Ragnos chapter 2 part 2
Important Author's Note
: Just a little note that I feel like I need to put out there: Something I realized when I was about halfway through writing this: I'm in completely virgin territory as far as I know. Nobody else has done the Halloween Jedi thing with Buffy, and to my knowledge, no one has done the Raven thing with Willow, even though it fits her because A) power, B) hidability, and C) giving in to Buffy about her demands, all at the same time (the costume shows off her legs pretty well, since it's practically a swimsuit, and there's a heavy cloak to hide under, more useful than a ghost costume. I'll have Buffy say it herself later.). Not to my knowledge, and not in any detail. Not like Davros' Knights of the Hellmouth or scribbler's Terran Jedi, though Knights is a bunch more in depth about the season after Halloween (for somewhat obvious reasons). And not really without anything really game-changing.
So, I'm in virgin territory, setting out into the unknown, armed with... nothing!
Let's hope I don't screw it up, yeah?
Richard Wilkins the Third (and Second. And First actually) looked up from the tax forms he was filling out. Something had just touched his mind. What, he couldn't tell. Not yet. But it was disturbingly familiar.
He stood and began to pace. Perhaps he'd need to summon a few demons with very ... specific
'Let's hope that the clean-up crew gets every spot this time.' He thought to himself. He didn't want to ruin another pair of shoes so quickly. Twice in 50 years was more than enough, thank you.
Jenny Calendar, Janna Kalderash by birth and clan, froze. She was lucky that she had a class where she could just give them an assignment and leave them to their business for the rest of the period. Otherwise, she would have completely lost track of where she was in her lecture as she tried to reinforce her mental shields to keep out the probing.
And failed miserably for the few seconds it held her before it passed on.
The direction of the wave made it seem like a telepath just coming into their power, which might be driving them insane at the moment. The wave was completely directionless, like it was simply searching out for things to find and bring back home.
But the sheer power of that wave...
She shivered at the thought of what that could do to a person if all that power was directed by a well-trained telepath.
She calmly stood up and left the class before running through the halls, her connections to the mystical giving her directions to the source of the telepathic wave. The library. She began to panic as she pushed in the door, and saw the carnage.
The students and the librarian were on the ground, obviously unconscious and in pain. The books and cards and a few shelves as well all looked like a whirlwind had just passed through. There was a small feminine moan and she was by their side in an instant. It was Buffy. She was looking around, obviously in pain and - were those tears in her eyes?
"Are you alright?"
She looked up at Jenny helplessly, "Is it true, Janna?"
Jenny froze at the mention of her birth name. She couldn't know about that. But given the possibility that the girl somehow knew something, she didn't know how to react, especially since she'd been ordered to keep her identity a secret.
Buffy must have picked up on her internal struggles because she simply asked, "Just tell me, is it true? Did Mr. Enyos send you to watch Angel?"
Slowly, guiltily, Janna nodded. "Yeah, they did."
Instead of the explosive reaction she was expecting, Buffy simply brought the stunned teacher into a hug and began to cry softly. After a moment, Jenny began to awkwardly pat the Slayer's back.
There was a moan from Dawn's body and Jenny brought her attention the the girl in her arms. "They're waking up."
Buffy nodded. After another moment, she sniffed and pulled back a bit. Then she looked up at Jenny with a decidedly hard look to her that Jenny wasn't sure she liked. "I have only one thing to say to you Janna."
Her voice made shivers run down Jenny's spine. "Yes?"
"You break my watcher's heart and I will end you. Got that?"
Janna swallowed. While not what she was expecting (though, she wasn't sure what she had
been expecting in the first place), it was terrifying enough to be taken seriously. She didn't really trust her voice to convey her crystal clarity of understanding rather than her sudden fear, so she nodded instead.
Buffy gave her a look for a few moments, then nodded in approval, and the hard look was gone as suddenly as it had appeared. Now, she just looked tired and in pain.
As each person woke up, they were moved from the floor to the conference table. Once everyone was in a more or less talkative mood, they began to do so.
"What the hell was that?" Xander asked groggily. Just because he was unconscious doesn't mean he can't have that wake-up fog that people get.
