This story takes place right after "Consequences", so all events leading up to and including that episode have taken place exactly as Joss wished. Please email me with any comments or criticisms. Feedback is my Scooby snack:)
Freaky Friday by Kristen Elizabeth
"Xander, stake him!!!", Buffy Summers cried out to her friend, from underneath a very large vampire, who was doing his best to bite her neck.
Alexander Harris frantically searched the ground for the wooden stake that had fallen out of the Slayer's grip only moments before she had been knocked to the ground. After several seconds down on his knees, his fingers found the thick stake.
"Got it!", he called out, triumphantly. Buffy continued to struggle with the vampire.
"That's great. Stake him!!", she yelled.
He stood up and grasping the stake with both hands, stabbed the vamp's back in what he hoped was the general area of the heart. The vampire let out a roar of pain as the stake plunged into his skin, but after a second, he still hadn't exploded into dust.
"Allrighty, I'm guessing that wasn't the heart", Xander concluded. The vamp roared again, releasing his hold on Buffy and turning on Xander, the stake still planted firmly in his back. "Um...Buffy", Xander continued, as the vampire advanced on him. "Uh....could you...I mean....would you mind....um....help!!!"
Buffy quickly jumped back to her feet and reached out to pull the stake from the vamp's body. He let out another cry as the stake came out. He turned from Xander to face Buffy.
"Nice knowing you", Buffy said sweetly before plunging the stake directly into the vamp's heart. He exploded into ashes.
Xander breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Buff. For a few seconds there, I was seriously beginning to fear for my blood supply."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Don't mention it." She wiped the sweat from her brow. "Okay, that's about all the vampire fun I can take for one night. Walk back with me."
"Well, well, well little lady. You do need the protection of a big, strong man", Xander smirked. Seeing the look Buffy shot his way, he backed down. "Yeah, I guess there is safety in numbers."
The Slayer had to smile at this. "C'mon, you big, strong man."
Xander bent his arm and held it out to her. Buffy laughed as she placed her hand in the crook of his elbow joint. They headed to the cemetery gates and then, towards Xander's house. Neither of them noticed a shadowy figure following their every move.
"So, any news about Faith?", Xander asked as they walked.
Buffy took a deep breath. "Nothing. Nothing at all. Giles thinks she probably skipped town...you know...now that we all know about her."
Xander nodded. They walked a little further. "That was one of the stupidest things I've ever done."
"What's that?", Buffy asked, knowing the answer perfectly well.
His face went red. "Do I really have to spell it out for you?"
"No, but I like seeing you blush", Buffy replied, honestly. "Besides, you know all the gory details about my first time. Why shouldn't I hear about yours?"
"Terribly sorry to disappoint you, Buff, but there's not much to tell. It just sort of happened and then I got up and left." Buffy looked at him. "Okay, she practically kicked me out of the room."
Buffy suddenly felt bad for having pressed the issue. "I'm sorry, Xander. I wish it had been better for you."
Xander shrugged. "Hey, it's okay. It's not that big of a deal. Besides, the part before that was great." Buffy had to smile again. There was no more conversation until they reached Xander's house.
"See you bright and early", Buffy said, with over-the-top cheeriness.
"Adios, Buffster", Xander replied, opening his front door and going in. He closed the door behind him and looked around. He could hear the TV on in the living room which meant his dad was actually home. He silently crept up the stairs to avoid the possiblity of fraternal contact. After stopping in the bathroom, he went to his room, turned on the stereo and sat on the edge of his bed.
"Why did I volunteer to patrol with her tonight?", Xander asked himself, outloud. "What was I on? I mean, it's not like she needs my help or anything." Angrily, he wrestled his shirt over his head and tossed it to the already clothes-strewn floor. He flopped back against his pillow.
"If only I was the Slayer. Then I'd be able to fight for her, instead of having to be protected by her", Xander said. The thought made him smile all of the sudden. "Yeah. If I could be the Slayer, everything would be great. I'd be Xander, King of the Cretins and Lord of the Losers no more!" Xander got up and went to the mirror on the back of his door. He looked at himself for several minutes.
"Xander, the Vampire Slayer. I like the sound of that", he mused. A shadow fell over his face. "Too bad there's that whole 'the-Slayer-has-to-be-a-girl-and-the-Chosen-One' thing." Sighing, he plopped back down on the bed. "It'd be great though.....Xander, the Vampire Slayer....Xander, the Chosen One...yeah...." Slowly, he closed his eyes. Just before he drifted off to sleep, he half-heard the faint sound of laughter from outside his bedroom window.
******************** The alarm next to him went off at 7:00 AM. Groaning, Xander reached over to turn it off. As his fingers touched the cold metal, his eyes flew open.
"Wait a minute", Xander said with growing confusion and a strangely high voice. "I don't have an alarm clock." He turned his head to look at his hand, still resting on the clock. The long, slender fingers each tipped with a sparkly purple painted nail that he saw, caused him to sit up in horror. The feeling of panic that had overtaken him was only heightened when he looked down at his chest.
"I have breasts!!!", he cried, in what could be interrepted as complete shock mixed with faint awe. Hurriedly, Xander tossed the sheets aside and jumped to his feet (the toes also tipped with purple nails). He stopped as he looked around and realized where he was.
"I'm in Buffy's room." A cold feeling of dread replaced his panic. Now, more slowly and almost reluctantly, he approached the mirror. Before he could see anything, he shut his eyes. When he eventually bumped into the dresser, he hesitantly opened them again. Buffy's face stared back at him. Xander let out a scream with Buffy's voice. The unthinkable had happened. He had become Buffy. Suddenly, the door burst open and Buffy's mother ran in.
