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CSI Point of View (IV)

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This story is No. 4 in the series "CSI: Point of View". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Halloween, a night to become something different. What happens when the spell left something lingering like ideas, career paths...? Information not generally known to human CSIs... Part IV

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
CSI > CSI Las VegasLilNezumiFR15631,90621610,26420 Jan 1220 Jan 12Yes

Two

Disclaimer & Warning:  See chapter one.  From here on this will not be repeated.

XSXSXSXS

CH 2

XSXSXSXS


Xander was in the process of analyzing one of the samples that Gil had brought along with him, when Spike came down to the basement.  “Stay back Spike,” he said not even looking at the vampire.  “Some of these fluids are extremely volatile and will react badly if someone of your nature were to come near them.”

Spike stayed well back and asked, “How did you know it was me?”

“I smelled the cigarette smoke,” Xander replied.  “I’ll be done in a few minutes.  I just need quiet for this part.” 

The vampire never moved. He just watched as the young man used a specialized dropper to add a drop of some greenish-yellow fluid, potion really, onto a slide that contained a reddish drop of something that didn’t smell like blood.  The drop landed on the small portion of Gil’s sample.  It hit the substance with a small hiss and a heavy rotten egg sulphur smell.

Xander quickly put the slide under a small fume hood and turned on the fan to extract the foul air.  He was lucky that he had learned to breathe shallowly and through his mouth a long time ago when he was learning to use this particular process.  It wasn’t the first time that the potion, that broke down demonic substances into an easy to analyze sample, had hit them and changed part of its nature into foul vapours.  The vapours had varying effects to the human body too, so he was very careful now.

He made sure that everything was put away in its proper place he finally took the slide out and brought it to an old refrigerator standing in one of the corners of the basement.  He put it into a special tray that had been prepared for such things. 

He could only put one slide on it at a time, but he had various tray sizes on racks in the freezer.  Sometimes there was just no way, that he could chop some of the things that he analyzed to their smallest component.  The largest piece he ever had to analyze had been two by three inch wide and thick, and that in it-self took quite some time to analyze.

Who knew that analyzing a part of that Judge would have been defying the process of analysis,’ Xander thought back to that time, as he looked at that one portion still stored in the freezer.  ‘I better not let Spike know that it’s in here.

He moved away and took off his protective paper-plastic gear.  He put them in a bio-hazard bag, which he would eventually take with him to the morgue to dispose of.  He turned back to the vampire and chuckled at the wrinkling nose that was offended by the smell.

Spike was trying to place the scent for a while, but now that the whelp had added that compound his sense of smell was out of sorts.  “Bloody hell, Pet,” he said teasingly.  “You could warn a bloke if you’re going to break wind.”

“Spike you know very well that it wasn’t me,” Xander said.  “Let’s go up and see if we can pull Gil away from my database.”

“I still can’t believe that you’ve something like that on hand,” Spike said.  “The Watcher’d be green if he ever knew.”

“You know Giles and computers,” Xander said, smirking with the vampire at the shared remembrance of watching Giles lean in frustration over a computer that just wouldn’t cooperate with his search.  It took too much time and that was because the man had never learned to search one word at a time.  He always put in too many search parameters. 

It was only once Willow had shown up that particular night that the information could be extracted.  She swiftly called forth the information in five minutes, much to the man’s irritation.

“Yeah,” Spike said chuckling.  “How’d you meet this bloke anyway?”  He stopped the younger man from explaining about the Halloween night.  “I know about that night, now tell me how you were able to meet the real one.”

“I looked him up on the internet,” Xander said.  “It was enough to know that he existed and I knew about some of the cases that he had worked on prior to his choosing to settle in Las Vegas.” 

They sat down on the living room couch after checking to see that Grissom had come to the same conclusion as Xander.  He was now just surfing the database and looking at the interesting cases that Xander had dealt with and how.  He told them that he’d be out in a few minutes.

“I knew that there were a few cases that he had worked on and that he’d never be able to solve because of the mystical forces involved,” Xander continued to explain.  “I felt bad about it, but there wasn’t much that I could do at the time, until I got a bit older.  Also I wasn’t sure if he was the same person as the one that came out on Halloween.”

“I get that.  What with there being dimensional drift or some’at, eh?” Spike observed and then he asked.  “So then what did you do?”

“That night influenced me in many different ways,” Xander said.  “I felt a growing need to know things.  Most of which was from the knowledge that had been transferred through the exchange, but I needed to know that the information was true.  So I changed a few things, like the courses I took in school.  Got advanced placement in some classes, exempted in others and took some college courses at night to round out some of the missing knowledge.”

He got up and went to get them a couple bottles of Stout from the cupboard.  It was an acquired taste that Xander was surprised that Gil had had and that it had been passed onto him, like the bug-thing.  Spike was startled to see the bottle, but took it in appreciation with a, “Ta, Pet.”

“I was looking for a way to merge that knowledge with some kind of future career,” Xander told him.  “One day I was looking in the local paper, under the employment ads, when there was one that was specifically a night only job.  It was one that I felt I could do.  The coroner’s office was looking for entry level employees who were willing to work nights and didn’t mind a few bloody bodies.  They needed someone to help clean up the bodies and to extract evidence for some of the cases that they had, among other things.”

“With your connections to the Slayer, you must have been a find,” Spike observed.

