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
Part V: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1112216.html
Part VI: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1124762.html
Part VII: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1134781.html
Help! I’d like clever individual titles for these chapters as well – now taking suggestions for all 8!
Giles pulled the car to a stop on the side of the barely-paved road, very slowly put the car in park, and twisted in his seat to stare at Xander.
Willow and Buffy had already turn to do the same.
“Xander!” Willow broke what was threatening to become an unpleasant silence. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Indeed.” Giles coughed. “The time for this information would have been several days ago, Xander. What if we hadn’t brought you along?”
“Look, guys, it’s no big, okay? So some fancy school wants me — for whatever reason, probably a glitch in their system anyway…”
“From what I have heard of Regine Avonmorea, nothing in her presence would dare to do something like ‘glitch’.”
“Yeah, Giles’ books says she’s a real hardcore accuracy nut. Got in some arguments with some other scientists… I mean. If I had been reading Giles’ books or anything.”
“When we return home, Willow, we will have some conversations about your propensity for breaking into places uninvited.” Giles cleared his throat. “Regardless. Xander…?”
“Hey, no need to bring it back to me yet, I mean, Buffy might still want to get her kicks in, right, Buff? Your turn to yell at me?”
Buffy shook her head slowly. “I got nothing.”
“Come on, Buffster, surely you want to yell at me a little? I mean, I’ve been yelling at you since you got back. Just a little scream? Some witty quips? Anything?”
“Sorry, Xander, you’re just gonna have to answer the question.”
“You don’t look sorry. Does she look sorry to you, Willow?”
Willow tried her best to frown at Xander. “You’re on your own here, buster.”
“Darnit. Maybe I could just…”
“Xander.” Giles’ voice was uncharacteristically harsh. “Now.”
“Aw man… look. Fancy school. Fancy, expensive school. There’s no way my parents can pay for something like that, and I’m a horrible student anyway.”
“You’re not that bad,” Willow offered loyally. “You just don’t really care.”
“Yeah, well, why should a fancy school waste time on ‘doesn’t care’ me? So I threw the invitation out.”
“Xander!” Willow glared at him. “And you didn’t say anything?”
“Look, Will. Two things. One, you really need to get out of Sunnydale. Two, Buffy could use a break. But someone has to stay home and clean up the mess, right? And really, I’m not that good at school, and… no way to pay.”
Giles cleared his throat and cleaned his glasses for a moment. “Well. We will discuss scholarships when we get there… if we can come to an arrangement. I do believe this is something that we are going to need to wait on a decision for, until I can speak to Dr. Avonmorea in person.” He straightened up. “Be that as it may, Xander, if you receive any more mysterious letters or invitations, do tell me straightaway. And it would likely be kind to inform your friends as well.”
“Right. Tell everyone about my junk mail. Do you want to know about my credit card applications, too? Because I just may qualify for a low, low rate.”
“Xander…” Willow set her hand on his leg cautiously. Xander jerked away.
“No, Wills, you’re all mad at me, and it’s just ‘cause you’re not thinking. Yay, you got into a fancy school. Good. You should go. I’ll miss you, hell, yeah, I will, but… let’s not pretend, all right? That just makes the whole thing worse.”
Giles pulled the car back on the road. “I think you’re making several assumptions, Xander, and that — not an unhealthy interest in your junk mail — is why I wish to know things like this. There is information available to you which may change your decisions, especially if it turns out that Willow — and, yes, possibly Buffy — end up attending this Addergoole school.”
“Such as?” Xander glowered. “It’s private school, Giles. They don’t do private school for losers.”
“Xander!” Willow glared at him. One more time, Xander shrugged it off.
“It’s just the truth, Will, and I don’t see why everyone is all worked up about it.”
“Secrets,” Buffy pointed out darkly.
“Yeah, well, we all have those, don’t we?” Xander flopped back in his seat. “It was a mistake. That’s all.”
“Xander.” Giles’ voice may have been soft, but it was firm. “Two things. First, from what I know from my research — as I’m sure Willow can attest — this is not the sort of place that makes mistakes, certainly not in admission. Secondly, the school is free; indeed, they appear to pay for college for their graduates.”
Xander swallowed. “Oh.” It sounded small and a little lost. He coughed and managed a lopsided smiled. “Oh, well, why didn’t you say so?”
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1139412.html. You can comment here or there.