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Lonely Souls

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

Summary: The second (much longer) installment in the Waifs and Strays AU. Covers season 1. Please READ THE SERIES INTRODUCTION!

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Joyce-Centered(Current Donor)vidiconFR1598780,1331571486392,77528 May 115 Jul 14No

A woman of talent

Author’s Note:

 

Thanks very much to my Betas. Letomo and Twilight wanderer.

 

The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello.

 

Speech: “Who’s on first.”

 

Thought: *What’s on second.*

 

Vision: #I-don’t-know’s on third.#

 

 

Glendon created a forum: As soon as I am able to figure out how, I’ll be uploading some background stuff  there, sort of a readers guide.

 

http://waifsandstrays.freeforums.org

 

Thanks to the latest to recommend me:  UntitledAngel

 

The Greatest love of all was written by Linda Creed and Micheal Masser.

 

A whole new world was written by Allen Menken and Tim Rice.

 

Reviews are much appreciated, they inspire me.

 

 

Chapter 45: A woman of talent

 

Willow and Xander looked on as the blonde signed her name on a piece of paper stuck to the message board in the hall. “Harmony? You are going to walk around with the kids on Halloween?” Xander asked in amazement.

 

“Errr…yeah? Aren’t you?”

 

Willow and Xander exchanged glances. “Why would we?”

 

“Y-You’ve got a little sister! Two now!” Harmony looked perplexed and angry. “You’d let them walk around alone? At night?”

 

Xander and Willow exchanged glances. Xander held out his hand. “Can I borrow your pen?”

 

“Sure.” Harmony held it out with a smile. Xander signed first and then Willow. She solemnly gave Harmony her pen back.

 

“I’ll make sure Buffy signs as well.” 

 

Harmony nodded and walked away.

 

Xander looked after her thoughtfully. “There might be just bit more to Harmony than we thought, Wills…”

 

Willow bristled. “J-just because she’s had one good idea…” She wilted at Xander’s look. “Okay, you’re right…but it will take getting used to.”

 

Buffy, Dave and Amy signed up later that day.

 

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Simon looked at the pouting red head on the examination table. She was sitting, swinging her legs and looking put upon, generally acting much younger than her years.

 

“Really Simon, I’m quite alright.“

 

“Nanny…you fell asleep on the way here…”

 

“So I’m a bit tired from travelling. And I admit that I haven’t used magic like that in a very long time. You know magic tires people out.”

 

Simon rolled his eyes. “You need to rest. I’ll take you home, and see you get some food and then after you’ll get some rest.”

 

“Oh, very well.” She said with amused exasperation.

 

Simon sat up on the bed beside her. “Nanny…I worry, okay?”

 

“I know, Simon, I know.” She smiled reassuringly.

 

“Talking about worry…Nanny…”

 

“I’m not moving to a Hellmouth, Simon. I’m staying right where I am.”

 

“Yes, Nanny. Would you consider someone moving in with you?”

 

Danielle sighed. “I’m not taking in a nurse.”

 

“Not a nurse. I was thinking more along the lines of a student. Just to know someone is in the house with you.”

 

“A student? Some youthful party animal who vomits all over the bathroom?” Danielle gave him an arch look.

 

Simon’s eyebrows lifted. “Talking from your own experience here, Nanny?”

 

“Very funny, Simon.” Danielle scowled.

 

“I’ll take you home and let you think about it, shall I?” Simon smirked.

 

“Oh, very well. Let’s go then.”

 

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Ira Rosenberg stood looking at the little pile of pebbles in his hand. He’d picked them up in many of the prettier cities and towns he’d visited. Two pebbles from each place. He knew he didn’t visit enough. Sheila never wanted to come with him. He had recently come to understand why. With gentle, trembling fingers he placed the small stones, one by one, at either end of the grave marker.

