Part I: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1096503.html
Part II: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1100922.html
“Hey, Buff, Will. Giles-man.” Xander strolled into the library, took in the scene, and froze. “Uh. Maybe it’s just me, but generally the library involves less glaring and anger and more, you know, research and punning and wisecracks? I know I was a little late, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t start without me.”
“Oh, hello Xander.” Giles blinked owlishly and looked away from Buffy. You could nearly hear the pop of the air as he broke what had been a death-glare staring contest a moment earlier. “Buffy, Willow, and I were just discussing a small field trip we might be taking.”
“Won’t be taking,” Buffy corrected. “It’s ridiculous, and I’m not doing it.”
“Might be taking,” Giles disagreed.
“Field trip? Sign me up! Anything to get away from the Snyde-ster for a day or two!” Xander plopped into a chair. “I mean, unless we’re visiting another Hellmouth or something. I could live without that. I think even the Snyde-man is better than another Hellmouth. There aren’t other Hellmouths, are there?”
“Several, yes, although the closest known Hellmouth is in Cleveland and we are not going there.” Giles frowned. “However, I do not believe it would be wise for you to come along on this particular trip.”
“Oh. Is it shoe shopping? I can live without the shoe shopping. I have shoes, and that is enough for me.”
“There’s never enough shoe shopping. Giles, will there be shoe shopping in… nowheresville North Dakota? If there is, I might be convinced to check this place out.”
“Buffy…” Not for the first time — not even for the first time that week — Giles looked as if he’d like to put his face in his hands and cry. “If it will convince you that we very much need to take this field trip, I will go out of my way to take you shoe shopping. I may even —”
“Don’t offer to buy them shoes,” Xander cut in hastily. “I mean, I don’t know what they pay school Librarians — or Watchers — but it can’t be enough to handle what two teenage girls can do in a shoe store.”
“Hey!” Willow glared indignantly at him. “Watch it what you’re doing with those stereotypes, buster. Just because it’s this image that teenaged girls like shoes…”
“I like shoes,” Buffy chirped. “But you don’t have to come along, Xander. We’re not going, shoe shopping or not. It’s ridiculous, it’s not like I can even go to a private school, and Willow won’t go because there’s not going to be magic there.”’
“No magic? As in, none at all? No demons, no bug-people, no vampires? Sign me up! I mean… maybe they need a janitor? I can jan. Janet? What is the thing that janitors do? Help me out, Giles.”
“I think it would be quite interesting if Xander were to come along. Perhaps we can aim him at Dr. Avonmorea.”
“Oh, come on, Giles, she can’t be that bad.” Buffy patted Xander on the shoulder. “And, really, what’s Xander going to do? If there’s no magic, there won’t be any demons to follow him around. Or bug-people, or…”
“All right, all right. I can tell when I’m not wanted. I’m not wanted, right? ‘Cause, I mean, a place with no demons…”
“You should certainly come along, Xander, if you believe your parents would be fine with it.”
“My parents? They might notice if I’m gone past trash day more than twice.” Xander’s smirk didn’t falter, but his voice got a little louder. “You know, once it started to really stink in there.”
“Ahem. Well, then, it’s settled. I’m inform Principal Snyder — not of the specifics, of course — and we’ll leave Friday after lunch.”
“Wait, settled?” Buffy frowned. “Nuhn-unh. What about slayage? What about the whole Hellmouth here thing? What about the Bronze?”
“I believe all three of those things can wait for the length of time it will take us to travel to North Dakota and back. Although I am not certain I will survive a trip with the three of you, I believe it must be done.” Giles looked over his glasses at Buffy. “And if that is the case, then you can survive a weekend without the Bronze.”
“I’m not talking you out of this, am I?” Buffy pouted the question out as if she didn’t already know the answer. “Look, it’s a lost cause. They don’t want me, and I can’t go even if they did.”
“Yes, well. Be that as it may, we’re going to have to explain that to them. Possibly in a series of very long words.” Giles pinched his nose, looking as if he’d rather be anywhere else.
“That’s all you. I’m all with the short words. Like stakes. Short and pointy.”
“Oh! Will there be staking of this Doctor lady? Maybe she’s a vampire?”
“If you’re going, Xan, I’m sure she’ll be a monster,” Buffy reassured him.
“That,” Giles muttered, unheard by any except Willow, “is precisely what I’m concerned about.”
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