Title: A Little Sparkle.
Feedback: Give it to me baby, uh huh, uh huh.*turns off the radio and resumes self-respect* Er…yes please.
Summary: When night falls, and the air grows cold, what’s a Slayer to do for warmth? BtVS/HP. Takes place early Season 5.
Notes: Part of the 20 minutes with Buffy challenge on TtH. A little late, I know, but I got all inspire-y .
Disclaimer: Characters presented not owned by me.
The bell over the door of the Magic Box jangled frantically.
“ I finally get why Dracula was so attached to his creepy black cape… Vogue totally
overlooks the value of toasty warmth!” This bizarre statement was meant to serve as an introduction of sorts as Buffy rushed into the store, her cheeks reddened from cold.
“So, what’s the what, guys?”
Xander grinned into his book, not raising his eyes from the page as he replied, “Well Buff, while you were out enjoying your moonlit stroll amongst all things creepy, we lowly peasants have been hard at work. Donuts, fetched by yours truly, are by the register.” At this, Buffy made a beeline for the counter in a blur of colour.
Willow popped up from her position behind the counter, bags of unidentified substances in hand. She half-registered Buffy’s presence with a little wave before taking a deep breath. Buffy grabbed a jelly donut and waited for the onslaught of classic Willow-babble with a grin.
“Xand was all over the donut patrol. Kicked the butt of that donut shop. You’d think with all the deaths and disappearances the donut shop would do deliveries, but no, they want to stay in their little denial land and miss out on increasing their profits by almost twenty percent. Oh! Tara and I found some useful stuff in the Chronicles… well, we think it’s useful, but we gotta get Giles to check cos’ we couldn’t read Ancient Sumerian. But the pictures were very graphic. Did you see Spike anywhere? He was in here before, said he was going hunting.”
With that, she disappeared behind the counter once again, leaving Buffy open-mouthed as she absorbed the information. “Nope, no Spike sightings. Must have gone elsewhere for his daily dose of violence. Hey Tara.” The shy witch had emerged from the supply room with a large jar.
Giles set the book he was engrossed in on the table - where it immediately became lost among the stacks - and looked to his charge, his eyebrows slightly raised. “Anything to report?” Buffy stared at him blankly, her mouth full of donut.
“Nuh-uh. Mfwell hi did schee dese scabby guysh but…” She swallowed and continued. “they didn’t look dangerous…just badly in need of some shampoo and serious concealer.”
“That was seriously
gross. Didn’t your mom teach you to chew?” The statement came from Anya, who was snuggled beside Xander. The ex-demon turned to look at Buffy for the first time. “Xander, have you been lending your clothes to Buffy again?”
“Again?” Xander gave the blonde Slayer the once-over, looking slightly impressed. “Buff, I never knew you had such an eye for fashion.”
Buffy was sure she heard Giles mutter something about cats as shoes being next in line. He looked up to her smirk and quickly changed the subject. Damn Slayer hearing.
“ Perhaps our work on stealth and concealment has been… er…”
“Going over my head?” Buffy smoothed down the cloak-like garment she was wearing, her face stretched in a full-on grin. “Don’t stress Giles, I’ve totally been Attention Girl. Repress your inner English and just say what you’re thinking.”
Giles stared. “You can’t…er… hear
my thoughts, can you?”
Anya rolled her eyes and promptly interrupted. “ Inner English? Please
. Let’s see if I can put this delicately. That coat thing you’re stroking quite erotically is some strange, psychedelic combination of almost everything in Xander’s wardrobe. I’m pretty sure wearing that many colours and fabrics at once is a crime in at least
Buffy blinked, her donut forgotten. “Wow. What’s the blunt version of that, you whack me with a pointy stick as you say it?”
Her hands went to her neck as she unfastened a silver clasp that appeared to be a combination of four animals – a serpent, a lion, a badger, and an eagle. Pulling the garment from her shoulders with an almost-audible sigh, she held it out for inspection as the Scoobies crowded around.
The cloak was long enough to brush the ground when on Buffy, though that wasn’t saying much. It appeared to be made of hundreds of tiny patches, all of which were a different colour and/or fabric. Some of the fabrics were strange – there was one that looked like it was pulsing with fire, another that appeared to be made of some kind of finely spun silk. Very spider-webby.
Willow reached out to cautiously touch a shiny aquamarine patch, pulling her fingers back quickly as she felt a strange current run through her body.
“Neat, huh? This old English guy gave it to me! Said he thought I looked like I could use some sparkle.” Buffy was noticeably enthusiastic, unaware of the glances being shared among her friends. Willow was the first to speak, not wanting to ruin the Slayer’s good mood.
“Did he mean, like, sparks in the literal sense? Buffy, you didn’t just take a demon’s coat without checking for possible electrocution first, did you?”
Buffy stared at her as though she’d grown horns suddenly. Willow was almost tempted to pat her head to make sure. Unconsciously, she did, breathing a sigh of relief when she felt only hair. “Horny-free,” she whispered in relief, prompting strange looks from Anya and Xander.
“Wills, we’ve talked about you and caffeine and the wacky things that happen, right? No, I did not
take a coat from a demon. Blonde, not stupid! Xander, shut your mouth.” He complied, biting back both an Angel remark and a blonde joke. Buffy looked to Giles for support. “ He didn’t come over all demon-y. Just an old, slightly over-jolly English guy with a lifetime’s worth of facial hair.”
happened, Buffy?” Giles had that look in his eye that meant he’d retreated into the massive library that was his brain, checking Buffy’s description against countless pictures and descriptions.
