There's no carpet
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: Faith doesn’t join the Mayor.
AN: Thoughts are between slashes (//Thought.//)
It took a while for Giles to calm Cordelia down and get a coherent explanation for her panic.
The news that Buffy, and presumably Xander, had somehow gotten involved in another murder while searching for Faith was most disturbing. He knew that The Council would catch wind of the situation quickly. He also realized that he was powerless to help them at the moment and so focused on the young brunette’s worry.
While he couldn’t do much in the way to reassure her that she wouldn’t end up in Federal Prison, he did tell her that she should get Willow and Oz to go with her to talk to their lawyer, Leland McKenzie, and appraise him of the situation to get his advice. Under the cover of client privilege he would not be allowed to report past crimes they may have been involved with.
After sending Cordelia on her way, Giles headed over to see Joyce. While he didn’t want to be the one to break the news to her about Buffy’s involvement with another murder, if the authorities hadn’t already told her, he did believe he should be there to help her cope with the news.
Leland mentally sighed with some exasperation. He knew getting himself and his people, they might not work for him anymore but they were still his people, mixed up in a case that touched on the supernatural was going to be tricky. Even though the others weren’t clued in on the oddities that their clients usually dealt with, he knew they were smart enough to figure it out should things not add up. As the authorities they were dealing with were human in their defense of their clients, he hadn’t felt it necessary to burden them with facts that they couldn’t use in court anyway.
Now with the news Miss Chase had come to him with, along with Miss Rosenberg and Mr. Osbourne, of their involvement in the theft of a rocket launcher to deal with The Judge, not a name he would want to bring up before a human judge no matter what might be explained about the meaning of the name, he felt even more of his years catching up with him than usual.
//Life was so much simpler before Rupert Giles saved me from a vampire one late night in London,// he thought.
He was able to assure them that due to the allegation at her trial that Miss Summers was the one to aid in the theft and that it was not conclusively refuted by the defense along with the Federal indictment for the crime, there was a good chance that reasonable doubt could be shown to a jury should any of them be charged with the crime. He refrained from mentioning that might not occur if the prosecution included conspiracy charges as they needed reassurances now and strategy options only if they did get charged.
However, it also meant that he had to arrange for Mrs. Summers to have a different lawyer to avoid possible conflict of interests as she was not a party to the theft, other than maybe being told about it later.
//Do I call Victor or Ann?// he mused.
The silence in the room was deafening. It was extremely possible that the only heart beating in the room at the moment was hers. Of course she knew it wouldn’t stay that way for long. Maybe a half second at most.
It was hard to tell which one came first – the quiet “Huh????” or the shouted “WHAT!!!!”.
She was a bit surprised as to who said what. She had expected the indignant cry from the young woman instead her companion. Actually, she had expected them both to be shocked at her pronouncement. Just not shocked to the point of total incredulity for one of them.
“The ritual has to be conducted sky clad,” said Lady Heather simply, trying to hide the amusement in her voice.
“But that means we have to be naked! . . . . Together!” said Xander with a slightly frightened screech in his voice.
Buffy still had a stunned look on her face as she tried to process what Lady Heather had said. She wanted to tell herself that she heard it wrong but from Xander’s reaction, she knew deep down she hadn’t.
Buffy put her hand on Xander’s arm to still the rant she knew he was about to launch into.
She looked Lady Heather directly in the eyes.
“If this turns out to be some sort of joke, a session in your ‘play’ room will seem like a day at a Sandals’ spa,” said the petite blonde in all seriousness.
Seeing the promise in the young woman’s eyes, but not flinching in the least, even knowing the truth of the statement, Lady Heather said, “It’s no joke. I give you my word. Plus this is the only Cleansing Circle I have so you can’t be cleansed separately. What with The Council surely arriving soon, you can’t afford to take the chance of one of you being cleansed and the other not. Besides your auras are linked and that would require a combined cleansing anyway.”
Lady Heather left out the fact that it was more than their use of glamours that caused their auras to be linked. Some things people just had to find out for themselves.
Turning Xander around so they would be back-to-back while they disrobed, Buffy said, “OK, Xander. You heard the Lady. Strip.”