"Buffy! Are you all right? I heard a scream", Mrs. Summers asked, worried.
Xander thought quickly. "Um...yeah...yeah Mrs.....I mean...Mom. I'm okay", Xander stammered.
Mrs. Summers looked puzzled. "Why did you scream?"
"Uh...well...I...I..." Xander searched for a valid girl excuse. "I broke a nail", he proudly proclaimed.
"You broke a nail?", Buffy's mom repeated. "And that made my daughter, who fights vampires every night, scream?"
"Well, it was my favorite nail", Xander defended his excuse.
Buffy's mom shook her head. "Mine is not to question", she said, under her breath. Then she smiled. "Don't be late for school, honey."
As not to say anything else suspicious, Xander gave her a thumbs up. Mrs. Summers looked even more confused as she closed the door on her way out. He breathed a sigh of relief. Suddenly, a terrible thought occured to him. If he was in Buffy's body, was Buffy in his? Or was this just a really wacked out dream? He looked back down at Buffy's chest. Of course, since this probably was a dream, why not have some fun with it? He practically skipped over to Buffy's closet and opened it up.
"Now, what should Buffy wear to school?" He pulled a miniskirt from its hanger. "Oh yeah. Buffy is definitely feeling mini today."
*********************** Buffy awoke to the sounds of someone screaming Xander's name. As she groggily sat up, she could automatically sense that something was wrong.
She wasn't wearing a shirt.
Slowly, she looked around. She was definitely in Xander's room. Who else would have semi-nude engravings hanging over his bed? Buffy stood up and walked over to the mirror. Xander's reflection greeted her.
"Oh my lord", she said, completely dumbfounded. Then, hearing herself, "I even sound like Xander!!" Her panic rose. "Okay, calm down", she told herself. "There is a perfectly logical Hellmouth-ish reason for all of this. I just have to get to Giles and find out what it is."
"Xander, get out of bed and get to school!!", a female voice that could only be Xander's mother, shouted from downstairs.
"Um....okay Mom", Buffy shouted back. Looking around, she located Xander's chest of drawers and went over to it. After a thorough searching, she failed to find a clean shirt in any of them.
"Boys", she muttered, looking through the clothes on the floor to find something reasonably clean. She picked up a blue shirt. "Wasn't he wearing this last night? It should be okay." A thought occured to her. Was Xander in her body? She groaned. That was not a happy thought. Buffy pulled the shirt over Xander's head. She grabbed Xander's bookbag, turned off the light, and ran downstairs. The only thing on her mind was how good it would feel to punch her own shoulder when she saw Xander.
******************** The first person Xander saw as he sauntered into Sunnydale High School in Buffy's body, was Willow Rosenberg. She was standing at her locker, talking to her boyfriend Oz. Her head turned towards him when she sensed his approach.
"Thank Goddess it's Friday", she said, cheerfully. Then, seeing what her friend was wearing, "Wow, Buffy. That's a skirt and top, right, not a couple of finger bandages?"
"Finger bandages have more material", Oz said, in his usual cool way.
Xander turned the dial on his locker door. "Ha, ha. Morning to you guys too."
"Buffy, why are you opening Xander's locker?", Willow asked.
Xander pulled the Slayer's hand away from the lock as if it had suddenly caught fire. "Uh...rough night. I'm kind of out of it today." He moved down two lockers to Buffy's. "Um...does anyone know my locker combo?"
Willow's forehead crinkled. "Are you sure you're okay? This is out of it even for you. Well, I mean...you know what I mean...right?"
Xander was about to answer, when he caught a glimpse of his own body rapidly coming down the hallway towards them. The expression on his face was not a happy one.
Buffy stopped a few feet away them. "Buffy, can I see you, alone, for a minute?", she asked, in Xander's voice.
"Well...um...actually I...uh", Xander stuttered. He was cut off by his own hand grabbing him and pulling him down the hallway.
"Good morning, Xander. Did you have a pleasant sleep, Xander?. Can I have my body back, please, Xander?", Buffy hissed, once they were out of earshot.
"So, you noticed something is awry this morning", Xander said. He could practically feel Oz and Willow's eyes watching them.
Buffy was outraged. "What the hell is going on here? What did you do?"
"Hey, I didn't do anything! I just woke up in your body. I have no idea how it happened", Xander protested.
"You didn't do anything, like try to cast a spell or something?", Buffy asked. Xander shook Buffy's blond head. "We were in our own bodies last night....what did you do when you got home?"
He thought back. "I came in, went to my room...." He stopped when he remembered the thoughts that had gone through his head the night before.
"What? Why'd you stop?" Buffy looked down at her own face. "What did you do, Xander?"
"I...well, I just sort of..." He looked sheepish. "I kinda wished I was the Slayer. But I wished that I was the Slayer in my own body, not in yours. And I certainly had no idea what was going to happen."
Buffy put a hand to Xander's forehead in frustration. "Oh lord, Xander. Come on, we live on the Hellmouth. 'Be careful what you wish for' is our town's motto."
"I've wished for a lot of things before, Buffy. A car, loving parents, Cordelia's forgiveness, grapes fed to me by the girls of Sports Illustrated. Those wishes have never come true. How could I have known that this one would?" Several people in the hall turned their heads to look at them.
His voice sighed audibly. "We don't have any other choice but to ask Giles what to do."
"No!", Xander said, emphatically. "No, times a thousand! Giles already thinks I'm an idiot, especially after last year's love spell fiasco. If he finds out about this...can't we just figure out what to do on our own?"