 

He traced the letters carved into the stone with a finger and sighed. He knelt and dug up two little sods of grass with his knife, then took some earth from each side of the stone and carefully placed each small handful into a separate wooden box. He replaced the sods of grass and gently tamped them down. The silent tears that ran down his face watered them, but he rose and fetched a small watering can. He watered the grass, emptying the can. He carried it back to the faucet and put it in its place. He returned to the gravesite and placed the two boxes with earth in his bag. He crouched on the wet grass, ignoring the twinges in his knees and ran his hands over the letters again. Then he rose and left.

 

The sun shone down upon the stark carved letters and figures, and left glistening tracks upon the wet grass. Rowan Davida Rosenberg 03-21-1981, Hazel Dannah Rosenberg 03-21-1981. We knew you not, but love you dearly.

 

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Prue Halliwell stormed into the office of Roger Pritchett. “You complete and utter bastard!”

 

Roger looked up from where he was reading a letter. “Is there problem Prudence?”

 

Prue waved a piece of paper in her hand. “This! You bastard! You got the board to assign you to the Bealls exhibition! I negotiated with them to get them to release it for showing and you’re stealing it from me!”

 

“Really Prue. The Board of Directors have merely decided, after taking advice from a senior curator; that an exhibition of such magnitude and importance is beyond your limited ah, experience.” He smiled smugly.

 

“Beyond my limited abilities?” Prue hissed. “And what have you done exactly to bring the collection in?”

 

“That’s hardly important Prue. What is important that the task of organizing this exhibit will go to someone who actually knows what he’s doing. And with the added bonus of being offered the loan of a number of rare pieces by the Meier Foundation for the Arts we can draw in lots of people. The Rembrandts alone are going to make a huge splash, let alone the Vermeers.”

 

“Oh, yes…Did you get the Meier Foundation for the Arts to allow the Museum to exhibit those? I suppose you did.” Prue’s voice was icy. “I suppose you talked and begged and finally got them to agree?” *Ok, I asked him over a cup of tea and he said yes, since they hadn’t been on the West Coast, in like forever, but still…*

 

“Prudence, you are overreacting. You’ll still be working closely with me to organize the exhibition. I will merely be taking over the more intricate parts of the negotiations with the Foundation and the Bealls family. I’m certain there’s a great deal that you can learn.”

 

Prue gave him a contemptuous look. “Roger…I doubt very much that there’s anything you can teach me except for underhanded, evil sneakiness. I’m just glad that I found out about what you are like before we became more serious.”

 

Roger sniffed disdainfully. “Well I can hardly rue that. You’re obviously unbalanced and irrational.”

 

“Well, I’m glad to hear your real opinion of me, Roger. I regret that I’ll be seeing you.”  Prue stomped out of the office and Roger looked after her and sniffed again, before turning, gloating, to the long list of works in the possession of the Meier Foundation for the Arts to see what he could get for the Museum. Prue would come around, he was after all, a good catch and the chance to gain experience while working with him would be too good to pass up.

 

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The five men were locked into separate rooms, cells really, in the basement of the CRD building. They wore white terrycloth pyjamas and soft foam toe slippers. A foam mattress set into the floor, a button that could be pressed to provide a cupful of water, said soft foam cup and a hole in the floor for the disposal of human waste. Cameras in each cell showed what the men were doing. They seemed to be in quiet shock, unable to believe their current situation. Bottley opened a small hatch in the first of the metal doors and looked through the heavy mesh grille.

 

He closed the hatch again and checked the other prisoners. Then he went to the guard post and sat at the table where Clifton and Smith, both recently hired to strengthen the security around the ever growing family, were searching through the bags of material they had lifted from the house the men had been using. The two laptops that had been recovered sat on a separate table, awaiting the magical touch of Willow or one of the company’s techs.

 

“What have we got so far?” The big man asked Hurst who was leaning against the door.

 

“Government agents; or at least the ID’s show they are. Strangely enough they all have ID’s for the CIA, FBI, and the ATF as well as assorted other agencies, including Wildlife…”

 

“Sounds perfectly legitimate to me.” Bottley deadpanned.

 

“We think they’re NID.” Hurst scowled.

 

“I’d tend to agree, considering five is the usual number for an NID strike team.” Bottley eyed the heap of weapons and badges.

