THE COLOR OF TIME
Disclaimer - Joss owns all. I own very very little.
Spoilers - None, set S2 between Halloween and Surprise
Rating - PG-13 bordering on R for sexual situations
Summary - A big spell equals trouble for Buffy and her friends
Feedback- yes please,
Author's Note #1 - written for Leni's B/A Ficathon, I'm writing for Sorcha
Requests (1 or 2): Mr. Gordo, pizza.
Restrictions (1 or 2): No angst, no fluff.
Author's Note #2 - I didn't get as much polish on this as I wanted to. But thanks to SJ for editing it.
"'Never have a pizza and a stuffed toy caused so much havoc'," Buffy read out loud to Willow. She pouted then jumped as a hand descended and snatched away the book. Buffy made "I've been a bad puppy" eyes at Giles as he cradled the book to his chest, his patented 'I'm cross with you' look on his lined face.
"Where did you find this?" His tone layered stern with irritation.
"Uh, lying around." Willow flashed her widest, most innocent grin.
"Yep." Buffy tried to look bright, perky, like anything but a book thief.
"I see. It was just lying in my desk drawer under a big box of Typhoo and a box of Jelly Babies," Giles countered.
"Yeah about those Jelly Babies...we kinda ate them all," Buffy said sheepishly.
"But not the purple ones." Willow made a face, shuddering. "They're nasty."
"Bloody hell," Giles said under his breath. "My diary is off limits, Buffy."
"Why?" She brushed back her hair. She couldn't figure out why Giles was making a major case out of this. "Shouldn't I be learning stuff about all the demons and everything?"
"You're surrounded with books for that very purpose, Buffy." Giles took a claming breath then added almost apologetically, "I can't be free to write accurately in my diary if I know you'll be reading it."
"Wait!" Buffy's lips pulled into a frown. "Do you write bad things about me in there?"
"I record things accurately," he replied, running an irritated hand through his thinning hair, heading into his office. He added in a mumble, "And I wonder why my hair is falling out."
"Don't blame me for that. You're bald because you keep doing this." Buffy shoved her hands through her hair in a perfect imitation of his gesture.
Giles whipped around, his eyes matching an acetylene torch in color and heat.
"Time to go study at home." Willow grabbed Buffy's arm, hauling her up. She hustled Buffy out of the school.
"He's writing bad things about me." Buffy pouted.
"You know Giles wouldn't do that," Willow said, lightly.
Buffy's shoulders slumped. "I know, but it's not like him to be keeping secrets."
"Who's keeping secrets?" Angel melted out of the shadows, startling the girls.
"Xander's right. We should put a bell on you." Buffy grinned at him, wanting to give him a warmer welcome but Willow always got embarrassed when she saw any PDA's. "And Giles is keeping secrets in his Watcher's Diaries."
"He couldn't keep them accurately if you're going through them feeling all defensive," Angel said. Moving closer to her, he stopped, seeing the look in her eyes. He realized he had just put his foot in it.
Buffy smiled sweetly and Angel knew it was the smile of someone thinking how her boyfriend was going to have to make that last statement up in gifts and kisses. "You sound just like Giles."
"Must be a guy thing," Willow said.
"We patrolling tonight?" Angel seemed desperate for a subject change.
Buffy nodded. "We need to walk Willow home first." Buffy wondered if they were boring Angel with all their school talk as they walked to Willow's. He was quiet, even for him. Once Willow was safely home and they were somewhere more or less private, he kissed her gently, designed to make her forget the faux pas of siding with Giles.
"Sweet," he murmured as they broke apart.
"Probably because I ate most of Giles' Jelly Babies," Buffy said.
"You stole his candy, too?" Angel smiled. "Poor man."
"I didn't even get the chance to see what he wrote about the whole pizza thing." She put her pout back on, knowing its ability to melt Angel.
"I wouldn't think you'd want to read about that. It was just...uncomfortable." Angel stuffed his hands in his pockets.
"That's putting it nicely." Buffy frowned, thinking back on the incident wondering what Giles would have to say about it.
"Buffy, the pizza man was here." Joyce walked into the kitchen where her daughter sat with Willow, Xander and Cordy. "I'll be in L.A. the whole weekend if you..."
