Chapter One: Remember...
BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and his corporate masters. “White Rabbit” was performed by Jefferson Airplane, written by lead singer Grace Slick, and, of course, inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll. For the uninitiated
This is sort of set in pre-season eight comic land, although, as I haven’t actually read any of them, details may well be wrong. It is the sixth story in the We’re lost in music
series, but there is no need to read the stories of this series in order.
If tradition were to be believed, on a clear winter’s night, witches would take to the Scottish Moors and dance around the cairns to be found atop the rolling granite hills, sans-apparel, making offerings to the pagan gods and goddesses. On this particular night, there were indeed witches to be found atop the windswept fell; however, due to what is laughingly called progress, the nude dances of offering had made way for a nylon tent pitched before a camp fire, and bitching about the cold and the lack of modern creature comforts to be found in the middle of nowhere in January.
“Come on, we’re away from the dirt and grime of the city, away from the bustling streets—”
“Away from anything to do.” Dawn was going to sue J.K. Rowling for misrepresentation of the excitement and entertainment level to be found in and around remote Scottish castles.
“—away from the pressures of modern life, away from man’s wound in the side of mother nature—”
“Away from any working cell phone transmitters,” muttered Dawn, flipping shut her handset: so much for hearing how Rhona’s date had gone any time before Monday. What the hell was she thinking when she agreed to go on this hare-brained weekend trip in the middle of winter, even if it was uncommonly mild?
“—and most importantly,” continued Willow unabated, “away from Andrew’s special eight course Burn’s Night haggis dinner and Celtic poetry recital, back in the castle.”
“Okay, you win,” conceded the teenager, finishing the last of the mushrooms with a little more appreciation than before. She’d discovered that a witch-in-training had a certain advantage over your average boy scout when it came to lighting a camp fire, but not when it came to erecting a tent. And Willow hadn’t been any help – there was a time and place for pseudo-zen philosophical responses to requests for assistance from one’s teacher, and putting up a tent on a cold moor in January was neither. By the time it was erected, she was more than ready for something to eat, and having polished off the apparently traditional sausages and baked beans they had brought with them, she’d spotted the cluster of mushrooms growing to the side of their camp, and eagerly begun toasting them over the flame, while Willow expounded the virtues of communing with nature.
“Willow, you know about herbs and stuff, don’t you?”
“Are mushrooms herbs?”
“No, mushrooms are fungi.”
“Not herbs then?”
“No, not herbs.”
“Oh.” Dawn stared off across the wilderness for a few seconds.
“Willow, you know about fungi and stuff, don’t you? Well, not fun guys, obviously because fun girls are more your type of thing, but you know about the mushroom sort of fungi, don’t you?”
Willow was beginning to suspect she knew the one salient fact about these particular fungi.
“And mushrooms are fungi?”
“Do fungi have any magic powers?”
“You could say that some of them do.” Buffy was going to kill her.
“Do these fungi have magic powers?”
“What makes you ask that?”
“Because I’m starting to feel a bit funny. And I’m learning to be a witch. And I thought if a witch was to eat something magical, then that might make her feel funny. And I feel funny. So I think these mushrooms are magic.”
“Plus, there’s the dormouse over there.” Dawn pointed a few feet beyond their fire.
“Dawn, dormice hibernate in the winter.”
“Well, this one isn’t. I don’t think it’s a normal dormouse. They don’t normally talk to you do they?”
“They don’t normally talk to me either. I think. I mean, I don’t spend a lot of time hanging out with dormice, so I’m not sure, but if they did, I think someone would have mentioned it by now.”
Willow suppressed a giggle. Part of her wanted to record this on her cell to play back to Dawn, should the need for blackmail arise at a later date, but a greater part of her said that would just be giving Buffy incriminating evidence.
“You’d think. So what’s it saying?”
“What’s what saying?”
“The one over there.” Willow waved her hand in vaguely the same direction as Dawn had a few moments earlier.
“Oh, that dormouse.”
“Yeah, that one. What’s it saying?”
“‘Feed your head.’ Sounds silly to me. Feed my head? What other part of my body am I going to feed?”
Willow decided that question wasn't best answered. “Well, maybe you should sleep on it.”
“On the dormouse?”
“No, on the question, silly.”
“Mmm, sleep sounds good.” Dawn got up from the fireside and climbed into their tent. Willow waved her hand across the fire, and watched as the flames extinguished themselves, then joined Dawn in the tent. As the embers cooled, the dormouse watched and waited as the two witches fell asleep, before scurrying away. As it did so, a distant snare drum could be heard, faintly beating a complex rhythm in the wind.
Dum dum, d-d-d-dum dum...