 

“Bastards.”

 

“Yeah.” Bottley nodded his agreement.

 

“Call the Doctor? Or wait until after the show.”

 

“Can’t wait, he’ll have to set things in motion. He is not going to be happy.”

 

“Yeah. The shit is going to hit the fan, and it’s going to be frozen and the size of melons.”

 

Bottley chuckled. “Sometimes I think you carry this mangling of figures of speech too far…”

 

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Evy sat looking at the amused faces of her family as Xander, Buffy and Willow, flanked by Amy and Dave, ate rapidly and talked excitedly. Willow seemed torn between apprehension and delight and was bouncing on her chair. Evy shared an occasional bemused look with Kit, who spent most of the meal chattering at Clarice. When they were done eating the group moved into the living room and she leaned into Arlene who hugged her tightly and tucked her under her chin as they settled on the couch. Joyce smiled at Simon who was unusually silent and seemed depressed. She sat on the rest of the chair he was seated on and saw the slight tremble that ran through him. She took his hand and gently led him from the room to the porch, ignoring the amuse looks and the chuckles from the rest of the family.

 

She sat him on the porch and then settled next to him.

 

“Well?”

 

“A group called the NID tried to kidnap Evy this afternoon.”

 

“Arlene mentioned an attack…that would be bad enough, but what’s the NID?”

 

“A very secret government agency whose existence is denied by the government. They’re supposed to be an oversight committee for secret military operations. Regrettably they’ve taken to interfering where they think that things are not going fast enough or where insufficient use is made of available resources that might be used to protect the territorial and political integrity of the USA.” Simon’s face distorted in distaste. “I’ve had dealings with them in my function as Grand Magister…they’ve always wanted to use magic user, ignoring the Treaty of Rouen.”

 

“Ummm…Treaty of Rouen?”

 

“It was signed by almost every nation after the death of Jehanne de Domrémy and certifies that no nation will encourage its magic users, or magical beings to engage in war upon other nations, or use or train them as weapons.”

 

“Ah…Jehanne de Domrémy?”

 

“Joan of Arc…the last Slayer to also be a magic user. Few beings have the sort of power a Slayer-witch would have.”

 

Joyce swallowed. “B-Buffy?”

 

“Is latent…but might break through…Jehanne wasn’t a scion of a great Spirit Line like Buffy is...just a normal witch, she had none of the lineage powers of a spirit user. And probably was considerably less powerful than Buffy would be if she broke through.”   

 

“Oh…”

 

“The Council of Watchers had Jehanne burned because she was too dangerous, according to them. No woman could be allowed to have that sort of power, or to defy the power of the Council. Rupert is in complete agreement we keep this silent.”

 

Joyce’s mouth quirked. “Rupert? I seem to recall you referred to him as that damnable evil Watcher not so long ago…”

 

Simon shrugged. “He’s willing to put Buffy above the Council. That…Bernard did that, but not as much as Rupert seems willing to do.”

 

“Will this NID go after the others?” Joyce said after a moment’s silence.

 

“I doubt it…I thing they went after Evy because they thought she was abandoned, lonely, easy to manipulate.”

 

“Do you think they have others?”

 

“That’s what I tried to find out…I’ve sent the information to Lilith, the Grand Magister and I’ll let her handle the matter.”

 

“And what will we do?”

 

“We’ll keep the would-be kidnappers until a reputable agency comes to get them, or we deliver them. And we protect our children.”

 

“I see…Do we tell them?”

 

“I think we have to…but after tonight. Let them have one more night where they can still think that humans at least will not do them harm.”

 

Joyce snorted. “I think that bit of innocence was lost quite some time ago. But, very well, no reason to make them even more nervous tonight.”  She lightly kissed his lips. “There…now we can honestly say that some kissing was involved.”

 

Simon grinned and grasped her as she rose, drawing her onto his lap. “I think I want a little more than just some kissing…” Her protests were silenced by his lips on hers.