“Oh, it was more than that,” Xander said.  “I actually had to prove my sincerity in order to work there.  It was a fairly high paying low demand type of job and I was still basically a high school student.  But they quickly appreciated me because I could handle the younger ones and teenagers that found their way onto the slabs.  It was there that I figured out that I could prepare a few of them for burial in such a way that they would not rise from their graves, no matter what mystical influence was around.”

Gil came in to join them and had taken a bottle of Stout too.  Curious, he asked, “They just let you do that?”

“Well...” Xander hedged.  “It has to do with the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ thing that happens in this town.  They knew that things roamed the town, but they just don’t want to acknowledge it.  However the person in charge of the morgue is a half-demon.  He explained that if I did something to any body, that it would always be unseen.  He encouraged it because he tries to do the same most of the time.  He couldn’t convince some of the other human workers that it was necessary to extract the heart of every victim or to fill the empty cavity with garlic and sage or wash the body with holy water.  There is a whole list of things that we have to do and it’s not just to help prevent the bodies from rising from their graves as vampires.  There are loads other reasons to do different things because it depended on how the body died.”

Spike shuddered at that.  There was no way that a vampire would rise if the body of the one turned had gone through any of that process.  They would turn to dust right inside the graves, if a vamp demon even thought about latching onto to such a corpse.

“It was there that I started to collect samples for analysis,” he said to Gil.  He was letting Spike think about what he had said.  The vampire would soon realize that that was what Xander was doing to the humans that their group usually finds during their patrols.  “I needed to make sure that the testing methods were sound and that the potions or powders worked like they were supposed to.”

“Why,” Gil asked.  “Surely after the years that that information has been gathered, it would have proven itself.”

Xander shook his head.  “You need to check out the dates that those books were written.  Some of the ingredients that were used back then don’t exist anymore or else they are extremely rare now or else their name had changed.”  He explained to them that he had to substitute some with the closest type that contained similar properties.  “Sometimes I had to modify a base ingredient to something else because the words didn’t mean the same thing.”

“What do you mean?”  Gil asked.

“Back in the day,” Spike took to answering the question.  “There’s them that called Mercury, ‘flowing silver’, which if Harris had actually used melted silver in whatever he was creating… Well let’s just say that he’d be lucky to still be in the land of the living.”

“That is a good point,” Gil said.  “Words have a way of evolving into completely foreign ones that have a very dissimilar meaning.” 

“That’s why I’m eternally grateful for the memories from you, Gil,” Xander said looking at the man.  Gil was startled at that and was wondering why anyone would want to have his knowledge.  He soon received and explanation.   

“He has a mind full of useful and sometimes not so useful tidbits that would render Giles green with envy,” Xander explained to Spike while the other man listened.  “The bug knowledge alone is very good for me because of the work that I do as an officer of the law and an assistant coroner.”

“You’re a cop!”  Spike exclaimed loudly.  “No bloody way!”

“Way,” Gil said with a cheeky grin.  “I met him at the station last night and he was in his uniform.”

“But the girls?”

“They don’t know,” Xander said.  “I told them that I work at dead-end jobs because I didn’t want them to think that I could help them out when they broke the law.  Besides, I also told them that I didn’t want them to come anywhere I worked because they would distract me from doing my job.”

“You’re just lucky that you’ve never had to respond to a call from them as a cop,” Spike said.

“You know that Willow would spell that cop stupid and that Buffy would do her blond helpless act,” Xander said.  “I’ve a met a few of my fellow officers coming back from one of those calls.”

“You knew,” Spike asked surprised.

Xander snorted, “Of course I knew.  However now that Gil has finished having fun with my database, we need to decide our next course of action.”

“Did you finish analyzing the samples that I brought?”  Grissom asked. 

Xander nodded and said, “There is one that will have to be looked at under a microscope, but we can only do that after it's been in the freezer for twelve hours.”

“Well it's near night now,” Spike said.  “How’s about some sport in town?”

“What do you mean?”  Gil asked wondering just what the vampire had in mind.

Spike looked at Xander and said, “Mayhap a stop at the Watcher’s and then giving a helping hand to the Slayer.”

Xander shrugged and then looked at his Vegas guest.  “What do you think,” he asked.  “Do you want to come along and check out the ‘nightlife’ with us?  You could meet Giles and from there have a look at his books.  They might contain the solution needed to take on the demon that is causing problems in your town.  We’ll need notes in order to make sure that we have everything that we need to dispose of it.”

“So it is a demon?”  Gil asked, hoping that there was still a human facture to his case.

“Yeah,” Xander said.  “If there had been a normal human element to it, the reaction would not have smelled like it did down there.  In fact there wouldn’t have been a reaction at all.  Since it did…”

“Oh, it’s definitely a demon,” Spike said.  “If you hadn’t put that stuff on the slide, I’d have been able to tell you what it was. “ 

He shrugged at Gil’s surprised look.  His sense of smell hadn’t been one of the man’s questions during the night.  In fact the older gent never asked him much about being a vampire, but more about the stuff of the eighteenth century and other things that he may have witnessed in history. 

“Vamps have a good sense of smell and memory.  I remember smelling that particular one some time ago, but since its further back than three years, it does take a bit to recall.  However the kid’s right, it is a demon problem that you have,” he explained.

