he
followed Willow. She made her way to a stool by the counter,
clutching her temple.
"Like I said, yell at
me later. Get the chest ready now."
"Willow you don't
understand the ramifications of this. You-."
"No Jeeves! You don't
understand!" Willow's eyes blackened over and Giles took
a step back. She took a deep, calming breath, rubbing her
forehead to release the tension. When she looked back to Giles
her eyes appeared normal. "I'm sorry," she began.
"but sending Buffy in there would mean certain death. I
spent enough time around the council to know that would have
been their request. I couldn't let that happen."
Giles rubbed the side of his
face. "That's not true. They wanted to send you."
"What?" the room
asked in harmony.
"Yes," he began. "but I was against it. I told
them I wasn't sure if you were ready…And I didn't want to
risk losing you to the darkness if it should come to
Willow gave a harrumph.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence Giles." He
reached for her but she moved off the stool, heading toward
the chest on the table, avoiding his touch.
Dawn walked over with a
bottle of aspirin and water. "Here you go," she
said. "Figured you'd need them."
She opened the top, letting it fall to the ground. The bottle
was nearly empty so Willow tossed the remaining ones into her
hand, not bothering to count them and popped them in her mouth
before taking a big swig of water.
"We're all secure out
back," Xander said as he and Anya returned from the
training room. "Anything else?"
"We get armed and we
wait," Willow answered.
Buffy walked over to Willow.
"What makes you think this will work?"
redhead began, "when the Persian Army attacked Greece,
Xena lead them to a little house and killed 'em one by one. It
worked for her." Xander chuckled but quickly shut up when
the rest of the group failed to find the humor. "Come on
guys. I'm joking okay?" Willow added. When nobody said
anything she continued. "Well kinda…Xena did beat the
Persians that way," Willow muttered guiltily before her
voice grew strong again, "However it makes more sense to
fight them in here instead of trying to take them on
unfamiliar ground or out in the open."
"Yes but in planning
all this did you stop to consider this is not YOUR Magic
Shop?" Anya piped in. "Do you have any idea how
difficult it is to insure this place now? I had to beg and
hand over a check with an enormous figure to my agent after
the last time you trashed it."
"We won't let them
trash it…much," Willow answered. "And I did
apologize. I even offer to help you with cleaning it up and
the extra costs," Willow added.
"And where does a
non-working student get her money from anyway? Her part-time
employed Slayer?" Anya retorted.
Willow's hands immediately
went to her hips in defiance. "You know Anya-."
Xander stepped between them
before things went any further. "Look, we've got 300 evil
Jews on a pilgrimage to kick our ass. Chances are they're not
gonna be in the best of moods. So can we put the bickering on
hold long enough to defend ourselves?"
"She started it,"
"You did when you
ruined my shop the first time," Anya muttered back.
yelled. The room fell silent and they watched as Buffy went
over to the chest. She picked up a cross bow and tossed it to
Spike. "You – in the back." Next she pulled out a
sword, handing it to Dawn. "You – upfront with
me." Next came a series of stakes she placed on the table
for Xander and Anya. "You two – back with Spike."
"I don't want to be in
Spike's group," Xander complained. The look on Buffy's
face gave no room for argument and quietly he picked up the
stakes, walking back and Anya followed suit.
"Giles, you stay up
front with me. Keep watch over Dawn."
When Buffy didn't give
Willow any directions the redhead issued an attention getting
cough in her direction.
answered slightly annoyed.
"Where do you want
"Does it matter?"
Buffy answered flippantly. "You'll go wherever you damn
well please anyway. What's the point?"
"Don't 'hey Buffy'
me," the slayer began. "Giles isn't the only one
slightly pissed over the little stunt you pulled tonight. For
the record, I agree with you. I think we should fight them on
our ground. But to go off and do it on your own…to not tell
anyone…you've acted like a renegade Slayer who thinks she
doesn't need to answer to anyone."
"Don't even compare me
to Faith," Willow warned.
"And why not? You act
"I did this to protect
you! It wasn't a selfish whim used for an adrenaline
Buffy walked over to the
sword that Willow had retrieved. It still lay on the ground
where Willow had dropped it. "We'll fight about this
later," she said as she reached down. She wrapped her
fingers around the hilt but immediately dropped it, grasping
Willow asked coming over.