 

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The theatre was buzzing with excitement as the pupils started gathering for the show, changing into their costumes, getting ready to perform. The various musicians were wearing dresses and suits, the animal trainer had donned a fake leopard hide that allowed the world at large to see far too much white, pudgy flesh. The dancers were all in leotards, and though Emily would not be participating she was present to encourage them and to guide the choreography.

 

Both the magician and the ventriloquist had been dropped, the magician for being a (deceased) demon and the ventriloquist due to increasing weakness from his illness.

 

The stand up comedians wore much different things, one a Zoot suit that had seen much better days, the other jeans and a ratty t-shirt.

 

 The singers varied from a slinky designer dress worn by Cordelia that had the males of the group gaping, to a punk rock outfit worn by Jonathan that had them wincing.

 

The New Stratford Players, as Joyce had jokingly called the Slayerettes, were in full medieval regalia. Dave and Xander were looking rather self conscious in the shiny chain and leather armour and velvet and brocade doublets and hose. Completely wrong for the period, as Joyce had pointed out, but it did look good.

 

Joyce stood backstage and grinned at her scowling daughters. Amy stood next to them and all three girls had their arms akimbo. “Okay, so why is it that we, the pretty girls, look ugly, while they the boys are dressed like Errol Flynn?”

 

“Actually Errol Flynn never wore armour, he was more a swashbuckling sort of guy.” Xander pointed out.

 

Buffy waved a hand in dismissal of the argument. “The point is Xander, that next time we get to wear cool dresses and you guys will be in rags.”

 

Xander exchanged a look with Dave. ”Next time?” Dave asked with amusement in his voice.

 

Willow pouted prettily. “You mean you won’t play with me again?”

 

Dave flushed and the others barely held in sniggers. Joyce very carefully kept her face straight, even at the cost of looking unnatural. * Oh dear…she’s going to be hearing that for years…*

 

Willow blushed beet red when she realized exactly what she’d said and how it might be interpreted.

 

“That’s not what I meant, that came out wrong, I meant act, I mean it’s not like we…” She gulped when she saw Joyce’s stony expression.

 

Joyce, seeing her frightened look finally couldn’t hold in a giggle. Willow’s blush deepened even further and Dave groaned. Buffy grinned. “Don’t worry Wills, that’s mom’s ‘I shouldn’t laugh, so I’ll look like a statue face.’ You broke it. Well done.”

 

Willow looked at the floor, still mortified. Joyce sighed and walked to her, took her arm and then gently dragged her to a quiet corner. She threw a remark over her shoulder as she did. “You might consider entering the school play or something like that. And all of you can wear pretty dresses.” She winked at Dave and Xander who both groaned again.

 

Joyce spotted a props chest and sat Willow down on it and leaned against the wall with her arms crossed, looking down. “Well?”

 

“Mom, I swear, Dave and I haven’t done anything but kissing!” Willow was almost panicking.

 

“Really?” Joyce was carefully non committal in her tone and tried desperately to keep her grin of her face.

 

“Well…I may sorta have put my hands under his shirt yesterday, but…” Willow’s blush, which had slightly receded, returned in full force.

 

Joyce smiled. *Hands under his shirt? That’s what causing this blush…Looks like Willow is more talk than action.*  “Willow, you’re a growing girl. But you’re still very young, so I’ll just tell you to be careful and to know what you’re doing and not to let yourself be forced into doing something you don’t want to do. Not that I think Dave will do that, but better safe than sorry.”

 

Willow nodded. “’kay, Mom.”

 

“Good. Let’s get you ready for the play then. You still want to do this?”

 

“Yup. The show must go on.” Willow raised her chin and marched off to face one of her nightmares 

 

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The audience settled in to watch a show to remember. Joyce and Simon sat side by side, with Dawn next to them. Cecilia and James sat on Dawn’s other side, with Cecilia next to Principal Snyder and Danielle on his other side. Patrick and Clarice beyond that. Arlene had stayed home to take care of Kit and Evy. James was carrying a small camera and Patrick had managed to borrow one of the electronic one’s the bodyguards used. The latter were spread around the room, some watching, others filming. A new hire, Anne Devouton, was in charge of keeping the girls safe in the dressing room. Bchenka was Xander’s assigned guard.  