“Fascinating,” Gil said.  “I wonder if I could ask you some more questions later.”

“Ask me whatever you like,” Spike said.  He didn’t care.  It was obvious to him that the man just wanted to know things.  “I’ll answer you, but then you have to come with us tonight.”

“Why?”  Gil wondered what kind of help he could be.

“You need to read up on the two demon types to figure out how you’re going to take care of your problem,” Spike said.  “Besides Harris here might be called upon to play bait again and that means someone will need to be around that’ll at least know how to patch him up.”

“You would be welcome,” Xander said.  “I wouldn’t mind someone who knows how to use the stuff in that backpack of mine.  Also you know how to handle a handgun, so I can give one that’s souped up special for fights against some of the creatures we might encounter tonight.”

“Will I get a belt like the one from that night,” Gil asked.

“Wot do you mean souped up special?” Spike was curious about any other kind of weapon that Harris had here.

“I have something more appropriate now,” Xander said after a brief pause.  He stood up and walked over to his hall closet and extracted two black tactical vests.  He brought them back and showed them to the others.

“What do you think,” Xander said.  “More pockets, more options and they have that bullet proof component just in case.”  He pulled out a hand gun that was specifically created to hold paintball cartridges and pellets.  “It’s a basic paintball gun in a handgun configuration.  The ammo is made like the paintballs ones, but in this case they are either created from scratch by me or else they normal ones that I soaked in holy water.”

“What about me?  Don’t I deserve a weapon?”  Spike asked.  “Don’t I get a spiffy vest too?”

“Only if you want one,” Xander said, thinking about the vest that he had modified with the vampire in mind.

“Eh?”

“Do you want one?”  Xander asked.  “A vest I mean.  I don’t have a weapon for you because you’re deadly enough on your own and your vampire strength is a factor against the new stuff made nowadays.”

“Point, on the weapon,” Spike said and then he shrugged, looking like it didn’t matter when it did to him.  “If you’ve an extra vest…”

Xander smiled and then went to the closet to pull out another vest. 

This one had reinforced Kevlar in it and a thin layer of something like solid steel, but it was a substance that meshed well with the Kevlar and mystical elements weaved together.  These were located around the heart area, front and back. 

The mystical elements were specifically geared for protection against stake-like objects, wood or metal.  There were additional magics in it that protected the steel against damage in any way, shape or form; fire was one of the first things that came to the human’s mind.  So, it was a vest all right, but not a tactical one. 

“Here you go,” he said.  “Wear it under your shirt and don’t tell Buffy that you have it.”  If he thought that the blond vampire would wear something with a collar, he’d have had one made that protected against attempts at beheading too.

Spike’s eyes widened at that and then he took to examining it further.  He noted the reinforcements and he felt the tingle of the magic in it, but couldn’t tell what it did, other than the fact that it was a blessing type of spell.

Gil had taken that time to look over the contents of the pockets and was please to note that it contained nearly all of the basics he needed to collect samples.  However it did have more pouches and in them he found the potion powders that he recalled using that long ago Halloween night.

“This will do,” Gil said.  He was also testing the handgun.

“It’ll do nicely,” Spike said.  “Thanks Pet.”

“It’s a one of a kind Spike,” Xander said.  “You do know that you’re testing it, right?”

“Yeah,” Spike replied.  “I kinda figured, but that’s all good.”

They sat around coming to a few decisions, one of which was, yes they were going to the Watcher’s place and two they were going to patrol in some part of the town.  They were not sure which until they figured out just what the others would do.

Gil was coming along in order to witness one of those frustrating, but fun nights that he had in his memories and he hoped that nothing was going to happen to tarnish that.  However before they could leave, Xander had them swallow some kind of large pill.

“What’s this for?”  Spike said, looking at it with misgivings.  It didn’t feel like any normal pill.

“That’s to protect you from any stray magics,” Xander said, taking his and swallowing quickly.  He could never do it without shuddering at the reason why he needed it.  It saddened him, but he could only point out to everyone that Willow was using too much magic only so many times.  “You don’t want to be caught under any of Willow’s good intention spells.”

Spike’s eyes widened at that.  “What do you mean?”

“She’ll do things for your own good whether you want her to or not,” Xander said.  “You’ll see the difference as soon as you leave the meeting.  Everyone will not remember if she did spells or not, but you’ll notice her influence on the others.  Oh… try to remember to act normally and somewhat like them.”

“What about the others,” Gil asked concerned.  “Shouldn’t you tell them about this?”

“Anya is immune and keeps it to herself,” Xander said.  “She was a vengeance demon so she just doesn’t care unless it's of use for her own interest.  The others, well I’ve tried to tell them, but they forget too soon and short of something drastic happening to everyone at the same time.  They just don’t want to believe that sweet, innocent Willow would do such a thing.  They’re not all bad spells, it’s just the forget ones and few others that I don’t like.”

“Didn’t think you noticed that about the demon-girl,” Spike said.

“Sure, I noticed,” Xander said.  “I’m not that dense.”

“So I’m learning,” the blond vampire said.  Then he made up his mind and swallowed the damn thing.  ‘Not like something can go too wrong from beneficial magics,’ he thought.  ‘Better to be safe…

Gil had already taken his around the same time as Xander.  He trusted the younger man and he certainly didn’t want to forget anything that he learned this evening.  It wouldn’t be useful to his cases back in Vegas.