Willow reached down and
picked it up with no problem, testing the weight of it in her
hand. "It doesn't bother me."
Jewish," Giles said as he made his way over.
"Perhaps only someone of Hebrew descent can hold
Willow took the sword by the
blade and motioned toward Giles. "Don't grab it,"
she warned, "just touch it." Giles reached out a
tentative finger. Upon hitting the metal, his hand darted
away. "Proves that theory," Willow shrugged.
Buffy opened her mouth to
reply but the sound of the pounding on the door stopped her.
Quickly she looked over. "Looks like it's show
time," she whispered.
"Flip as many as you
can this way and Dawn and I will 'cap' 'em," Willow told
the Slayer who answered with a nod.
When the door finally gave,
three vamps worked their way inside and to her word Buffy
tossed each one over her shoulder. The first two landed
between Willow and Dawn. With powerful swings of the swords
they decapitated them, turning them to dust. The third slid to
a stop in front of Giles. Before the vamp could rise Giles
buried a stake deep in his heart.
In the back, Xander ordered
Anya to stand behind the door and threw her a mace. "When
they come in hit them," he told her. "We'll take it
As the door crashed open
Anya stepped forward striking the first vamp in the head. He
turned around and ripped the mace from Anya's hand. Before he
could use it however, Spike sent a wood projectile into his
back and through his heart. Anya reached out and grabbed the
mace back before it could hit the floor as the attacker
disappeared. Two more advanced on Xander and Spike. Both of
them rushed forward as Spike reloaded. Xander tried to stake
the one coming in his direction but his blow was easily
blocked. The vamp knocked the stake from his hand and tossed
him across the room. He landed with a thud and looked around
for something to fight with. The wood javelin behind him
caught his attention. He darted to his feet and swung it
around as the vamp approached to finish him off.
Xander thrust the long spear
forward and watched him turn to dust but three others had
entered since that time.
"There's too bloody
many of them," Spike yelled to Xander as he reloaded once
Willow overheard Spike's
plight and she shouted to Giles. "Take over for a
She ran toward the training
room, stopping in the doorway. Eight vamps had all three of
them surrounded in the training room with more coming in. She
cast her hand in the direction of the small triangle the
scoobies made for themselves as they stood shoulder to
yelled over to them, encasing the group in a glowing light.
Seeing they were impervious now the three advanced on their
attackers and in a matter of moments turned them to dust. Not
resting, all three stayed ready as more vamps poured through
the door, taking them out ten by ten.
Willow turned back in time
to watch one vamp throw Buffy behind counter in strong heave.
He advanced toward Giles and Dawn and once more Willow cast a
protection spell, this time over Dawn and Giles. With her
attention in two directions, covering 5 people she began to
wear down quickly. She rested against the doorframe, trying
her best to stay upright and conscious of what was happening.
After several moments and what seemed like hundreds of vamps
their numbers finally slowed down and stopped altogether.
Buffy rose holding her head. With one giant leap she hopped
over the counter. When no further vamps came through the front
Giles looked over and shouted to Willow.
"Lift the spell!"
She glanced over to see they
were okay and the light disappeared around them with a
flicker. She slide down the doorframe, her legs finally giving
out from under her, her body totally drained. Only three vamps
remained in the training room but Spike ordered Xander and
Anya out when their protection spell fell before they could
finish the job. Not having to be told twice, Xander and Anya
rushed over to the doorway of the shop to see how things were
fairing on the other side of the building.
"How many came
through?" Willow asked Xander.
"Oh I don't know?
"No jokes," Willow
said trying to regain her breathe. "How many
"About 100," Anya
replied. "With minimal damage it appears," she
grinned happily as she looked around her shop.
Willow gave a half chuckle
and tried to move to her feet but Giles put a hand on her
shoulder. "Rest sweetheart. You'll need your
"Oh now I'm
sweetheart," Willow grinned. "I was scourge of the
earth a few minutes ago."
Buffy had since joined the
group and moved to her knees at Willow's side. "We know
why you did it Will. Yeah, we didn't agree with your methods
but we don't think you're scourge of the earth either."