“Ar . . . are you sure, B . . Bu . . . Buff?” stuttered Xander even as he obeyed her command.
“We’ve risked too much already to let a little embarrassment from achieving our goal of saving Faith and myself from The Council,” she replied. “Besides, there’s no sex involved.”
Turning slightly to look at Lady Heather, she asked, “Sex isn’t involved, is it?”
“No,” replied Lady Heather with a mischievous smile. “There is no sex involved with this ritual. I can look into that if you want for the additional cleansing rituals you will need to have over the next three to four days, depending on how extensive the glamours bonded to you. Tantric rituals are very powerful.”
“NO!” both young people shouted.
“This ritual will be just fine,” said Xander hastily.
Buffy agreed wholeheartedly.
Finally, both young people had removed and folded their clothes on the floor in front of them. Xander had taken a bit more time as he realized that Lady Heather would see him naked. The intimidation of the situation at least kept him from embarrassing himself more than he already was. But only just.
“You need to remove your jewelry as well,” said Lady Heather. “They have to be cleaned separately just like your clothes.”
Buffy was wearing a simple necklace with a cross. It wasn’t the one Angel had given her as that and the other jewelry she’d been wearing when arrested had been turned over to her Mother after her conviction as arranged by Michael and Grace. The cross she had now came from Xander as part of her Sato persona.
“We have other clothes and supplies in a locker at the bus station,” said Xander. “If they need to be cleansed as well, you’ll have to send someone to pick them up. The key is in my front right-hand pocket.”
“I’ll take care of it,” said Lady Heather.
“This is a special charm that helps keep The Council from using locator spells on me,” said Xander as he handed the charm to Lady Heather, who was standing off to the side of the two teens.
“The cleansing shouldn’t affect the charm as the glamour trace would be only on the surface, but I will ensure to take extra care when doing so,” assured Lady Heather.
“There’s another one in our things for when we find Faith,” said Buffy.
“Good, that should ensure that even if The Council shows up sooner than we expect and identifies the glamour trace from your vehicle or hotel room, your things can still be retrieved prior to them finding them. This type of charm would delay them getting a fix for at least a couple of hours even with the trace to guide them.”
“Now, are you done stalling?” Lady Heather asked with a raised eyebrow.
A couple of mumbled “Yeahs,” were her reply.
Buffy turned around so she was now facing Xander’s back, though she kept her eyes pointed slightly upwards towards his neck. She then lightly touched his back to indicate for him to go towards the Circle.
Once they were in the middle of the Circle, Lady Heather had them orient themselves so Xander would be facing South and Buffy would be facing North. When that was done, Xander finally turned around and faced towards Buffy, though his own eyes were staring out over her head while she ended up facing his upper chest.
They took hold of each other’s arms instinctively and lowered themselves down to the floor where they managed to sit Indian style with knees touching without lowering their eyes from where they currently focused. Next they held hands. Now came the tricky part. To keep from bonking their heads together as they pressed their foreheads together, Xander would have to lean forward more than Buffy to compensate for the height difference and he would have to lower his gaze as well. It would be nigh impossible not to have certain parts of Buffy’s anatomy within his view just due to the angle of his head in such a position.
Though she leaned in a bit to meet Xander’s head midway, Buffy continued to keep her eyes above the horizontal. Not that the sight of Xander’s naked chest wasn’t having an effect on her, ‘cause it was. It was just that she didn’t need any more distractions than she currently was dealing with in order to make it through the next eight hours.
It took a bit for Xander to get their foreheads to meet head-on without pressing against each other uncomfortably.
Once he stopped fidgeting, Lady Heather said, “I’ll be back periodically to check on you. Remember no talking. Also, don’t close your eyes for too long or you might fall asleep and your foreheads will slip apart.”
Lady Heather than said several phrases in a language neither Sunnydaler had heard before.
Once done she took a moment to look at the rosy hued couple sitting in the Cleansing Circle. Considering that the Circle had a soft yellow glow their skin tone was not due to that.
//Why do people insist on making life so complicated? The UST is thick enough you’d need a chain saw to cut through it.// Lady Heather asked herself with a sigh as she left the room and locked it behind her.
//There’s no carpet.//