XSXSXSXS

They met up with the others at the Magic Box and Xander bringing in a stranger was something that they had never expected.  Gil charmed nearly everyone and he surprised Willow by saying, “It’s nice to see you in the flesh.”

That statement brought forth a whole slew of questions that Gil answered as calmly as possible.  When Spike noticed that the man was no longer able to answer any more questions without giving up information on Xander, he butted in and said, “Oi you lot, what’s the nasty for the night.  I need my fix of blood and before I earn it I gotta kill somethin’ right?”

“Quite right,” Giles said.

“I would like a look at your library, if you don’t mind,” Gil said to the Watcher.  “I find myself curious about the contents and I don’t want to be in your way while you direct them.”

“Hey,” Buffy said.  “No one’s directing anybody here.”

“As you say,” Gil said still looking at Giles.  The man nodded and made a ‘help yourself’ gesture to the books in the room.  “Thank you,” the CSI replied.

“Ah now that is something I miss,” Giles said.

“What,” Gil said wondering if that statement was addressed to him.

“Manners,” Giles replied.  “In this day, teenagers…”  He paused significantly, letting the emotion in his voice do the talking.

“Ah yes,” Gil commiserated with him on that, but then books were calling to him and there wasn’t much more that he could say on that subject.  This was going to be a very rare opportunity for him to actually see real arcane writings and he couldn’t wait. 

He headed to the first shelf and began to pull out one after another gently from the shelf.  He looked at the table of contents and index, read the parts that interested him, that is if he could read the language and then he put them back just as gently.   He looked over the pages, images and the bindings and then put another back, moving onto the next book.  He kept in mind the names of a couple of books that Xander had recommended the look at to help with his situation in Vegas, but he wasn’t going to waste this chance.

Xander was quietly watching the man, making sure that the others never bothered him. 

Dawn was sitting next to Spike showing him the new bullets that Xander had made for her.  She was explaining the effects and how she had been able to take out a few of the bullies that had bothered her and her friend one night when they had gone to the movies.  “These only put them to sleep,” she said. “But it did give us the time to get someone in charge to take over.”

Spike shook his head.  ‘My Bit is protected,’ he thought.  “That’s bloody brilliant,” he told her.  “How’d you practice?”

“Xander took me to a place near the dump,” Dawn said softly, making sure the others never overheard her.  “You know the area with all the huge equipment that’s no longer useful, but they can’t scrap.  Some of them were old carnival rides, so he got them working again and set up a training ground for us Slingers.”

The Slingers is a new fad among her peers.  They were all good shots with the slingshot and they were all trying to get better.  She knew that the place was safe because there was always a cop patrolling nearby even if the place was run by a family of demons and half-demons.  She knew that they were the nice ones.

“He even found some decent people to work the machines,” Dawn explained.  “All the guys my age hang out there and none of the older ones are allowed because they cause too much trouble.  Wanna know something interesting?”

“Spill it,” Spike said, keeping his tone down.

“I heard this from a friend of a friend that the cop that watches the place is actually one of the good ones,” she whispered to him.  “There were some bullies and older kids trying to extort money or something from the people that run the place, but someone called the cop and the cop actually showed up.  He took names, charged the bullies and there wasn’t any trouble after that.  Personally I think the older kids were jealous because all they have is the Bronze or the Mall to go to.”

“Now Bit,” Spike said to her.  “You know that goin’ ta the Bronze ain’t all it’s cracked up ta be.”

“I know, but if I was older then maybe Buffy wouldn’t be such a stick in the mud about the Slingers,” Dawn pouted crossing her arms as her sister loudly said that she didn’t have anyone to look after her baby sister.  “Listen to her, it’s not like I haven’t been on my own before.”

“Yeah, but you were never really on your own and you know it,” Spike said, giving her a look that she knew meant that he had been there.

“I guess,” she sighed.  “Why can’t you babysit me when she’s off doing her Slayer thing?”

“I don’ rightly know,” he said.  “She did want me to look after you once.  Trusted me when the Glorificus thing happened, but now... it’s complicated.”

“I think it’s because he can’t defend you properly,” Xander said, coming into their conversation.  “Not against the human element and there are a lot of bad humans in this town, just as much as there are bad demons.”

“She could always teach me to defend myself,” Dawn complained.

“Dawn,” Buffy said coming over, never liking that her sister seemed closer to the blond vampire.  “We’ve been over this before.  I am the Slayer and it’s my job to do these things.”

“No Buffy,” Dawn retorted.  “It’s your calling and it’s not one that you accepted without complaint, but you chose to fight and once you did then it became your true calling.  A job is a place where you go to earn money.  You’re doing this because you feel you have no choice.  You already died twice and another Slayer was called.  Your ‘job’ as you call it, is really done, but you never listen to what I have to say.  Like the Slingers, this is the fifth time I’ve brought this up here and yet everyone keeps forgetting this and I’m getting tired of bringing it up.”

Buffy had a confused look on her face and said, “This is the first time that I’ve ever heard of this.”

Dawn huffed and got angry.  “It’s not the first time,” she said getting louder.  “It’s also not the first time that I mentioned that I’m part of the Slingers Sharpshooters Club.”

“You knew that I didn’t want you joining that Club until I had a look into it,” Buffy said.  “I don’t even know anything about it.”

