Sorry once again. When I was told these characters belong to Mutant Enemy, I assumed at first that meant an enemy of mutants, and when told that was wrong, a mutant enemy of humanity. People should really be more specific, y'know?

Personal Journal of Rupert Giles

October 23rd, 1998

The events of these last few weeks have been very eventful, even for the Hellmouth, and I find that I need to write them out to keep them straight. Not to mention that we may need a true and factual account of events in the future, rather than the somewhat fanciful fiction that I send to the Watcher's council.

Though I have already written about Miss Lehane's arrival in Sunnydale, and our subsequent encounter with Kakistos, I feel that I should continue to focus on the younger Slayer, as it is she who has brought the most change to our lives recently. While being formally acknowledged and accepted by her peers has certainly helped integrate her into our group, I believe she is still having troubles assimilating the dynamic we use, and is still incredulous that we treat her as a person, rather than a commodity. Mister Harris and Joyce have had the most success breaking through her shell, though even that is very limited. She has obviously suffered greatly before coming here, and will not put aside her distrust so easily.

She is also clearly a woman of action. From my personal observations, and those I have received from the others, she truly comes into her own when she is doing something physical. Patroling and dancing seem to free her of the cares and worries that she hides behind, worries that may cause problems further down the line. I have wracked my brains on how to help her, and now I am wracking them on how to survive telling her that I have enrolled her in school.

I will trust that Miss Lehane's progress in opening up to the rest of the "Scoobies" will continue at the glacial pace she is comfortable with, and prepare for fallout if something occurs.

On the topic of fallout, I worry about both Misters Harris and Osbourne, as well as Miss Rosenberg's involvement in the magic they use. Both young men struggle with the beasts they harness, and this past week showed what could go wrong if they lost control. Miss Rosenberg has redoubled her research into finding more effective rituals to help them, but I fear that she will find the cost of more control is either less power, or more time. I also worry that she will attempt another spell that is too powerful for her, and the consequences will be far more dire than any of us suspect.

Faith dropped into the bean bag chair just as inelegantly as Buffy had the first time she'd come to the makeshift therapy session. Oz raised an amused eyebrow at this, but didn't let anything show on his face. From what he had figured out about the dark-haired Slayer, she wouldn't take kindly to anyone being amused by her, even if it was only in her actions echoing her supernatural sister. He strummed a chord as he started composing the song Supernatural Sister in the back of his mind, and turned the rest of his thoughts to the obviously closed off young woman slouching in the bean bag chair. He could barely see her Black Sabbath t-shirt under her leather jacket and crossed arms, but it did give him a starting point.

Faith was pissed. Sure, she agreed to play by the rules these guys set out, but she didn't really mean it. Therapy? Psha, right. Not her thing, y'know? But she was having dinner with Mrs. S last night, and the food was AMAZING, and then, POW! Mrs. S lays it on her that she's soooooooo glad Faith is going to be talking with Wolfie. Shit! If it was G setting her up like this, she'd laugh him off. Buffy? Please, blondie couldn't get her here with a squad of Marines. But Mrs. S just has that look, the one that shows she knows you'll do the right thing, and you just can't disappoint! The woman has some serious mind control mojo or something! There is no other way that Faith ended up here. Nope, not one.

She was so busy stewing in her denial that Faith almost missed the long, descending note that came out of Oz's guitar. She didn't miss what followed, after all, it was one of the most famous intros from one of her favorite bands.

"Fuck Wolfie, you like Sabbath?"

"I'm a musician named Osbourne."

Faith admitted that was a pretty good answer to her question.

"What else you got hiding in that guitar?"

Oz raised an eyebrow and started shifting between songs and genres. Smoke on the Water, Purple Haze, One, Baba O'Riley, and finished off with Eruption.

Faith was on her feet and astonished. "B said you were all Blues and classical and old crap. Nothing like this!"

"Buffy needed Blues and classical and old crap. You don't."

"So," she leaned forward, licking her lips, "are you going to give me what I need?" Faith squeezed her arms around her breasts, enhancing the view of her cleavage.

Oz gave her a sardonic grin. "That works on Xander every time, doesn't it?"

Faith fell backwards laughing. "Like magic! I'm like 'Pleeeeease?' and all of the sudden I have a steak and a pillow and we're watching that show about fixing Harleys."

Throwing off a riff from Steppenwolf, he nodded his head. This was going to be all right.

"…and then he tried to buy the horse a prostitute!" Faith was rewarded with Oz actually chucking at her story. This was pretty ok. No talking about feelings, or any of that shit. Just a couple of buds hanging out. She looked up at the clock.

"Shit. I'm having a blast here, but I promised Mrs. S that I do the whole touchy-feely shrink crap, y'know? And I just can't disappoint her. How does she do that? Does she have magic powers or something?"

Oz had gotten up and was putting away his guitar. "Probably. Or she might just be really cool."

"I guess. So, we gonna do this therapy stuff or what?"

"No, we're done for the day."

"Say what?"

"When was the last time you felt this relaxed?"

Faith opened her mouth with a sarcastic shot and stopped. She did feel relaxed. She'd been talking music, and telling dirty jokes with someone who she knew for a fact wasn't trying to use her. She couldn't remember the last time she'd done that.

Oz gave her a nod. "That's what this is." He handed her a sheet of paper that he'd been writing on that had the names of eight or nine albums she'd never heard of. "Try two and come back next week."

"Y'mean I don't have to talk about my feelings, or how I hate my dad or anything like that?"

He shrugged as he picked up his guitar bag. "You can. Don't have to."

Before Faith could get her thoughts together, he opened the door. "Scooby meeting in the library."

Faith felt her spirits fall at being excluded again. "Guess I'll walk then."

Oz gave her a strange look. "Hope so. Hard to drive in the school."

Faith blinked. "You mean I'm invited?"

"Wills said it was Slayer business. You're a Slayer." He gestured for her to precede him.

Faith stuck out her tongue as she passed.

Rupert Giles was in a bad mood. He was concerned about his young charges, true, but that was not the reason for his current upset. He was wroth that he had received a call to come and pick up Mr. Harris because of his car troubles. Why the young man simply didn't walk home was beyond him, and of course he'd call right when Giles had settled down with a good tome and a properly brewed cup of tea. He had a good mind to tear a strip out of that young man and drag him to his house by his ear.

He shoved open the doors of the library, stormed into the room and stopped. The entire "Scooby gang", Joyce included, were sitting around the library tables looking at him. Most with confusion, Willow and Xander with anger.

"W-what is going on here? I assume that Xander is not having car troubles, and that was merely an equivocation to bring me here?"

Willow looked up at him for a long moment before asking a devastating question.

"Giles, when were you going to tell us about the cruciamentum?"

Sorry for the long wait, my muse apparently can't stand warm weather.

The joke about buying a horse a prostitute is from the webcomic Least I Could Do by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza. They are far more talented than me, and I don't own their stuff, either.