Author's Note re: Timing: Somewhere in a slightly skewed Season 2 - Oz is a Scooby but Angelus has not yet appeared.
I'm a WHAT! By Coast2Coast
"Has Buffy returned?" Giles asked as he strode through the doorway of his office into the main room of the library.
Willow and Oz, seated next to each other at the table, looked up from the books they had been studying.
"Nope, sorry," Willow answered; wisely refraining from pointing out that Buffy was obviously absent and that Giles had only been out of the room for a minute or so.
"Blast the girl! She said she would be back in an hour and it's been..." Giles tipped his wrist towards himself to check his watch, heedless of the fresh mug of tea in his hand until, inevitably, hot, brown liquid sloshed over the lip of the mug. It scalded his thumb and narrowly missed adorning his shirtfront and trouser fly. He slapped the mug down on the table and thrust the burned digit into his mouth. The mumbling noises he made were clearly angry; but unrecognizable as actual words in English, for which Willow was grateful.
Oz considered the grumbling librarian for a moment before speaking. "Hey, Giles; you seem a little tense. Do you think maybe you've pegged the caffeine meter?"
Giles removed his thumb from his mouth and stated firmly, with a glare, "Tea is soothing."
"I can see that," the boy replied in his usual calm tone. "So the problem would be...?"
Giles took a seat and started to blot up the spilled tea with napkins left over from the pizza they had eaten earlier. "Ignoring, for the moment, the absence of our Miss Summers? That odious little troll Snyder has been sniffing around here all day. If he's not trying to catch Buffy or me in some infraction of the rules he's badgering me to cut the library budget to make up for some extravagant expenditure by one or another of the sports clubs. If I had a tenth of the money he spends on that wretched 'football' team I could..."
"No offense, Giles, but the library isn't exactly the center of high school life," Willow said. "Well, for anyone except us," she amended when he frowned at her.
Before Giles could begin to expound on the abysmal state of the American educational system in general, and Sunnydale High School in particular, the doors to the library swung inwards.
"Hi all," Xander greeted them brightly. "A funny thing happened on our way to the library." Xander was holding Buffy's left hand with his right and was almost dragging the obviously reluctant girl along with him as he approached the table.
Giles rose from his seat. "Buffy, where have you been? You're over half an hour late."
"Not you, too," she whined. She looked Giles up and down, a bored expression on her face.
"Not me, too, what?" Giles queried, then shook his head in chagrin at the mangled almost-sentence he had let pass his lips. He had definitely been spending too much time in the company of teenagers.
"My name is not 'Buffy'," Buffy stated definitely. "That's, like, a dog name or something." She seated herself in the chair Xander had pulled out for her at the end of the table and flipped her hair back off her neck with one hand. She sent a haughty glare around the table, daring anyone to refute her assertion.
The inhabitants of the library took a moment to try and absorb this information before shifting their attention, as one, from the blonde girl to the dark-haired boy.
"She doesn't remember who she is," he informed them.
Giles stepped forward and reached for Buffy's head. "Were you injured?" he asked her. When she didn't respond immediately he tried again. "Was she injured?" he asked Xander.
"Hey!" Buffy objected, slapping his hand away from her hair. "Paws off."
"Oh. And she doesn't know who we are either," Xander added.
"What happened?" Giles asked, moving away from the fuming Buffy.
Xander took a seat around the corner of the table from Buffy and across from Oz. "We were cutting through the park on our way back from Angel's apartment - he wasn't there, by the way, but we left a note telling him to meet us here."
Giles nodded, indicating that Xander should continue.
"Well, Buffy heard some snuffling noises so we went to investigate. There was this little, bitty blue demon, uh, kind of gnawing away at a body."
Giles pulled his favorite demonography off the bookshelf behind the table. "A more detailed description, please?"
"It was about two feet tall, sort of a bright sparkly blue and had four sharp little teeth right in front," Xander replied, pointing to his own incisors.
Giles began to flip through the book.
"Anyway, Buffy went over to slay it..."
"Slay it?" Willow interjected. "It sounds cute."
"It was eating human flesh, Will. Not up there on my list of criteria for a 'cute' critter."
"It was a Bertaut demon," Giles supplied. "They're scavengers. The body was probably a vampire kill."