Buffy raised her hand guiltily.
They all looked at her, questions on their faces.
Now, she had a dilemma. According to what she'd just gained, Giles had no idea that his old pal Ethan had cooked up a huge bout of chaos magic last night. So, should she tell him and thus worry him, or should she make up a story? And if she made up a story, how would she explain away the fact that she'd just scanned a huge number of minds, gaining the complete memories of a few of them and just bits and pieces of others in just a few short seconds?
Oh well, might as well just tell the truth. Too much trouble to come up with something to explain the fact that she had been telepathic for all of two seconds.
"Well, three nights ago, something happened." She began.
"I thought that Halloween was supposed to be a night off for the uglies that go dust in the night?" Xander asked sarcastically, clearly evident that he remembered the aftermath of the night as well.
"Well, Giles said it was, but something happened, and because of it, I was a telepath for two seconds." Buffy began wracking her brain for something to say because they definitely wouldn't simply accept just that as an explanation. "It's possible that we turned into our costumes on Halloween."
"Wait, I thought you went as a noblewoman from the seventeen-hundreds?" Willow asked, confused.
Wait a second.
Exodus 22:18 "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."
Arthur C. Clark's third law "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
The Salem Witch Trials.
Psionics and ESP from modern fiction.
'If I think about how fast that all went through my head, I'm gonna freak out.' Buffy thought as her now extremely fast mind began to use what it had just thought of and what had been brought up by the others to create a plan. Well, a story in this case.
And while it wasn't exactly the truth of what happened, it would work as an excuse.
"Well, it's not like she would let anyone know about it, even if it rarely happened." She said defensively. "Most people would just assume it to be sorcery, which is bad. If people found out that she was a 'witch', then they'd burn her at the stake." Unfortunate for the good psychics and the white and hedge-witches, but very true.
The truth behind her costume? Some part of her had decided that she couldn't dress up as someone she couldn't respect, and she couldn't respect some useless creature with fewer brain cells and less common sense than your average person, as many people in politics and royalty tend to be on the dramas and soap operas she'd watched during her vapid cheerleader days. So, she had come up with a proper back story that she'd told no one, and based it upon some... interesting views she held due to hearing the term "Dark Jedi". Jedi are the defenders of the universe, and the Sith are just an evil version of them. If there's such a thing as a "Dark Jedi", then there must be such thing as a "Light Sith". And there was a "Sith" species in ancient times, so...
A Sith by species who played at being a Sith by job. There were plenty of memories that had her rubbing her eyes because of the widespread cult where the acolytes called themselves "Jedi". It was pretty popular on some worlds, and had plenty of hooligans in the ranks.
Oh, and they disliked Sith for some reason. Racist bastards.
That wasn't to say that the species didn't have it's bad apples, but they were pretty ignorable usually. Not really worth much effort, especially given just how many there were, like pulling out SWAT to stop muggers.
Oh yeah, and she loved anonymity, which left her predisposed to undercover work, to a point. She disliked assassination, but give her anything else, and you'd swear you were seeing a completely different person.
Buffy shook her head, trying to shake herself back into the present. Woolgathering wasn't usually a good survival trait for a war zone, and by Ragnos' standards, fighting for your life nightly more
than counts as a war zone.
As she patently ignored the fact that her costume had watched as empires rose and fell, friends were born, grew old, and died, while she remained the same for so long. It didn't really occur to her to check, and the reliable Sunnydale Syndrome is oh, so useful when it comes to repressing things that we don't want to deal with..
"I went as my uncle's friend from when he was a black ops. soldier. I could probably field strip an assault rifle if I tried." He said simply. He neglected to mention the nightmares and the other stuff, like the big ring with what looked like water in the middle.
For a moment, Buffy almost asked out loud about his nightmares, but then she caught herself. It wouldn't be a good idea to mention them, not in front of Willow. So she decided to bide her time, and then act like a completely different person and pretend to be a psychologist when he wasn't expecting it. With luck, he won't recognize her.