"I have the number, Mom. You've told me a dozen times," Buffy interrupted, developing the typical teen frustrations over being babied. "You have fun."
"I don't want you eating pizza every night though, Buffy." Joyce put the boxes of pizza on the table then swooped in to plant a kiss on Buffy's cheek before her child could protest 'not in front of my friends.'
"Don't worry, Mom. I'll be good," Buffy promised.
"I trust you, Buffy." Joyce's eyes warned that the trust had best not be abused. "You kids have a good weekend."
"You, too," Buffy replied.
"I will." Joyce's shoulders slumped. "I just feel guilty about leaving you alone again."
"I'm not alone." Buffy gestured at her friends.
"Buffy's going to spend the night with me and my folks," Willow put in. "So she doesn't have to sleep here by herself."
Joyce's face smoothed out into a mask of relief. "Thanks, Willow. That makes me feel so much better." Joyce went into the living room, took her pull-along luggage and headed out.
"Nice of your mom to spring for three boxes of pizza," Xander said, getting dishes down.
"Mom's cool," Buffy said as the phone rang. She picked it up, her lip pushing into a pout as she listened. "Right now, Giles? Okay, we'll be there with pizza." She hung up.
"Problems?" Willow asked, her hand hovering above the pizza box.
"Giles is at the library, says Jenny's been forwarded something weird from one of her magical contacts. He thinks I should come have a look, do the book thing." Buffy shrugged.
"And you volunteered us." Cordy gave her the evil eye.
"Since you're here, I didn't think you had a hot Friday night planned," Buffy said, pulling down a mass of paper plates. She didn't know why exactly Cordy was sitting in her kitchen. The cheerleader had taken to hanging around more. While she was grateful for the extra help, Buffy wished she had a gag for Cordelia.
"Gotcha there, Cordy," Xander said.
"An anomaly, trust me." Cordelia tossed her perfect hair back. "Harmony's parents took away her car keys and grounded her."
"Well, she did crash three times this month," Willow said as Xander picked up the pizza boxes.
"Xander, do you have that rust bucket station wagon of your mom's?" Cordy asked. "We won't all fit in my car."
"Got it. Ladies, your chariot awaits." He scooped up the pizza boxes.
"I'll be there in a minute," Buffy said and placed a call to Angel. He was still weak from what Spike and Dru had done to him in that church. She hated him being alone and he was a help with all his extra knowledge about the demons. She just didn't want Xander to know and complain. Let him think Angel just showed up.
The vampire arrived in the library just as they were shoveling cool pizza onto plates. Buffy had been a little amused and horrified to find Jenny was with Giles. Buffy was getting scary ideas as to what the couple had been up to prior to finding something bad in Jenny's email. Buffy had no idea why the idea of them surfing for online porn to set the mood was stuck in her head but it was and it was probably due to something Xander had said at some point in the week. Boys!
"Hey, Angel, want a slice?" Cordy asked before Buffy could. The Slayer joined Xander in glaring daggers at the cheerleader.
Angel smiled faintly. "Thanks, no."
Buffy moved closer to him. "How are you doing?" Her voice barely audible over the rustling of pizza boxes and paper plates.
"Stronger," he promised her.
Buffy nodded then muscled past Xander to get a slice of cardiac arrest special; every meat and cheese that could be on a pizza was there. "Okay, Giles, the cavalry is here, so what's the big?"
Giles exchanged glances over pizza slices with Jenny at Buffy's mangling of the English language. "Would you like to explain, Jenny?"
"Someone's been emailing me about someone who's been looking for a dark mage to do a big spell here in Sunnydale," Jenny said, then took a nibble of plain cheese pizza.
"That's it?" Buffy's eyes popped in disbelief at having been dragged here for something so lacking in details.
"I'm afraid so." Jenny's nearly black eyes held disappointment.
"Vague much?" Buffy moaned.
"We do know the spell she's looking to have cast." Jenny tried to look helpful.
"A she? What is it with wicked women on the Hellmouth?" Willow snagged a streamer of cheese off of Xander's pizza.
"We do have our share of them," Xander said then grinned, his eyes shifting to Cordelia. "Some even in the room with us."
"Aw, that was almost witty, Xander," Cordy said, picking a piece of broccoli off her slice and giving it a burial in a napkin.
"What's the spell?" Buffy broke in before the bickering got under way.