"When Buffy got close to it there was this flash of bright blue light and Buffy just froze. The demon scampered off into the bushes," Xander said.
"Bertaut demons have a natural magical ability they use for survival," Giles informed them. "They can temporarily stun and confuse any creature they perceive as a threat, allowing them an opportunity to escape. The after-effect of the spell on the victim is a lack of memory of the previous few moments - erasing the knowledge of the demon sighting."
"Buffy was stunned, all right," Xander confirmed. "But, in addition to not remembering the demon, she doesn't seem to remember very much else, either."
Giles had focused his attention on a particular section of text in the demonography. "Did you notice whether the demon had, erm... pendulous, ah... mammary glands?" he asked.
Xander stared at the Watcher, awaiting clarification, but Giles kept his eyes on the book he held. Finally he gave up on help from that quarter and turned to Oz, an eyebrow raised in silent query.
"Did her boobs hang low?" Oz translated.
"Oh," Xander replied, straightening in his chair. "Uh, yeah. Yeah, they really did," he admitted.
"Did they wobble to and fro?" Oz continued, his voice taking on a sing-song quality.
Xander grinned and nodded, catching on. "I bet she could tie them in a knot..."
"Could she tie them in a bow?" Oz countered.
"Oz," Giles groaned, turning to regard the boy. "Must you emulate Xander? Really, isn't one of him more than sufficient for...?"
"Hey!" Xander interjected. "I provide vital comic relief in the tensest of situations. And what's with your sudden interest in demon cha-chas, anyway?"
Giles gave a deep sigh and gazed heavenward, seeking patience. After a beat, he returned his attention to his audience. "Pregnant and nursing Bertaut demons gain an exponential ability in the effectiveness of their natural defenses. The effect it produces is more intense and of increased duration."
"Okay, that's not good," Willow observed. "What if she doesn't get her memory back before whatever this new evil is that Angel warned Buffy about shows up?"
"It's true," Giles sighed, removing his glasses and polishing them thoroughly. "The timing is very unfortunate." He put his glasses back on and turned to Buffy. "Don't you ever look before you leap?"
"How would I know?" she snapped.
"Oh, yes... quite," Giles blinked.
"This is bad," Willow repeated. "Angel said there have been dire warnings and portents."
"Pffft," Xander said, waving a hand dismissively. "Angel gets like this every few weeks - all gloomy and mopey and lurking. It's getting almost predictable, like..." Xander's eyes went wide, suddenly, and he snapped his fingers. "Ooooh. Maybe it's a thing! A vampire PMS thing! Maybe it has something to do with the kind of blood he drinks..." he turned to Buffy with a slight leer. "Is there anything you should tell us, Buffy?"
"Xander, that's disgusting!" Willow objected when she finally found her voice.
Xander puffed up defensively. "Hey, I've heard stuff about motorcycle gangs. They have an initiation where..."
Giles broke into the conversation. "Actually, there are a great many precedents for the mystical and magical properties of menstrual blood." He had gotten that far away, thoughtful expression the teens were familiar with when he was confronted with an interesting concept that might require study. "There are tribes..."
His reverie was interrupted by loud laughter. Oz slapped a dollar bill into Xander's outstretched hand and narrowed his eyes at Giles.
"You would research the effects of sheet cake icing on human pre-teens if someone suggested a demonic connection, wouldn't you?" Oz accused the Watcher.
Giles sputtered, trying to formulate a defense while Xander continued to laugh hysterically.
"It's like that Star Trek episode," Xander wheezed, pointing at Giles' rapidly reddening complexion. "You know," he said to Oz. "The one where the Enterprise guys keep babbling nonsense at the androids until they blow a fuse."
Giles put a hand to his forehead and sighed again. "I need a good, stiff drink," he muttered.
"Uh, uh, uh, G-man," Xander warned, wagging an index finger at the Watcher and giggling intermittently. "This is a school zone. We have a zero tolerance policy in regards to drugs or alcohol of any kind..."
Giles began to finger the hilt of a sword that had been left out on the table, sending surreptitious glances Xander's way.
"Uh, guys?" Willow interjected. "Eyes on the prize, okay? You know, big brewin' evil; amnesiac Slayer. Okay? Guys?"
Xander, who had just noticed Giles' fascination with the bladed weapon, gulped and started to nod. "Yup, gotcha. Serious business. Shutting up now," he agreed.