"So I'm not Faith
"You never were,"
Buffy confessed. "And I'm sorry my temper and mouth got
ahead of my brain."
"And I'm sorry my brain
got ahead of my mouth," Willow grinned. "You're
right. I should have said something before I left."
Buffy's grin told Willow that she accepted the apology and
both women were relieved to come to a truce. Willow began to
look at both doors. "We had about 50 wouldn’t you say
The girl nodded. "At
"That means about half
are gone," Spike added as he made his way over to join
the group. "Half to go."
said pointing to Willow's face. "Your nose is
Willow wiped her nose with
the back of her thumb, seeing the blood. "So it is,"
she sighed. Giles reached into his pocket, giving her his
This time when Willow began
to stand she made it to her feet without help. Giles and Buffy
"Now what? Wait for the
others?" Buffy asked.
No one had a chance to
reply. Judah and five other vamps entered the front door.
"You're wait is
over," he told her.
He strolled confidently
inside the Magic Shop, looking around. "Nice place you've
got here. Lots of rare items. But I'll confess. I only came
He pointed to the sword that
Willow had and instinctively she tightened her hold on it.
told him. "We're closed and that's not for sale
anyway." She picked up a stake and advanced on him. He
didn't even try to fight. He watched as she buried it in his
chest and stepped back. Instead of turning to dust he just
looked down at the protruding wood in his body. He pulled it
out and threw it at her feet.
"Silly girl," he
laughed at her. "There's only one weapon that will kill
me in this world. And you can't even touch it."
With that he began to engage
Buffy as the other vamps advanced on the group members. At
least ten more vamps worked their way back into the training
room. Thinking quickly, Spike grabbed Xander's javelin and
hurled it toward the door staking three of them at once before
rushing into battle. Dawn and Giles could only form a
defensive stance as more vamps poured inside. Buffy glanced to
Willow and she tried to work Judah around so his back was to
understand," Judah taunted Buffy. "I'm not looking
to destroy the world. Just the inferior people in it. A
perfect order will finally be in line when we've eradicated
the Gentiles. It will only be a matter of time before the
Islam faithful and others fall too."
"So a 'master race'
huh? How hypocritical and Hitler of you," Buffy retorted.
Judah announced as he grabbed Buffy by the throat.
Willow tried a protection
spell but nothing was happening. She was far too drained. She
looked around the room. Two vamps held Spike while a third
pummeled him and a forth readied a stake to kill him. Xander
and Anya continued to swing their weapons but failed to make a
connection as more vamps surrounded them. Giles and Dawn
weren't fairing much better as they backed up into a corner.
Willow watched Buffy's feet dangle in the air as Judah held
her above him, choking her. With what strength she had left
Willow charged toward Judah, sword in hand. He looked back
upon hearing her footsteps. He dropped Buffy and tried to turn
to face Willow. The blow that Willow delivered came too
quickly for him and took his head clean off. Suddenly, one by
one, the vamps in the room and the ones who had just begun to
enter started to combust before their eyes. After a few
moments a quiet hush fell over the area.
Xander, Spike and Anya came
to the front of the magic shop. Giles quickly ran outside as
everyone tried to calm their nerves. He came back in, looking
to Buffy first.
"Nothing. They're all
A collective sigh when
around the room.
Xander walked up to Buffy.
"Now what was that you said about this one being
She just shrugged. "So
sue me," she grinned.
"I just don’t think
I'm ready to tell them," Willow told the Watcher.
Buffy was helping the others
clean the rooms of the magic shop when she overheard their
conversation in the small storage room. For a moment, she
considered just moving on but her curiosity got the better of
her and she bent an ear to listen instead.
"We need to tell them.
They deserve the truth," Giles pleaded.
"Part of me wants too.
But another part isn't sure how they'll react. Especially,
Buffy. I mean…she's my best friend and you're her watcher
Giles. How do you think she's going to take it?"
"I don't care how
she'll take it," he answered.
"We both know that's
not the case."
Buffy heard Giles give a
long sigh. "Yes, you're right. I do care but they deserve
to know the truth Willow. I haven't said anything to them but
if we go on as we have…It just makes it seem scandalous.
