…And Sometimes It Goes Right
Seems the Muse refuses to allow me to leave it at that.
As the first part was a challenge response that HAD to be no longer than 200 words, I am leaving it as is…but here is the rest
of the story. Also, for some reason the Muse really felt like being mean to Faith tonight. I suppose it all balances out since usually the Muse is throwing naked and more than willing men in Faith’s direction.
Faith shut the door and turned around.
And found herself just standing there, staring.
Jack folded his arms and waited. “Well?”
Faith blinked a few times. “Sorry – got distracted.”
He shrugged. “It happens.”
Well, yeah but not to her
. Now that she was back here, Faith wasn’t quite sure how to explain any of this. “Um, I’m Faith…and you’re in Sunnydale.”
That didn’t seem to have an effect so Faith continued. “California?”
He nodded but still seemed to be waiting for something. “Um, the United States?”
“I assumed – unless they’ve moved California.” How anyone could be that smug while naked was a bit of a mystery. “What year
Not how did I get here, not why am I naked – but what YEAR? Her face clearly said that was a crazy question. “2004?”
The answer seemed to satisfy him. “I see. So, why am I here?”
Faith briefly considered lying, but this man was clearly a little insane so what harm could the truth do?
“Well, I was poking around the shop because Anya had her nose buried in money stuff, as usual, and I was bored. There was this locket - something about help in time of need. And then poof – you.”
Jack thought for a moment before asking the obvious. “And I am here because…”
There was something really unsettling about this whole situation. Two minutes ago, she’d fully intended to strut back here, throw him a few pointed looks and get on with the fun part, but something strange was going on. Her stomach felt all fluttery and every time she tried to smirk or say anything the least bit suggestive, it’s like her brain stopped working.
She tried to think of the best way to explain just what she’d been thinking without mentioning the particulars. After two or three failed attempts, she gave up. “Dunno?”
Jack sighed. She clearly knew more than she was saying. The locket – some sort of advanced technology? If he had anything useful with him – or, say, pockets – he might be able to at least figure out how it had brought him here. Oh well, he’d been in worse situations than this. Maybe if they went back to the beginning.
“You said this…locket…was supposed to provide help? Meet some need?”
A snappy reply popped into Faith’s mind (Can you ever, big boy…), but to her growing frustration the words weren’t coming out of her mouth. She was lucky to manage a weak “yes”.
“And here I am.”
Obviously, this young woman wasn’t as bright as she’d first appeared. He’d have to go very slowly. “So one might assume you needed something…”
She nodded dumbly.
“…that I could help with.”
This was terrible. She was screaming the words in her head (Yeah, I think there could be some mutual ‘helping’ involved…) but nothing was happening. Of all the crappy luck…
Something occurred to Faith. Luck. Magic…
Magic…Dark magic…That was it!
There was obviously some sort of curse on that damned locket! Why else was this happening?
Faith groaned and stopped trying to say what she really wanted to and found that the truth came out with no effort at all.
“I was holding the locket and thought that Anya,” she gestured at the door, “really needed a good, long fuck because she gets bitchier every day and I am tired of dealing with her.”
There – a little uncharitable, but it was the truth.
“Oh.” Jack had no trouble at all accepting the fact that out of all the possible choices, he
was the one suddenly in California, two years in the past. After all, if you want someone done right…and that meant, maybe, just maybe there was an easy solution to all this.
“So, it might be possible that if there weren’t…a need, I might find myself back where I was?”
To her horror, Faith could actually feel a blush rising up her face. A blush! This had to be some sort of dark magic evil juju… She never blushed. Never.
“I can’t believe I am saying this, but excuse me a moment.” Faith paused for one last, really longing, look and quickly left before anything worse could happen.
As soon as she left the room, Faith could feel whatever it was lifting. Her brain and tongue actually seemed connected again and damn was she furious.
She headed straight for Anya, slamming her fist down on the counter. “Your stupid locket is cursed!”
Anya didn’t flinch, just fixed Faith with frosty look. “He certainly seemed
equipped to keep you busy longer than that. What you see is what you get? I know what I saw - ”
“Don’t start with me, Miss ‘Gorgeous Naked Men Magically Appear for Me’,” Faith growled. She wanted to say more, but felt a touch of that mind control voodoo coming back. Once again, she gritted her teeth and told the truth. “When I was holding the locket I was thinking that you’ve been being a real bitch lately and how you really needed to get laid; Immediately. And then – poof. Naked guy.”
Anya’s eyes narrowed. “Who you pounced on and dragged off to have lots of wonderful orgasms with. So why are you out here?”
Faith stood there, silent and glowering. It didn’t matter anyway. Anya calculating little brain figured out the truth quickly enough.
Her eyes sparkled and what started out as a small smirk soon grew into a full, toothy smile. “You can’t, can you? And I thought the dealer was just trying to get a better price when he mentioned the Altruism Clause. Half-goblins will rob you blind, you know, and no one uses altruism enchantments anymore - way more trouble than they’re worth.”
Faith was lost. “What?”
“It’s not cursed, Faith. It does summon help in time of need, you just can’t use it for your own
gain. I assume something unpleasant happened?” She looked Faith over carefully. “You appear to still have all your limbs and you aren’t covered in festering sores; Lucky you.”
“Yeah, lucky me. So, about Mr. Birthday Suit…”
“He’s stuck here until help is no longer required?” Anya asked. Faith nodded.
“It’s pretty standard,” Anya straightened up the pile of receipts and snapped the accounts book closed. “I’d better get started; this could take a while. Lock up on your way out?”
Anya breezed past Faith, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, and headed for the back room. “Hello, pleasantly-shaped and conveniently naked man. I understand you’re here to help?”
She heard, “Well, Anya - I’ve been told I can be very
helpful…and my friends call me Jack,” before the door swung closed.
Faith just shook her head. She’d just been bitch-slapped by the Universe. Un-fucking-believable.
She stomped to the front of the store and tugged at the door, letting it hit the wall with a crash, only to yank it back closed and lock up.
“I hate this store,” she mumbled. But no one was listening.THE END.....For sure this time.