Phoning It In 16

"Sorry about that," apologized Giles with a red face. "Let me fix-"

"No!" Buffy exclaimed, dodging his hand. "I mean, it's fine. Now about being taller..."

"A change like that would require a significant amount of calcium and protein," Giles stated as he considered her request. "That's why, when you asked, I assumed..." Giles cleared his throat. "Moving and redistributing a small amount of body tissue is easily done. Alterations to the skeletal structure are more resource intensive."

"So..." Buffy prompted.

"You are going to have to stuff yourself with pizza and ice cream for the next couple of weeks if you want him to make you taller," Xander translated before sitting down and using a spare piece of paper and pen to start writing.

Willow looked over his shoulder curiously and her eyes slowly widened as she read.

"I don't... I don't have to worry about getting fat no matter what I eat, do I?" Buffy half asked, half stated; wonder plain in her voice.

Giles frowned in thought. "Well, no. Never in history has there even been an overweight Slayer as the Slayer spirit keeps the body at the optimal weight regardless of diet," he agreed.

Buffy stared at her watcher in shock. "Why has no one ever mentioned this to me before!?" she demanded.

"Fighting vampires is extraordinarily athletic," Giles replied. "Why would you think you'd gain weight?"

"Being the Slayer makes it easier than cheerleading," Buffy replied. "Most nights I don't even break a sweat, so I figured I wasn't burning all that many calories. I've been watching what I eat because I couldn't afford to get fat or I'd be an easy target."

"You should eat at least twice as much as the average teenager during slow times, and nearly as much as Xander during apocalypse season," Giles assured her.

The trio turned to Xander when he didn't respond with the expected 'hey', only to find him completely absorbed in what he was writing. Willow was reading over his shoulder with her eyes wide.

"What are you writing?" Giles asked curiously, getting Xander's attention.

"A couple of questions about your powers and a butt-load of possible alterations I have read about in various sci-fi stories," Xander replied, passing the paper to Giles.

Giles looked down the list. "I can do some of these. Others I would need to do research, possibly something as simple as touching an animal or two which possesses some of these traits."

"Don't forget to look on the back of the page," Xander said.

Giles flipped it over. "Practical and easily done," he noted as he ran a finger down a list. He froze as he got to the second row before looking at Xander.

Xander spoke up at Giles' silent question, "I'm not saying any of that is needed or even wanted, I'm just pointing out that they are possible."

"Holy crap, those are pervy," Buffy said in shock. "That fifth one down, however..."

"Yes, that one is easily-" Giles stopped and Buffy blushed as she realized she'd said that aloud.

"Altering the connective tissue on the bottom of the tongue is a simple, useful alteration," Xander agreed.

"Useful?" Buffy asked doubtfully, not seeing any uses beyond sexual ones.

"Yeah," Xander agreed, "I wouldn't need to bring a spoon to eat my pudding cups."

Willow got a far-off look in her eyes while Buffy blushed bright red.

"I can see where that would be useful," Giles conceded, not mentioning the slight smirk Xander was unable to suppress.

"Permanent hair removal and coloring would save us all some time in the mornings," Xander said. "No more shaving or dyeing."

"No need to pluck eyebrows or dye hair," Buffy said thoughtfully.

"A touch more color to lips and cheeks and makeup becomes unnecessary for most occasions," Xander pointed out. "I'm not positive that examining a chameleon would allow for more color options, but it couldn't hurt."

"How do you know so much about body modifications?" asked Giles.

"I like to read stories with aliens and the writers have to come up with medically believable reasons for similarly evolved aliens to have different capabilities in each one," Xander replied with a shrug.

"And all the pervy stuff?" Buffy asked.

"Most stories have one or two things, plus all the fan theories," Xander replied.

"So you aren't asking for all of... this?" Giles asked.

"A couple of things on the perv list, tops," Xander assured him. "Most of it was just to show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."

"Not deep enough for number eight," Willow muttered, before blushing bright red as she realized she'd said that out loud.

"And back to the list of normal stuff I suggested to make things easier," Xander said. "Just the first row."

"A very well thought out list," Giles conceded. "All minor things that require no overt modification."

"Authors made that list long ago," Xander replied. "It's mostly a list of small annoyances that they hoped were fixed in the future. All I did was put them together."

"That list I can handle in just a few seconds per person," Giles assured him.

Xander extended his hand.

OoOoOoOoO

Dawn placed her hand on the vault door and activated her power. The loud thunk of metal bars retreating in the door made her jump. "Oh god, I think I peed a little," she complained, waiting for her heart rate to slow down before she grabbed the handle on the massive vault door and pulled.

And pulled.

And pulled.

Dawn collapsed to the floor of the Sunnydale bank and groaned, her arms sore.

"Okay, that was a bust," she grumbled as she got to her feet and tried rubbing both her arms at once. She winced as she put on her backpack and retreated to the front of the bank.

"I don't really need all that money, but it would have been fun to roll around on," she said aloud. She grabbed a mint from a candy dish on the loan officer's desk on her way out.

Climbing onto her new ten-speed, she rode down the center of Main Street, wondering what she should do next. Her mother wouldn't expect her home for at least an hour and although her backpack was already pretty full there were a couple of CDs she'd wanted from the mall and they wouldn't take up space... and maybe a top or two while she was there.

"This would be faster with a car, until I crashed it," she thought aloud, being completely honest with herself.

"I bet Xander knows how to drive," she said as she coasted downhill. "I could bring him along, but then he'd tell Buffy and she'd act all bossy and try to claim everything as hers."