They could be far more understanding than you're
"Or far worse,"
Willow retorted. Giles wasn't saying anything and Buffy
couldn’t tell what was going on. She couldn't see the
exchange. She could only hear it. Next she heard a kissing
noise followed by a reluctant sigh from Willow. "Okay.
Let's do it now. Let's go out and tell them."
Buffy raced back to the
other side of the shop where everyone was cleaning. Her arms
folded across her chest as she waited for Giles and Willow to
announced getting the room's attention. "Willow and I
have something we need to discuss with all of you."
Something snapped inside of
Buffy. Xander was right. It was true. The two of them were
having an affair. Even though she heard their conversation
moments ago, a part of her still couldn't believe it.
"How could you?"
Buffy began as she looked at Giles with disgust.
"Excuse me?" he
asked, completely thrown off by the demeaning tone in her
"How could you have an
affair with Willow? For God's sake, it's Willow. And your-your
Giles…What were you thinking?"
Xander dropped the broom he
was holding. The rattle of the wood against the tile was the
only sound in the shop.
said stepping closer. Instinctively Buffy moved back, shooing
Willow's outstretched arm away. Willow gave up and let her arm
drop "Why are you-?"
"Don't play dumb
Will," Buffy continued. "I overheard you talking to
Giles out back. I know you didn't want to say anything about
it and he's putting you up to it. The looks, the touches. We
all figured out what's going on."
Buffy held up her finger
cutting Willow off as she turned her anger toward Giles.
"And you!" Buffy
said as she started to pace and mimic Giles in a bad English
accent. "Let me take her to England. Give me a chance to
reform her…Yeah you reformed her alright Giles. In
more ways, than one obviously."
Giles started to show signs
of his own anger as the pulse on his neck became visible.
Willow stepped in front of him, putting her hands on his chest
so he wouldn't step forward. He looked down at her and she
winked with a tiny, evil grin and mouthed 'play along'.
Quickly she turned around and faced the group.
"I told you this is how
they would react. They would never accept us together,"
It took every thing that
Giles had not to start smiling. He put his hands on Willow's
shoulders protectively. "Bad time to tell them about the
baby then?" he added.
"Oh dear God,"
Xander replied in which could be characterized as a
high-pitched girly squeal of horror. Everyone else wore
equally shocked expressions.
Buffy opened her mouth three
times to say something but each time a single word refused to
escape. All she managed was a 'Ba, Ba, Ba' sound.
finished. "The word is baby. I'm three months along now.
Giles felt it was important for us to tell you while he's
Xander stomped over.
"What do you mean while he's still here? If you're having
answered. "If that's the case, then he better not leave
"He's not leaving me.
He's going to find a bigger place in Bathe and eventually I'm
going to join him."
"What?" was the
collective word in the group.
Willow nodded. "I love
him so I'm moving to England."
"But don't worry Xander,"
Giles began. "I have done the responsible thing and I've
asked Willow to marry me." Her turned her around so she
stood face to face with him. "Happy to announce that she
Just when the group thought
they couldn't feel more shocked they watched as Giles raised
Willow's chin with his fingertips and place a slow burning
kiss on her lips. A collective 'eww' went around the room.
Giles and Willow lost their reserve at that point and couldn't
continue the charade. They started to laugh - slowly, at first
and then uncontrollably.
Buffy didn't understand but
then she quickly realized what was happening.
said between laughing. "Sorry for having you all on but
we couldn't help it."
"So there's no
baby?" Xander asked.
"No baby. No affair.
Giles always has been and always will be the
perfect gentleman," Willow told the room. She paused a
moment considering it all "….My God, I can't believe
you people. You actually thought Giles and I were having an
affair?" Willow asked Buffy.
"I didn't! I mean, not
a first. It was Xander! Xander's the one to blame!" Buffy
replied quickly, pointing at him.
"Now hold on,"
Xander remarked. "I suspected something was going on
'Miss Come Right Out and Confront Them'. I said I was going to
wait. You're the one that jumped to conclusions!"
"Me? Me?! I was the
only one in this sorry lot that said they couldn't possibly be
having an affair!" Quickly Buffy turned to Willow and
Giles. "You gotta believe me. I was the voice of reason
in this group."