"It's called the Odawiy Reversal. It's a lot like the spell Spike used on Angel to transfer his strength to Drusilla," Giles replied with his usual enthusiasm for a thorny new problem. "It requires both a personal item of the person the power is to be taken from to set up the first part of the spell then the intended victim must be present for the second part. It's rather intricate."
"So, I guess the next question is who wants to take whose power," Buffy said, giving Angel a supportive look but he seemed unaffected by the referral to his recent troubles.
"That is the question," Giles said. "I don't know enough about the spell to make any guesses. That's what I was hoping you'd help with." Giles gestured to the books in and among the pizza boxes. "If we get a better idea of what the spell entails, we might have a clue as to who and for what purpose."
"And we might be able to track the caster if they're using local magic shops to buy the components," Jenny added and Giles bobbed his head in agreement.
"In other words, tons of reading. Yuck." Buffy sighed.
"At least you have pizza." Angel smirked at her.
She rolled her eyes and they all delved into the books. The pizza and nearly three hours were gone when Buffy announced it was time for patrol. She simply couldn't read another word. She didn't know how Angel, Giles, Jenny and Willow did it without complaint. Xander took that opportunity to round up Willow and Cordy and flee, though Willow sounded disappointed to call it an early night. Angel followed Buffy, leaving Giles and Jenny alone to carry on.
"We didn't get far on the research," Angel said.
Buffy stretched as they headed for the cemetery. "I'm just not the book girl but you're sweet to help out." Buffy kissed him quickly.
"I don't mind. It feels good to have something important to do. When you get this old, everything gets a little routine," he admitted, kissing her back.
"Fine, I'll bring you my homework." She grinned. "You can wile away the hours doing it for me."
He snorted. "I don't think so."
"A good boyfriend would." She bestowed another quick kiss.
"Hmmm, I know I'm a little out of it as far as how things are done, nowadays. I'll have to verify that with Giles." His grin was utterly goofy.
She slapped his chest. "Party pooper."
Angel smirked again and they fell into a comfortable silence. As much as they might want to talk, share ideas, kiss some more, it got in the way of the patrolling. They might as well dance through the park with bells on. Granted, they had mixed making out and patrol many a times but right now, with Angel at less than full strength, Buffy didn't want to risk it.
She felt strange as they walked, stopping for occasional kisses in lieu of their more torrid make out sessions. Her body was warm, tingling all over, much more so than usual, even with Angel around. There was an odd, spinning sensation like she hadn't felt since back in Hemery when the cheerleading squad had gotten tanked on Mad Dog with the football players after the game. She felt decidedly drunk and oddly enough, wasn't worried about it.
She caught Angel and pressed him back against the nearest crypt. The grape leaf wrought iron gate rattled under the vampire's weight. She devoured his mouth hungrily, stopping only when he gently pried her away. She mewed in protest.
"Um, Buffy, are you okay?" he asked dubiously.
"Of course." She nipped Angel's neck as she shoved his shirt up. She licked his pale nipple, feeling the soft, cool skin hardening against the heat of her mouth.
Angel grabbed her by the shoulders but instead of pulling her closer like she so desperately needed him to do, he eased her off him, his nipple stretching, caught in her teeth. He grunted then rubbed the injured part once he got her away. "What's gotten into you, Buffy?"
"Not as much as I want in me," she purred and off his startled expression added, "Come on, Angel, do you think I've never gotten to second base before. I was a blonde cheerleader for God's sake." She reached down and grabbed him roughly through the soft cotton of his pants. His member twitched under her fingers even as he tried to hop back only managing to rattle the crypt door again.
She went for his zipper and he caught her fingers. "Okay, this is going a little far, Buffy, We're not doing this here."
"Fine. Let's go home." She spun away from him and headed off between the tombstones. "Ooo, look, Angel, The headstones are dancing. It's like a funeral party. Come on." She held out a hand to him. "Let's dance with them."
"We're going back to see Giles. There is something definitely wrong with you."
"Most men would be happy to have me hot and ready to go." Buffy took off her shirt and wrapped it around a stone angel, dancing back and forth in front of it.
Thoroughly puzzled, Angel grabbed her and took the shirt from her hands. Buffy pouted as he yanked the shirt over her head and down over her flowered bra. She moaned as he dragged her back towards the school.