"Right, then," Giles said with a nod, relinquishing his interest in the sword and seating himself at the end of the table, facing Buffy. "The first order of business, I would suggest, is to give Buffy at least an inkling of the situation."
"I told you not to call me that!" Buffy insisted.
"Would 'Hey You' be preferable to you as a form of address?" Giles asked caustically.
The girl scowled back at him but soon realized he was in no mood to be trifled with. "All right," she allowed. "But try not to call me by name if you can avoid it."
Giles nodded in agreement and continued. "First, you must understand that this world is older than you know..."
He was cut off by a chorus of groans and the sound of at least one forehead impacting the table top with a thud.
"I absolutely forbid any of you to utter so much as another syllable unless you have something constructive to offer," Giles growled through gritted teeth. "DO - I - MAKE - MY - SELF - CLEAR?" He swung his glare around the table and received three meek shrugs.
Buffy simply rolled her eyes and muttered, "Oh yeah, that'll work."
Giles settled back and delivered his demon prologue and the 'one girl in all the world' speech without further interruption. "You are the Slayer, Buffy. The Chosen One. Your current, er, condition notwithstanding, you must be prepared to fight whatever evil presents itself."
The three teens and Giles waited expectantly for Buffy to reply.
Buffy considered the hopeful expressions on the faces surrounding her. "R-i-i-i-ight," she drawled as she stood. "You people are a bunch of loons and I am so out of here." Buffy turned and flounced toward the doors.
"Where are you going?" Giles asked.
"Home," she retorted, continuing toward the exit.
"And that would be... where?" Xander inquired.
Buffy stopped three feet short of the doors, but did not turn around.
"Didn't quite think that one through, huh?" Xander quipped.
"Xander!" Willow whispered harshly, shaking her head at him in reproach.
Giles noticed that Buffy's shoulders had slumped, but she remained where she was. He rose and walked over to her, hesitating only briefly before putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. He turned her and began guiding her back toward the table.
Before they reached their goal, Buffy stopped short and pressed both hands over her lower abdomen. "Ow," she complained her breath hitching. "Ow," she repeated, leaning forward slightly.
The doors to the library swung inward and Angel entered the room. He immediately noticed Giles' hand on Buffy's shoulder and her obvious distress. He hurried over to the Slayer and eased himself between her and the Watcher. "What's wrong, Buffy?" he asked.
"Er, Angel, would you please, ah, go to the other side of the room," Giles requested, pointing toward his office. At the vampire's distrustful look, Giles continued. "Just for a moment; I'll explain."
Angel reluctantly left Buffy's side and moved all the way across the room to the windows. He leaned back against the shelves there and folded his arms across his chest.
Buffy took a few deep breaths and straightened.
"Better?" Giles asked.
"Yeah," Buffy answered, distractedly. Her attention was now riveted on the drop-dead gorgeous guy in the black clothes. "I don't know what happened."
"Angel is a vampire," Giles said, indicating the figure she was openly admiring. "You are the Slayer. The cramps you felt are one way your powers tell you there is evil nearby."
Buffy turned wide eyes up to Giles. She shook her head in denial. "No way," she insisted.
Giles gave her an apologetic smile. "I'm afraid so. Sorry."
Buffy took a few steps toward Angel but halted in her tracks when another cramp hit her. She retreated back to a point half way between the table and the doors out of the library and stopped. After a moment she stomped her foot and turned to Giles. "Just what kind of a crappy mystical gift is this?" she whined. "I get anywhere near that hunk of tall, dark and handsome and I get cramps? But I take one look at you and the warm fuzzies start..." she slapped her hand over her mouth and color rose in her cheeks.
A gasp, a soft "Cool", and a strangled choking sound came from the area of the table.
The loudest sound came from the other side of the room. "What! Buffy, what did you just say?" Angel demanded.
When Buffy simply stood there, wide-eyed with her hands still pressed over her mouth, Angel tried another source.
"What the hell is going on here, Giles?" he demanded. When he did not receive an answer he stepped toward the Watcher and raised his voice, "Giles!"
"Hmmm?" Giles blinked, coming out of the trance-like state Buffy's comments had put him in. "I beg your pardon?" he said to the vampire.