“I do,” Xander said getting a surprised look from nearly everyone in the room.  “I checked it out a few months ago and it’s perfectly safe.  It’s run by a respectable family and it was something new for this town.  It was created and aimed specifically for people of Dawn’s age group.  It is better than an video game arcade so I didn’t see anything wrong with it.  Wish I could be a part of it too.”

“Of course you didn’t see anything wrong with it Xander,” Willow said.  “I’ve looked into it too.  Did you know that it was run by demons?”

“Sure,” Xander said.  “They’re a full family clan of Brachan demons, cousins and kids too.  They’re harmless.”

“Do you really believe that?”  Buffy said.  “Xander I can’t believe you.  We hunt demons.”

“Buffy, you’re a ‘Vampire’ Slayer,” Xander said.  “There’s nothing in that title that says demon killer.”

“Brachans are a relatively harmless species of demon,” Giles stated to the group.  “Dawn, may I ask how long you’ve been going there?”

“Three months,” she replied in honesty.

“Three,” Buffy said.  “Where was I?”

“Screwing him,” her little sister pointed to the soldier in the room.  “They tried to shut it down or gain access,” she glared at Riley.  “For some reason it was out of their Jurisdiction, thank God.”

“Riley,” Buffy asked.

“It’s true,” he said.  “We tried to gain access to the park, but you have to be a certain age to be eligible to get in or a family member of the clan that runs it or be a family member of one of the club members to even see into the place.  We tried everything that we could think of.”

“Is there anything useful that you can tell us about this place?”  Giles asked wondering just what the children do there.

“We took Arial photos, film and images of the activities,” the soldier replied.  “The set up is like a carnival with four main training booths and two interior training facilities, which we suspect is set up like those indoor laser parks.  It looks like there are varying levels in each one and the kids are only using slingshots. No guns, no darts, not even those pressure washer hoses that you see at normal carnivals.”

“I think that I’m still going to have to look into it,” Buffy said.  “Something is wrong when we can’t remember why we haven’t been there yet.”

“Do you think magic is a factor?”  Willow asked, knowing full well that it was with regards to their memory, but she was referring to the access to the park.  “I mean with getting access to the park.”

“We certainly think so,” Riley said.  “Whatever the spells are, they’re good, but the kids don’t come to harm in that place and since it’s not really under our purview there’s nothing more that my people can do.”

“Are there spells that affect memory?” Gil asked to group. 

He knew that there was, but being a stranger in the area he knew that he’d be able to pull a few strings to get this situation resolved.  “If there are, is there any way to reverse the effect, that way you’d all know how long you’ve been affected.”

“There are,” Giles said.  He looked around the room and noticed that there were a couple of people not surprised by this statement.  This did make him wonder how long this had been going and who the responsible person could be.  “I’ll get the ingredients and set it up.”

“I’ll help you,” Willow said.

“That’s quite all right,” Giles said.  “I was going to ask our guest to help me out, just in case you’ve been affected too.  This is the first time that you’ve been here, correct?”

“Oh yes,” Gil said, handing two books to Xander to put away.  “I’ll be happy to help you out, I’ll admit to being curious about the spell’s components and...”  His voice faded as he walked to the backrooms with Giles, still asking his questions.  The others in the room were getting uncomfortable about the thought that their minds had been messed with.

Tara had her suspicions, but she didn’t feel that she could do anything about it.  She hoped to the Goddess that she was wrong.

Xander took a look at the books in his hands and then opened them at the appropriate pages related to Gil’s demon trouble.  He showed them to Spike who nodded and pointed to the information in one.

“That’s the one,” he said.  “I remember the smell.  God awful business it was.”

“Thanks,” Xander said.  He stood up to put them away and as he did so, he pulled out the note pad that he always carried around nowadays, a habit from his Police work.  He made a note of the demon and the extermination spell. 

Something that I’ll have to get Giles to help us out on,’ he thought, slipping the note pad into his back pants pocket, only to have it pulled out again by curious fingers.  “Hey, what the...” he said, trying to grab it back from Anya.  “Anya give that back.”

“No,” she said.  “I need to see what you’ve written down.”  She opened it up and then flipped through all of the ‘blank’ pages and then she closed it pitching it at his chest.  “Hmph,” she said.  “One of these I’ll figure out how you’re doing that.”

Xander only shook his head and this time he put the notepad into one of the pockets in his vest that was slightly concealed under one of his old work shirts.  He should have known better than to try and put it away someplace so insecure.

Spike quirked and eyebrow to indicate that he was curious about the notepad, however he knew that the other man wouldn’t be telling him anything while the others were around and closely watching his moves.  He received a head nod to his question and an implication that they would be discussing this later.

Meanwhile the older men were in the back room preparing the spell.  “This is all really fascinating,” Gil said to the Watcher.  “Does this combination of ingredients really work?”

That was the right question because Giles was in his element explaining every component he needed and why.  He then explained that there were spell words and sigils that they needed to write down and then they needed the space to cast the spell.

He turned to look thoughtfully at the door leading to the others.  ‘It would only take a moment to cast it on this building instead of on the individuals separately,’ he thought.  ‘Now where… ah yes the storage room under the main room and there are stairs that lead down to it.

“Follow me,” Giles said to the other man.  “We’re going to cast it under the main chamber of the store.”