 

One of the singers fell of the stage. One forgot her lines and ran off the stage, sobbing. The tuba player dropped the tuba on her toe when she got up after running out of breath. The really bad trombonist got a laugh and loud applause for launching his slide at Principal Snyder, who managed to dodge the bent copper with amazing agility and a good deal of luck. The band of woodwinds and brass performed creditably. Two of the other singers managed to sing in tune and not fall, stumble or faint. The first stand up comedian fell flat; his material only earning a polite applause when he left the stage. The next two singers performed unmemorable songs in unmemorable ways.

The animal trainer was bitten by the ferret, the rabbit, and the one eyed hamster and scratched by the evil and elusive school cat, which he had caught to ‘spice up’ his act. He received some minor applause and was taken to the school nurse for a tetanus shot.

 

The Ballet group performed very well and were joined on stage by their choreographer and all were loudly applauded.

 

The second stand up comedian managed to put the audience to sleep until the ferret escaped its cage and ran up his trousers, while being chased by its master, much to the amusement of the audience. The yelps and screams continued for quite a while after the curtain fell. The comedian too, was taken to the school nurse.

 

Next up were the Slayerettes.

 

Buffy, Willow and Amy were chanting their final lines in sing song voices, weaving gently on the rhythm of their own words.

 

“Ay, sir, all this is so: but why
Stands Macbeth thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
And show the best of our delights:
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antic round:
That this great king may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.”

 

They let out a final cackle and dropped back through the hatch behind them, on the soft crash pad below.

 

Xander looked around wildly, as if trying to find them.

 

“Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
Stand aye accursed in the calendar!
Come in, without there!”

 

The three girls popped up again and then Dave came out from the wings. They took a short bow and then went off stage. They were followed by loud applause. Once in the wings Willow hugged Dave and kissed him fiercely and with abandon. Then the cloth that formed that part of the wings fell down, revealing the young couple to the entire audience.

 

The auditorium was completely silent for a few seconds. Then a smattering of applause began and a few cat calls. Joyce closed her eyes in sympathy for Willow, who would no doubt be mortified. She saw the very moment the two teens realised they were on display. Being on the front row she could see Willow’s eyes widen. Then Dave swung her into a full Rudolf Valentino kiss, bending her over and seemingly ignoring the audience. After half a minute he drew her back up. Willow looked dazed, and was blushing furiously, but certainly did not seem unhappy and Dave drew her down in a bow with him. Audible over the laughter of the audience was the voice of Principal Snyder addressing Cecilia. “I don’t get it, is it Avant Garde?”

 

Cordelia Chase, standing in the opposite wing, looked at her friend with a smile on her face. “Right Harm, you’re up next.”

 

Harmony blinked. “W-what?”

 

“Harm…I can’t sing. We both know it. You can. You’ve been practicing this song with me for weeks and you’re perfect. You don’t have the silly excuse that you can’t remember the lines, ‘cause I know you know them. I’ll be here in the wings, waiting for you and cheering you on. I’ve got the boards with the text if you really need them, but we both know you don’t. Now, get out there and sing. Show them the real Harmony Kendall.”

 

Harmony was about to protest some more when Cordelia took her hand and led her onto the stage. “As I’m indisposed by the fact I can’t sing, my friend Harmony will sing the song Greatest love of all, and do it much, much better than I ever could. Thank you!” Cordelia signalled the master of music and blithely went off, left stage. Harmony looked confused for a moment, then straightened up and started to sing as the music began.

 

“I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me”

 

The silence in the theatre was a mixture of stunned disbelief and awe. Harmony’s voice was warm, rich and full of life, so utterly unlike her normal speaking voice that it was almost unbelievable. On the second row Eliza Kendall grasped her husband’s hand and both of them had to swallow to keep their tears back. Felicity and Melody each next to one of their parents; leaned into them, tears running down their faces. Her classmates looked at each other, amazement on their faces. Back stage Rupert Giles and Jenny Calendar, wearing dressing gowns over their costumes, were struck speechless.    