"The trees are dancing with the headstones," she said, looking over her shoulder trying to keep the cemetery in sight. "We should join them."
She slipped Angel's grasp and started dancing. Angel corralled her and dragged her off. Buffy had to trot just to keep up with his ground-eating pace. She wasn't surprised to see Giles and Jenny's cars still at the school. "Those two need a life," she muttered.
Angel pulled her inside, calling for Giles. No one answered and the library was empty.
"Where could they be?" Buffy asked.
"Shh," Angel said, cocking his head. "This way."
Angel pulled her along to the pool. Buffy was shocked to see Giles in the shallow end of the pool looking like he had extra limbs. It slowly sank in that he had Jenny pressed against the side of the pool and they were both naked.
"Giles! Ms. Calender!" Buffy squealed.
Giles pushed off Jenny, launching himself halfway across the pool, startled. "Bloody hell!"
"Ohmigod! You're naked!" Buffy clamped a hand over her mouth. "First dancing tombstones and now naked Giles. I'm going to go blind."
"What are you two doing here?" Giles rumbled.
"Quit looking at me, Angel," Jenny snapped, swimming for the ladder.
"Yeah, Angel." Buffy belted him one. "Especially when you wouldn't look at me."
"I'm not looking." Angel rubbed his stinging chest, growing more annoyed very quickly.
Buffy screamed, pointing at the far wall. "It's bleeding."
Angel and Giles both looked where she was pointing, seeing nothing but the Razorback mural.
"It's not blood," Jenny said, wrapping a towel around her lithe body. "It's raining flowers."
"It's what?" Angel's thick brow beetled as Giles sloshed out of the pool. "Jenny, Buffy, there's nothing there, no blood, no flowers. You're hallucinating."
"Umm, this is familiar." Giles showed no signs of going for a towel or clothes as he stood dripping wet.
"Giles, you have grey hair all over." Buffy giggled.
His lip curled. "Oh, piss off."
"Rupert." Jenny tossed Giles a towel and he wrapped it around his waist.
Buffy whirled on Angel. "Did you hear what Giles said to me?"
Angel sighed, knowing that this wasn't going to be easy as everyone seemed to be affected but him.
"What are you and Buffy doing back here?" Giles asked, irritated.
"Isn't it obvious? Buffy's hallucinating and is...um..." Angel made a face. "Shall we say more amorous than is normal even for a teenager."
Giles pulled at his chin. "I know this…hallucinations…lust…feeling too good to be true."
"It doesn't seem like it's limited to Buffy." Angel eyed Jenny and Giles meaningfully. "What is it?"
"Are you sure? What sort of spell?" Angel demanded.
"Of course, I'm soddin' sure. It's cast on food and ingested. Ethan and I unearthed it in the 70's," Giles said. "It made for fun parties. You get your end away with the stars are dancing or whatever else your mind makes up, trippy."
"Giles, you're such a perv." Buffy crowed and her Watcher glared.
"Isn't he though?" Jenny rubbed her hands over Giles' chest. "I think I hear a little incense and peppermints."
"Huh?" The psychedelia reference zoomed over Buffy's head.
"I'm definitely seeing the color of time." Jenny licked Giles neck. "Look, it's purple and midnight blue and gold. You can weave it." Her brow furrowed. "Why are my threads so short?"
"How do we break the spell, Giles?" Angel asked, hoping to keep Giles focused. The man's attention was wandering back to Jenny's lush damp body. Angel wasn't sure he blamed Giles but he needed to help Buffy. A hallucinating Slayer was a dangerous thing and Angel didn't like seeing her like this.
Giles waved him off, annoyed. "It wears off in a few hours. It won't hurt anyone."
Angel's eyes slotted. Obviously Giles wasn't thinking correctly if he didn't see the danger of Buffy being affected. "Buffy's hallucinating."
"Enjoy the trip." Giles took Jenny back in his arms.
Angel knew that was all he was going to get from Giles' spell-addled mind. "I'll take her home, then."
"Yes, do." Giles muttered, obviously not paying attention to anything Angel was saying. Both Giles' and Jenny's towels were on the floor.
Angel took Buffy's arm and pulled her out of the pool area. "Let's get you home."
"Good. Mom's gone. We'll be all alone." Buffy squeezed his butt.
