|Passions: I Only Have Eyes For You
Author: Hickumu PM
Takes place DURING my story "Passions, Another Choice". There's a ghost haunting Sunnydale and it seems very interested in Oz. Buffy and the gang must solve a fifty year old mystery before history repeats itself. But why does Giles want to help the gang?Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Adventure - Oz & Buffy S. - Chapters: 18 - Words: 22,436 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 09-19-08 - Published: 08-23-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4494127
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It was the next morning.
The Scoobies sat scattered around the library. Cordelia sat on the steps. Xander leaned against the table. Oz sat on the check-in desk, while Willow sat beside Buffy with an arm around her shoulder.
Every single Scooby wore an identical expression of faintly sickened horror.
Xander was the first to speak.
"As in…on live humans?"
Xander made a face. "I am sickened, appalled, and taking bids on my lunch. That's…that's…"
"Expected?" asked Cordelia dryly.
If looks could kill, the look Buffy shot Cordelia from the safety of Willow's arm would have decapitated her instantly. Cordelia returned it with interest.
"May have been expected," said Oz, resting his chin in his hand. "Still big badness."
Willow nodded sadly. "Yeah. I…I think Giles may even have taken the title of Big Bad. That's…sick."
Buffy nodded. "That's way sick. I mean, before now…last night, he was almost himself."
"And he seemed like he was…happy," added Willow. "In his own vampire way…I think Giles was happy last night just to feel like he wasn't a vampire."
Buffy's hands suddenly flew to her mouth. "Oh, god…" she whispered. "And then I…I turned around and I called him a monster…I told him he wasn't Giles and how much I wanted him gone…" She looked desperately at her friends. "Guys, he was living on pig's blood before this! What if I drove him to it?!"
"If you did, that only proves that he's not Giles anymore," said Xander gently. "Think, Buff. You guys fought dozens of times. He never made a big thing about it."
"Except when I almost got eaten by a giant snake." A brief smile touched the corners of the Slayer's mouth.
"Even then, from what Will told me, all you got was a quick lecture before he admitted he'd been just as wrong as you. No matter how much he was hurting…Giles wouldn't have done something like this. And all that aside…whatever he's been feeling, I'm betting it's just because he's only been a vampire about a month. That's not a long time to break a lifetime's worth of habits. Even if we'd let things be…even if we hadn't acknowledge that this isn't Giles anymore…eventually, he would have snapped. He would have given in. And we wouldn't have been ready."
Buffy smiled weakly at him. "Man, Xander. You've been spending way too much time in Sunnydale."
"I'm a lifer. What can I say?"
Xander moved around to Buffy's end of the table and sat next to her. Placing a firm hand on her shoulder, he looked at her intently.
"Buff…Giles may be gone. And that's…horrible. Beyond horrible. I know. I feel that. But don't forget. You've still got Willow and me."
Willow nodded in agreement. "That's right! We've got your back, Buffy. I mean…well, we've had it for a while, haven't we? Don't tell me you've forgot."
Buffy looked at her in surprise. "I haven't. I'd never forget."
"Then relax," Xander advised. "And just remember. You're not alone in this, Buffy." He grinned at her. "Scooby gang's got your back!"
And, giving into the complete and total sappiness of the moment, both he and Willow hugged the weary Slayer. Buffy smiled in contentment and grabbed them both in an equally tight hug. The moment became just that bit more perfect when Oz strode over to join it, and when Xander dragged Cordelia over to participate.
Giles was gone, but she had her friends and they would help her.
Right now, Buffy felt that that would be enough.
The beautiful, wonderful, perfect happiness of being surrounded and supported by her friends was broken when someone cleared their throat loudly.
Breaking apart very slowly and a tad reluctantly, the assembled teenagers looked towards the library doors.
Principal Snyder stood there, hands in the pocket of his strange suit, regarding them with the cold, malicious smile that seemed pasted on his face.
"Miss Summers," he said politely.
"Principal Snyder," said Buffy stiffly. "What are you doing here?"
"Manners, Miss Summers. This library is school property, and I am in charge of all school property. I have every right to be here."
Willow gave Snyder a very uncharacteristic and very sarcastic smile. "Cool. You can help me with filing."
This earned her an appreciative laugh from the other four, and a glare from Snyder.
"You five seem to be spending quite a lot of time in this library," he said, folding his arms. "Rather suspicious, if you ask me…"
Willow cast a wry glance at Xander. "'Ooh, you're high school students spending a lot of time around a bunch of books!' Should I even bring up how weird that sounds?"
