PLEASE READ! NEW AND ESPECIALLY PREVIOUS READERS!
Sorry that the next update is taking so long, but I seem to have lost the writing rhythm for this particular story. I've promised that I won't stop until it's finished though and I meant it. To get back in the 'groove' I'm editing and in some places rewriting the chapters starting with this one. The rewrites will NOT change the plot or story in any way, only clarify some things. If you don't want to reread what you've already read you don't have to and you won't miss anything important. I only hope I'm not being preemptive in thanking you ahead of time for being so patient with me. Again.
Buffy lay in her bed, flat on her stomach, with her face buried in one pillow, and another pillow wrapped around her head, arms gripping it tightly against her ears in a vain effort to block out the smell and sounds that were so viciously assaulting her. She whimpered softly and tried to convince herself that she couldn't really hear all five of the distinct heartbeats downstairs or smell the six different scents over the scent of her self and fabric softener that infused the pillow she was trying to smother herself with.
She tried vainly to believe that it was all some really mean prank meant to be reminiscent of the time she had borrowed the telapathic abilities of a demon she had killed. Her senses had always been somewhat better than those of her completely normally human watcher and friends, and they'd also been extremely inferior to those of Angel, and so probably all of the other vampires she frequently had to deal with as well.
But now her senses were so strong that she would be willing to bet that they were superior to Angel's. Like she was pretty sure that he had no idea that Oz had just started his van up outside the Bronze, a good two miles away, after telling his band mates that he was heading this way to look for the love of his life Willow.
She'd also be willing hto bet that he couldn't hear that strange flush in the steady rhythm of her mom's blood as it pulsed through her veins. A sound that wasn't present in anyone else's and therefore troubled Buffy a great deal. She heard every word they were uttering downstairs, every breath they took and every sob that gasped out of Willow in fear for her friend who seemed to be going insane at the top of the stairs.
As if that wasn't enough, she could smell them clearly too. Not just their bodies-which was bad enough, especially in Xander's case- but she could somehow smell and recognise what they were 's fear, Xander's sweat and his girlfriends arousal. Her mom's concern and her Watcher's curiosity. Not to mention the infuriating smell of her somewhat boyfriend. The supposed love of her life who had scents rolling off of him that spoke to her of doubt and bemusement mxed with exasperation.
As if she were some little child telling an outragious story to garner the attention of the long suffering adults who had to put up with all of her silly antics. As if she was some silly little girl that he had to go along with for the sake of peace.
"I'm telling you, Giles," he was saying right now, keeping his voice pitched low as if she wouldn't hear him that way. "There is no demon that passes on hightened senses the way she describes it. I think she's imagining everything. She probably need a break or something.
That was it!
She was getting really tired of his condescending, patronizing attitude lately and he had just settled the last straw on the lamented camel's back. "If that's the way you really feel, Angel" she was rather proud of the way his name sounded more like a snarl than a word, even if it would probably horrify her later on that she had spoken to her love that way, "why don't you come up here and we'll do a little test to see who's imagining things? But furst ask Mom to let Oz in. And while you're at it, tell Oz that it smells like he has a small oil leak in the that he might want to take care of before it becomes a big, expensive problem."
There was no sound from Angel even though she knew damn well that she had spoken loud enough for the broody vampire to hear, if not anyone else. It was at least a good ten seconds after she issued her challenge before she heard him grunt and smelled the surprise coming off of him. He must have just finally caught the distinctive sound of Oz's van still two blocks away.
That was quickly followed by the smell of curiosity and the sound of him running up the stairs, taking them three at a time by the sound of it, and bursting into her room. "How did you know Oz was on his way?" he demanded just as she noticed the faint scent of doubt and suspicion that was still clinging to him.
"Because I heard him tell his friends that he was coming over here before he left the Bronze," she mumbled into her lovely pillow. Her amazing, wonderful, smelling like only herself, laundry detergent and a faint whiff of her mom, sanity saving pillow.
The doubt smell strengthened.
"If you don't believe me then go tell him that the punchline his friend couldn't remember earlier is 'Always look both ways before you cross the street.' Devon remembered it right after Oz pulled away. You can also tell him that it's a seriously lame joke and so not worth the long buildup for the lame punchline.
Angel did exactly that and then he even had Oz call Devon's cell phone to find out when exactly he had remembered the punchline. He didn't however, pass on Buffy's message about the seriously lacking comedic merits of the long winded joke. So, knowing that Oz's senses were also heightened, thanks to his inconvenient tendency of becoming a werewolf for three nights out of every month, Buffy told him herself, speaking only a little louder than she had done for Angel.