Thinking of his nightmares and her plans for them brought back the topic of what she remembered from that two-second burst of telepathy that she hadn't expected. Before everyone had passed out, she had gained a full copy of every single memory in the heads of Willow, Xander, Giles and Dawn (and the people they had gone as on Friday), with snatches of the lives of a few others. Like Janna and this guy named Richard Wilkins.
"I went as Starfire." Dawn said. At Giles' confused face, she elaborated ('And go me for using big words!' Buffy thought smugly, completely ignoring every single big word she'd already used in remembering that she'd been a typical California cheerleading teenager before being Called). "Basically, she was a skilled warrior raised in a warrior culture and she basically ignored the nobility of her bloodline because she wanted to be a normal person, especially when she was living on Earth." Dawn gained a thoughtful look on her face. "Though, she had the weirdest taste in food."
"What do you mean by that?" Buffy asked. She already knew, but she wanted to make sure she was right, and that the question would be asked properly.
"Well, sometimes she would drain an entire bottle of mustard."
Buffy did her best to keep a good poker face on while the others began to blanch. Then she asked a follow-up question. "Just Mustard by itself?" She was a bit proud of herself for not laughing just yet.
Dawn nodded. "And it tasted reeeeally good." She said it with a completely straight face. She kept her composure until she looked at the others' faces and busting out laughing. It was just too funny not to laugh. After a moment, Buffy joined in.
When the laughter died down, and Giles had regained his Brit-ly composure after giving his glasses a good polishing, he began looking at a distinctly uncomfortable Willow. Buffy decided to save her from answering. "I'll tell you who she went as since I was the one who insisted. She went as Raven Roth, who was a pretty powerful magic user." She smiled at the redhead who was shooting her an appreciative look. There was a lot of baggage that had come with Raven's personality, and being an introvert like Raven, the two personalities had meshed pretty well. Plus, given Willow's seeming need to gain as much information as possible as fast as possible, she would have examined every memory that she'd just gained. Enough of them were just plain sick and dark enough to make the redhead extremely uncomfortable.
True, there was the demon lore, ritual and magical knowledge, and unarmed combat (and magically enhanced combat) techniques that she'd gained from Raven, there was also the knowledge of Raven's true parentage (half human and half extremely powerful demon lord) and a number of other things that would really bother her, especially since she could probably feel their inner turmoil as if it were her own due to her newly gained empathic ability. Not really all that fun, when you include her own troubles. She'll need help, fast. A strong shoulder to cry on at least, if nothing else.
Then a thoughtful look came over Buffy's face. "You know, if any of Raven is left over after the spell like the soldier is for Xander, then she'll definitely need proper magical training. That way, when the newly gained muscle memories start to kick in, she'll be able to do it correctly and as efficiently as she remembers." This gained her yet another surprised and thankful look from Willow.
About herself though? De Nile was more than just a river in Egypt, it being her best friend at the moment. She definitely didn't want to think about how quickly and efficiently she was thinking, and how much she was thinking as well as the sheer number of plans she had going on in her head.
She needed something to clear it, and fast. Perhaps a form of meditation?
Well, the idea has merit. Especially since her preferred one from 'Erica's memories was also a martial art, made to kill when sped up.
Which reminded her of a memory from Giles' head about a form called Tai Chi. He didn't know it personally, nor had he watched it, but he had heard of it from a coworker. It was used as a method of moving the Chi in Chinese mythology, and to calm the raging energies inside oneself. It was also deadly when used at the proper speed.
Her kind of thing.
She was absentmindedly gathering her personal effects when a thought struck her.
"Idiot!" She muttered before leaving the library without her stuff or an explanation to her friends. She had something slightly
more important at the moment.
And besides, they'll keep just fine. This matter might become explosive.
Cordelia sighed. She had to deal with the Cordettes antics today, and she really didn't feel like it at all. In fact, this morning, she'd caught herself looking for something beige and covering rather than turquoise, which is the current black, and somewhat revealing. Can't get a guy if you can't get him to notice you after all.
Except, she didn't feel that way today. Or yesterday, or the day before.
She felt like she had to be tough. Tough enough to survive, and not because of an acid tongue, or the hairball at the back of her throat (though, that could
be useful at the right moment.). She felt like she needed to be able to kill anyone who tried to hurt her at all.