 

“And if by chance, that special place 
That you've been dreaming of 
Leads you to a lonely place 
Find your strength in love” 

 

Harmony finished the song and looked serenely into the audience. She bowed slightly and went off, being grabbed into a massive hug by Cordelia. The applause rang out together with cheers and requests for an encore. Back stage the Slayerettes looked at each other.

 

“Harmony can sing?” Xander whispered.

 

“Cordelia admitted someone else is better than she is?” Amy said incredulously.

 

“Harmony can sing?” Willow repeated Xander’s words. “She can actually remember her lines?”

 

Xander grinned. “She can…Looks like we’ll have to adjust our view of her a bit more.”  

 

Buffy merely looked thoughtful. She hadn’t known Harmony for very long and her ideas about the blonde were not nearly as set in stone as her friend’s but she was still surprised. It made her wonder who else was not quite what they seemed.

 

In the audience Simon looked at Joyce and then leaned over and whispered. “You didn’t approve of the way I spoke of Harmony and Cordelia I take it?”

 

Joyce blinked. “Well, I thought you were bit harsh.” Her eyes widened. “I did that?” She squeaked, looking at the stage.

 

Simon chuckled. “Yes…I think you did and you most certainly tore the shells of everyone’s eyes, Harmony and Cordelia included. Did you notice by the way, that Harmony’s parents are here to watch Cordelia, but Cordelia’s own aren’t?”

 

Joyce nodded slowly. “Yes…I had.” They stopped their whispering and turned towards the stage as the curtain rose to reveal the final act, the duet of Rupert Giles and Jenny Calendar.

 

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Rupert and Jenny looked at each other as the curtain fell on Harmony’s song, obscuring the stage between acts. Then they looked on as the scene for their act was set. A backdrop showing a fairy tale representation of an Arab city that had been dug up from the depths of the basement by enthusiastic pupils eager to embarrass their teachers even more. A balcony was wheeled from the rear, newly painted white, to look like a credible representation of an Arabian Nights palace.

 

A large carpet wired to a steel frame was hoisted into the air several feet and a small stepladder was put next to it. Jenny shuddered. “I can’t believe we agreed to this.”

 

“Agreement hardly came into it.”

 

Jenny looked around at the faces of the teenage boys that were watching her with more than a little interest. “R-Rupert? Would you…take yours off first?”

 

Giles was about to make a snappy retort when he saw the honest anxiety on Jenny’s face. “Of course.”

 

With a sigh he took off his robes and put on the final pieces of his costume, the fez. Giles was dressed in patched Arabian trouser and a faded button-less waistcoat that hung open at the front, showing a considerable amount of bare chest and lean muscle. His slipped his feet from the horrendous toe slippers and stood, straight and proud. There was an audible gasp from Harmony.

 

“Oh my God! He’s like totally hot!”

 

Giles blushed to his navel. Jenny grinned, weakly and then slipped off her own robe, revealing the shimmering blue silk ensemble that Joyce Summers had chosen for her. Giles carefully reached out and took the diadem from her clenched hand and placed it upon her tied back hair.

 

There were whispers from all around and Jenny uncomfortably put her hands over her bare midriff. Giles offered his arm and she took it hesitantly, allowing him to lead her to the prop balcony. She climbed the ladder at the back and took up her position. Giles walked to the carpet, mounted the steps and sat on his knees on the carpet. He took a deep breath and looked up at the balcony where Jenny was grasping the balustrade with whitening fingers. He nodded encouragingly and waited to signal Jeffrey at the sound equipment until she gave him a shaky nod in return. Someone scurried to get the steps and the steel cables tautened and the carpet rose a trifle. The curtains lifted as he approached the balcony. There was an appreciative murmur from the audience, whether at the intricate staging or at their apparel, he did not know.

 

On the first row Simon Eyed Joyce, who was grinning wickedly. “Remind me never to get you that angry at me…”

 

He held out his hand and Spoke his first line. “Will you fly with me, princess?”