Xander shook his head, grinning slightly. Undeterred, Snyder ploughed on.
"…and I walk in here to find…what?"
The Scoobies stared at each other in frank astonishment, because even for Snyder this accusation was pulling at straws. Finally, Oz volunteered:
"A group hug?"
"Oh, that's how it starts out," said Snyder, sounding very self-satisfied that he had come to this conclusion. "And then it goes from there. I was in high school once, Mr. Osbourne…"
Oz grimaced at the use of his proper name.
"…I know how this works."
"Clearly, you don't," said Buffy coolly. "Because I get the impression that you were the short kid the girls wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole."
This time, Cordelia won the award for loudest laughter, although Xander was not far behind. Buffy knew she was digging herself a very deep hole, but the look on Snyder's face could not help but bring a smirk to her face.
"I'll be frank, Miss Summers," said Snyder. His voice had gone low, and he sounded like he was trying to keep the shaking out of it. "You and your little…gang are treading on thin ice, and I find your constant loitering around this library even more suspicious. I thought you might get yourselves together after that librarian died, but, silly me…my hopes were in vain."
He turned around and began to walk purposefully towards the door. As he left, however, he fired one last parting shot.
"Perhaps our new librarian will straighten you out a bit."
With that, he was gone, the doors slamming after him with a bang.
"Somebody needs a hug," said Oz.
Willow giggled. Even when she calmed down, she was still grinning, and tapped Buffy on the shoulder. "Hey, Buffy? I think I'm gonna go ahead and do that spell now."
Buffy blinked, then looked up at her. "Yeah. Sounds good. Can you grab the materials for me?"
Willow slipped off the table and made a beeline for the office. To her surprise, Oz followed after her.
"What spell?" he asked, leaning against the door jamb as Willow bustled about, gathering materials.
"We got the idea last night!" said Willow brightly. "We thought that we might be able to modify the de-invitation spell and use it on the library. To stop Giles making off with my books."
"Aren't they technically his books?"
"I read them way more than he does! Anyway, we figured that even if we can't stop him coming in...we can at least make him feel pretty darn uncomfortable about it!"
"Nobody likes uncomfortable feelings," Oz agreed. Then, as Willow went to move past him back into the library, he continued on. "Are you okay?"
Willow paused, and glanced over her shoulder at him. Then, seeing the expression on Oz's face…which was even more serious than normal…she backpedaled into the safety of the office.
"Well, apart from finding out that Giles is eating people and getting no sleep…yeah. I am of the good. How about you?"
"Thoughtful is good. Garlic for your thoughts?"
Oz took the proffered clove of garlic. "It's just…something's been bugging me. Ever since last night…" He looked up at her. "I…"
"You wanna know why James chose you. And why Miss Newman almost chose me."
Oz stared at her, mouth slightly open. Willow smiled shyly. "Yeah. It's been bugging me, too. But I talked to Buffy about it, and she gave me some ideas."
"I think he picked you cause…he identified with you. They identified with us. What we have. It's…not allowed, Oz, and we know that. If the world ever found out about you guys…and hey, back in the fifties, a teenage girl dating a werewolf would be almost as bad as a student dating his teacher. They got hung up about funny things. And I think…they saw that in us. And…they thought we could help. And…I'm glad you could, Oz."
One of Oz's very brief but very meaningful smiles passed over his face. "Glad you couldn't."
Willow beamed at him, because everything had been said, before sweeping back out into the library…where she found a very strange sight.
Buffy was…standing. Just standing, staring at nothing, arms hanging loosely at her sides and mouth tightly shut. Xander and Cordelia were watching her warily, almost fearfully.
Willow very cautiously touched her shoulder, and got no reply. "Buffy…"
The Slayer spoke, her voice hushed.
"Guys…did he just say new librarian?"
And...that's it, folks. Did you like it?
That line leads into Chapter Eight of Another Choice, Another Foe, where Buffy walks into the library a day or so later to find the new librarian setting up shop.
Give you a hint. Starts with a "W", and ends with an "esley Wyndham-Pryce". A whole season early.
Really nothing to say here. I mean, I can rewrite a few more episodes along these lines, but I don't wanna overdo it. There will probably be a sequal to Another Choice, Another Foe, but not for a while. I need to pick my way through half of Angel, Season 2...which might give you a few ideas of what to expect in the sequal.
Have fun pondering!