Part I: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1096503.html
Part II: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1100922.html
Part III: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1104619.html#cutid1
Part IV: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1108537.html
“Who knew that vampires could be so stupid? I mean, obviously, vampires are often stupid, but is it me, or was that beyond the stupid? And then the look on that girl’s face, like you had just performed some sort of arcane act of killage…”
“Well, technically, she…”
“Clearly,” Giles cleared his throat, “I cannot allow you to go out unsupervised in a strange city.”
“Hello? Slayer.” Buffy glared at Giles from the back seat. She was feeling less than clear-headed after a very early morning had followed a rather late night. “When there are vampires, I slay them.”
“Indeed. And the part where you explained to the girl — what is it Xander said?”
“‘Vampire, suck blood, rawr. Wooden stake, heart, poof,’” Xander helpfully recited.
“Yes, that. You do remember that vampires are supposed to be secret?”
Buffy scoffed. “Come on, you can explain that stuff a hundred times to people and they never really get it. Next week, they’re all, like, ‘barbeque fork accident’ and ‘wild dog attack’ and going back out into the alleyways with mysterious strangers.”
“Well, in Sunnydale, yes. There has always been a strange Working — that is, a magic spell — tied to the Hellmouth there. It seems to make people forgetful, as you say. But we are no longer in Sunnydale, and such things are not nearly as thick. She may remember that there are vampires — or she may merely remember that a blonde girl told her some ridiculous things. Either way, we do not wish to leave a trail like a dotted line pointing from Sunnydale to Addergoole.”
“Guess that would be rude,” Buffy allowed. “‘Hi, new school. Look, all my enemies followed me.’ I guess then maybe they’d stop trying to enroll me.” She aimed a pointed look at the rear-view mirror.
Giles clucked. “Buffy, I know — I know the sort of people we’re dealing with here. Please do not attempt to convince them that you are not student material. Please do not attempt to convince them of anything at all. It will only lead to them being displeased without changing their mind one bit. It might even cause them to be more determined to enroll you.”
“Look, Giles, I don’t get the big. Get the Watcher Council involved if you have to. Nobody’s gonna let me move out of Sunnydale. The Hellmouth. The Place of All The Apocalypses. I mean, especially not to Nowhere South Dakota. I mean, they’ve probably never even heard of vampires out there. What do they get, mm? Corn demons?”
“As hard as this may be for you to believe, and as loathe as I am to admit it, there are powers bigger than the Watcher Council in existence, and one of them may be in play here. And, if I am correct about the origins of that invitation, there may be other commitments at hand than your commitment to being a Slayer—”
“Look, it’s not my commitment that’s the problem. It’s the fact that it’s a mystical thing that doesn’t go away. Here I was hoping that, you know, maybe I could share the duties, and then, well, things, and I dunno, nobody seems to have replaced Kendra. So no, it’s not my commitment at issue here.”
Giles coughed. “By that I meant, not your personal commitment, but the fact that by being Chosen, you were committed to the role. I am not questioning your dedication, Buffy, and I know this has been very hard for you…”
“Vampire. Stake it. Move on.” She rolled her shoulders and flopped back. “Not hard. Just a thing.”
Giles paused for a moment, frowning into the rear-view mirror. He coughed, checked the road, and frowned at the rear-view one more time. “Yes. Well. What I am saying is this: It is likely someone made a commitment on your part — and Willow’s — that you would attend this school, just as it is likely that someone made a commitment on your part that you would be the Slayer. It is not precisely fair, but it is often the way of things in more mystical dealings.”
“Yeah. I’m beginning to get the ‘not fair’ part.” She looked out the window, clearly done talking.
Giles continued anyway. “There may very arise a question of which commitment takes precedence. And, while this has not happened before as far as I know, it is also possible that the Watcher’s Council would suppress such information.”
“The Watchers? Those lovely pieces of humanity? Suppress information? Say it ain’t so!?” Xander made wide eyes and his best innocent face. “Especially anything that could get the Buffster off the hook. Man… wait. There’s something that could get the Buffster off the hook?”
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