"Note the use of the
past tense…was…the voice of reason," Xander retorted.
Buffy and Xander continued
to argue until Anya turned to Willow and Giles. "So
what's with all the touching?" she asked. "I've
never seen you two that close."
"Oh that's just part of
Willow's recovery. Perhaps the others didn’t tell you."
"Tell who what?"
Willow had a guilty look on
her face and Giles folded his arms across his chest. "You
didn't tell them did you?" he asked her.
Willow shuffled from foot to
foot for a moment. "Oh come on. What am I supposed to say
to them? 'Look guys you gotta touch me on a regular basis or I
might go psycho again'. I'm sorry Giles but asking my friends
to touch me….that just sounds too …weird."
"Huh?" Buffy and
Giles began to explain.
"Part of Willow's recover is for her to be connected to
humanity. It's common knowledge in the psychology world that
in order for people to be truly happy in life, they need at
least 10 human touches a day – nothing sexual mind you. Just
physical closeness – a hug, a caress and so forth."
"Okay but what about
the sushi restaurant?" Buffy said. "I saw Willow
kiss your hand Giles."
"The resta-. You followed
us?" Willow asked extremely agitated. "What gives
you the right to spy on us?"
"It wasn't my
idea!" Buffy replied quickly. "Right, Xander?"
"Nobody twisted your
arm to come," Xander told her. Buffy grit her teeth and
snarled at him.
"You were there
too?" Willow asked Xander. "Did you take the whole
family or was this something that you two cooked up
alone?" Anya and Dawn looked away guiltily. "Oh I
don't believe this."
"Spike was there
too," Dawn muttered.
Willow started to pace. "Okay, for the record I kissed
Giles because of something he said to me. Something about
being proud of me and since it was a PRIVATE conversation I'm
not saying any thing more."
"And the conversation
in the store room just now?" Buffy asked.
Willow motioned to Giles.
"Well, that's what we originally planned to tell you a
few moments ago - the council feels it would be in our best
interest if Willow played more of an active role in your
slayer duties. A-As she's proved tonight, she can be a
powerful force to use in our fight. She wasn't sure if you
would feel threatened – as if she were trying to take the
place of Slayer – so she didn't feel comfortable saying
anything. She didn't want to tell you and end up offending you
in someway. I tried to reassure her that you wouldn't take it
as an insult and that perhaps this would even come as good
news to you. Some extra help you need in your fight against
evil as it were."
Buffy looked at Xander
although she was speaking to Giles. "So you and Willow
aren't romantically involved in any way, shape or form?"
no!" Giles answered, as Willow replied, "Absolutely
not!" at the same time.
Quickly Willow made up for
the disgust she was sure Giles heard in her voice. "Now
that's not to say that Giles isn't a dashing gentlemen. I'm
sure lots of ladies would find him debonair. But he's kinda
not my type, you know?"
"Well there is that 20
year difference in age too," he offered. "I realize
that Willow's grown into a beautiful woman but still…I'm not
a cradle robber…Despite what any of you may think," he
threw in for good measure.
"I'm sorry," Buffy
muttered guiltily. The rest of the group joined in the chorus
"Well now that that's
all settled," Giles announced. "Why don't we finish
cleaning up and call it a night?"
Giles went back to the
training room as Willow walked behind the register to get the
dustpan. As she came back around, Buffy stopped her.
"Will, I'm sorry for a
lot of things tonight," she started. "Please try to
"I'm sorry too Buffy so
don't worry about it. All is forgiven." She started to
walk away but Buffy stopped her again.
"Hey Will," she
whispered. She grinned to lighten the mood. "Just between
you and me…strictly out of curiosity and no deep hidden
desires mind you…Is Giles a good kisser?"
Willow grinned too and
leaned down conspiratorially. "On scale of one to
ten," she whispered. "An eleven…Twenty years older
and a little less gayer…I might want to get to know the
Ripper better." She pulled back and gave the slayer a
wink. Buffy stood momentarily shocked yet again as she heard
Willow chuckle on her way back to the training room.
Maybe Xander's right. Maybe
we should keep an eye on those two.