"Right usual Buffy," Oz answered softly. His voice betrayed no emotions whatsoever but she could smell the slight amusement he exuded and couldn't stop herself from smiling a little. Maybe at least now she'd have some small insight into how to take the deadpan comments he was always making so stoically.
And the fact that she couldn't smell any doubt or suspicion from him, only concern and curiosity gave her her next idea and she acted immediately and accordingly.
"You gotta help me get some control over this...whatever the hell is happening Oz. It's been recent enough for you, having to deal with the same thing that I think you'd be the one who could help me most. Please." She wasn't a person who was really down for begging but if that's what it took to help her get a handle on the intensity of her overwhelming new senses she'd do it. She'd been trying all day herself and that was how she had discovered that she could eventually filter through the background noises and voices until she found something worth listening to. Interestingly enough, she had heard Oz and his friends bullshitting outside of the Bronze while getting some fresh air between sets more clearly than she could hear people two blocks over who were ensconced safely in their homes.
"Anything for my girl's best friend." he answered her desperate plea in an even softer voice than he had used before, having deduced from Angel's actions that Buffy's senses, or at least her hearing, was likely a lot better than anything he could imagine and remembering how overwhelming it was for him when his hearing suddenly increased to about ten times better than it had been. You couldn't tell it to look at his taciturn expression, but Buffy could smell that he was emotionally wincing in sympathy for what he figured she must be going through, and she felt pathetically grateful for his easy acceptance and willing support for her.
"That's not necessary," Angel insisted. "I can help you Buffy. That's what I'm here for."
All the different scents coming off of the people not included in this conversation merged together for a few moments as they all felt the same thing. Confusion.
"I don't think so, Angel," Buffy answered coldly. "I'd rather have someone who believes what I'm saying is going on then someone that still smells like doubt and condescension."
This comment was followed by the sound of Oz inhaling heavily through his mouth and then the scent of what could only be disappointment with a hint of anger coming off of the cool as cucumbers wolf. Good to know that she might not be the only one who could smell emotions, even if it did seem as though her sense of smell was as advanced as her hearing. "Whenever you're ready Buff." Oz said before turning to explain to the rest of the non super sense endowed room. Buffy dived into her closet, throwing things around haphazardly until she found what she was looking for. The small kit she had used to take with her when she was still a small child taking swimming lessons at the local pool.
Inside were the exact objects she was praying to find. Ear plugs and nose clips. She couldn't help the small giggle of relief that escaped her when she put them all in place and everything receded to a level that, while still much stronger than she was used to, was at least bearable. She ran downstairs and neatly dodged the big meaty Angel hand that was reaching for her. "No, Angel. I'm still mad at you for doubting me that way," she said, without giving him a chance to respond.
"I'm gonna take you someplace special Buffy." Oz whispered. She sent him a grateful smile for his consideration. "It's a place I discovered when I was trying to adjust to the changes last year and it really helped me out."
She tilted her head curiously at the smell of eagerness coming off the musical wolf, but followed him out without comment after telling Angel to do patrol tonight and softly reassuring her family and friends. She also tucked away the scent of smugness coming off of Xander's girlfriend, Anya the former vengeance demon, for future reference before climbing into Oz's van for her first lesson on coping with extreme over stimulation without using medications. Not that she was entirely ruling out the possibility mind, she was just hoping it would remain an unused last resort.
It only took three days at the rundown shack in the middle of the redwood forest that Oz took her to for Buffy to get a grip on herself and learn how to both focus and tone down her reaction to all the new imformation she was recieving through her nose and ears now. Oz stayed with her for the first twelve hours, speaking more in that time than she had heard out of him in the last eight months all together, as he explained and demonstrated the techniques that worked best for him.
And being able to smell the emotions coming from him gave her a whole new appreciation for the man that was hidden behind his cryptic comments and stoic face. She was finally able to lose the slight sense of unease she had always felt in his presence and was amused with herself when she recognized that she was grateful that she wasn't the least bit attracted to him, and so wouldn't start to feel jealous of Willow's having such a great guy for a boyfriend.
When she came back home on the fourth day, she had no doubt that Oz must have apprised everyone about what she was going through because all of a sudden no one would wear perfume or speak above a whisper when she was with them. She laughed to herself about it for about a day before telling them that they could go back to acting normally around her now that she had gotten a handle on it. It had just been too overwhelming for her before, to just suddenly wake up one day having acquired such drastically heightened senses.