Buffy frowned, thinking as she explained. She had been heading to the Magic Box for the latest monster updates after a quiet patrol – save for those scabby guys – and her senses had gone crazy. “Not in a siren-y demon alert way. It was sort of like the feeling I get when Wills or Xander are trying to sneak up behind me. Warm and fuzzy, I guess.”
Willow squeaked. “I give you fuzzies? Yay me!”
“They’re just friend fuzzies, right Buff? And if Willow ever gives you not-friend-fuzzies, could you maybe wait for me to get there so I can… supervise?” Xander’s statement meant he was suddenly on the receiving end of three glares and Giles’s patented I-didn’t-just-hear-that stare.
“Aaanyway… I turn around and out of nowhere appears this bearded guy. He was holding a tiny little stake, see, and I thought he was maybe hunting vamps too, or he’d lost the marshmallow off the end of his toasting fork.” Buffy wrinkled her nose slightly as she replayed the events in her mind. As soon as she’d thought it, he’d chuckled at her, leaving her to wonder if she’d actually spoken out loud…
***“I don’t blame you for being suspicious of my intentions, Miss Summers. However, you may rest assured I mean no harm. I am not looking for a marshmallow, but for something else I have misplaced. Two charges of mine, if you will. Perhaps, with your superior knowledge of all things supernatural in this delightful town, you will have come across them in your nightly travels.”
Suspicion had quickly been replaced with confusion. Buffy was certain she hadn’t given her name…
“ So how did he know? I mean, he could have known your name from the paper, or from UC Sunnydale or something… but patrolling? Buff, you haven’t been wearing the ‘I’m a Slayer, Ask me how’ badge around campus, have you? It was meant to be a joke!”
Buffy turned incredulous eyes to Willow, who corrected herself hastily. “’Course not. Stupid of me to think it. Continue…”
“ So he whips out this little paper bag…”
***“Care for a lemondrop?” Buffy had just stared at him incredulously. She wasn’t going to take candy from a stranger, to use a cliché, and risk regressing to the age of two or turning blue or something freaky. He seemed to get this fairly quickly, popping a sweet into his mouth and tucking the bag into his cloak. Buffy had been so distracted by the mess of colours and patterns she almost missed his next words.
“Hermione Granger. She’s seventeen, a little taller than you, school uniform, a great deal of brown hair. Not to mention Ginny Weasley – sixteen, with long red hair and a number of freckles. Also in school uniform. If you do happen to see them…”
Buffy had nodded quickly, suddenly aware of the chill in the air. It figured that the one night she hadn’t thought to take a jacket with her, the stupid weather had to turn all winter-y. Before she had been fully aware what was happening, there was a rustle of fabric and the English guy’s cloak had been wrapped around her shoulders, a delicious warmth – along with something else - settling over her body.
“You look like you could use a little sparkle in your life, my dear. Perhaps this will be of use to you. My students… ”
“I’ll definitely let you know.” Buffy had spared a glance at the near-empty street before something occurred to her. “Wait, how am I s’posed to…
“No way! He just went poof?” Willow was staring wide-eyed at Buffy. Beside her, Tara looked deep in thought.
“Well, it was more like a crack, actually. So much for the whole puff-of-smoke myth. But yeah, when I turned around, he was gone. I didn’t even get his name!”
Giles rubbed his temples. Now, it seemed, they had two missing schoolgirls to add to their troubles. Not to mention a stranger who gave out garish clothing and disappeared at will. “Perhaps we should begin searching. These girls may not be aware of the dangers of nighttime Sunnydale. I only hope they have the sense to ask someone for help – a resident for example.”
Xander snorted. “ Right. What kind of sane Sunnydale resident would open their door to a stranger after dark?.” He thought about this for a moment. “Scratch that. I’d say they have a decent chance of getting invited in somewhere… except at Buffy’s house. Joyce isn’t too free with the invites.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow pointedly. “And that’s bad how?” Pause. “Right, so where are we starting? Will, Giles, Xander – we’ll split into teams and search, I guess. Anya and Tara can mind the shop and research our English stranger.”
Anya pouted. “Why does Buffy always make her problems ours? I wasn’t the one who talked to the freaky guy, and now I have to research!” For once, her voice was aimed only at Xander, though Buffy heard and studiously ignored her comments.
“Hey, there’s a label on the cloak!” Willow exclaimed, pointing at the label without actually touching it. Buffy examined it carefully.
“Property of A.P.W.B Dumbledore, Hogwarts School. Wow, that’s a lot of names. Wonder if it says anything on the back?” As Buffy’s fingers touched the label, the spidery writing shimmered and faded under her touch. She drew her hand back in surprise, watching as new letters began to form. “Okay, I didn’t expect an Etch-A-Sketch style label.”
Willow read from the new label. “Property of B.A Summers, Sunnydale, CA. To be used when owner needs a helping hand, or a little sparkle.”
Giles sighed in frustration. “ Buffy, you really do manage to meet the strangest people.”
A/N: Clocked in at 21 minutes, which explains the sudden ending. I was absolutely determined that this was going to be the one and only part when I started writing, but I’m not so sure anymore. What do you think – is it worthy of a sequel?
Feedback is always more than welcome!