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This story is No. 2 in the series "Thru the Gate". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Halloween reveals a few home truths to Buffy.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > General(Moderator)acsFR18514,48654315,6241 Sep 096 Dec 09Yes


Disclaimer: See Part 1.
Word Count: 2,066 (Part 2 of 5)

"Giles! Giles!" Buffy shouted, coming into the library, panic just barely under control. "You need to fix it!"

"Fix what exactly," he asked, coming out of his office carrying several large books.

"This," she said, pulling off the headscarf she'd borrowed from her mother's collection on their way to the library. Fortunately, according to the note she'd left, her mother had taken Dawn out to brunch so she hadn't had to explain the ears to her yet.

"Oh, my!" he mumbled, putting the books down on the checkout counter before stepping closer. "May I?" he asked, holding up his right hand.

"Uh, no," Buffy said, blushing and unable to prevent herself from stepping back from him.

"No?" Giles said, a surprised look crossing his face.

"Nnnot a good idea," Willow stammered, trying to catch her breath as she entered behind her. Unable to not think about how she'd reacted when they'd discovered what happened if someone touched her ears, Buffy didn't have to turn around to know that her friend was blushing an even darker color.

"No?" Giles repeated, looking back and forth between Buffy and Willow.

"They're a 'rogers nose zone'?" Buffy looked over her shoulder at Willow as if in need of help. She probably didn't needed the IQ disguise points the extra cuteness bought her, she thought, since Willow and Giles actually expected intelligent conversation from her, and Xander was exposed to girls with a brain on a daily basis, Cordelia not withstanding, but out of habit she'd intentionally mangled the term Willow had used.

"Erogenous," Willow supplied, turning an even darker red, something Buffy hadn't thought possible. Especially after she'd been so matter of fact discussing it earlier, right before Buffy's almost panic attack.

"Yeah! That," Buffy said triumphantly. "So, keep your tweed covered paws to yourself!"

"Oh, dear," Giles muttered, pulling out his ever present handkerchief and rubbing his glasses. "When did this happen?"

"Woke up like this this morning," Buffy told him. "Went to take off the costume ears from last night..."

"Vulcan ears," Willow added helpfully.

"Went to take them off," Buffy said, smiling at her in thanks before continuing, "Found out they were real," she said, as she reach behind herself without thinking and grabbed Willow's hand before she could touch an ear. She wasn't sure if she should be creeped out or flattered by Willow's sudden compulsion to fondle her ears, but she'd certainly gotten a lot of practice stopping her in the last hour. "Willow!"

"Sorry," she mumbled. "Can't help it."

"Any other changes I should be aware of?" Giles asked, putting his glasses back on and peering at them intently.

"The Hellmouth was giving Arwen-me a migraine," Buffy told him. "Seems to have gone away. I'm just getting the usual evil induced background nausea now."

"Any other physical changes?"

"Not that I've noticed," Buffy said, letting go of Willow's hand. He didn't need to know that her hair really was that blonde now, everywhere. No matter what Willow thought about honesty and full disclosure, certain things were personal.

"She's shorter," Willow said, cautiously stepping around her and leaning against the counter, her hands stuffed into her pockets, away from the new temptation.

"You said I was still the same height," Buffy protested. "We even used your mother's tape measure."

"You were standing on your toes!" Willow told her.

"Was not," Buffy said.

"Were too."

"Not!" Buffy said loudly, stalking over to Willow.

"Were!" Willow said, visibly bracing herself.

"Ladies!" Giles said, raising his voice.

"What?" Buffy asked, turning to him.

"Enough," he told them. "Buffy, calm down."

"Sorry," she murmured. Taking a deep breath, she stepped back. "Calming down."

"It must be a side effect of Ethan's spell," Giles murmured to himself, though not low enough for Buffy to miss.

"You can undo it, right?" Buffy asked. She really didn't want to spend the rest of her life wearing a Mom scarf. Or hiding out from the geeks and nerds with a Spock or elf fetish. And he had somehow stopped Ethan the night before when Arwen-her, Pippi-Willow, and Soldier-Xander were busy protecting him from Spike and his minions, she thought, so he must have some magical ability.

"Did anyone else retain a part of their costume," he asked, pulling a small notebook and pencil out of a pocket.

"Don't know, don't care," Buffy grumbled. "I want my ears back!"

"Willow?" Giles asked.

"I didn't," she said. "Which is a good thing because I couldn't go to high school if I were still Pippi and midterms are in two weeks and I need a good grade to take that class at UC Sunnydale next spring and..."

"Slow down Willow," Buffy said, when she looked like she was going to start hyperventilating. Grabbing her by the arm, Buffy guided her over to a chair at the nearest table. "And breathe."

"Oh, right!" Willow said, flopping gracelessly onto the chair.

"Have either of you talked with Xander this morning?" Giles asked.

"Not me," Buffy said, grabbing the chair next to Willow.

"He said he was skipping today," Willow said, guiltily eyeing Buffy and Giles. "He didn't sound so good."

"Call him," Giles said, pointing at his office. Nodding, she reluctantly stood up and went over to his office, closing the door behind her.

"Is there anything else you need to tell me?" he asked softly.

"That I don't want Willow to know?" she asked. At his nod, she said "Nothing you can help us with. She thinks it's her fault."

"How so?"

"The ears with the costume was her idea," Buffy said.

"What would you have become otherwise?" Giles asked. "And would you have survived the night?"

"Ugh!" Buffy frowned. "The way the spell worked, turning people into some kind of fictional character, I would have been some brainless debutante out of some romance novel. I wouldn't have survived the night like that. It would have been a Buffy buffet for Spike and Drusilla."

