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
Part VIII: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1139412.html
Part IX: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1146552.html
Help! I’d like clever individual titles for these chapters as well – now taking suggestions for 8, 9, and this one!
“So the whole school is underground?” Xander was the last down the narrow staircase, and he was taking his time, looking around as if the old barn would suddenly reveal something more exciting than a concrete stairway hidden under a trap door. “Doesn’t that get a little, oh, I don’t know, crypt-like? Grave-y? Dank and claustrophobic?”
“Spend a lot of time in crypts?” Luke shot a look over his shoulder at the three of them.
“Of course not,” Willow offered brightly. “It’s just that the whole underground thing is a bit — well, it’s a bit creepy, you have to admit. No offense, I mean, some people like creepy; it’s a valid decorating style, I’m sure, but…”
“But it’s still a bit strange.”
“Being underground lets us spread out more,” Luke offered. “And gives us privacy.”
“Oh, good. Privacy.” Xander swallowed. “Not selling me on the crypt-school here, man.”
“It grows on you.” The lights came on as Luke led them down into a broad room, warehouse shelves flanking a wide receiving area and a big Jeep on some sort of lift. “Through this way is the school. There’s some students here over the summer. Magnolia’ll show you around. You want to talk to Regine, right?” He nodded at Giles.
“I need to impress on her the oddities of our situation — ah, yes.” Giles coughed. “Yes, I need to explain to her, that is —”
“You said ‘yes’, Giles, it’s fine.” Buffy patted him on the shoulder. “I think he got that part without all the extra yesses.”
“Thank you very much for that, Buffy.” Giles frowned at her. “And this tour, I assume it will be of the grounds and accommodations and…”
“All down here.” The warehouse opened out into a wood-panelled hallway, the carpet lush and soft underfoot and the light hidden somewhere in the ceiling. “Greenhouse and dorm rooms, Store and Arcade and the pool and the weight room—”
“You have a greenhouse? Underground? The ‘green’ part isn’t supposed to be mold, is it?”
“Store? Are there shoes? What?” Buffy looked around, although only Giles was really sighing. “I was promised shoes for this trip, and then I broke a nice one when we were in — wherever we were. Also, what about the nightlife? Clubs? That sort of thing?”
“Students with suites throw a lot of parties, and there are dances every other Friday.” Luke didn’t sound all that thrilled about it. “It’s a small school. There’s plenty of chance to get to know everyone.”
“And what about computer classes? Don’t huff, Giles,” Willow scolded. “It’s just that I have a need to keep learning, and if this place is going to challenge me even less than Sunnydale High…” she shrugged. A gesture around the place suggested she didn’t think much of the decor. “Old-fashioned law firm look doesn’t mean challenging teachers.”
Luke cleared his throat. “You could come up with an independent study program with your Mentor. I’m sure there are a couple teachers here who could help you with that, although we’re kind of… old-fashioned here.”
“I can’t imagine why,” Giles muttered.
“Mmph.” Luke shot Giles a look.
Buffy sighed. “More tweed? More old men hiding in rooms and reading books?”
“Nothing lik — more?”
“I have a very interesting life, but it involves way too much tweed,” Buffy explained. “Right, Giles?”
“Ahem. Well, there is quite a bit of tweed, that is, as Buffy says. There are a number of scholars who are less than useful in a difficult situation and who have, ah, insinuated themselves into Buffy’s life. This is all going to come out in the meeting I should have with the Administration, of course, and that would include you, wouldn’t it, Mr. Hunting-Hawk?”
“What… yeah. Yeah, it would.” He rolled his shoulders. “I guess I oughta… Magnolia!” He waved down the hall. “These are the visitors.”
“Oh, I was wonderin’ when they’d show up.” The voice came first, a warm southern drawl. A moment later, they could see the girl around Luke’s shoulder — tall, taller than Xander, with dark tan skin and black curly hair twisted up into a sloppy chignon. She was wearing a halter top and shorts with heeled sandals that made her even taller. “Oh, aren’t y’all cute!”
“Tell me she’s not a demon,” Xander whispered. “Tell me she’s not a demon… ow!” He rubbed his arm where Buffy had punched him.
That left Willow to step forward and offer a cautious hand. “I, um, hi. Willow, that is, I’m Willow, this is Buffy, Xander, and Giles, our, um, our Librarian.”
The tall girl shook Willow’s hand. “Ah’m Magnolia. And the only people that call me a demon are the ones ah’m sleepin’ with, so take that as you may.”
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