Cast a Little Spell…
: I don't own any of the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
[BtVS] or from other copyrighted works this may eventually cross with. This is intended as an homage to them, and is in no way intended to infringe on their respective owners' rights. I don’t make any money from this, and I never intend to do so. A/N:
I’ve decided that this is set in the timeframe of the original program, 1998. Sort of. I don’t want to be limited by worrying about what year Napster came out, or just how small (or large) a cell phone was in 1998, etc. So, I’m going to use whatever I think would make the story interesting. If a huge freaking phone is funny, I might use it. If a digital camera fits the story, I’ll use it.
Xander wanted revenge on Cordelia, and asked Amy to help with a love spell. Amy’s translation skills suck, so she picked the wrong spell. Several things will be changing, including Xander. Inspired by Challenge 3228. WARNINGS: character death, multiple partners (possibly at once) Cast a Little Spell…
“I need you to take off your clothes.”
“Are you insane?” Xander demanded.
“Look,” Amy answered in a calm voice, “you’re the one who wanted to do this. We can call it off if you want to. Or you can take off your clothes. I don’t care either way.”
Actually, she did care. She was pretty nervous about the whole thing. She had thought it would be more fun to stay up late experimenting with witchcraft than to work on her stupid book report. In lieu of writing the paper, she had used some of her recently acquired skills on their teacher, Ms. Beakman, making Ms. Beakman believe that the non-existent assignment had been handed in. In her defense, the choice of books to read for the report had been restricted to the five dullest books in the English language.
Xander had apparently noticed her putting the whammy on Ms. Beakman. Now he was blackmailing her into casting a spell for him. She was pretty sure that if she didn’t help him out, he’d tell Buffy or Mr. Giles. Mr. Giles, the Sunnydale High School librarian, had used his magic to help Amy out when her mother had magically swapped bodies with Amy. Her mother had wanted to relive her glory days as superstar high school cheerleader—she still held several school and regional records. After the way he had reversed the body swap spell—causing her mother to take off for parts unknown—Amy was pretty sure that he could do something fairly nasty to her. And Buffy…. Amy shivered at the thought. Buffy had a reputation for getting into violent confrontations—and coming out of them unscathed. Often, the other participant was not seen again.
The reason why Xander had wanted Amy’s help had soon become clear. Xander’s girlfriend, Cordelia Chase, was the most popular girl in school: rich, beautiful, and full of attitude. Make that former girlfriend. Cordelia had seemingly woken up and realized that she was dating the school loser, and had broken up with Xander in the most humiliating way possible: on Valentine’s Day, at the Valentine’s Day dance, after accepting a silver heart pendant that Xander had given her as a present. That was Saturday night. By Monday morning, it was all over the school, and people had been openly laughing at him in the halls. Xander was fed up with being the school laughingstock, and wanted some payback.
So, he had “asked” Amy to cast a love spell on Cordelia for him, holding the threat of exposing her invisible homework scam over her head. Warning Xander that love spells were the most difficult and complicated of all spells to cast, she had added that the purest of motives were needed in order to make the target of the spell fall in love for eternity.
Xander had only laughed at that thought. “Eternity? A man can only talk self-tanning lotion for so long before his head explodes.”
What Xander wanted was revenge. He wanted Cordelia to want him as bad as he wanted her. Then, he would break up with her, subjecting her to the same pain and humiliation that he had gone through.
Amy had reluctantly agreed, sighing, “I’ll need something of hers, a personal object.”
As Xander had headed off to collect the focus, Amy had gone home to research the spell.
Catherine Madison, Amy’s not so lamented mother, had been a formidable witch. Perhaps she still was, but no one knew what had become of her once her body swapping spell had been broken. She had left behind all of her spell books when she had disappeared.
Amy was scouring the books, vainly wishing that she had taken Latin instead of French during her sophomore year. The only thing that seemed even remotely close to what she needed was in an old volume, dusty with age, that she had found at the bottom of her mother’s trunk of magic paraphernalia. The book was a handwritten copy, albeit beautifully written and illuminated with little figures of various cherubs and animals. It seemed to consist mostly of poems dedicated to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, written by some obscure German poet.
As Amy struggled with the translation, she grew concerned by the complexity of the spell. Finally, she came to the conclusion that it would be best to just use the original Latin for the actual invocation, and concentrated on translating the instructions for the ritual.