 

 Jenny eyed him appreciatively and then lithely jumped over the balcony. “Well, I could do worse I suppose.” There was some laughter and Giles glared at her. *That was not in the script. I will get you for that one, Jenny Calendar!*

 

Jenny crossed her arms beneath her breasts, and took a deep breath. It was obvious to Giles that once the curtain was up, all her stage fright ad nervousness was gone. “So. What do ya got?”

 

Giles struggled hard to contain his amusement. In answer he swiftly seized her round the waist with one arm, causing Jenny to let out a small squeal that made the audience laugh. He plumped her down slightly in front and to the side of him and sat down on his knees again.

 

He gestured delicately and the music began. Giles felt the warmth of Jenny’s scantily clad and oh so delectable body and had to rein in a powerful urge to kiss her right there and then. Instead he started the song.

 

“I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride”<br> <br>

He winked at her and let his hand slip around her bare back, causing her to shiver. She glared at him, but managed to make it look smouldering for the audience. They started the chorus together.


“A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming”<br> <br>

Giles fell silent and listened to Jenny’s clear soprano, letting her lead and joining in where needed


“A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I'm way up here
It's crystal clear
That now I'm in a whole new world with you
Now I'm in a whole new world with you

Unbelievable sights
Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky

A whole new world
Don't you dare close your eyes
A hundred thousand things to see
Hold your breath - it gets better
I'm like a shooting star
I've come so far
I can't go back to where I used to be

A whole new world
Every turn a surprise
With new horizons to pursue
Every moment red-letter
I'll chase them anywhere
There's time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you

A whole new world
That's where we'll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me”

 

There were loud cheers, whistles and cat calls, as well as applause and the librarian and the Comp Sci teacher blushed furiously as the curtain went down. Giles took of his street rat fez. “Well, that could have been worse.”

 

“Yeah right. Every boy in this school is going to be leering, lusting and drooling after me from now on.”

 

“Not just the boys.” He thoughtlessly corrected her. Then he flushed and scurried away, leaving her to look after him in some bemusement.

 

He moved past Harmony and jumped, letting out a small scream. He gave Harmony a wide-eyed panicked look and fled. Harmony grinned and held out a hand. Cordelia put in a dollar bill, pouting. “At least tell me what it felt like.”  

 

Jenny gritted her teeth and stepped forward. “Firm, muscular and all mine.” She growled at the two popular girls. Harmony paled and dropped the bills in her haste to flee. Cordelia held out a second, biting her lip, before speaking.

 

“I-I put Harm up to it…If you need to punish someone…” She swallowed and ran after Harmony.

 

Jenny looked after them thoughtfully. The she bent to pick up the notes.  She’d give them to Harmony later. She owed the girl that for clarifying exactly what she thought about Rupert.

 

 

End Note:

 

And there we have the performances finished. I hope you enjoyed it!

 

For clarity, since I've not managed to upload the genealogies, the 21st of march 1981 is Willow's birthday in this AU.

 

Jehanne de Domrémy, also Jehanne d’Arc, Joan of Arc, (January 6th 1412-May 30th 1431), was instrumental in driving the English out of France in the later stages of the Hundred years War, breaking the Siege of Reims and allowing the Dauphin (crown prince) of France to be crowned king. She was betrayed to the English by those who feared her influence, given a highly biased and unfair trial and burned at the stake as a Witch and a heretic. She was exonerated in 1456 and La Pucelle was beatified in 1909 and sanctified in 1920, becoming one of the Patron Saints of France.  In the comics she is a Slayer, I’ve just taken it a step further.

 

The evil and elusive school cat does not appear anywhere in this story before. So no need to look for it. I may feature it again, however, in a similarly important role. Or write a short set along the lines of Culinary Explorations…

 

Rudolf Valentino (May 6, 1895 – August 23, 1926) was a star of the Silver screen, famous for his smouldering looks and kisses. Little old ladies still leave flowers on his grave to this day…
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