Damn Ariza for getting into her head! And damn herself for agreeing that the changes because of Halloween were extremely good things!
Not that spending half the weekend in the bathroom like some perpetual drunk had been the best of experiences. It was simply that now that she'd had a moment of truly not being under the Hellmouth's influence, which she could feel
right underneath the school right at this moment, she'd gotten her priorities straight.
In retrospect, she'd needed this for a looong time. The Chases didn't care about her. Their maids and other servants, paid and otherwise, didn't care either. She was a status symbol to them, often an embarrassment and a detraction from their lives.
Matter of fact, Willow and Xander had known more about her and made fun of her for it very efficiently back in fifth grade than what her biological parents knew now!
None of the Cordettes actually cared about her, not really. Partially because she'd been such a bitch to them and partially because popularity was just as cutthroat and uncaring as fashion as a job, which is something Cordelia had been an avid follower of before Halloween, if only because of the socialite and social (and fashion-oriented) leader that she was. Now, she knew it was truly pointless. Nothing had any permanence, and the second that the leader slipped up in any way, second place would take advantage of that and become first.
All those memories of smacking down Harmony because she was comfortable on top of the social pyramid showed that just as well, and how much they'd miss her. They'd probably end up asking her to come back because, well, Harmony as a leader? Heh, get ready for torture. If this was a war zone or something, the 'troops' under Harm would be walking up to the enemy begging for death soon, and that was only because of some of her habits, not her idiocy. That
would take a bit longer to penetrate their minds.
Unless a new leader took her place quickly.
"Are you paying attention to me?" Harmony asked, interrupting her inner musings.
Cordelia coldly raised an eyebrow in typical "Queen C" fashion, silently mocking her as a prelude whilst getting her mind back to the present from its musings on the recent past. "Was there anything of consequence to pay attention to?" She asked the other Cordettes rhetorically. True, insulting her was usually Harris' job, but the social leper wasn't around just yet. It was only the beginning of lunch after all, and they usually come out in a bit.
Not that what she'd felt just a few minutes ago didn't worry her. She just couldn't worry about it yet.
She waited for the bleach blonde to stop sputtering (Yes, her hair was bleached, not natural or bottled. Quite the bit of embarrassment for the cheerleader if anyone ever found out. It was also why she had cradle cap as a kid. Undiluted Bleach tends to eat at your flesh) before responding with her usual orders for her little 'flock' that were designed so that she did as little as humanly possible.
Only today, Harmony was being a little more stubborn. In fact, if Cordelia wasn't mistaken, the blonde was actually chewing her out! What had she gone as on Halloween that would have given this to her? The girl was a sheep! A follower, not a leader!
Cordy only paid half attention to the tirade as it went on, no matter how dangerous such a move could be to her standing in the social pyramid.
Suddenly, Cordy found herself fighting off a grin as Harmony's hair began to stand on end, like a fuzzball with enough static electricity to power a computer for an hour straight. She was getting close to laughter, as her vibrating chest would attest to, when Buffy came barreling in to gasp dramatically (but decidedly genuinely) at what she saw.
"What in the world is up with your hair Harmony?!"
Cordelia couldn't decide if the surprise in Buffy's voice was genuine or faked. When Harmony freaked out and left, she decided it didn't matter. It was pretty funny.
She sat back with a smirk and gave the others a light glower, herding in the sheep, so to speak.
Then she noticed Buffy. The Cordettes had left, but there was something in her face that made her stop and look at her. To notice her.
Was that, guilt?
"What's wrong?" Cordy asked softly.
Buffy was silent, staring off into space. Then, right out of the blue, "Can I take a wild guess and say that you've just had your entire life thrown in your face over the weekend?"
Cordy blinked at that, considered it, and decided she had to answer truthfully. "Yeah."
"Sorry? For both of us?"
"What's bothering you the most?"
"Other than the way I treat my mother? I'd have to say the way I treated Xander like trash. I should've known better, but, hey, former queen of all popularity here." She paused, blinking back what appeared to be tears. "He deserves better than me."
"Yeah." Cordy agreed somberly. This wasn't about being a bitchy drama queen, this was about two people thinking about their lives in a short lapse of sanity. "Who do you think he deserves?"