Xander Harris walked into the science lab. He had gotten back the necklace from Cordelia, the one that he had given to her only two nights ago. He had put so much effort into choosing it, into finding the perfect gift for Cordy—a silver heart pendent on a silver chain. Xander didn’t know where their relationship was going, but he knew that he saw something in Cordelia that made her worth the effort. Despite twelve years of mutual antagonism between the two of them, he could tell that there actually was a caring human heart beating within her breast.
When he had asked Buffy whether she thought that Cordy would like the necklace, Buffy had replied, “I guess.” After first making a crack about whether she would recognize what it was, Buffy had finally assured him that Cordelia would like it.
And she had. Then she dumped him.
Still full of anger and resentment, Xander looked around. Amy had arrived before him, and was preparing for the spell. She’d drawn a large female symbol on the ground in red chalk, a large circle, with a stem coming off of the bottom of circle, and a bar crossing the stem. There was a glass beaker heating over bunsen burners atop a lab table, some witchy concoction boiling in it.
Amy was seated at another lab table, bent over a sheet of paper, studying it intently. She looked up as Xander walked into the lab, shutting the door as he entered. She set the paper down on the lab table and waved him over, trying to appear more calm than she was.
“I need you to take off your clothes,” she told Xander, hoping that he’d refuse. If he decided not to go through with this, he couldn’t very well blame her. She had spent an additional hour searching for another spell, and hadn’t found anything that was even remotely close to what he wanted from her.
“Are you insane?” Xander shouted, his eyes bugging out.
“Look,” Amy answered, taking a breath and trying to keep calm, “you’re the one who wanted to do this. We can call it off if you want to.” She really, really hoped he would. “Or you can take off your clothes. I don’t care either way.”
Xander just stood there, glaring at her.
Clearing her throat a little nervously, Amy continued in explanation. “You can leave your shorts on—oh, God, you are wearing underwear, aren’t you?” At Xander’s emphatically affirmative nod, Amy continued, “You can leave your underwear on, but I have to draw symbols on your body as part of the spell: on your chest, arms, back, legs, and feet.”
Xander sighed. “This is starting to get complicated.”
Xander was wearing a pair of gym shorts that he had found in his locker. He stood patiently as Amy began to draw, making symbols on his forehead, his throat, over his heart, and encircling his navel. He had started to fidget nervously as she began drawing on his back, arms, and hands. When she knelt down and started on his legs, he finally balked.
“Maybe,” he began nervously, voice cracking. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this.”
Amy was consumed with the challenge of the spell by this point, and didn’t want to abort the effort, especially not after all the work she had put into researching it and preparing for it.
“Don’t be a wuss,” she chided. “I’m nearly done with the symbols, I just need to add symbols for Trismegistos on the bottoms of your feet, then we can begin the ritual.”
“Ritual? I don’t know if I like the sound of that. I thought it would be a simple spell. You know? ‘Hocus pocus, mumbo jumbo
, you’re done.’”
Amy smirked up at Xander as she pulled him down to sit on the edge of a chair. Lifting his foot up, she began placing the next to last symbol on the bottom of it.
“Well,” she drawled, “we nearly are done.” She looked up at Xander through her eye lashes. “I told you this afternoon, love spells are the most difficult. You’ve been patient with all this so far. Can’t you hang on for just a few more minutes?”
Xander sighed and lifted his other foot for Amy to work on.
“Just sit there for a moment while the ink dries,” she said. Standing up, Amy walked over to the lab table where her potion was brewing. She peered into the beaker, then nodded with satisfaction.
“Okay, sit in the middle of the Venus mirror, facing the cross,” Amy said. At Xander’s blank look, she rolled her eyes and pointed to the circle of the “female symbol”.
Xander moved to where she pointed, taking a small figurine that she handed to him. He peered at it, wondering what it was. The figure was of a young man, holding a curving horn cup in one hand and a snake in the other.
“What is this?” he asked as he sat down in the center of the circle.
“Lars Familiares. A god of protection.”
“Protection?” Xander squeaked, his eyes wide with alarm. “Why do we need protection? I just wanted a simple love spell.”
“Relax, Xander. Any time you cast a spell, you need protection, to make sure that no outside forces interfere with it. It’s a standard part of any ritual, any spell beyond the basic. Just hold the statue in your lap.”
“Okay,” Xander said, not entirely reassured. As an afterthought, he added, “Why in my lap?”