"Xander, that could take a long time. And no offense, but I don't want to be in your body forever!!"
"Please Buff? I'm tired of being the dumb, careless one. If I really did do this, I'll take care of it, okay?", Xander pleaded.
His face stared back at him, doubtfully, for a few seconds. "All right. For the time being, we'll keep this under wraps. But you had better know something about the Trojan Wars, cause I have a test in Ancient History today."
"The Trojans. They'd be the guys who invented condoms, right?"
Buffy rolled Xander's eyes. "I should have seen that coming in time to stop it." Suddenly, she noticed what her body was wearing. "Xander! You put me in a miniskirt and tube top?"
"Hey, you're the one who bought them", Xander replied, nonchalantly.
"Yeah, three years ago. Well, I hope you're prepared for the consequences. Cause you look all right, if I do say so myself", Buffy joked, looking her body up and down.
"Are you guys done talking yet?", Willow asked, coming up behind them.
"Oh, yeah", Buffy said, spinning Xander's body around. "We were just finishing up." As if on cue, the first period bell rang . "They're playing our song. Don't forget that Wesley wants us all to meet in library during lunch", Willow reminded them, as they began to scatter to their various classes.
"Got it. Meeting at lunch", Xander said, scratching Buffy's temple as if to remember better. He tended to forget these meetings, but knew the new Watcher would have a hissy fit if Buffy wasn't there.
"Hey, Buffy!", Buffy called out to her body. "Good luck on your test. I really, really, really hope you pass."
"Ah-ha! I knew you weren't completely over Buffy", Willow told her friend as they walked the opposite direction. "I mean that's okay....it doesn't hurt...well, you know what I mean. I guess what I'm trying to say is...actually, I have no idea what I'm trying to say."
Buffy had to smile at Willow's characteristic stumblings, despite the awkward situation she now found herself in. When she thought of her future grade in history, the smile disappeared. "Just wishing a friend good luck", she replied, grinding Xander's teeth.
********************* The day was going so much slower than normal for Xander. Being good friends with several girls, he had accepted long before that a good portion of his entire gender were jerks when confronted by an attractive member of the opposite sex, but he had no idea how true it was until he walked into Buffy's English class in Buffy's scantily-clad body. After surviving four classes full of catcalls, stares, and raised eyebrows, all he wanted was to be back in his body. And he certainly did not want to go to where he was now heading, the Sunnydale High School library. Besides the locker incident, no one had really noticed that anything out of the ordinary was going on. Of course, the residents of Sunnydale weren't known for their perceptivness. Still, if anyone could pick up on any apparent changes in Buffy's manner, it would be her former Watcher. He paused before the double doors leading to the library.
"Think Buffy", he said to himself, before pushing the door open and going in.
The rest of the gang was already seated around the big table at the far end of the room where they had spent so many hours researching various demons and prophecies. As he walked towards the table, trying to keep his balance on Buffy's three inch platforms, he prayed that this meeting wasn't about something dangerous coming to town who could only be killed by the Slayer. Xander slid Buffy's body into the chair next to Willow and smiled weakly at Wesley, as the English man tapped his watch accusingly.
"Sorry I'm late", Xander apologized, setting Buffy's bag on the table.
"It's quite alright. You're ten minutes late, so we'll train ten more minutes from now on", Wesley replied. From the other end of the table, Buffy shot him a look of death with his own eyes.
"Let's get this meeting underway", Giles proposed. "Mrs. Franklin's class is coming in next period to research something or other."
"I didn't think the faculty knew we had a library", Oz commented, from his place next to Willow.
Giles frowned. "I had been trying to keep it from them, but someone sent out a memo."
"If you don't mind?", Wesley interrupted. "We something important to discuss."
"What's up?", Buffy asked, in Xander's voice. Wesley opened his briefcase and pulled out a letter. "This arrived from the Council yesterday. They want Buffy to fly to England immediately to take a deposition of sorts about Faith and all the things that have happened. Apparently, they're not quite sure how to handle the situation."
"Fly to England? Me?", Xander squeaked. Buffy's palms began to sweat. Anxiously, he looked down the table at his own face. His eyes were open in shock. "What about...um...school? Buffy can't miss school", he heard his voice say. "Spring break is next week. I have booked Buffy on a flight to London leaving tomorrow morning and spoken with her mother. All she needs do now is pack." Wesley informed them, replacing the letter in his briefcase.
"Wow, London, Buffy! What a great spring break!", Willow said, excitedly. "I mean, after you get done with the Faith stuff."
Xander laughed nervously. "Yeah, great break. In London."
"Why does Buffy have to fly all the way to England? Why can't the Council come here to talk to her?", Buffy asked, trying to hide the anxiety in Xander's voice.
"Xander, the Council is composed of twenty men and women. It is much easier, and much less expensive, to fly Buffy there as opposed to all twenty Council members flying here", Giles answered, as though to a small child. Buffy seriously hoped they didn't all talk to Xander that way, on a daily basis. It wasn't a nice feeling.
"Well, if there are no other questions or comments, this meeting is adjourned", Wesely announced. The gang remained seated for a few seconds in pure defiance, but after the look Giles gave them, they began to slowly stand up and gather their stuff.
"Um....Xander, can I see you?", Xander asked himself, loading Buffy's voice with anxiety. His own face bore a similar look as his body walked over to him, away from the others.
"Okay, what do we do now, Mr. I'll-take-care-of-it?", Buffy whispered.
