Title: Bringing That Horizon
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Summary: B:tVS, PotC. "S'pose that's appropriate," Giacomo said. "This compass has never pointed north in all the years I've owned it." 1000 words.
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Spoilers: B:tVS post-"Chosen"; through "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (2007)
Notes: A fluffier interlude in the "Daughters of Charon" 'verse, written for the 2011 August Fic-a-Day. AU not including "On Stranger Tides".
"Yo ho, yo ho
A pirate's life for me."
Willow bit her lip, surveying the circle one more time from her cross-legged position in the center. "I think that'll do it. A standard purification ritual wouldn't work, since the magical essence you absorbed was pretty much as pure as it gets, but I think this variation will do it. Sea salt, coral, leather tie, piece of eight, pistol ball, splinter of planking, bottle of rum- anything else with strong associations with the pre-Immortal you would help, but this should be enough."
Giacomo cocked an eyebrow at her, then touched the case always dangling at his belt, a squarish thing he consulted secretively from time to time and Buffy had always thought must be an antique, oversized pocket watch. "How certain are you that no harm will come to it?" he asked, affecting disinterest. "Only, y'see, I might want to drink the rum afterward."
His accent kept shifting somewhere between the smooth European tones she was used to and Talk Like a Pirate Day; it made for uneven music to Buffy's ears, but she smiled to hear it all the same. She'd loved him already, but over the last few weeks, vast and entertaining depths had started opening beneath his charming surface; she had a feeling her life would be much more exciting now than it would have been if she'd never met her far-ancestor and the demi-deity who watched over his line.
"Abso-posi-lutely," Willow said, gesturing to a spot along the curve of the circle. "I left a space open at north; I had a feeling you might have something special to put there."
He snorted, a smile quirking at the corners of his mouth, and detached the case. "S'pose that's appropriate," he said. "This compass has never pointed north in all the years I've owned it, unless it was by accident." He crouched down, placing it in the indicated position, then glanced back up at Willow.
"Perfect," the witch approved, smiling brightly at him.
Buffy frowned a little as she processed that, crossing her arms over her blouse. "Wait. So it's a compass? And a broken one? What's so important about it?"
Giacomo switched his gaze to her, eyelids drooping a little in that smoldering way of his as a smug smile pulled at the corner of his mouth. "Let's see then, shall we?" he said, then flipped the lid up on the case, keeping a finger on the side while Buffy watched. The needle spun wildly for a second, then pointed... roughly in the direction she was standing, which was nearly the opposite of north.
"So... it's a south-south-east pointing compass?" she asked, frowning.
"Walk over that-a-way, then look again," he prompted her, making a shooing gesture with the beringed fingers of one hand.
She sighed, but obligingly took a few steps further from him, still watching the compass- then halted abruptly when she realized the direction was shifting. It was following her.
"You see, then?" he said. "Has all sorts of uses; just not the ones you might expect."
"The enchantments on it are very, very sophisticated," Willow put in admiringly, "probably beyond my skill level even now. I bet if it were a mirror and not a compass, it would have the words 'Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi' inscribed around the edge. Am I right?"
Giacomo snapped the compass closed again with a grin, then stood, brushing crystals of sea salt from the knees of his trousers and adopting his best cultured voice again. "Careful, Ms. Rosenberg; I believe the term is, 'your geek is showing'. But- yes. If whatever desire might appear in yon imaginary mirror at any given moment be a physical item, location, or being, the compass will invariably point in its direction."
Buffy felt heat rush to her face as the implications set in, and gave him a dazzling smile.
Willow glanced between them, her own grin widening. "Nifty," she said. "I can think of a few people in denial I'd like to loan it to later." Then she settled her seat a little more firmly on the ground, let her eyelids drift shut, and laid the backs of her hands on her knees as she concentrated.
"Yes; that will definitely work," she added after a moment. "So, if you're ready..."
Giacomo took a deep breath, expression sobering as the weight of what he was about to do settled on him again, and he glanced over at Buffy, dark eyes distant they way they'd been before Turner Day when he'd sent her off wearing a near-replica of her pirate ancestress' favored outfit.
"It's not too late to change your mind," she told him softly, understanding. "But if this helps..."
Slowly, without breaking her gaze away from his, she walked around the circle, the heels of her boots clicking against the polished hardwood floor of Willow's study. Then she knelt, only a few inches from him, and opened the compass case with a careful touch of outstretched fingers, never looking away to see what it might show.
Being who he was, the first place his eyes darted away from hers was the plunging neckline of her blouse; but the moment he heard the lid open his gaze dipped further, and his Adam's apple bobbed in his throat.
"What a man can do, and what a man can't do," he said after a moment, obliquely. Then he met her eyes again, a slight but determined smile lending an increasingly familiar madcap sparkle to his gaze. "Time for a new adventure, hey?"
She smiled back, then closed the compass and stood, drawing his mouth down to hers for one last kiss as The Immortal. Then he broke away and stepped into the circle, settling into a cross-legged position in front of Willow.
"Have at it, love. I'm as ready as I'll ever be."
Willow took a deep breath, and began her chant.
It was the day Buffy would always remember as the day she first properly met Captain Jack Sparrow.