Amy smirked, somewhat evilly. “There are seven centers of aether and bios in the human body. Your second center of bios is your… manhood…. If you don’t want to hold the statue there, I could always draw one last symbol—”
“No!” Xander interrupted her quickly. “I’ll hold the statue. See,” he said, demonstrating, “holding it in my lap now.”
“Where are you going?”
“There are requirements for the caster as well, Xander, and if you think I’m changing my clothes in front of you, you’re crazier than I thought. Don’t move.”
Ignoring his sputtered protests of sanity, Amy left the lab.
Xander looked around, taking in the candles placed at even spaces around the round part of the female symbol, the Venus mirror, as Amy had called it. Each of the five candles was a different color, one of them was guttering a little bit in some unfelt draft. Before leaving, Amy had turned off the lights, and the candles now provided the only light in the room.
Xander thought about whether he really wanted to do this. He did care a great deal about Cordelia, but he was just so hurt by her treatment of him that he couldn’t really think rationally about whether he was doing the right thing or not. He decided that after taking his revenge, he would be able to move on, would be able to think clearly again…as clearly as a hormonally challenged seventeen year old male could think.
Amy came back into the room wearing a gauzy white shift that came down below her knees, her legs and feet bare. She handed a metal band to him.
“What’s this?” Her turned it over curiously. It was an oval band of metal, reddish in color, although that could have been because of the candlelight. It was formed from a square bar, twisted into a spiral pattern, bent into an oval, so that the ends of the bar met, either below the wrist at the pulse point, or above the wrist, depending on how it was worn. There was a small bead of metal on each end of the bent bar, with a small gap between the beads.
“It’s a bracelet. It’s part of the ritual.” She picked up a bowl and knelt down, setting the bowl on the ground just inside the circle, between Xander’s feet.
“When I tell you, breath through the center of the bracelet and drop it into the bowl of water,” Amy said, pointing to the bowl she had just set down. “It will have to remain in the water overnight. I’ll give it to you in the morning. It is part of the focus, and you’ll need to wear it for the spell to work correctly. Wear it with the gap on the inside of your wrist. Either hand will be fine.”
Amy stood up and moved over to the table, where she looked at a sheet of paper before picking up a small container of something and dumped it into the boiling beaker. She came back to stand in front of him, holding out something in her hand.
“What’s that?” Xander asked, suspiciously.
“It’s just a salt wafer. You need to keep it on your tongue, letting it dissolve. Don’t chew it, but it’s okay to swallow.”
She held it out, waiting for Xander to open his mouth. After a few moments, he did, and she placed it on his tongue. She then picked up a small bottle from the table.
“This is olive oil. I’m going to anoint you with a few drops, on the crown of your head. Don’t worry, it’ll hardly be noticeable.”
“Hey! My hair’s not greasy. I just use a little hair gel, is all.”
Amy turned to hide her smile, placing the bottle back on the table.
“I’m going to start now. Don’t interrupt me until it’s done. It would be… bad.”
Xander nodded nervously, wondering yet again if he was doing the right thing.
Amy stared intently at Xander for a moment before looking down at the paper in her hand. She began to read from the paper, slowly, so as to get the pronunciation of the Latin correct.
Starting quietly, her voice grew in intensity as the power gathered. Xander could see a little more detail in the dimly lit room, and at first thought it was just his eyes getting used to the low light. He then noticed that the symbols on his legs were glowing. Turning his head nervously, he saw that the Venus mirror was glowing, and a dome of pinkish light arced over his head, intersecting the ground along the perimeter of the circle. Looking at his arms, he realized that all of the symbols that Amy had drawn on him were glowing, several different colors.
By this point, Amy was nearly shouting. Xander looked up at her, and noticed that her eyes were solid blue. He realized that even her eyes were glowing slightly. He gulped, wanting to say something, but remembered that she had warned him not to interrupt her.
With a final cry she completed the invocation. “Venus Genetrix! Fortuna Viliris! Mars Pater! Maritus duco matris!
“Now!” she commanded Xander, dropping Cordelia’s necklace into the beaker.
He held the bracelet up to his mouth, and breathed out through it. His breath came out as a mist, which curled around, twisting around the bracelet to wrap around it, following the spiral pattern. With a startled yelp, Xander dropped the bracelet into the bowl.
The room was immediately plunged into darkness as the candles were all extinguished and the symbols stopped glowing, remaining only as after-images in Xander’s eyes.