D-Day, seven hours and counting:

Several thousand miles and an equal number of time zones away, Buffy Summers stopped short in leaving her café table in Paris after an early morning breakfast. The anxious Slayer felt the prickling of her skin that back in Sunnydale had been a feeling she had always characterized as "a majorly case of the wiggins."

Worriedly glancing around, Buffy ignored the other male diners at their own tables ducking behind their copies of the Le Monde newspaper to escape being noticed ogling la femme blonde courte avec le derriere exquis. She couldn't find anything in her vicinity that was actually any cause for alarm, so Buffy just shrugged, and walked away from the café. As she headed down the sidewalk, the American woman frowned to herself and noted that according to Andrew, what just happened was probably a tremor in the Force.

Halting in her tracks, Buffy abruptly squeezed her eyes shut in utter exasperation, and then admitted to herself that quoting Andrew Wells truly proved that she'd absolutely needed a vacation, even if it had been sprung upon her totally by surprise. Several days ago, Council responsibilities in London had required Giles to visit that city, and he'd invited Jenny and Buffy to accompany him from Cleveland, since there was the possibility a senior Slayer would be required in some way. As for Jenny, he just wanted her along. So there.

When the trio had finished traveling to London, to their bemusement, they'd found that events had worked themselves out so that their presence wasn't really necessary. Giles had gone off for a few hours on dull Council business anyway, and he'd come back with a satisfied expression on his face that didn't require him to actually tell the two women they could now do whatever they wanted. A devilish look had developed on Jenny's features at that instant, and she'd pulled away Giles to the other side of their hotel room, whispering into his ear.

Both Giles' sudden blush, along with her Slayer hearing that had brought to Buffy the words 'dirty weekend' had led to the young American promptly suggesting she would be just fine going off on her own, until they all headed back to the dryad's house in Cleveland a few days from now. It also didn't hurt that after saying that, a beaming Englishman had passed over to Buffy his Council credit card.

In the French capital, a smirking Buffy patted her pants pocket where that no-limit card rested, and headed off towards Christian Louboutin to do some serious damage. You could have Paris, city of romance, for all she cared. For little ol' Buffy Summers, shoes were the most important thing.

Of course, as long as she was here, she might as well pick up some souvenirs for all the others -- Willow, Xander, Dawn, and the rest at the dryad's house. As she strolled through the streets of Paris, Buffy idly wondered what the guys were doing back home, and she just hoped that they were all managing to stay out of trouble. Humming, a totally unsuspecting Summers sister continued her contented walk.

Author's Note: Here's the e-mail sent by phouka giving her comments regarding the story. I'll add my own remarks at the end of this.

Hi Manchester!

My goodness, but you've been a very busy writer. Thanks for letting me know you have another story ready to go.

I am now on the horns of a dilemma. I want to encourage you as much as possible, as I'm delighted that you so enjoy the small world I've created. However, a couple of your characterisations are veering away from the ground rules I created for the world.

Specifically, the dryad does not travel. She and her tree exist in a pocket dimension tied to the house. In our world, the house represents the tree/dryad. In her world, she and her tree represent the house. While the house has relocated on occasion - from her original grove in France to Germany to other places and finally to the Hellmouth in Cleveland - it's rare and usually done in a last ditch bid for survival. If the dryad goes anywhere, the tree and the house go with her, as they are all aspects of the same thing.

For her to meet D'Hoffryn, he would have to come to her.

Secondly, Baxter is far more informal than I've ever written him. Baxter is a very proper, dignified sort of rabbit, and this was only reinforced when he became the mortal avatar of Nemesis (divine retribution). He doesn't have an internal monologue. When he's on the job, he's the Terminator - no mercy, no remorse, and he will not stop until you are dead! (*ahem*). When he's not on the job, he's very low key, mellow, and still very formal. Think Cary Grant crossed with Wolverine.

I leave it up to you. If you feel up to it, you could rework those two parts and post with my full blessings. If you don't feel like a rewrite and want to stick with your interpretation, just please add a small disclaimer that you are taking the characters in a new direction that doesn't necessarily jive with the original author's intent.

Other than those two things, the story was delightful, and I loved how it was around Xander and Dawn but really about everyone else. :D

Happy New Year and Good Writing!

Author Again: Actually, I just forgot the dryad couldn't leave her tree/dwelling. When I heard from phouka about this and examined my story to see if it could be changed, I decided that it wouldn't do to have that magical creature inviting or tricking D'Hoffryn into her home, and then assaulting him to get that fiend to leave Xander alone. It seemed kind of…mean. (Even though that demon lord totally deserves it.) On the other hand, the concept of the dryad somehow slipping into D'Hoffryn's office and then pouncing onto him to present her arguments, accompanied with a most determined grip upon his windpipe, still strikes me as very funny. So, I basically left it alone, though I won't do it again if this ever comes up in the future.

As for Baxter, going back and reading about him in phouka's stories, he does have a hint of Cary Grant about him. But then, EVERY male wants to be Cary Grant. Wolverine, if anybody ever dared to ask him and he didn't promptly disembowel them for this, surely would gruffly admit to wanting to be Cary Grant.

Me, I want to be Cary Grant. Alas, this is not going to happen. So, I wrote about a soft, fuzzy bunny that acts like Archie Leach with a chainsaw.