Two Blondes and a Redhead: Getting Home
Disclaimer: see previous chapters
“Look,” Willow said firmly, though mostly for her own sake. “We have handled a toad king and all, we can handle this.”
“Of course we can,” Emma agreed equally placidly. “Buffy, while Willow is thinking about our next move, can I have you for backup for the moment?”
“Actually,” Buffy said brightly, “I still have the last spell that Willow cast on me, that whole speaking with animals’ thing, remember? So, if you’d excuse me, there is a woodpecker that I’m going to talk to.”
There was a pause as Emma watched – rather incredulously and nowadays it took a lot to make Emma Frost incredulous – Buffy walk over to a tree and start talking to a bird.
“That’s ridiculous,” she muttered mostly to herself, and grabbed Willow firmly by the hand – Emma wasn’t super strong, her mutations were of a different kind altogether, but then again, Willow was never particularly athletic either – she dragged her over to a side.
Since Willow was deep in thought herself, she did not resist Emma’s new strategy until it was late, if not too late. “What are you doing?” she asked Emma firmly instead.
“Here,” Emma said wryly. “You remember Sandra?”
“Who? Oh, Sandra! The nymph whom we liberated from the toad king?” Willow said, thinking fast. “Yes. Why?”
“Well, because she’s here, in our vicinity, and I would like to know why,” Emma explained, as she pointed to a rather ethereal-looking figure that stood some distance away, half-watching the approaching Emma and Willow and half-watching, with bemusement, Buffy, as the Vampire Slayer in question was actually talking, and following, a bird. (On a somewhat downward path, too.)
“Oh. Oh!” Willow blinked and took another look. “It is you, Sandra! Why? I mean, what’s up?”
“Well, I wanted to thank you, and since you honestly appear to be lost this looks to be my chance to repay you,” the nymph said evenly.
“Would you?” Willow said with evident relief. “That would be really good. Which way to the Watchers’ Council?”
“It’s-“ Sandra paused and abruptly changed the topic: “What is the Vampire Slayer doing, actually?”
Emma and Willow exchanged looks, and walked over, followed by Sandra, to Buffy. The latter was staring at something on the ground and not very happily, either.
“What’s up?” Willow cautiously asked, opting to err on the side of the discretion part of valour.
“Not so much,” Buffy grouchily replied. “The woodpecker brought me to a mouse that brought me to a mole that has dug a straight path to our home for reasons of his own. Sadly, it is just an ordinary sized mole, so his path is a bit on the small side, even for me. Any ideas of your own?”
“Yes. Sandra?” Willow turned to the nymph.
“Fireflies!” the latter yelled and indeed, a swarm of fireflies – or perhaps several swarms - ap-peared around the small group, dispersing the dark.
“Follow them,” Sandra turned to the humans. “They will lead you straight to your home.”
“Thanks,” Willow said gratefully, and the trio sped on their way.* * *
When they arrived at the Council building, however, there was no sign of a confrontation that could have taken place. “Girls and everyone else,” Buffy spoke as she got inside. “Have you seen any self-proclaimed bird mutants-?”
“Yes, they’re in the kitchen, with Faith,” Xander replied languidly. “Apparently she used to babysit them back in Boston or something.”
“Really? That’s good,” Buffy replied sounding almost relieved. “They sounded about as smart as Harmony is, we were worried that they might get into trouble... But what are you so smiling about? They aren’t going out on a date with you, are they?”
“No, they’re too young for my tastes,” Xander confessed, “plus Faith told me that their parents might have views on me dating either of them. No, I am actually grinning because I have figured out what is wrong with Carmelita! Well, not so much wrong as different.”
“Oh? What?” Willow asked as she and the others began to relax after their long run.
“She’s an incarnate golem of some sort, either a human turned into a magical robot or a magical robot turned human – I kind of got confused,” Xander confessed. “The girls think it is sort of romantic, Andrew doesn’t care, and Giles is really more annoyed with him than anything else. That is it. How was your evening?”
Buffy exchanged looks with the others. “The usual,” she said simply. “Got any supper?”
Xander just nodded in reply.