Title: Desperate times call for... lunch?
Author: sdavidm
Summary: even the littlest things can be quite handy sometimes.
Spoilers: none.
Author's Notes: Just a fun short story. I'd appreciate any comments on how clear the ending is conveyed. It's tricky to write, so I hope I pulled it off.
Disclaimer: The characters of BTVS are property of Mutant Enemy. I claim no ownership on anything contained within this story.

"Okay, that is NOT good," Buffy said.

The ground shuddered with every step the lumbering creature took across the graveyard. It stood over six feet tall, and was made entirely of stones. It was as if the earth suddenly assembled a hulking, humanoid body out of rocks that littered the ground, both large and small. The creature seemed somewhat hunchbacked, and where a person's head might be, there was a roughly spherical stone with a slowly pulsating jewel embedded within it.

For the moment, the creature seemed unaware of the Scooby's presence as they crouched behind a copse of bushes.

"What is it?" Willow asked wide-eyed.

"It's a rock monster." Everyone looked at Xander strangely, "What? It's made of big rocks, hence, rock monster."

Giles shook his head, "Regardless, it surely has a name. We hardly call Qualyotl demons slimey orange snot monsters do we?"

Xander smirked, "Well, maybe you don't."

"So, what do we do about it?" Buffy said.

Giles mulled over the possibilities. "It's clearly some type of golem, however the purpose behind a golem's creation is subject purely to the mage's discretion. A golem is shaped from the earth and the spell infuses a jewel with specific instructions for the golem to carry out."

"Is that the jewel embedded in its head... err, rock?" Willow said.

"It would appear so," Giles replied. "I must say this concerns me. A golem is a powerful creature. It does not tire, it does not feed, it does not speak, and it will not hesitate in the slightest to destroy anything that interferes with it's mission."

"Right, so golem equals bad," Buffy sighed. "How do I kill it? Smash the jewel thingy?"

"The jewel is generally well-shielded, so that may not be possible. A golem's durability varies, but it primarily depends on its physical makeup, and the mage's infusion of power," Giles said. "However, I've never heard of a golem shaped purely from stones in this fashion. The power necessary to form and maintain such a golem would be significant, or it could very well be that we're dealing with something entirely different."

"Knowing us, my money's on different," Willow said.

Xander chuckled, "That's a sucker's bet."

"Indeed. Utterly destroying the golem's body should be sufficient to stop it. Anything less than pulverization, and the jewel will still command the remaining parts. It may even attempt to repair itself."

Buffy perked up, "So smash it into itty bitty pieces? Why didn't you just say so?"

She reached into the weapons bag and pulled out a mace, "One sack of souvenir golem rocks coming right up! I call dibs on the shiny jewel!"

Willow pouted, "Damn. I wanted the pretty magical doohicky."

"Doohicky?" Giles asked incredulously. "It's an incredibly powerful magical focusing element, probably infused with tremendous malevolent energies."

Buffy pouted, "So no wearing it around my neck?"

Giles boggled, "Would you like to become a mindless automaton?"

"Well, you have repeatedly said that it's the inevitable result of an American education," Xander said.

Giles expression soured, "Touche."

"Right," Willow said, "so might as well be stylish mindless automatons."

"And hey, no need for classes, since like, golem gem equals instant automaton," Buffy said happily.

"Hey! I want a mindless automaton-doohicky too!" Xander said.

The ground shuddered when the golem smashed open another crypt, and the group sobered quickly. Buffy rose from her crouch and Xander squeezed her shoulder.

"Be careful Buffy," Xander said.

Buffy nodded and then sprinted towards the golem while it's back was turned.

"Got mace?" Buffy chirped, as she smashed the weapon down on the golem's arm, and crushed the large stone that formed its elbow. The arm broke up into its component rocks the moment it was severed, and the golem took a step back, as if assessing this new threat.

Buffy looked smug as she shouldered her weapon, "Mace, every girl's essential weapon."

"Nobody's got mace quite like yours Buff!" Xander called out.

Their smiles were short-lived however, as the golem's jewel flashed brightly, and rocks surrounding it's feet rolled up its body and reassembled a new arm at the damaged elbow.

"Good lord."

Buffy's eyes widened, and she ducked a powerful swing from the golem's newly formed arm, "Giles! A little help!"

"Um... Stall!" Giles shouted as he rummaged in the weapons bag for the tome he had stashed there.

Xander looked worriedly at Willow, "Stall? Oh-oh."

Buffy was ducking and weaving the golem's swings, and returning blows with the mace. Every hit she scored that did even a modicum of damage was quickly repaired by stones littering the ground.

As Buffy ducked another swing, Willow focused on the golem and shouted, "Incendiere!"

The golem erupted in eldritch flame which quickly extinguished due to a lack of flammable material, except one little flame which lanced out and singed Buffy's hair.

Buffy grabbed for her smoking ends and screamed in outrage, "Willow! My hair!"

Willow looked scandalized, "Oh my Goddess! Sorry!"

The golem looked slightly singed but otherwise undamaged. It took advantage of Buffy's distraction and sent her sailing a good twenty feet, knocking the mace from her grasp.

"Buffy!" Giles suddenly called out, "try to separate the head from the body! Without a physical connection, the jewel cannot control the rocks, and the golem will lack cohesion!"

Buffy scrambled to her feet, and danced away from the golem lumbering after her. When the timing was right, she vaulted over the golem and landed on its back. She then grabbed the golem's head, and tried to rip it off.

Sparks flew between the golem's head and its torso as the spell battled Slayer strength. The jewel flashed brightly again, and the golem's arm came up and knocked Buffy off of its back.

Then something truly unexpected happened. The golem's head rolled from the front of its body, over its shoulder to its back. Suddenly, the golem's limbs just reversed so the entire body was now facing the opposite direction, and it resumed its pursuit of the Slayer.

"Well, that's handy," Xander said.

Without a weapon, Buffy was relegated to ducking the golem's attacks. Xander called out to her and tossed her two swords from the weapons bag.

Giles winced at each clang of steel on stone, and groaned at the abuse of his swords. Unfortunately, they were the only weapons left that might be able to do some damage.

As Buffy executed another desperate leap over the golem, and it executed its nifty reverse move, Xander's face suddenly brightened in inspiration. He dove for his knapsack and started rummaging desperately through it.

Buffy was at her wits end as the golem landed another heavy blow and knocked her to the ground. When her head cleared, the golem was looming over her and preparing to crush her with one final blow. Suddenly, the mace hit the golem's shoulder. The stone cracked a little under the blow, and the golem hesitated.

"Hey Balboa!" Buffy heard Xander say from behind the golem, "show me that eye of the tiger baby!"

The golem's head rolled over its shoulder to face Xander and suddenly its body stiffened, then collapsed into a heap.

"What the..." Buffy said in shock.

Willow squeaked, and Giles was flabbergasted, "Xander! How in the blazes did you do that?"

Xander shook his head in disappointment. "How many times do I have to tell you guys?"

He then pointed to the two mangled swords on the ground, "Rock beats scissors," and smiling wider, he lifted a paper lunch bag containing an angrily pulsing golem head, "and paper beats rock."

Author's Postscript:
If you need a visual aid, think of the golem as sort of like the rock monster from Galaxy Quest, except with a gem in its "head" stone.