"What - is - going - on?" Angel repeated slowly.
"Oh, ah... Buffy, er, there's been an occurrence of an unusual... there was a demon, you see," Giles removed his glasses and pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket. "This will take some time. Perhaps I should make more tea," he said, to no one in particular. He put his glasses back on and walked into his office.
Xander shoved his chair back and stood abruptly. "Yeah, refreshments. Good idea. I could use some doughnuts." He was nodding his head as though convincing himself. "Yup, jelly doughnuts. I'll go right now. Be back real soon," he promised, giving Buffy a wide berth as he almost ran for the door.
"Uh huh. Large doses of caffeine and sugar; that's exactly what this group needs," Oz observed sagely.
Several hours, two dozen doughnuts and three pots of tea later - -
Giles raised his head and emitted a long, sighing breath. He closed the book he had been studying with a loud snap. Xander, Willow and Oz looked up from their stack of volumes. Buffy and Angel, who had been engaged in pointless circling of the library, Angel attempting to approach Buffy and she maintaining a distance to avoid the discomfort his presence caused, moved to opposite ends of the table.
"We're just going to have to allow the effects of the demon's magic to wear off naturally, I'm afraid," Giles informed them. He indicated the book which lay in front of him. "I found one reference to an identical situation. A Slayer encountered a nursing Bertaut demon in 1789. Her Watcher was a learned man and a powerful sorcerer, but he could find no way of breaking the spell."
"How long did it take for her to get her memory back?" Angel asked.
"Her amnesia began to fade slowly after two days then suddenly lifted completely three days after that, leaving her otherwise unharmed," Giles replied. "It makes sense. Bertaut demon young are quite active within days of their birth and the mother could relocate them from a dangerous area at that time."
"What about the looming danger, Angel?" Willow asked.
"Actually, I think she's already encountered it," the vampire said. "The seer who gave me the warning wasn't very specific, but she said there would be 'confusion in the Slayer's mind' and 'a fog of forgetfulness of things studied and learned'. She also said the Slayer would be ineffectual for a length of time she couldn't quantify. I guess we know what that's all about now."
Giles considered this for a moment. "Do you think this seer would tell anyone else about her prophecy; other vampires or demons, perhaps?"
Angel nodded slowly. "She's certainly not above trading useful information for cash - regardless of the buyer's pedigree or intentions."
"Then we'd best be prepared for any eventuality," Giles decided. He stepped into the cage and returned with two quarterstaffs, one of which he tossed to Buffy.
She caught the weapon reflexively and then wrinkled her nose in distaste. "What, exactly, do you expect me to do with this?" she inquired of Giles, irritably.
"Defend yourself," he replied, swinging his own weapon in a half-speed attack.
Buffy shrieked, flung her quarterstaff at Giles and darted out of the room.
"That move needs a little work," Xander observed.
The days went by and life on the Hellmouth was, thankfully, unusually quiet. The small amount of activity that required action was handled competently by Giles and the Scoobies or Angel.
Buffy's recovery mirrored that of the 18th century Slayer Giles had read about and by the sixth day after her encounter with the little blue demon, she had recovered sufficiently that Giles felt it would be safe for her to patrol again. He accompanied her to watch her back and fill in any gaps that might still exist in her memory or skills.
An hour or so after they had left, the library door swung inwards and Willow, Oz and Xander looked up to see Buffy approaching them. Both her hands were wrapped firmly around the left forearm of the much taller figure of a man who was clearly attempting, without success, to slow her progress.
"I say, young lady," he objected, shifting his feet in an effort to gain some purchase on the slick linoleum floor. "I must insist you unhand me at once!"
Buffy halted when she reached the end of the table but did not release her hold on Giles' arm. "Uh, guys... We have a problem," she informed them, unnecessarily.
The Scoobies regarded their confused mentor for a few moments.
"I guess that part of the prophecy about 'a fog of forgetfulness of things studied and learned' wasn't about Buffy," Oz said.
"How are we going to cover this up for a week?" Willow asked, worriedly.
"I've got a better question: Who's got dibs on subjecting him to the 'demons and destiny' speeches?" Xander inquired.
~ The End ~
Final Author's Note: I know they never used the cramp thing in the TV show but they did in the movie and it was just too good an opportunity for me to pass up!