Her features were pained as they gazed back at her. "I don't know, okay? I have no idea what to do now." Xander readjusted Buffy's slipping tube top.
"Do you think this would be a good time to let Giles in on our little problem? Or do you think we should wait for a better time, like after you come back from England?", Buffy whispered, sarcastically as they headed out the library doors.
Xander ran a hand through Buffy's blond hair, searching for a solution. "Look, let's tell Willow. Maybe she can find a spell or something to fix this."
Buffy thought for a second. "Oh, Willow", she called out. Her red-haired friend stopped as she was about to step out the front door of the school.
"Yeah?", she replied, walking back down the hall towards them, a wary look on her face. Xander and Buffy put on huge, exaggerated smiles.
"We have a small favor to ask you", Buffy said. Xander nodded Buffy's head.
********************** "So, let me get this straight. When I talk to Xander, I'm really talking to Buffy. And when I talk to Buffy, I'm talking to Xander?" Willow leaned back against an oak tree in the school's courtyard and stared at her two best friends in amazement. "And they wonder why so few seniors are planning to stay in Sunnydale after graduation."
"Do you think you can help us? Is there some sort of spell that could switch us back?", Xander asked, hopefully.
"Well Buff...Xander", Willow corrected herself. "I can't promise anything, but I can look in some books and try to find something." "Oh, thank you Will!!", Buffy exclaimed in relief, reaching over to hug her friend. Willow unconciously stiffened as Xander's arms engulfed her. Suddenly remembering her two friend's recent romantic past, Buffy let go of Willow. "Sorry."
Willow smiled as she stood up. "It's all right, Buffy. You just kind of caught me off guard. Look, I'm going to go snoop around in those spellbooks that Giles doesn't want me to read. See you later." She slung her bag over her shoulder and walked back towards the main building.
Xander turned to his body and put on Buffy's most dazzling smile. "See, I told you I'd take care of it."
"Yeah, you're Mr. Fix-it all right", Buffy said, dryly. "But for now, you've still got to take my history test. And we need to figure out what to do if Willow can't find anything to help us." She stood up and stretched Xander's long limbs.
"Buffy, will you relax?", Xander replied. "We're in the clear! Our little problem will be gone by the end of the day because Willow will find a spell."
************************** "I can't find a spell!", Willow cried, slamming shut the thick, dusty book that lay before her. Buffy and Xander exchanged frantic glances.
"What exactly do you mean when you say you can't find a spell?", Xander asked, wringing Buffy's hands. Willow shot him look. "I thought it would sound better if it came from Buffy's mouth." The Slayer rolled Xander's eyes for the millionth time since she had woken up that morning.
"There is no body switching or, more importantly, re-switching spells in any of these books", Willow clarified, gesturing to all of the volumes spread out on the big table in the library.
Buffy slumped Xander's body back into the chair it was seated in. "Well, Plan A is officially out. Now it's time for Plan B, which should have been Plan A...let's ask Giles."
"Can't we just look a little bit more? Sunnydale High has the biggest collection of wierd stuff books in...anywhere. There has to be something that can help us!", Xander cried, placing Buffy's hand on his shoulder, pleadingly.
Buffy looked over at her own face. As much as she wanted to strangle Xander for getting them into this situation, she couldn't help but feel sorry for him at the same time. It probably wasn't anymore fun to be in her body than it was to be in his. She narrowed his eyes as he gladly adjusted the tube top covering her chest for the seventh time in the past five minutes. Maybe that wasn't quite accurate.
Willow frowned into the book she had picked up while this exchange had been going on. "Wait a minute. You guys might just be in luck."
Xander sat up straight. "Really!! You found a spell?? Did you hear that, Buffy? Willow's going to take care of everything." Buffy smiled weakly.
"Hold on to those stallions, partner. Let me read it all the way through", Willow held up her hand for silence. Xander fidgeted as Willow's eyes slowly scanned the text. When she finally looked back up at him, he was barely able to sit still in anticipation. Buffy, on the other hand, remained collected.
"Well?!", he asked, frantically.
Willow calmly placed a piece of paper in the book to mark her place, folded her hands in her lap and cleared her throat. "There's good news and bad news", she finally said.
"That's never good", Buffy commented, leaning forward on Xander's elbows.
"The good news is that I have found a spell to help you two", Willow continued. Xander sat up even straighter, causing Buffy's tube top to slip dangerously low.
"What's the bad news, Will", Buffy asked, wincing as more and more of her chest became exposed.
Willow's bit her lip. "The re-switching ritual requires the blood of a male virgin."
Buffy and Xander's jaws dropped. "The blood of a male virgin?", Buffy finally managed to repeat. Her red-haired friend nodded solemnly.
"Oh, this is great", Xander said, throwing up Buffy's hands. The tube top slipped even more. "A couple of weeks ago, we could have had all the virgin male blood we wanted. Now, thanks to Faith and her libido, we're going to have to go up to every guy in school and ask if he's ever gotten lucky." A slow smile began to creep onto Willow's face which eventually became a fit of laughter.
"May I ask what is so funny about this ritual needing virgin male blood?", Xander asked, catching the tube top before it completely fell.
"The fact that it doesn't", Willow replied between laughs. "I made it up just to see how you would react. Actually, the spell is fairly simple. We just need to get some more essence of toad. I'm all out."
Buffy gently yanked one of her friend's red braids. "That was pretty bad, Will. You had Xander practically giving a school-wide sex survey."