In the other room Spike smirked as he tuned into the conversation taking place in the other room.  He changed his expression to one of annoyance, as per his usual demeanour when he was with this particular group of people.

In the room under where the others were, Giles had the CSI making the chalk marks on the ground, following a particular pattern.  It didn’t take more than a few moments and then they sat down, face to face and said the words that would clear the minds of everyone in the building from magics that affected their short-term memories.

Gil had asked to be sure that anyone, specifically Xander not be affected by the spell in such a way that would alter his perception again.  The Watcher explained that it would only affect everyone with regards to spells linked to the Magic Box building only and that it was specifically designed to negate the spells from one specific caster.

The spell would seek out the memories alterations and cancel all spells that are linked to the aura of the one that had cast the spells that seems to have affected their memory.  It took about five minutes from the start to the end of the chant, but that was enough time for everyone to realize how much of their memories had been played with.  

Giles sighed and said, “Xander was right.”

“Pardon,” Gil asked.

“He’s tried to tell me a few times that his friend Willow was accessing too much magic and much too fast,” Giles said.  “I recall trying to speak to her and then the next thing that I recall is that I had spoken to her on the matter, but there were other things in between that were lost.”

“Dawn’s conversations with her sister,” Gil guessed.  “I should think that there are more than just memories coming back too.”

“Yes,” Giles said.  “Come on, this spell completely evaporated the magics that young Willow had done to the others and I’m sure that they will be in shock.”

Sure enough when they returned to the room where the others were, Buffy was crying and leaning against her little sister for support.  It seems that some of her memories were not quite what they should be.  She really regretted not having listened to Xander or Dawn about Willow using too much magic.

Spike was in another corner of the room in full vamp face and staying clear away from Riley.  The only person he allowed near him was Xander, who just sat parked in front of the vampire with a pistol pointed at the soldier.  He was preventing the soldier from attempting anything.

Reilly was looking in hatred at the vampire, “Hostile 17” he kept saying, however for some reason his radio wasn’t working and he couldn’t call for back up.  He was not leaving until that creature was recaptured.  His orders had always been clear.  He didn’t know why he was involved with the girl known as the Slayer and he didn’t like it either.  His superiors were going to put him in the brig for getting involved in this way.

Tara was sitting near Xander too, but only because Spike let her.  She was in tears and her face had such a look of hurt that she wasn’t sure what she should do.  So there she was waiting to see what would happen, but one thing was certain, she’d suggest that they bind the red-haired girl’s magics tightly to prevent this from ever happening again.  She was also going to stop dating her because the trust was... definitely… gone.

Anya was howling with laughter at Willow’s red face and the fact that Xander had handcuffed his best friend in such a way as to prevent her from accessing her bags, books or anything else with which to cast another spell.

“I thought so,” Giles said.  “Anya, I think that will be all for this evening.  We have something else to deal with right now, so our demon troubles will have to wait until tomorrow.”

“Oh, I’m not going anywhere,” Anya said.  “I want to see how this will end.”

“I’m curious too,” Gil said to her.  “How long have you known that this has been going on?  You don’t seem that upset.”

“Natural immunity,” Spike growled out.  “She’s an ex-vengeance demon.”  The others just looked at her and that’s when she realized that maybe she really should be leaving.  She didn’t like the way that the others were looking at her, but she held her ground with her chin defiantly jutted up.

“Why didn’t you tell any of us?”  Giles asked.

“Like you’d have remembered,” Anya said.  “She kept laying spell after spell, it’s a wonder you were able to get any of your memories back.  I thought you were going to do the spell up here.”

“I did it in a secure room and it was a different spell from what I had planned,” Giles said.  “I suspected that something was very wrong and therefore did a spell that removed all magics on the people affected by a particular caster.”

“So now what,” Buffy wanted to know.  She was looking at Riley wondering if any part of their relationship had been real.  The man was pacing back and forth.  He couldn’t even leave the store because Giles had prevented everyone from doing so, until this situation was corrected.

“Well,” Giles sighed.  “We can talk about it.”

“Ah, no,” Spike said, shifting back to his human aspect.  “I’m not sticking around for bloody group therapy with you lot.”

“It is rather pointless at this time,” Giles admitted.  “However I cannot leave her handcuffed to the chair for the rest of the night.”

“H...h...how about a binding spell,” Tara said.  “There are several that exist to confine her magics and at this moment she re… really needs it.”

“T...Tara,” Willow exclaimed.  “Why would you even...”

“You put spells on your friends and on me...”  Tara said, her emotions lending the force to speak without a stutter.  “That’s not how you’re supposed to use magic, not if you want to do good...  Memory spells... bindings of natural abilities... Willow can’t you see?  What you did was wrong and it was very dark magic, corrupt magic.  You’re now trying to correct it by doing more magic and it has to stop.”

“She’s right,” Xander said.  “Willow, my girl, you can’t do magic on people without their knowledge.  It’s not of the good and we’re of the good.  You need to stop, but...”

Willow sighed and then thought about it.  They watched her and noticed that she had come to some decision.  “All right,” she said.  “I promise that I’ll never do that again.  Now, please Xander these cuffs... which I won’t ask why you have them... they’re hurting my wrists.  Do you think that you can let me go now?”