But now that she was able to deal with it, she was also able to see all of the huge advantages. Patrol had changed drastically for her. Instead of wandering around town hoping to run into baddies, she was hunting them down now. The vampire population took a huge hit in the first few weeks after she was back on patrol, and she was thrilled on her first night back on the job to realize that her senses weren't the only thing that had improved. She could see in the dark as well as, if not better than, the vampires she hunted, and she was stronger now too. A lot stronger. Sometimes she almost felt bad for the outmatched baddies she was killing or dusting every night.
With the enormous advantages she now it almost felt like...cheating. Before she had always been on equal if not lower ground but now it took almost no effort to perform her 'sacred duties', opening up a lot of free time to spend with her friends and yes-even, god save us- doing her homework.
The constant smell of lust coming off of Xander every time he looked at her bothered her a little bit, but since he never acted on it, having mostly accepted a long time ago that he had no chance with her, she brushed it off as largely unimportant.
Willow, thankfully put some real effort into continuing to treat Buffy the same way she always had, and after a little while she no longer had to try. Oz was, as usual, a stoic, dependable pillar of multi hued locks and cryptically delivered truth, something that Buffy quickly came to rely on almost as much as Willow did- in a different way of course.
Angel lurked around a lot more than usual the first couple of nights that she was back, until she cornered him and told him in no uncertain terms that she was still disappointed and hurt by his reactions when she had needed him to be there for her, and that when she was ready to forgive him she would let him know, but he needed to back the hell off until then.
Without him constantly there, stalking her from a distance, she was quickly able to move on from anger to forgiveness and then back to her usual desire to be with him. After telling him that they were good again, she asked him out on a 'platonic' friends only, movie date.
He let her pick the movie, and she chose one that she thought would be about food, vaguely thinking that maybe she could pick up some tips for cooking now that her skills in that regard had greatly improved thanks to her new and improved sense of super smell.
As they watched the images on the large screen, her intense discomfort with the extremely sexual nature of the film slowly morphed into arousal as she couldn't help but replace the face of the starring woman in the movie with her own face. She imagined eyes looking up at her from between her legs and was shocked to realize that the eyes in her minds eye were sky blue rather than the deep introspective brown that she felt she should be imagining.
Not that the man with the brown eyes could do anything about her arousal. At the risk of losing his soul and becoming the evil Angelus again, a short moment of happy just wasn't worthy. Not to either one of them.
This thought brought back the discomfort from earlier. She felt horrible for bringing him to a movie like this when he couldn't do anything about the feeling it was definitely arousing in her and likely in him as well, and she told him so when they left the theatre. No sooner than he finished telling her that he always felt the same way about her, with or without pornographic movies and that he was able to enjoy her company anyway, he moved in for a kiss but an arrow shot through his chest, just inches from his heart knocking him to the ground at her feet.
Of course, nothing in her life could be so simple as just pulling the arrow out and letting his vampire healing take care of the wound. The arrow had been poisoned with some sort of concoction aimed directly at killing vampires and he was nearly dead before Giles' research finally pulled through and they knew that only the blood of a Slayer could save him.
Even out of his mind with fever though, he refused to drink from her until after she knocked him around a bit in an effort to pull his demon to the surface before presenting her neck to him.
He pulled the blood out of her veins in large and painful pulls. She tried to struggle away when she realized that her heart was slowing down, but she had already weakened too much to overpower him. Thankfully he pulled away under his own power before she reached the point of no return. She was grateful at first, until she heard the growls coming from his chest, then something inside her leaped to attention and seemed to just take over her body. She felt an odd shifting in her mouth just before she turned and bit down on his neck. In her mind she was screaming in disgust at the feel of his cold blood, or maybe it would be more accurate to call her own filtered blood, flowing down her throat.
Despite the repulsion she was feeling in her mind however, her body gloried in the taste and sensation. She kept drinking for what seemed like forever, until the same thing that was controlling her and making this happen seemed to know that he was close to dusting again. Then she detached and raised her wrist to her mouth, slicing it open with what could only be her own handy-dandy set of fangs, and presenting the bloody cut to his mouth.
It was flowing slower from her wrist than it did from her neck, she knew, so she let him suck the blood from her for what seemed a long time, but really was no more than just a couple of pints worth of blood this time. When the...thing, in control of her body decided he had had enough she pulled away and began growling some thing that sounded vaguely like words, only it was a language she didn['t know.
When she finished, Angel was looking up at her in horror as she felt the strange shift in her mouth again that she now knew had to be her fangs receding back into her gums.
"Do you realize what you've just done?" Angel asked, managing to sound angry and dangerous despite the blood loss he was still suffering from. "You've just claimed me as your minion! In more than two centuries of existence I have never been a lowly minion, and now a freakin' high school girl claims as her minion! Why would you do something like that?" he demanded.