The Magic Box
Spike took one final drag of his cigarette before dropping the butt and crushing it under his boot, glancing over at the back entrance to the Magic Box. It was late enough in the afternoon that he could keep far enough into the shadows without turning himself into the real-life version of the Human Torch. Judging by the sun, he had maybe an hour, an hour and a half before the sun went down and he got to patrol.
Before he got to see her.
He hadn’t seen her since that night at the Bronze, and he assumed she had been staying back on campus. He’d kept his distance from UC Sunnydale since the final battle at the Initiative, mostly because the demonic activity of Sunnydale still avoided the place. If he was still able to hunt, that would have made it a perfect feeding ground, but apparently, not many other demons had picked up on that yet, besides the occasional vamp that found themselves getting very dusty, courtesy of the Slayer.
Spike sighed, stretching his neck. He could hear the voices within the Magic Box from where he was, and he closed his eyes, picking the thrum apart to find individual voices. He could hear the Watcher and the demon arguing, the cash register opening and closing. The whelp was prattling and the final customers of the Sunday sales were leaving. He heard the bell jingling as the front door opened, and two feminine voices greet the others.
The Slayer and the witch.
Buffy was here.
Lighting another cigarette, Spike inhaled pensively, watching the sun. He’d have to wait until sunset to go in, mostly to stop them from wondering why he was risking catching on fire to see them. He didn’t really know why he was here. He could just see the Slayer on patrol, but… he wanted to see her in her everyday life. He wanted to see her as she was. As a girl… he wanted to see her as Buffy Summers.
He could wait an hour.
* * * * * * *
“Hey, Will! Buffster! ‘Bout time you got here!” Xander waved from behind a book, lounging on one of the chairs at the central table. Willow flashed him a smile before turning and approaching her girlfriend sitting opposite him. Giving her a kiss on the cheek, Willow took a seat and grabbed a book. “Now maybe you could actually tell us… why are we here?”
Buffy grinned at Xander before joining him and the two witches at the table, glancing over at Anya at the counter. The Magic Box had just closed, meaning they were free to talk demon-badness without scaring nosy civilians. It also meant, however, that Anya would be too busy with money-counting fun to really contribute.
“Where’s Giles?” Buffy asked, tucking a fallen strand of hair from her ponytail behind her ear, she glanced towards the back room. “Shouldn’t he be here already… he does, you know, own the place.”
“Ah, he’s down in the basement.” Xander jerked his thumb in the direction of the basement door, “I think he went looking for that glowy-orb thing.”
Willow perked up. “The dagon sphere? Why?”
Xander shrugged, putting down his book and reaching half-heartedly for another. “He thinks he has found some spell or something to help our resident Slayer kick the ass of a certain bitch-demon.”
“Fair enough,” Buffy nodded, glancing towards the door, “Any idea what this spell does?”
“Kills demons,” Anya suggested pointedly, not taking her eyes off the cash she was counting.
“Thanks, Anya.” Buffy shot back sarcastically, winking at Xander. He gave her a grin, tapping his fingers idly on the book.
“Here to help.” Anya nodded, tucking money back in the register, tallying up the day’s totals.
“Any idea on what the spell does… you know, in its finer aspects?” Willow interjected, her fingers tangled with Tara’s. She was scanning one of the heavier, older tomes almost idly, and had been muttering Latin translations under her breath during the rest of the conversation.
“It’s a Eutharian Warding Spell.” Giles’ smooth British accent greeted them as the basement door snapped shut, and he held up the small orb he had retrieved from downstairs. “The dagon sphere is mentioned in several different texts, the Codex of Rothmere, the journals of—“
“Today, Giles.” Buffy interrupted, earning herself a patented, exasperated stare from the ex-Watcher.
“Right, well, in them the sphere is said to be designed to repel ‘that which cannot be named’ on a small scale, like a-a-a charm.”
“Or those funny netted circles kept by the Indians to ward off nightmares.”Anya added, nose in the ledger. “With feathers.”
“The Native Americans had dream catchers,” Willow corrected.
“Yes, thank you Willow…” Giles nodded, setting the orb on the table. “However, that would only work on a basic, close-range level. However, there are certain texts that claim that the sphere’s warding powers could be amplified, to force this uh, woman, out.”
“Out? As in out of Sunnydale?” Buffy straightened, flipping her ponytail over her shoulder.
“Out of, uh, our plane of existence.” Giles corrected, adjusting his glasses, “Into another dimension.”
“Well, sounds like you’ve got it all figured out. Guess I’m done with the book-learning,” Xander quipped, shutting his book with a dusty snap.
“Yes, well not quite.” Giles admonished, smiling slightly as Xander’s hopeful expression crumbled. He always found small pleasure in forcing Xander to read.
“For the spell to work, honey, you need a name for the thing you are trying to repel.” Anya explained, taking a seat next to him, “it’s kind of like yelling ‘go away’ in a room full of people. If you say the name of whoever you are trying to get rid of, you avoid getting rid of people you might actually like.”
“W-w-which would mean se-sending innocent bystanders into o-o-oblivion,” Tara surmised, speaking up for the first time. She returned the small, encouraging smile Buffy gave her.
“Now wouldn’t that be a bloody pity?”
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