Willow grinned widely. "I know. It would have been fun to see what some of our fellow classmates had to say though." Xander crossed Buffy's arms angrily. "So, let's get to the magic store before it closes and buy some toad", Willow continued, setting the spell book aside. "With any luck, you'll both be back in your own bodies by patrol time."
*******************************8 As the sunlight slowly faded to complete darkness, they headed back to the library to begin the spell that would hopefully solve Xander and Buffy's problem. Once they were back, Willow and Buffy immediately set to work cutting and preparing several kinds of herbs.
"Is there anything I can do, Will?", Xander asked, anxious to get the spell underway.
The young witch turned her eyes from a twisted root she was peeling. "Um...actually yes. I need you to go fill Giles' kettle with water. It has to be purified water, so you'll need to go to the teacher's lounge to get it."
Xander gave a mock salute and went into Giles' office to get the kettle. Once he had it, he headed off to the lounge, the sound of Buffy's platforms echoing loudly through the empty halls. Xander rounded a corner and came face to face with Angel. In surprise, he dropped the kettle.
"Buffy", Angel said, reaching down to pick it up. "I didn't mean to startle you."
Xander searched for words. "Uh...well...um...that's okay...yeah."
Angel straightened up and handed Xander the kettle. "I went to your house, but you weren't there. I figured this would be the next best place to look."
"Ah...well...you found me", Xander replied, his nervousness making Buffy's voice even higher.
Buffy's boyfriend reached out to brush a curl off of her forehead. "I haven't seen you in a few days. I wanted to make sure you were all right."
Xander instinctively pulled back from the vampire's touch. How the hell was he going to get out of this? "Thanks....I'm fine...okey-dokey....all is well in Buffyland."
Angel's brow furred. "You're not acting like yourself. Is something wrong?"
Xander fought back the urge to laugh at this. He quickly decided that the best course of action would to be to tell Angel what was going on, but he wasn't fast enough. Angel slipped his hand around Buffy's waist and Xander soon found himself pressed up against the vampire. "I get worried about you when I don't see you for awhile", Angel said into Buffy's ear. Xander winced. "And I miss doing this." Angel pulled back slightly and cupped Buffy's face with his hands. Slowly, he began to lean in for a kiss. It was too much for Xander.
"Okay, hold on there just a minute", Xander cried, fighting his way out of Angel's arms. The vampire looked extremely confused and slightly hurt. "I'm not Buffy, Angel."
His confused look intensified. "What?"
Xander sighed. "Something weird happened last night, I sort of made a bad wish and somehow Buffy and I...kind of switched bodies. I'm Xander in Buffy's body."
Angel blinked several times. "You're Xander?" Xander nodded. "So, I almost.....I almost....", he couldn't finish the sentence.
"Yeah, pretty much", Xander supplied the answer anyways. "But don't worry. As soon as I get some pure water, our Wicca Willow will have your girlfriend and I switched again and you can have all the smootchies you want. They're in the library, by the way, in case you want to talk to Buffy. Just look for my body." With that, he continued towards the teachers lounge.
Angel, still slightly confused and strangely nauseated, watched Buffy's body leave and then turned to walk slowly towards the library. Upon reaching the familiar double doors, he silently opened one. Standing in the doorway, he could see Willow, her back turned to him as she concentrated on something on the big table at the end of the room. Xander...Buffy....he presumed was in Giles' office.
Willow sensed another presence in the room. "Xander, bring the water over here."
"It's not Xander, Willow", he said, not moving from his place in the doorframe. He watched as Buffy's friend, recognizing his voice, turned around to see him. She smiled, nervously.
"Hi, Angel. Um...what are you doing here?", she asked.
Before he could answer her, Buffy re-entered the main room from Giles' office, shaking Xander's head as she examined a small bottle. "Will, I know you told Xander we had enough, but this doesn't look like very much Dragon's Blood. Are you sure it's going to be okay?" She looked at her friend for a reply. Getting none, she turned Xander's head to see what Willow was looking at on the other end of the room. When she saw Angel, she took a deep breath.
"Angel. Wow, you're the last person on earth I expected to come through that door tonight." She set the bottle down on the table and reached up to scratch Xander's temple.
"It's not some big joke then. You really are in Xander's body", Angel said, practically to himself. Willow and Buffy exchanged glances. "I ran into Xander in the hall. He told me."
Buffy looked almost relieved to not have to explain everything. "Yeah, I've been stuck in his body all day. It has to be one of the stranger things that has happened to me since I became a Slayer."
Angel nodded his head slowly, brow still furred. "I'm almost two hundred and fifty years old and this is the strangest thing I've ever seen."
Buffy dug Xander's hands into the pockets of his khaki pants. "But it's going to be okay. Willow is going to change us back."
Her boyfriend did not look reassured by this. Buffy moved towards Angel, but he held up one hand, signaling her to stop. "I can't....I can't kiss Xander, even though I know it's really you. I'm sorry."
Buffy smiled. "I wasn't going to kiss you. But I thought a hug might be okay, despite the circumstances." For some reason, this snapped Angel out of his semi-trance. He allowed Xander's body to approach him and let the boy's arms wrap around him.
"It won't be that much longer until I'm back in my body. I promise", Buffy whispered. Angel nodded and attempted a smile. Suddenly, Xander returned with his kettle full of water.
"Hey! What's going on here?", he asked indignantly, upon seeing the embrace. "Buffy, I leave you with my body for five minutes and this is what you do with it?" His arms immediately released the vampire. Buffy couldn't help but notice the pained look that returned to her boyfriend's face as he looked at her approaching figure.
