Disclaimer : Everyone knows who own Buffy and co ! Obviously, it's not me!
The story is the second episode in a series called 'Rocky path' and begins around one year after 'Chosen'
You can check it out on my website
Please let me know what you think.
And I'm still looking for a beta-reader !
An almost-religious silence was reining over the library located at the second floor of the council hotel as asked a sign showing "Please do not disturb the quiet of the place".
The room was so large and beautiful that even Buffy had felt respect and admiration when she had come in the room for the first time. Solid wooden working tables were clean and gleamed to the light of the desk lamps that were diffusing a sweet light in the big room. The pad chairs undoubtedly gave an important look to those who came here to work. Hangings and tapestries were decorating the walls. On the shelves were stored probably kilometres and kilometers of books, some of them being copies of originals Giles kept in his office, others books sorely gained after the old Council destruction. Just like in Giles' office, wide windows were opened on the town and bathed the room in a nice light during the day.
But so late in the evening, the sweet lights of the sleeping city hardly reached the last workers sat at their tables and working to the light of their desk lamp. They were a few. A Watcher in training sat near the main entrance and studied a book of demonology before a test she had to pass some days after. Not too far from her, two Slayers were concentrated on the Slayers line history.
In the back of the room, Buffy and Xander were settled at the closest table to the window and were about to disappear from the visitors' sight behind the pile of books they had gathered on their table. Buffy was plunged in a voluminous and probably really old book. She had get access to it thanks to her Giles former Slayer status which had always her welcomed with much respect everywhere she went in the hotel.
Unlike his friend that nothing seemed able to disturb from her reading, Xander had much more trouble to concentrate on the book in front of him. He often cast glances to Buffy, hoping to get her attention. But it was useless. Buffy did not notice. Finally, after what felt an eternity to Xander, he quitted his studious behavior and pushed away his book.
"Buff, do you really think all this is useful?" he whispered.
Saying this, he gestured with his hand, including the piles of books and themselves. Buffy looked up, stared at the numerous books, seemed to think a second and finally pushed away her own book just like Xander before her. The blonde Slayer let escape a long sigh.
"I don't see what to do instead" she eventually answered. "Do you see something else we can do except for researching?"
Xander shrugged with ignorance.
"I know. But the point is, if those books were written in Chinese, I'd get them all the same. It's been days we spend hours here to read and we didn't get any clue. I think we're not going anywhere without the help of someone who know that stuff"
Buffy took her head in her hands with despair, then got up and stretched.
"I know all this. But we can't talk about this to Willow. And right now, Giles is still stubborn. We have to go a little forward to have some clues to give him when he'll be decided."
"What if he never decides to help us?"
"He will. I make him will" Buffy asserted with confidence.
"Buff, I'm very serious" Xander insisted. "What if he doesn't? It's not an easy spell. We're talking about something really big. He might not change his mind. Maybe we're going too far after all…"
"Xander!" Buffy interrupted. "I thought we agreed? I understand your hesitations. But we have to be all sure to do something like this. Giles won't help if he doesn't feel us certain"
"And you're all sure?"
Buffy nodded with energy.
"Yeah. I am. I thought about this before. And I'm decided. I already told you that"
They looked at each others some minutes, Xander having his arms crossed, deeply sunk into his chair, Buffy standing in front of him, leant on the table.
"Okay" Xander finally said. "If you're so sure…Let's start again"
Buffy nodded and took back her original seat. They both resumed their reading but were quickly interrupted by the discreet sound of the library door opening. Buffy jumped out of her seat instinctively and moved forward behind the shelves to see who came in. As soon as her eyes caught the newcomers in sight, she came back hastily toward Xander and closed her book while enjoining the young man to do the same.
"Dawn" she whispered by way of an explanation.
That simple word put the carpenter into motion again and he closed his own book as fast and as silently as he could, before burying it under the books pile in front of him. Then he grabbed another one, which had remained open on the side, away from the others, and put it in front of him. Buffy had done the same just a little quicker, and when Dawn appeared in front of them, both friends tried to act as casual as they possibly could.
"Ah, you're here" Dawn said happily. "I can't believe you didn't come to the cinema with us!"
Buffy smiled seeing the happy look on her sister's face.
"And I can't believe you agreed to go with Will AND Kennedy"
Dawn let herself fall in a chair beside Buffy and shrugged.
"As long as Kennedy doesn't choose the movie…"
Buffy and Xander exchanged an amused smile.
"So Willow chose the movie. Was it good?"
« Will and I agreed about the movie. It was a really good evening. You should have come"
Saying this, Dawn stared at the books on the table and frowned.
"So what're you doing?"
Buffy and Xander shared a new look, slightly embarrassed this time.
"Hum, researching. For Giles."
Dawn frowned harder and she got up to come closer to her sister and look at the book open in front of her.
"Research about Taglarin myths and legends?"
"Hum, yeah, exactly" Buffy confirmed, suddenly really ill-at-ease.
"And since when do you read Taglarin?" Dawn asked, pointing at the book page covered in an unknown language that Buffy was supposed to read.
"Hum, Giles said I have to be impregnated with the language before reading the translated myths. It's important." Buffy added in a resolute tone.
Dawn looked at her with a dumbfounded look during some seconds. Then her gaze traveled from her sister to the book then to her sister again before she finally said:
"These Watchers are weird"
"Hey, studious evening I'd say?" Willow said, appearing in her turn to her friends, followed closely by Kennedy.
Buffy and Xander smiled to her and Buffy pushed even more under the pile the book she was studying just before the small group came in.
"I can't believe Giles asked you to help him without telling me" Willow grumbled.
"Oh, but it's a pleasure for us, Will" Buffy said quickly. "We volunteered. Right, Xander? A way to reconnect"
"A good evening away from demons books is another way to reconnect" said Kennedy, obviously amused. "But we're talking about Giles here"
"Exactly" Buffy hastily confirmed. "We're talking about Giles here. And you know, he's English after all. And English people sometimes do weird things and…"
Buffy stopped when she noticed the way Kennedy was looking at her.
"And you're English of course" she finished. "But you know, I was talking about English men, not women" she offered to the brunette Slayer.
"We're good Buffy, no offense taken"
"So, what is the research about?" Willow asked grabbing Buffy's book.
Willow read some lines and turned a perplexed gaze to the blonde Slayer.
"Breeding and evolution in Taglarin myths?"
Buffy offered an apologic smile and took the book back from the redhead's hands.
"I'm getting acquainted with the Taglarin language" she said. "I had no idea what exactly it was about"
Willow's look didn't change and her gaze traveled slowly on the other books covering the table. Xander chose that moment to come to Buffy's help.
"Well, I think we're done for tonight" He said, getting up and closing loudly his own book. "So, ladies, I'm walking you back to your rooms and you're telling me about the movie?"
Saying this, he had seized Willow and Dawn by one arm and already begun to walk away, gesturing to Kennedy to follow.
"What about Buffy?"
"I'll catch up with you guys" Buffy urged them. "A second to put everything in order and I'm coming"
"We're gonna help you" Kennedy offered.
"No, no, no. Absolutely no. In two minutes, I'm with you. It's my own personal challenge"
The three girls went on looking at her with disbelief while Xander was still leading them outside the library. Buffy looked at them going away and waited to hear the door open and close and their steps fading in the corridor before letting escape a relieved sigh.