“I’m sorry Willow,” he said walking up to her and petting her hair.  “I think Tara is right.  Your magics need to be bound.”  He pulled out a white blindfold that had been blessed in holy water and a potion that prevented someone with any kind of mage or magic sight to see magic.  He put on her quickly as she struggled to get it off.  He knotted it with a special blessing knot and then turned to Giles and said, “G-man, we need to do this and quickly.”

Giles was surprised that the young man knew what was needed.  He had never seen anything like that, but then he recalled a passage in a book of potions.  It spoke about soaking specific cloths into it and that the potion could turn them into something that could be spelled and strengthened with magic.  He never had much use for those kinds of books.

However... he looked thoughtfully at Xander and wanted to know, “Where did you find such a thing?”

“Uh...,” Xander rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.  “I made it using the steps I found in one of the books that you had.”

“Have,” Giles corrected.  “Right?”

“Had,” Xander said.  “I borrowed it and a couple of others, a few years back.”

“Perhaps it’s time that I get them back,” the man said trying to look stern. “What do you think?”

“They’re tools that you weren’t using and didn’t even miss,” Xander said frankly.  “So I think that I will be keeping them, until you tell me where I can get you some copies.”

“I don’t know that they exist in the human markets,” Giles said and sighed saying.  “After this,” he looked pointedly at Willow.  “I would need to be certain that you are using them correctly.”

“You can check it out some other day,” Xander said.  “We need her bound and bound now.  Quickly would be of the good.”

“He’s right,” Spike said.  “Bint needs to know that magic don’t solve everything.”

Suddenly Riley collapsed to the ground.  Everyone looked in time to see Dawn put away her slingshot.  She looked up and shrugged.  “What,” she said looking all innocent and nearly pulling it off.  “His pacing was getting on my nerves and he was getting too close to Spike.”

“Thanks Bit,” Spike said going up to her and putting his arm around her to give her a hug.  “We’ll have to do some’at about that bloke.  Knows too much about us he does.”

“So you think that that is my fault,” Buffy said.

“I think everythin’s your fault,” Spike replied truthfully.  “You’re the Slayer.  You brought him here and now look what he’s been trying to do the whole time.  Bet he’s reported to his superiors about us already.”

“You’re not perfect Spike,” she said.  “In fact you’re nothing now, so how’s about I put you out of your misery.”

“No thanks,” Spike said.  “I’d rather stick around and continue to make your life miserable, besides the Bit wouldn’t like it.”

“Enough,” Giles said.  “This is not helping with the situation.  First we help Willow, then we’ll deal with Riley, I’m I understood?”

“Loud and clear G-Man,” Xander said.  He tugged Willow’s chair away from the desk. 

Something that had been in the red-head’s lap fell to the floor and when Tara picked them up she turned white and then green.  She ran out of the room and the others could hear her throwing up in the bathroom.

Curious Gil picked up the papers, but not without putting on a pair of rubber gloves.  There was just something about the girl’s reaction that had him worried.  However it was more the contents, rather than anything else on the paper that had upset the shy blond.

He handed them to Giles, who took one glance at them and pursed his lips.  “It’s worse than we thought,” he told everyone else in the room.  “This contains a binding spell that would enthral everyone that she came in contact with, including you Anya.”

“Let me see that,” she said snatching up the paper and reading it.  She was livid at the content.  “I have never once seen this used, but I know someone that had.  It was not something that should ever have remained in this world.  In fact this spell was supposed to have been destroyed.  How did you get your hands on this?”

Willow smirked behind the blind fold and said, “I’ll never tell.”

“You would have died,” Anya said.  “Sacrificing yourself to enthral everyone in this room.”

“That’s not how that spell works,” Willow said laughing evilly.  “This one is slightly different.”

“D…don’t l..let the title fool you,” Tara said coming back into the room.  “She… she could have re-written key phrases on he.. her own.  It ha… had tuh..tuh.. to have beh…beh… been given to her.”

Xander held open his arms to let the trembling girl enter them in an entirely comforting gesture.  She whispered something to him and he grinned as he replied something to her so softly that the others didn’t hear it.  Well, with the exception of one blond vampire and he was never going to repeat that.  It would embarrass the gentle green witch too much, beside he liked her.

“We’ll have to completely seal her magic away,” Giles said.  “With something like this, there is no way that she would never be tempted to do it and whoever did give this to her, will be expecting something to happen soon.”

Xander put Tara on one of the couches near Buffy and Dawn and then he went into a back shelf.  He looked for something that he had seen once a long time ago.  He couldn’t use it, but he knew that Giles needed to see it first.  It was probably a better alternative.  He found the book and walked back to the older man while looking up the passage. 

“G-man,” he said.  “Check this one out.”  He pointed to a particular spell, which cause Giles’ eyebrow to rise.  “We can’t trust her, we agree on that, but what else is she able to do, even if we just bind her magics.  Her words, her actions may convince us to forgive her, but you know the relapse rate, especially if she hasn’t been able to kick magic habit or constantly chooses to never learn control.”

Giles re-read the spell and then double checked the girl.  The younger man was right.  The Watcher sighed because he was feeling his age.  He should have seen or sensed that something like this was happening to the girl, but now he feared that the young man was right.

Gil turned to Xander and said, “That sounds an awful like a drug addiction.”