She sighed and applied the brakes as she saw a used car lot, coming to a stop and looking at all the cars she could be riding in if only she knew how to drive.

"Okay, maybe she's not that bad. But she'd insist I couldn't come here alone and I doubt she'd let me take Xander all the time." Dawn got off her bike and walked it through the lot, noticing they had some kind of promotion going on.

"If I could get Xander here without him knowing this wasn't the real world... maybe I could convince him we were the last two people and needed to repopulate the Earth," Dawn said, licking her lips as she considered the idea.

"Tell mom I'm spending the weekend with a friend, flip us both over here in the dark while he's asleep, bring us back a couple of days later and play dumb about what happened. After doing that with me, he'd have to agree to be my boyfriend," Dawn reasoned.

She sighed heavily a few moments later. "Of course that means I'd be lying to him and taking advantage of him."

"Stupid morals," she complained as she put down her kickstand and looked in the window to the sales room. "Is that a go-cart?!"

OoOoOoOoO

Buffy woke up and slipped out of bed. A good two to three hour nap before patrol made life so much better. She listened to the sounds of the house and dressed as she heard noise downstairs. If her mom was still up, she'd have to be a lot more careful sneaking out.

The sound of someone trying to tiptoe up the stairs, someone who obviously didn't know about how the third and eighth steps creaked, had her rushing to grab a weapon.

As silently as possible, with stake in hand, Buffy crept to her door and peeked into the hallway only to freeze as she saw a naked Merlin peeking into Dawn's room. She narrowed her eyes, wondering just what was going on with those two when he turned around and headed for her mom's room.

Merlin paused at the door to Joyce's room, shifting into Xander for a moment before turning back to normal as he doubted waking to a naked Xander would have quite the reaction he was looking for.

He stood in the hall, tapping his foot for a few seconds before realizing what he should do. "It's all a dream," Merlin whispered as he took on Joyce's form. "Everyone dreams of flying, but what powers do you think would be useful in your day-to-day life? I'm you, so obviously you're still asleep, now come on, let's do some self-discovery here," she said softly before nodding to herself.

Buffy silently sighed as she realized what was going on. She crept out into the hallway and was surprised to find Dawn doing the same.

The pair looked at one another and froze, Dawn's eyes darted down to the stake and then back up to her face. She bit her lips and looked indecisive for a moment before sighing and pointing Buffy towards her room with a determined expression on her face.

Buffy slipped into her little sister's room and was surprised when Dawn grabbed her hand and then touched her vanity mirror, upon which the room changed. Dawn's bed was covered with new clothes and CDs while her vanity overflowed with expensive jewelry.

"We can talk now," said Dawn, flipping on the light.

"Okay, you start," Buffy said.

"I know you're the Slayer and that Xander and Willow help you," Dawn said. "Merlin is a real genie and he's giving Mom powers so she'll be safe. Please don't hurt him."

"Alright," Buffy agreed easily, shocking Dawn.

"Just like that?" asked Dawn.

"I knew he was something strange, so I was spying on you," Buffy admitted. "We already knew and aren't interfering. I was just surprised to see him in our house at one A.M... naked."

"Ah," Dawn said, not sure what to say.

"So, who'd you rob?" Buffy asked.

"Rob?" asked Dawn.

"Yes, rob," Buffy said, dropping her stake and placing both hands on her little sister's shoulders. "I know you can travel through mirrors, which would make it easy to five-finger-discount anything you wanted, but it's still wrong. I admit, when I was your age I did some shoplifting, but nothing on this scale."

Dawn snickered. "Buffy, I have more than just the ability to travel through mirrors. I have a copy of the world and everything in it. I am the richest person who could ever be."

Buffy's jaw dropped and she felt her knees get weak as she realized just what that meant.

OoOoOoOoO

Joyce just stared at her doppelganger. "I usually look more attractive in my own dreams."

Merlin booped her nose, giving her fitness and regeneration.

Joyce's eyes widened as her body changed, the approach of middle age being pushed back as she found herself in better condition than she'd ever been in her life.

"So... powers?" Merlin asked.

"I've dreamed of all sorts of things," Joyce said absently as she examined herself. "Most dreams are about things you don't have in life and overcoming frustration. I've dreamed about being able to seduce men at a glance, being as rich as Midas, or as powerful as a queen."

"And?" Merlin asked intently.

"As a single mother, I find what I'd really like is to have more time and... to understand Buffy," Joyce said honestly.

Merlin examined her closely and placed a hand on her chest. "Not sure how well this will work, but the ability to affect time is now yours." She recalled time being mentally subjective so it should have some effect.

Joyce vanished and reappeared in the blink of an eye, looking much more together. "That's useful for taking bathroom breaks if nothing else," she said with amusement.

"Glad it worked," Merlin said, hiding her surprise. "If you want to understand Buffy... your bloodline is heir to a certain duty that is both a power and a curse. In Buffy, it's active. If you want to really understand her... you would have to take on the duty as well."

"I'd rather take her place," Joyce said. "If it's that heavy a burden it should be my job, not hers."

"That's not up to you," Merlin said with a sigh. "It's not up to me, either. All I can do is offer to let you share her burden."

"Then I'll take it," Joyce said instantly.

Merlin nodded. "Alright, then I dub thee... Slayer," she said, placing a hand on Joyce's head and with the barest flicker of power activating Joyce's dormant bloodline.

Typing by: Ordieth