Willow broke the awkward pause by snatching the kettle out of Xander's grasp. "Let's get going, okay?" She walked over to the light switches and flipped them off then, turned back to the makeshift altar she had created on the long table. "Xander, Buffy. I want you to stand on either side of me." Her two friends quickly moved to their assigned spots. Angel walked around to Buffy's side and stood several feet away from the table. Willow lit the two fat red candles that she had placed on the table and mumbled a few words in what Xander assumed was German. She sprinkled a few drops of water from the kettle onto Buffy and Xander's heads and then motioned to them to blow out the candles. Before either one could even purse their lips, a flash of lightning briefly illuminated the room. All four exchanged confused glances. There had not even been any clouds forming to warn them of a storm. The lightning was dismissed and Xander and Buffy turned their attention back to the candles. Another bolt hit, this time, much closer to the school. This could not be dismissed so easily.
"What's going on?", Xander asked.
"I'm not sure", Willow replied, quietly. "It might not be anything." An even closer bolt struck.
"Or it could be", Buffy said. "We don't know what caused the switch. If it was some kind of demon, wouldn't it stand to reason that it wouldn't want us to switch back?"
As if to answer her, another bolt hit only a few feet away from the large window on the second level. All four jumped back as the window shattered. The strong gust of wind that ripped through the room, blew out both candles, plunging the room into darkness.
"Oh yeah, it's definitely a demon", Buffy whispered.
"How can you tell?", Willow asked, a slight wobble in her voice.
Angel was deadly calm. "We like to make an entrance."
"IN THAT, YOU WOULD BE RIGHT", a loud booming voice replied. There seemed to be no source to the strange voice, they discovered as they looked around the darkness. Xander took a deep breath and a step forward. "Who are you?"
The mysterious voice began to laugh. "AS IF IT WOULD BE THAT EASY. YOU ASK WHO I AM AND I'M JUST SUPPOSED TO TELL YOU?? NO, I THINK NOT. YOU'LL FIND OUT WHO I AM......JUST DON'T TRY TO REVERSE MY LITTLE PRACTICAL JOKE OR ELSE....." The voice trailed off.
"Or else what?", Buffy ventured to question.
There was a slight pause before another strong gust of wind blew over them. Suddenly, Willow clutched at her throat. She made several gasping noises, as if she were trying to talk, or breathe, but couldn't. Angel rushed forward and caught her as she dropped to the ground, still gasping for air.
"Leave her alone!!!!!", Xander shouted at the invisible demon, as he and Buffy kneeled to help their friend. The demon began to laugh again. As a third wind swept the room, Willow coughed and began to breathe again.
"DO WE HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING?", the voice asked, rhetorically. Buffy and Xander looked at each other. They had no choice. "GOOD. UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.....", the demon's voice continued, seemingly reading their thoughts. Another bolt of lightning struck, and then, all was quiet.
"Will, are you okay?", Buffy asked, worriedly.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I've survived worse things than this", Willow coughed, as Angel and Xander helped her to her feet.
As soon as he was sure his friend was steady, Xander turned back to his own body. "What are we going to do now?"
Buffy shook his head. "I have no idea. But whatever we do, it has to be quick. In less than fourteen hours, you'll still be in my body, on a plane headed to London."
"London?", Angel asked, becoming even more confused, if that was possible.
"I'll explain later", Buffy told her boyfriend. "Right now I am going to do what has to be done. I'm calling in reinforcements."
Nobody made a move to stop Xander's body as it strode over to the counter, picked up the phone and dialed. "Hello Giles?", Buffy said a few seconds later. She pressed the speaker-phone button and replaced the reciever.
"Xander?", Giles' sleep-heavy voice asked. "Has something happened to Buffy?"
"Um....not exactly", Xander replied.
"Buffy, you're okay", Giles said, becoming more coherent upon hearing his former Slayer's voice. "Then what on earth are you calling me for, Xander?"
"We need your help", Buffy answered.
"Really, really badly", Xander added.
The sound of sheets rustling came through the phone. "What's wrong?"
"Uh...it'd be easier to explain in person. Can you come to the library?", Buffy pleaded.
There was a slight pause. "I'll be there in twenty minutes."
************************* Nineteen minutes and fifty five seconds later, the library doors burst open. Giles came to sudden stop as he took in the scene that greeted him. The second floor window was completely smashed, leaving a field of broken glass over the entire upper level and the short stairs leading to it. Xander and Angel were sitting way too close together at the big table which held the remnants of what appeared to be a makeshift altar. Willow was behind the check-out area, examining something on the computer, while Buffy sat on the counter, watching her. All four looked up as he entered.
"Bugger me", he managed to say, under his breath.
"We can explain the window, Giles", Buffy reassured, standing up. "But there's some other....stuff you should know before we do."
"What do you mean 'other stuff', Xander", Giles asked, not entirely sure he wanted to hear the boy's answer.
Buffy's body jumped down from the counter. "There's no easy way to say this G-man, so I'll just say it. She's not Xander."
"She? What the bloody hell are you talking about, Buffy?" Giles became more confused by the moment.
Buffy stepped towards her former Watcher. "It's true Giles. I'm Buffy and that's Xander." She pointed at her body.
Giles looked back and forth at the two teenagers for a moment. "You've.....switched bodies?"
"Ten points for the librarian, putting him in the lead", Xander said, affirmitavely. "I think I need to sit down", Giles sighed. Angel pushed a chair towards him. Noticing the movement, Giles looked at him, then Willow. "I assume that you two are...both in your respective bodies?"
"Yep. I'm one hundred percent Willow and he's all Angel", Willow nodded towards the vampire.