“Using certain types of magics is an addiction,” Giles said distractedly.  “It depends on your training, inner strength and the type of magic that you’re attracted to.  The darker magics are the ones that promise results in a quick and easy way, but there is a price, usually in blood or sacrifice.  Whereas the white magics or others, more beneficial ones take time and the price is easier to pay.  Most young people don’t have the patience for the better magics.”

Gil turned to Tara and asked, “What magics do you practice?”  She looked startled by that question.  “I’m sorry, but you seem to know about magic, so I’m assuming that you are a magic user too, but you don’t seem anything like that girl or Giles.”

“She’s a Green Witch,” Spike said and this too startled her.  She never thought about the kind of magics that she did or about them falling into some category.  “Green Witches use the earth and natural elements for their magics.  They have no need of complicated words or spell components like the bigger users.”

“I ne… never thought about th...that,” Tara answered Gil.  “I just do what I do because it feels right to me.  The magic had never felt black or white to me.”

“She can see Auras too,” Buffy put in.  “We found that out one time when they figured that I was acting too strange for them.  It turns out that another Slayer, Faith, had done some kind of spell to switch out our souls.  I was in her body for a bit and she was in mine.”  She looked at Tara and said, “If I’ve never thanked you that, please know that I am thankful.  Thank you Tara.”

“You’re welcome,” Tara said softly with a smile.

“So Tara,” Xander came up to her.  “What do you think about this?”  He showed her the spell it was a binding one all right, but it was more than that.  It would take Willow away from Sunnydale and it would have her committed for the rest of her life.

“It’s extreme,” Tara said, slowly thinking about all the spells she felt leaving the others.  “Nec…necessary!”

“Whatever you guys are thinking, you can’t do it,” Willow said.  “You guys need me too much.”

The poor girl isn’t needed by her parents and then forced us to need her because she has access to the magic I no longer can use without being affected by the pull to do more,’ Giles thought and sighed, as he gathered all of the ingredients.  ‘We may eventually need someone of her power, but…’  He felt a hand land on his shoulder.

“I’ll make the necessary calls once it’s done,” Xander said.  He looked at the ingredients and then looked at Giles.  “I’m sorry too.”

XSXSXSXS

There were two medical vans in front of the Magic Box.  One came from the Coroner’s office and one from the Sunnydale Hospital.  Statements were taken and the scene was cordoned off by yellow ‘Crime Scene’ tape.

Statements were taken and once again the luck of ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ was in effect.  The Officers on the scene never noticed what kind of shop it was, other than some new age occult thing.  The group that had been there was just a simple gathering of old high-school friends who met up occasionally to reminisce about the old school that had exploded.

Something had gone terribly wrong and one girl ended up killing another girl’s boyfriend.  It was a total mess.  The cops figured that it was a lover’s spat gone wrong and that the girl responsible was really disturbed. 

The girlfriend was in the corner crying, while her friends gathered around her and were giving her comfort.  It was a good thing that Officer Harris, while not on duty, was actually able to subdue to insane girl and call in for help.

“I think that’s all we need,” said the Detective on the scene.  “The case is pretty open and shut to me, unless you have anything to add Officer Harris.”

“Nah,” Xander said, aware that his friends had heard that statement and that he will be interrogated later.  “I was part of the reunion, yah know.  We were just remembering that day…”

The Detective nodded and then said, “You were there, weren’t you.”

“Yeah,” Xander replied.  “We all were.  That’s why we get together and remember.  It helps us deal.”

“I heard that you took some time off,” the Detective said.  “Come back to us in one piece.”

“I’ll do my best,” Xander replied.  He left the detective and walked over to his friends saying, “They have everything they need.  You guys can go home now.”

“Tara,” Buffy said.  “Why don’t you come over and stay with us for a while?”

“I..I’d like that,” Tara said.

“Let’s go,” Buffy said, leading the distraught girl away and Dawn followed knowing that there was going to be talk about the Slingers group that she was in.  However she knew that once Buffy saw the place with fresh eyes and her trophy score, she’d let her continue to go.

Spike and Gil had left before the final scene occurred.  They didn’t want to explain why a stranger was at a meeting where friends gathered to meet and they didn’t want to explain why another doesn’t seem to exist. 

Anya had left too because she had other plans for the evening and didn’t want to witness what would happen.  Besides she wasn’t there when the school went down, at least that’s what she said.

Giles let Xander take control to make the necessary calls.  It was almost like he was an old pro at it, but when the Detective called him Officer Harris, some things slipped into place.  “How long,” he asked.  “How long have you been a Police Officer?”

Xander smiled and said, “Since I turned eighteen.  I could take all the courses I wanted, but I couldn’t be an Officer officially until I turned eighteen.”

“The dead-end jobs,” Giles probed.  “The ones that the girls complained about you not allowing them to come around.”

“Undercover work,” Xander said.  “It was easy for me to get the jobs and lose the jobs.  I can’t say anything else about those cases.”

“I understand,” Giles said.

“There’s another case that I’m helping out with and I need your opinion on how to handle it,” Xander said and then handed the man a piece of paper.  “Could you please come by tomorrow at this address and bring ‘Gregok’s Demonium’?”

“Why,” ask the Watcher.

“It’s a demon issue,” Xander said and then held up his hand.  “Not in Sunnydale.”

“Very well,” Giles said.  “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Thanks,” Xander said.

XSXSXSXS

TBC…
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