Buffy was quiet for a moment. "The only person I might be able to think of would be mom, but they're..." She trailed off.
"The wrong age group?" Cordy supplied.
"Well, popularity is useless, and I want to just lie down in a cave and nap in the heat all day long."
Buffy snorted. Then she looked over at Cordelia, nervousness showing all over. "Hey Cordy?"
"Ragnos offered Ariza training."
Cordy froze, thinking it over. "So you were Ragnos?"
Buffy nodded demurely. She also seemed surprised when Queen C just relaxed.
"Well, is the offer still valid?"
That seemed to surprise her even more. She studied the teenaged socialite before she answered. "You're actually considering this, aren't you?"
Cordy just nodded. Ariza would have taken this offer in an instant. She was a very practical sort, and training would be seen as extremely useful. With Ariza in her head, agreeing with the part of her that she kept hidden underneath being the biggest money holding bitch in school, there was no way she, the cheerleader captain, could possibly pass it up.
Plus, demons. 'Nough said.
"Won't be easy."
"Neither is cheerleading."
Buffy nodded. "Amen to that." When she noticed Cordy looking at her oddly, she just shrugged. "You know, we should include Xander in this. Kid's got guts, determination, and an inability to get killed, no matter how stupid he's gotten in the past year."
"Yeah, just look at how he argues with me. Takes guts just to stand up against me, and he does it daily."
They nodded in near unison, and took a few moments to simply enjoy each other's presence.
Then a slow, evil smile began to cross Buffy's face. A face that disturbed the bottle blonde's new student. "Why are you smiling like that?"
"Oh, nothing." She said in a bored tone, her smile not leaving her face. "I'm just thinking how fun it'll be to get you fat."
"I'm not fat!" Cordy shouted, the Queen C persona coming back full blast at the implication that she could possibly be fat.
"I didn't say you were." Voice calm, evil smile still in full force. "I just said that I would make you fat, and that I would have fun." She sidled up to Cordelia, probably knowing full well what kind of effect she was having. "Think about it: Pizza. Huge Subway subs with real mayonnaise. Enough Chinese and potstickers to make your stomach burst!"
Cordelia shuddered at the horrors of seeing all that delicious food in her mind and wanting it, practically needing
it, and knowing that she could never have it.
"Hey, starvation is for wusses. We're gonna be real people now, so we're gonna hav'ta cut back on the not eating thing." The blonde then surprised the cheerleader by pulling her into a hug. "Besides, you're my student. I can't have you fainting from malnutrition, and showing rib bones?" She added a poke to an actually visible rib just above her breasts. "Not hot, no matter what Cosmo says."
Cordelia, for a few futile moments, tried to summon the courage and the arguments that would let her keep some say in things, but soon resigned herself to her fate of becoming fat. After all, the "freak" was actually making sense, too much for either girl's comfort.
And she was her teacher. That kinda made it impossible for her to rebel. Rebellion = loss of teacher = loss of useful skills = death, after all. Plus, she respects her.
So, she settled on a single sentence response that summed up the entire situation. "You're weird."
Buffy giggled. "I know."
A/N: *gigantic sigh* I know, I'm not supposed to do this, but I think I'll make this chapter a 3-parter. Unless you think I've got it all nice and done since I've gotten all the core Scoobies and Cordy (not counting Faith or Tara because they don't count yet. They show up in seasons 3 and 4, we're in season 2. And Joyce has her own part to play, but she's being sneaky.). I think you guys should tell me what you think on if it should be a 3-parter or not, or at the very least tell me what's on your minds about this particular story. Please, hit that little button that says "Add a review", and yell to your heart's content.
Also, can someone give me a private review telling me about the differences of thread counts in bedsheets? I'm kinda curious about them.
And finally, sorry about taking so long to post this. It's been mostly completed like this for a long while, and I haven't really come up with other good things for my other stories just yet. If you want to yell at me for that, then go ahead, but remember that I'm workin' on it.
Also, I don't check the hit counter for my stories (which is partly because I don't know how to translate hits to liking), so unless people actually review, I won't know if people like it!