Fae-r Thee Well...
By Rosy the Cat
Disclaimer: I completely and utterly hold no legal, financial or otherwise claim on either Disney's Gargoyles or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I do this for kicks and to get the plot bunnies to leave me alone, people. No money's being made. Keep all lawyers away, as I'm a woefully unemployed young woman on the verge of broke-dom.
Author's Note: I know Giles stutters. You know Giles stutters. Unfortunately, I suck at writing stuttering, so just insert your own stuttering into his lines. Thank you.
Buffy Summers was pacing back and forth across the main floor of The Magic Box, an occult shop owned by her mentor, father-figure, source of wit, wisdom and sanity--in other words, her Watcher. For Buffy Summers was a Slayer, a Chosen One whose job it was to kill baddies while providing witty quips and looking absolutely fabulous. Unfortunately, Buffy was feeling a great deal less than ab-fab, as there was apparently a crazy nut-job out to kill her baby sister, Dawn. A crazy nut-job out to kill the Slayer's sibling was actually par of the course on the Hellmouth though, sad to say, to the point where Buffy had developed a scarily-accurate saying: "Dawn's in trouble; it must be Tuesday."
Unfortunately, this particular nut-job was proving, not only difficult, but worryingly hard to defeat. Of course, it would figure that when Buffy and her friends had finally conceded the point that they needed more information then they had, and needed to suck up to the Council of Watchers--aka Stuffy Tweeded Jerks--only to find out that the crazy nut-job in question was a hell-goddess.
'How the crap does one Slayer and her merry band of friends take out a freakin' goddess, I ask you?!' Buffy thought to herself. Buffy had taken out some seriously nasty things in her time as the Slayer--Hello, Mayor Willkins, Akathla, Lothos, the Master, Kakistos and Adam?--but this was really pushing things. Also, all of this was on top of the recent and unexpected death of her mother, and Buffy was not a happy camper. At all.
Buffy stopped cold in mid-stride, as an idea skittered along her mind. It was scary, completely unlike her, and utterly out of left field. Unless her Watcher thought up a reason why it wouldn't work, it was also her only hope for keeping the world--and more importantly Dawn and the Scoobies--safe from Glory the hell-biatch.
"Giles," she asked, after taking in a deep, fortifying breath--'What was it that Mom used to say when I was little? "Be brave, little buckaroo!"...?'
"What are the exact requirements for Glory to use the Key? I mean, is it a Do It Anytime thing, or a Once In A Century thing, or what? Does it need a special dagger or alter or spot or alignment of the stars? Because otherwise, the whole thing seems a bit vague and lacking in the 'splainy."
Giles--and the Scoobies, it had to be said--blinked a bit in surprise, but then he went back to his dusty old books and his not-so-dusty notes, and started leafing through them, looking for answers to Buffy's questions. The others didn't stay silent for long.
"Buffy?" asked Dawn, her lower lip trembling in fear that her sister might not win--might not save her this time--even as a spark of hope rekindled in her eyes. Buffy hoped that spark stayed there; it had been out for far too long for her comfort.
"I'm covering all of the bases, Dawnie, even if I don't particularly like those bases."
"What-?" Willow started to ask, brow furrowed, even as Giles emerged from the paper mire of the Research Table.
"Ah, yes, here we are; it seems, Buffy, that, as you implied, there is a certain period of time during which Glory will be able to utilize the Key in the manner she wishes to. The Phase of Doorways, during which all points of convergence within our plane of existence become, well, thinner, and easier to access. It, ah, begins next Friday, according to my calculations, and it stands to reason that Glory is mainly biding her time until then."
Xander perked up and said, "So that's it; we just have to make it through next Friday, and the Apocalypse de-jour is stopped? Yay!" At Giles' continued grim expression, Xander raised one hand after a bit of silence and asked quietly, "Not-yay?"
"Unfortunately so, I'm afraid," Giles sighed, whipping off his glasses as he pinched the bridge of his nose with one hand and polished lenses with the cloth in the other. "The Phase of Doorways is a reoccurring event that lasts a varying length of time. One of the more noted of such periods was marked with heavy interaction between humanity and the Fair Folk, or Faeries. That one lasted for approximately two thousand years, before the majority of the Fae retreated to their own realm, with far more limited contact with humans via specific gateways. Though, I can tell you that that was, as far as anyone knows, the longest duration for a Phase ever recorded, and subsequent ones have been far shorter."
"So how long are we looking at here, Giles?" asked Buffy.
"A year at the least; five has become fairly average, though there have been cases where it lasted for ten years."
"Ten YEARS?!" squeaked Dawn. "I'll be OLD!"
