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Summary: Buffy hesitates.
AN – Thoughts \\I am thinking.//
AN – Mental communication *Who are you?*
Willow stopped by the Library after her last class.
Giles talked to her a bit about her day and then told her that he had some school related work to take care of that would keep him late and that she should go back to his place and fix herself dinner. He would call her if it looked like he would be home later than 8 o’clock.
Willow just nodded and walked out of the Library, still feeling numb from everything that had occurred lately.
Aura came in just as Willow left but Willow barely noticed her.
Xander had been trailing along with Aura and saw his friend leave. She looked so forlorn that he thought of following her to see where she was going but resisted the urge as he needed to be there for Aura’s first training session.
Aura did notice as Willow passed by her and was distressed at how sad the other girl looked. It made her feel guilty about all the times in the past that she had joined in on putting the girl down for not being one of the elite. Aura didn’t remember ever instigating such a situation but had hopped on the band wagon when someone else started it.
\\I hope wherever she ends up she’ll find happiness,// thought Aura.
“I’ll be with you in a minute, Aura,” said Giles as he went into his office.
When her returned he had two rather large tomes that he placed on the checkout counter. One was titled “Vampyre” and the other “The Slayer’s Handbook”.
“As we’re going to have to get you up to speed as quickly as possible in order to be able to keep up the charade that Buffy is still in town, I thought you might want to have these for reference,” he said, then held up ‘Vampyre”. “This one, discusses vampires, their weaknesses, the various stages vampires progress through from Fledgling to Master, and their hierarchy within a Kiss, which is a group of vampires ruled by a Master. The other is a training guide that is most applicable when a Potential is found and trained before being called. Since I will be conducting some of your training while you are not empowered by the Slayer Essence, I felt we might get some use from some of the methods outlined there.”
\\Even more homework,// she sighed mentally.
“Have you summoned the Slayer Essence yet?” he asked.
“Not yet,” she responded.
“Good. I want to go through some basic techniques and it’ll be easier to run you through the steps without it.”
Looking at the outfit she was wearing which was at least more modest than what she’d worn the day before, he said, “You should probably go change into your gym clothes before we begin.”
She nodded and left the Library.
Since Xander was respecting her privacy, he stayed behind watching Giles. He was sorely tempted to take the man over and learn what he knew about Buffy’s whereabouts and well-being. He also wondered if Giles knew how Buffy had been persuaded to fake her death and leave town. He resisted the urge so as not to possibly alert him to the true nature of Aura’s connection to the Slayer Essence. He remembered from the encounter with Catherine the Great that Giles knew how to use magic and therefore might have some shields that would at the very least give warning about attempted possession. He couldn’t risk the fact that he was a ghost, a Deadman, being found out even by an ally.
Aura returned several minutes later dressed in the standard gym clothing: shorts, t-shirt, white socks and sneakers. From the outline on the t-shirt, it looked like she was also wearing a sports bra instead of a regular one.
Giles had set up a practice dummy. There were targets on the front, back, and left side that were centered on the heart.
Giles handed a blunt stake to Aura and instructed her on both overhand and underhand strikes to those areas. He’d even placed blue chalk on the end of the stake so he could evaluate her strike placement.
After twenty minutes of those drills, they took a break.
“After you’ve rested a bit, call the Slayer Essence to you and we’ll run through the drills again,” Giles told her as she drank from a bottle of water he provided. “You appear to have good hand-eye coordination.”
“Mr. Giles,” she said. “Is there any way that you know of that I could broach the subject of the Supernatural with my friend to sort of feel her out?”
“Other than trying to get her to discuss the weird happenings around town to see if she thinks the explanations provided by the authorities are questionable, I’m not sure,” he replied. “Willow and Xander found out when Willow was attacked by a vampire and Xander helped Buffy get her away. So they had a rather eye opening experience that they refused to rationalize away. Not the safest method to use. Revealing yourself as a Slayer is not something The Council usually condones, so there are no procedures on how to go about it. And despite Willow and Xander knowing, Buffy never did tell her mother.”
“Do you want to tell her?” he asked.
“If I don’t then I’ll have to break it off and not only do I not want to do that, I can’t think of a good enough reason to give her that she would accept and not pry, thus making it more likely for her to get caught up in this anyway. Assuming she doesn’t end up like Jesse,” she said.
“I hope we avoid that situation for her whether you tell her or not,” said Giles. “As I said, Buffy managed to hide her calling from her mother, but it wasn’t always easy, so I can see why you would prefer not to hide this from someone you’re involved with. Lies in a relationship, even well intentioned ones, tend to make things awkward and difficult.”
“I’m going to see her tonight after training,” said Aura. “If I don’t break up with her, then I’ll bring her by tomorrow after school so you can help corroborate things.”
“Can we make it the next day?” he asked. “Willow’s parents are arriving tomorrow and I need to talk to them about possibly transferring her to a school in a different town to distance her from the painful memories that Sunnydale surely has for her.”
“Fair enough,” replied Aura. “I’ll call The Essence now so we can finish up.”
With that Aura called out mentally though she was certain her Guardian Ghost was close by and heard what she and Mr. Giles talked about.
‘Joe’ quickly showed up within her mind, though this time instead of an endless expanse of white in every direction, he was in Aura’s bedroom. She was dressed just like she was in the Library.
Without a word, she hugged him like before and he didn’t resist her taking control. The transit through the darkness to the Enterprise-D bridge didn’t seem to last as long this time and he hoped that indicated that it would become quicker and easier the more they did it. He really didn’t want there to be much of a delay between his merging with her and her being ready for action. He moved to the Captain’s chair without being told this time.
He spent most of the next 30 minutes trying to pay attention to how Aura was doing in her staking drills as Giles would call out a location at random for her to strike. However, the various Aura Avatars in their mini-skirt uniforms caused his view to wander from the main screen quite a few times.
Finally, Giles called a halt to the training session and told Aura he was pleased with her initial performance. He also told her that he thought she might be ready for a spar against Angel after a couple more training sessions. If she did well against him, then they could arrange a patrol with him and Angel to have her stake her first vampire.
Xander stood up to begin extracting himself from Aura but a restraining hand was placed on his arm.
*Please remain seated,* said the First Officer Avatar. *I wish to talk to you in private about some things before you go.*
It took a moment for Xander to realize that Aura meant she wanted to get to someplace private where she could focus her entire attention on talking with him, not that she thought their conversation wouldn’t be private even with Giles standing nearby.
So he sat back down and enjoyed the ride, so to speak. At least he did until he noticed on the main screen that Aura was entering the Girl’s Locker Room.
Then he started to panic.