"So, you were saved by an ear," Giles said, nodding to himself before writing something in his notebook.

Buffy groaned at the attempted humor. "Giles?"

"Yes?" He looked up from his notes.

"Bad jokes? That's Xander's thing. He doesn't need the competition."

"What?" Giles gave her a puzzled look. Shaking his head, he went back to his notes.

"Well?" Buffy asked impatiently when Willow rejoined them.

"He said he remembers things," Willow said.




"He wasn't too clear. Army food, the smell of gunpowder," she said. "Stuff like that. He didn't really want to talk about it."

"And this made him stay home?" Buffy asked. "There must be something more to it than that. I remember stuff. You remember stuff."

"I don't think it's the same thing," Willow said. "I remember living on a South Sea island with my father the Cannibal King. And Tommy and Annika. You remember living at Imladris and Lothlórien." Willow sighed. "He was a soldier. Who knows what he remembers. We can make him talk later."

"Okay, we'll chase him down after school," Buffy said, pushing Xander's issues to the back of her mind for now. "So, back to my ear problem. Giles?"

"I'll have to look into it," he told them.

"Research?" Willow asked eagerly. "What can I do to help?"

Before Giles could answer her, the first period bell rang.

"Darn," Willow grumbled.

"We can skip," Buffy told her.

"No, we can't," Willow said. "Snyder."

"Snyder," Buffy echoed mournfully. "You'll tell us what you find out, right?" she asked, putting up no resistance as Willow pulled her out of the library.

"Of course," Giles told them.

"Giles?" Buffy called, as she and Willow walked back into the library after school.

"Yes?" he asked, poking his head out of his office.

"Any ideas yet?" she asked dropping her books on the counter.

"Nothing concrete, though I do have a question."

"What?" Buffy asked nervously.

"What color was your hair last night?"

"You mean with the costume?" Buffy hopped up onto the counter. She stayed there for a minute until his glare drove her off. "Black. Why?"

"You kept the ears," he wondered aloud. "I assume you still have them. But not the hair?"

"Yup, still got the pointy ears," Buffy said, patting her scarf before joining Willow at their favorite table. "Not sure what's up with the hair."

"Hmm." Giles stepped back into his office, reappearing a minute later with a small paper bag.

"What's that?" Willow asked.

"I was able to find a spell that should help," Giles told them, taking several small packets out of the bag and placing them on the counter. "These are some of the ingredients."

"It'll change me back?" Buffy asked excitedly.

"No," Giles said. "But it should show us how Ethan's spell changed your appearance. Once we know that, finding a way to reverse the process should be possible."

"When can we do it?" Willow asked.

"It has to be done at midnight in direct moonlight," Giles said.

"The full moon isn't for another week," Willow said, her excitement dissipating.

"Any moonlight will do," he said. "I'll need you both here tonight. The spell won't work otherwise."

"Me?" Willow squeaked. "I've never done any real magic. I've read a couple of your books but..."

Looking back and forth between her confused best friend and her Watcher, it belatedly occurred to Buffy that this was the first time he'd directly involved them in any real magic. Usually all they saw were the results.

"Um, yes, well..." he mumbled. "This spell requires your participation. It isn't very complicated. Even Buffy could do it if she weren't the person it is being done to."

"Hey!" Buffy blurted out at the implied insult. "Why Willow?"

"As I said, it isn't complicated," Giles said, taking off his glasses and nervously cleaning them. "I'll be doing the actual spell itself, but I need Willow to get one of the ingredients."

"Okay," Willow said. "But what about Buffy?"

"She has her own part to play," he told them, slipping on his glasses. "Here." He handed one packet to Buffy and another to Willow. "Don't mix them up."

Buffy sniffed hers, wrinkling her nose at the unfamiliar smells. "What's yours smell like?" she asked Willow, seeing her do the same thing.

"Licorice," Willow told her. "Yours?"

"Not sure. Cedar and sandalwood? Maybe?" They swapped packets. "I like yours better," Buffy said. "Can we trade?"

"No," Giles said firmly, taking back the packets and returning them to the correct girl.

"What do we do with them?" Willow asked.

"Make an infusion," Giles told them. "You need to drink it at least an hour before doing your part. And no makeup. It'll affect the spell."

"A what?" Buffy stared at him.

"It's like tea," Willow said. "We can do it at my house tonight, my parents are at a conference for the rest of the week. Just tell your mother you're sleeping over."

"Okay. So the plan for tonight is to drink the funky tea, get naked, and then meet here," Buffy said. "Yes?"

"Naked?" Willow squeaked.

"No makeup, therefore - naked," Buffy said, ignoring Giles' wince. There was something about the spell he wasn't telling them, she decided, hoping she wouldn't regret whatever it was. But it wasn't like she had a choice. The ears had to go.

"Correct," Giles said, continuing to look uncomfortable. "I'll explain the rest of it when you get here."

"Got it," Buffy said. "Willow, we should probably eat dinner at my house. Mom will agree to the sleep-over easier that way." Picking up her books, she headed towards the doors.

"Okay," Willow said, quickly grabbing her own book bag and following.

"We're back!" Buffy said loudly, entering the library with Willow.

"Good. Here are your instructions," Giles said, handing a small square box to Buffy and an envelope to Willow. "It's almost ten thirty. You'll want to do this somewhere private, in clear view of the moon, at midnight. Follow the instructions to the letter. And bring that back when you're done," he said.

"You couldn't have told us that earlier?" Buffy grumbled. "Any ideas?" she asked, turning to Willow. "It can't be far away."

"Actually, I know the perfect spot," Willow said grabbing Buffy's arm. "Come on. There's just enough time to get there."

"We'll be back!" Buffy said over her shoulder to her bemused watcher.
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