"Hey!" protested everyone else, except for Giles, who allowed a faintly amused smile to slip over his features at the limited perspective of youth. What could he say; for a man in his forties, the idea of anyone thinking twenty-four was old was more than a bit funny.
"Conversely speaking, once the Phase of Doorways ends, it will be another century before it happens again. In other words, as long as Dawn--and thus the Key--is kept from Glory's hands until the end of this Phase, the odds of her still being alive for Glory to try and use again are incredibly unlikely."
"Anything specific about the where, Giles?"
"It seems that the ritual has to be performed within a specific distance away from the center of a mystic convergence."
"Meaning the Hellmouth."
"Yes, well, there is that, but there are mystic convergences of many sorts all over the world, Buffy; not all of them are active, and not all of them are necessarily malignant."
"So, if we were to, say, pack up all of our stuff and move as far away from Sunnydale and still be in the continental United States, what are our chances of accidentally ending up near one of those convergences?"
"Well, there's a second--though inactive--Hellmouth in Cleveland, Ohio; but, other than that, I cannot think of any such places that would qualify. Though, might I ask, why only the continental states?"
"Two words, Giles: Volcanoes and Tsunamis."
"Ah, yes, quite."
"But what about Sunnydale? Who's gonna stop any demon who comes in off of the freeway from starting an apocalypse?" asked Xander.
Buffy paused, then said quietly, "I'm gonna call Angel, see if his people can take care of things here. Giles," she turned to the Watcher, "Tell the Council that we're gonna need Faith out of prison; the Hellmouth can't be without a Slayer for too long, and she and Angel's people should be able to keep each other honest."
"...Are you certain that this is what you should be doing, Buffy? Faith-"
"Killed people. And she regrets it." At his enquiring look, she admitted, "I've been writing her letters since about a month after she turned herself in, Giles. If she didn't want to be there, she wouldn't be, but she's not going to be earning any real redemption being stuck and bored behind bars. Besides, let's face it; how many people have died over the years because I hesitated too long, or acted too quickly? What happened to Faith was because of a stupid mistake; a big mistake, true, but one that could have been avoided, and I played a part in. Nobody's perfect, but nobody can change unless people give them a chance to."
She clapped her hands together once, suddenly, to break the mood, and said in a more perky voice, "So, where do we go from here?"
Dawn perked up, "Florida? We could go to Disney World!"
"The only thing different about Disney World from Disneyland is that it's bigger, more expensive, and gets muggy and hot." At the questioning looks, Buffy sheepishly admitted, "Mom and Dad took me there the summer before Dawnie was born. Cool rides, but you wanted to run back inside and take another bath once you set foot outside. It was so hot, you didn't even want to go swimming in the pool. Not pleasant. Plus, alligators. Next!"
Suggestions and ideas were thrown out and bandied about for a while, before Willow got up her courage to offer one of her own: "How about New York City?"
"New York City?!" Everybody looked at Xander funny. "Sorry, I had a Pace Salsa™ commercial moment there. Carry on!"
"Anyway, Willow, other than appealing to my inner Shopping Queen, is there a specific reason for you to throw out New York as an option?"
"Well, umm, you see... Ikindagotajobofferawhilebackandtheycalledaskingformyanswertheotherdayandit'sareallygoodjobwithgoodmoneyandthey'llevenpayhalfofmyschoolexpensesformetofinishmydegree!"
"Willow! Willow, breathe!"
"I'm breathing. I'm breathing! With the in and the out and theinandtheoutandtheinandomygoshI'mhyperventilating...!"
A firm thwack on the back from the Slayer, and all was well in the world of Willow again. "...I'm okay."
"So, woo with the hoo for my Willow-shaped friend becoming gainfully employed?"
"So, it looks like we have some semblance of a plan, then?" asked Giles.
"Yup. Call the Fang Gang, get Faith out of jail, pack up our lives and run away from the big psycho-nasty that wants to make my sister bleed her own blood. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna take Dawnie home and reform the shattered bits of what used to be my Slayer-ly pride. Toodles!"
Even as she shepherded Dawn out the door, Buffy absently noted a continued conversation between Xander and Willow:
"Hey Wills, you never said where the magical job of awesomeness is, other than New York. Spill, oh bestest of buddies."
"Nope. Completely in the dark, here."
"Oh, it's Xantech--as in Xanatos, Inc., and-"
"Ooh, I've heard about them! You'll be able to have lots and lots of lovely money, and lots and lots of pretty things!" Anya inserted in gleeful obliviousness.
Buffy heard no more of the conversation after that, as she and Dawn turned the corner on the block, both mentally cataloging what to take, and what to box up for Angel to ship to them later...
Author's Note: Is it good? Is it bad? Is it Eh? Feel free to review!
-- Rosy the Cat