"Well...that's...good." Giles whipped his glasses off and wiped his brow. "How did this happen?"
"What else? A demonic practical joke. We tried a spell to switch us back, but the demon appeared and threatened to strangle Willow if we kept trying to undo his handi-work", Buffy replied, Xander's voice low and grim.
"That's how the window got all smashy", Xander added.
"Yes, thank you...um...Xander. I sort of...assumed that." Giles sat in the before-offered chair.
"After that, I decided it was time to get your help. So...what should we do?", Buffy asked the older man, trying to make Xander's masculine voice as pitiful as possible.
"What do we always start with...Buffy?", Giles asked, wearily.
"Jelly donuts?", Xander guessed out loud.
Giles glared at the Slayer's face. "Research."
"That was going to be my next guess." Xander crossed Buffy's arms indignantly. Willow leaned forward on the counter. "I'll get back on the computer", she volunteered.
"Yes..thank you. Um, Buffy...Xander...you two take body-switching and uh..Angel and I will look up...um...demons, I suppose. That is, if you want to be in on the research, Angel." Giles looked over at Buffy's boyfriend.
"I'll do whatever it takes to get Buffy back in her own body", Angel grimaced. "Um...right...I'm sure you..would. Let's get to work everyone...quickly."
************************* "It's hopeless!", Buffy cried, shoving the thick book in front of her away. Everyone looked up as the silence was broken. "How are we supposed to find a demon we know absolutely nothing about? Face it, I'm going to be Xander forever!!"
"Gee, Buff. Don't sound too overjoyed at that prospect", Xander said, dryly.
Giles closed his book. "I admit, it does look bleak. But I'm sure it will only be a little while until we find what we're looking for, Buffy."
"Found it", Angel said, on cue. The others hurried over to him. "The demon Lopz, a chaos demon, enjoys granting wishes that he knows the wisher does not want to come true."
"That's it? That's all he does?", Buffy asked, doubtful.
"Well, he does other things as well. This is just a hobby of his", Angel explained. The former Watcher reached for the book Angel was reading. Readjusting his glasses, he carefully examined the text. "Wishes? Our demon switches bodies. Why do you think this is him?", Giles asked the vampire.
Buffy turned to look at her body. "Xander. Care to explain this to our Mr. Giles?"
Xander laughed nervously. "Do I have a choice?"
"Never mind. I think, from that, I can guess", Giles muttered. "It says here that Lopz is Norwegian in orgin....from the old country....hmm."
"Norwegian? Like a Viking?", Willow asked.
Giles nodded towards the red-head. "Now, we may be able to use this against him."
"How?", Buffy wondered.
"Traditionally, mystical creatures from Scandinavia whether they be trolls, giants or demons are afraid of fire. No one is exactly sure why, but it has been proven time and again", Giles continued.
"You know, just the mere fact that there has been ample opportunity for this theory to be proven gives me the wigs", Xander declared. He went ignored.
"So, okay. We use fire to get rid of the bad guy. No prob", Buffy said, cheerfully. "But, how are we going to get that kind of firepower?", Willow spoke up. "You have a point", Buffy agreed, some of the pep going out of Xander's voice.
"And if we can get it, how are we going to control it?", Angel asked, slightly apprehensive about the use of fire, one of only a handful of things that presented a threat to him.
"Another good point." Buffy ground Xander's teeth.
"And if we can get it and control it, how are we going to know where to aim it?", Xander pondered, insightfully. "As far as we know, the demon's invisible."
Buffy threw up his hands. "Okay!! So maybe it's not the best plan in the world, but are there any alternatives? I'm open for suggestions." None were offered. Buffy turned to Giles. "You wouldn't happen to have a flame thrower in the bookcage, would you?", she joked.
"Um....." The librarian lowered his eyes. "Actually, I do."
Xander shook Buffy's head slowly. "G-man, you worry me."
"Me too", a familiar voice said from the doorway. "Oz!", Willow cried, gladly hoisting herself over the counter to skip over to her boyfriend.
Oz returned Willow's hug. "Everyone was a no-show at the Bronze. I thought the world might be in trouble and, if it was, the band's last few songs would screech by fine without me."
"We had better lock those doors", Giles said. "Although it's certainly fine that you're here Oz, the last thing we need is somone like...oh, let's say...Wesley bursting in on us."
"I wouldn't worry too much about that", Oz said.
Willow intertwined her fingers with his. "Why not?"
"Somehow, Cordelia convinced him that no stay in Sunnydale was complete without a whirl around the Bronze's dance floor. They were still there when I left." Xander swallowed a lump in Buffy's throat. "They were....dancing. Close?", he asked, trying to keep the Slayer's voice as light as possible.
Oz looked puzzled. "Very close. Why do you ask, Buffy?"
Buffy looked over at her body, her face suddenly looking crest-fallen. "Um...Oz. Tonight has been a strange night. Let me tell you all about it."
************************ "The Hellmouth has outdone itself", was Oz's only comment after Buffy filled him in on what was going on. "So, what's the plan?"
"Here's what I'm thinking", Buffy answered, thoughtfully. "We start the ritual again."
Xander looked up at his own face. " But the nice demon man told us not to."
"How else do you think we should get it here?", the Slayer retorted.
"I tend to agree with Buff....Xander", Oz corrected himself. "Bringing the bad guy here means putting Willow in danger." Oz squeezed his girlfriend's hand protectively.
"This demon is getting his kicks by making us search for him, right?" Buffy paced back and forth as she spoke.
"He didn't get much attention as a baby demon", Xander quipped.
