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
Part X: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1155478.html
Part XI: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1164418.html
Help! I’d like clever individual titles for these chapters as well – now taking suggestions for 11 and this one!
Their guide was looking at Buffy as if she had grown a second head.
“Ah just wanted to have a little fun.” She spoke slowly, as if talking to a dangerous animal. That, Xander considered, was probably pretty accurate. “This place, I mean, people are only the new folks once, and if someone spooks ‘em bad, well, that’s not fun. I figured Ivette and Anwell in the hot tub—”
“And Ardell,” Xander interjected, although he couldn’t have told anyone why, “don’t forget Ardell.”
“Yes, but Ardell don’t look like nothing except handsome.”
“..I wasn’t looking that closely,” Xander admitted. “The, uh, wings, yeah, those were a bit of a hang-up.”
“…That’s it, you see, I figured that would be, well, shocking without being terrifying. But y’all ain’t shocked. You ain’t surprised. You’re barely upset at all. Are y’all ringers?”
“Ringers?” Buffy frowned. “Like, bell-ringers? No, we don’t do that, although once I hit a—”
Willow coughed loudly.
“Ah mean,” Magnolia continued, with exaggerated patience, “did y’all know about this stuff before you came here?”
“Well, now,” Xander babbled, “that depends on what you mean by ‘know’ and of course by ‘stuff’ and then there’s ‘before’ and ‘you’… and ‘y’all’…”
“What Xander means to say,” Willow cut him off, “is that there’s a lot of stuff to know about. And it might not be all that related to, ah, demon girls doing — things, doing things — in the hot tub, which ew, unsanitary — and we’re not in the habit of sharing the things we do know with people, and certainly not to see if they freak out!”
“Ah’m sorry, ah’m sorry.” Magnolia ducked her head and offered a smile that she probably meant to be contrite. Xander didn’t buy it, and yet, he rather thought he ought to… anyway. “So you knew about… something here. Demons, hrrm. Usually when we hear people shout ‘demon’, they’re a little less clinical about the whole thing.”
“Well,” Willow explained, “you have to know what sort of demon you’re dealing with. I mean, the difference between little black wings and big blue wings, it can be the difference between—”
“Succubus or Mara?” Magnolia offered.
“What? Succubi are a — oh, I should really stop saying things are myths, shouldn’t I?” Willow’s brow wrinkled worriedly. “And mara, oh, hrrm, those are… Buddhist demons, we haven’t encountered any of those, but they look very dangerous.”
“I’d be careful,” Magnolia said, suddenly looking serious, “about that word, ‘demon.’ I’m not sure what you’re used to, but around here, calling, hrrm, mara demons could get you with some upset people.”
Willow’s frown deepened. “I’ve never heard of a demon that minded being called a demon, I mean, among the sort of demons you can have a conversation with. Oh, dear, is this a school for demons? Because we’re not, you know. We’re — maybe a little strange, but we’re not demons, no…”
“You know,” Magnolia answered slowly, “I’m beginnin’ to think that you three and I have a different definition of the word ‘demon.’ You’re talking like these are, say, people on the street calling themselves demons?”
“Well, I wouldn’t exactly say people, not about most of them at all,” Xander put in.
“Not helping, Xander,” Buffy frowned. “So, you’re talking about people that look like demons and don’t call themselves that. We’re talking about — oh, man, Giles is gonna kill me, but he knew, didn’t he?” She turned to Willow, who made a sympathetic face. “He had to have known, that’s why with all the lectures on not… ‘punching’ people and all that. Okay.” She turned back to Magnolia. “This is supposed to be totally of the secret, but I’m talking about things from actual different dimensions, most of whom are not fuzzy wuzzy cute girls. Well, some of them are, but they like to eat teenaged boys, too.”
“That was only once!”
“Different dimensions?” Magnolia barely spared Xander a glance. “Oh, this is above my pay grade,” she complained. “Luke didn’t tell me — oh, but I bet he didn’t know, or he’d have put you with a cy’Solomon or something, not little ol’ cy’Linden me…” The despairing face she made was almost certainly fake, but Xander couldn’t help but wonder about the actual distress she’d started the sentence with. “All right, so you know demons. Different demons. Now this is quite interesting — but it’s going to make this whole tour a bit complicated, unfortunately.
“Can we settle for a little uncomplication first?” Xander put in. “I mean, not to distract from the mouth-of-hell problems and the demons, cute and not, but what’s a, um, kie-Solomon?”
“Oh, now, that’s easy.” She relaxed, leaning against the wall. Xander found he liked the way she looked relaxed, all smiling and — he mentally shook himself. “We all have Mentors. They’re teachers who, well, teach you specific stuff outside of classes and help you work out what you’re going to do with school.”
“Oh, kind of like an Advisor in college,” Willow perked up.
“Kind of,” Magnolia agreed. “And a group of students under the same Mentor is called a cy’ree. So, cy’Linden, Student of VanderLInden.”
“Oh!” Buffy smiled brightly. “So, like, we’re all cy’Giles.”
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