Summary: A trickster tells a lie under duress instead of the truth. This would be the fallout.

Rating: FRT: Contains Mature Themes: Parental Supervision Suggested.

Word Count: 450.

Beta: Howard Russell.

Episode #018: Halloween.

Pairing: None.

Disclaimer: If I owned any of these characters, the last three seasons would've made sense.


Charlatan's Web


The old guy leads me down a garden path. "We're waging a war," he tells me, inserting a key into the door of his 'flat.'

I prefer my metaphors slightly less literal.

But I s'pose that was more of an 'across' than a 'down.' And technically this is a 'courtyard' not a 'garden.'

Funny, Mr. Giles reminds me of Dad. Only this 'old man' seems more worried about me than where his next drink's coming from, so I guess I'll hear him out.

"Do come in and meet everyone," he says, ushering me inside.

"This is Kendra," he says, indicating the girl on the couch. She looks like she'd be more at home at a mall store cosmetics counter than in Professor Plum's parlor. The kid he introduces as, "Oz," looks barely old enough to shave. When Oz abandons his computer for a seat on the couch, Giles introduces the thing as, "Willow."

At least I think that's what he's doing. But what kind of nutcase names a computer and acts like it's part of the gang?

And they shipped me out on a section-eight. I hope for their sake this enemy of his is just a couple of delinquent Girl Scouts behind on their cookie sales.

But what really takes the cake is the computer. It says, "It's so good to see you, Xander," in a crappy robotic voice. The keys even move. No doubt they're mechanical. The real Willow's probably behind the breakfast bar playing puppet master. I'm not even gonna give them the satisfaction of looking. It's pointless.

Next the old codger'll be trying to sell me a dead parrot. "Thanks for the ride," I say, turning to go. But the girl blocks my path. What she thinks she's gonna do…

"I apologize, Xander, but we cannot allow you to leave," Giles announces. "I assure you, this is for your own protection."

Hope he took his Geritol.

Kendra folds her arms. "You bess be doin' what Mr. Giles tells ya," she says.

"Please, let us explain."

And if anyone else had said that, they might've stood a chance, but it just had to be the damned computer. I'm so out of this loony bin.

"Pardon me, ma'am," I say, sidestepping the girl.

She sweeps my legs as I pass, planting me flat on my ass.

Before I can get up, Oz steps in. "Just give us a chance," he says, stooping to offer me a hand.

I reply "I've got it." He must think I'd hit a lady.

As I wave him off and stand on my own, the computer says, "Please, Xander. You have to believe us. It's not safe out there."

Oh, gimme a break.