Buffy gave her figure a hard glare. "Well, we searched, we found. So if we just start the ritual, when Lopz shows up he can't put up a hissy fit or try to strangle Will. We played his game. Right?" She looked at the others for confirmation. "I don't think it's that simple, Buffy. You probaby won't be able to reason with a demon, especially not a chaos demon", Giles said, quietly.
"Spike said they were all slime and antlers", Willow spoke up. "Things with slime and antlers don't sound like reasonable things."
Buffy looked at her boyfriend in desperation. "Angel? Any thoughts? I mean, you must have dealt with one of these guys before."
Angel took a deep breath, the air passing through his lungs unnecessarily. "Never this one, though. I suppose the best plan would be Buffy's." Oz opened his mouth to protest. "At the first sign of any danger towards Willow or anyone else we...."
He was cut off by Buffy. "We fry him."
"Yes, those were the exact words I was going to use", Angel said, his sarcasm mixed with affection.
"So, what are we doing here yapping?", Xander exclaimed, jumping to Buffy's feet. "Let's grab Giles' blowtorch, start up the spell and nuke this guy!!"
"While your enthusiasm is more than appreciated, Xander, I'm afraid it's not that easy. I've had to explain a lot of things to the school board, but a slightly burnt library might be the straw that breaks the camel's back, so to say." Giles wiped his forehead once again. The group paused to think this over.
"Okay", Xander said, eventually. "We won't turn Lopz into a crispy critter. We'll just use the fire to threaten him. Then maybe we won't have to do the spell at all. If he's as afraid of fire as you think he will be, he'll be more than happy to switch us back himself." Xander looked around for confirmation. The others stared back at him. "What? A little bit of Buffy isn't allowed to wear off on me? I have been in her body all day, after all."
"I knew we kept you around for a reason, Xander", Buffy joked. "Let's go then. We're running out of time. I would like to get home and pack before my big trip to London." The four teenagers and one Watcher immediately got to work, leaving Angel at the big table by himself.
************************* "Okay", Willow said, quietly, forty-five minutes later. "Blow out the candles."
"Here goes nothing", Buffy muttered. She looked at her own face staring back at her across the table and gave a slight nod. Together, she and Xander each took a deep breath and blew out the candles before them. When nothing happened, the group exchanged a slightly confused look. "Should we continue?", Willow asked, apprehensively.
Giles looked around the room. "I'm not entirely sure. He could be here, just not showing himself."
"I say, onward Slayerette soldiers", Xander proclaimed. "We have a shot at switching back. Let's not blow it cause we're waiting for Mr. Demon-man to make a guest appearance."
"I have to take Xander's side on this", Angel said, grinding his teeth at the thought of actually agreeing with the boy. "If we can do this, we should."
Willow glanced over at Giles for confirmation. The older man nodded, distractedly. She exhaled slowly. "Buffy...Xander. Join hands." They did her bidding. "By the power of one with the spirit and aid of Diana, the one who protects, I hereby declare this demon's spell...." A tell-tale gust of wind swept through the room.
"Look who decided to make an appearance", Buffy said, almost to herself. "Lopz....if you're here, show your face", she continued, louder. There was no reply.
"Oz, are you ready with the blow-torch?", Giles whispered. Oz nodded.
"Lopzy....come on....I know you're there", Buffy dropped her hands and folded Xander's across his chest, impatiently. Another gust of wind blew over them.
Angel wet a finger and held it up. "The wind's coming from that way", he pointed towards the bookcage. "Go for it, Oz."
Without any further prompting, Oz pumped the blowtorch's handle and sent forth a burst of fire, illuminating the library. Lopz let out a roar of fear and pain. Oz sprayed the room with heat and light once more, for good measure. Again, the demon screamed.
"Ready to switch us back?", Buffy asked the still-invisible creature. She was answered with a snarl. "Or would you like to meet Mr. Blowtorch up close and personal?"
"MAYBE YOU'D JUST LIKE YOUR FRIEND TO CHOKE TO DEATH", Lopz replied. Giles' arm went around Willow, protectively.
"Look, the way I see it, you have two choices. You can either switch us back and go on your merry demon way, or you can not switch us back, we'll singe your demon butt and then switch ourselves back. It's your choice. I'm sure Oz would just love to have the opportunity to take you out for good", Buffy said to the bookcage's general direction. To add emphasis to her words, Oz readjusted his grip on the weapon. There was a long pause. Suddenly, Buffy felt light-headed. She bent over slightly and when she straightened back up, she saw Xander's body doing the same. Buffy examined herself, quickly. She was definitely back in her own body. Her own mini-skirt and tube top clad body. Xander appeared relieved to have returned to his own figure, too. "Well, it's been a pleasure doing business with you", Buffy told the demon, sweetly. "Oz?" Willow's boyfriend pumped the blowtorch a final time, aimed and fired. Admist much roaring, the gang could slowly see Lopz's form become visible as, bit by bit, it burned away. Finally, Oz released his grip on the weapon. The demon was gone.
"That wasn't very nice, Buffy", Willow teased. "You're going to get a reputation as a promise-breaker."
Buffy shrugged. "I had to spend the entire day watching Xander rearrange my breasts. Keeping my vague promise to a chaos demon was not high on my list of priorities. Besides, I kinda like being known as a tough Slayer." She winked at her friend. "I believe that was a discouraging comment about me", Xander piped up. "Another one of an endless supply of jabs at 'ole Xander. You know, I sometimes wish that...." He was cut off by Buffy's hand covering his mouth.
"Do you learn nothing?"