Angel didn't answer. It was just as convenient that Joyce was gone. At least he wouldn't have to explain to her why Buffy was on an acid trip and ready to hump anything that moved. As he kept a tight rein on Buffy, walking her home, Angel mulled over the problem. It had to be the pizza. He was unaffected and of course, he hadn't eaten anything. "Buffy, give Willow and Cordy and Xander a call."
"Why? I don't want them getting in our way," Buffy whined, stomping her feet.
"Let's make sure where they are so they won't just wander in," he replied, hating playing her but it had to be done. He needed to know that Willow and the others were safe. He would have to run them down and bring them home, too, if they weren't.
"Okay, okay," Buffy grumbled and placed the calls and received no answer from Willow or Cordy's cellulars. Xander answered long enough to grunt a 'not now, Buffy,' and Angel could hear Cordy in the background yelling at him to hang up. Angel decided he didn't need to picture what might be going on there.
"Give Willow's mom a call. See if she knows where Willow is," Angel instructed. "Tell her you're going to be late coming over to stay the night."
Buffy scowled but obeyed. "Oh, hi Mrs. Rosenberg, is Willow in? In her room? Okay, I wanted to let you know I'll be late getting there tonight. Don't worry about me. Willow will let me in. You don't have to wait up for me. What? No, I have no idea what Willow could be doing in her room that she's locked herself in and doesn't want to tell you. I'll be there later. Bye." She rang off and turned to Angel. "Happy now?"
Not particularly, he thought, having a good idea what Willow might be doing behind closed doors. At least it meant she wasn't out walking the streets picking up strangers. "Yes, thank you, Buffy."
Angel no longer had to steer Buffy towards home. Her hormones had her dragging him along. She would be hard to put off once they got here. There wasn't even any temptation to take advantage of the spell. Buffy wasn't a willing participant. At least when Giles and his friends had been casting the spell for whatever sex parties they seemed to have once favored, everyone was a consenting adult, or so Angel assumed. Buffy was a spell-addled girl who was just as likely to hallucinate tentacles coming out of his back as anything else if he were to sleep with her at this point. He wanted making love to her to have meaning, not just be about the sex.
He didn't even know if she had experience. Angelus sniffed around in the cave of Angel's mind, hoping she was a virgin, wanting sex now, wanting to make it hurt. Angel visualized a cave-in trapping his inner demon as Buffy opened the door to her home. He locked it behind them and Buffy was on him like she was part of his skin. It took effort and nearly a bit of his lip as she latched on, to peel her off of him.
"Not here," he said, simply.
Her pout reappeared then vanished as she decided what he must mean. "Oh, right."
Buffy bounced up the stairs, naked by the time she got to the top. Angel tried to ignore the sight of her creamy skin, the tautness of her buttocks. She grabbed at him, his body now slave to something other than his logical mind. The scent of her desire was nearly enough to overwhelm him.
Angel took her in his arms then stuffed his knuckles into her jugular, quick and short. He knew the sudden stop and start of blood flow to her brain would knock her out. Buffy's eyes rolled up as he caught her around the waist. Angel yanked the covers down and gently put her into bed. Angel tore through the hidden compartment Buffy used as a weapon's cache. He found two sets of handcuffs and he used one apiece to handcuff her arms to the bed post. He used belts from her closet to tie her legs down. She looked so innocent, so inviting, chained to the bed as she was. Desire turned his brain into mush. Angel shoved the covers over her but it didn't help. He climbed out the window and onto the tree branches, just trying to get some fresh air to clear his senses of Buffy before he did something in his pants he hadn't done in a very long time.
Buffy was coming around when he slithered back in the window. He saw fear and fury in her eyes and he hoped that she wouldn't be willing to ruin her bed because she might just be strong enough to break it and free herself. "I'm not into kinky stuff." She frowned. "Why did you hit me?"
"Because you're under a spell. You heard Giles," he said, softly. "What you're feeling isn't real, Buffy."
Fire flared in her kaleidoscope eyes. "Yes, it is."
"And you're hallucinating so you should just try to relax and let the spell wear off." Angel settled back, braced for the barrage of protests. Finally Buffy tired out, hallucinated cute little fairies dancing on the ceiling and eventually drifted off to sleep.