Three Chapters! Yay! All reviews grovellingly appreciated.
She zipped up her hoodie, and settled further down onto the couch, snuggling into the nest of cushions and trying to compose herself for sleep. After last night’s incident she and Xander decided that the best way to deal with the situation was by nature of a controlled experiment. She would go to sleep like normal, although slightly more dressed to save Xander’s blushes. Xander would stay awake and watch to see exactly what happened and film it for both of them and then they would see where they would go from there. It wasn’t the most foolproof of strategies but it was the best plan the two of them had been able to come up with on short notice. So hence the couch.
She covered herself up with the couch throw and started to concentrate on her breathing as a prelude to sleep, conscious of Xander sitting quietly in the corner of the room, camera rolling. She really, really hoped that this worked. The chronicles were suspiciously silent about what the Watchers Council would do to a mad slayer but the very lack of detail didn’t bode well. And she didn’t trust that the fact that it was her would actually stop Giles from taking whatever action he felt was necessary. As head of the Council Giles could be worryingly cold blooded. Almost, she thought with a small smile as she slipped into unconsciousness, as cold blooded as her.
Xander rubbed his eyes, gulping another mouthful of coffee that had gone beyond cold to rancid. Buffy hadn’t stirred since she had fallen asleep around 1am and he was finding it increasingly hard to keep his own eyes open. The house was silent, even the baby slayers long since asleep and he was beginning to wonder if he shouldn’t just give it up as a bad job. It certainly didn’t seem like that there was going to be a repeat of last night’s incident tonight.
Just as he got up as a prelude to turning off the camera there was a sudden movement from the couch that startled him into sitting down again. Buffy was moving, sitting up, head tilted as though hearing a noise, even though the house was quiet. There was an odd abstractness in her movements as though she wasn’t really there, just going through the motions that Xander recognised from the night before. But this time instead of hesitating like last night she went straight to the door that the two of them had earlier heavily reinforced and padlocked and started methodically to try to work her way through it.
Xander winced as super strong muscles and fingers started to rip apart the locks and bolts he had spent hours on earlier. Thankfully she didn’t seem to have considered the possibilities of the windows yet, for which he was grateful. It was a hell of a lot easier to fix a door than to get new glass at four in the morning. Acting on the plan they had discussed earlier he moved closer, being careful not to try and be stealthy or to get in within reach of her heightened reach and reflexes, carrying the camera with him. He could see her profile now and her green eyes were very calm and intent although worryingly empty, the expression on her face almost serene. There was none of the slight desperation from the previous night, rather it was as if she was all about a purpose and the very calmness with which she was attacking the door somehow gave him hope that he wasn’t about to watch his friend descend into madness.
Setting the camera he moved a little closer and attempted an overture.
To his amazement she responded although without taking her focus off of her work and without breaking that strange otherworldly calm.
Encouraged he continued.
“Buff – what are you doing?”
She didn’t look at him but the tone of her voice was distinctly aggravated.
“I’m trying to get out of here.”
“Well, I have to go.”
“Go where, Buffster?”
“I have to find it, of course.” By now she sounded as though she was speaking to an idiot child and despite himself the corners of Xander’s mouth quirked. He’d heard that tone a few times before.
“What’s it, Buff?”
She sighed; her fingers still busy and he bet that if he could have seen her whole face her eyes would have been rolling. It was actually quite funny, obviously even unconscious there were certain personality traits that never really went away.
“It, Xander. You know, the thing.”
She lifted a hand for a moment to wave it in a vague circle in the air.
“The circle thing, the chappy thing. You know, the thing the powers want me to find!”
Xander took a deep breath, relief flooding him. It was just another slayer thing after all. And more to the point one of his oldest friends wasn’t actually going mad. Settling down again he went back to the task of trying to drag more information out of his unwitting associate.
“Where’s the thing Buffy?”
This time he did actually see her roll her eyes. “I don’t know! That’s why I have to go and find it!”
“Okay. Then how are you going to find it?”
“Just am. Feel it inside. It’s dragging me, Xander.” This time she actually turned her head to look at him and he noticed with relief that her expression was starting to lose its wooden quality as the urgency of her purpose bled away as she talked to him.
“Could you find it tomorrow?”
She seemed to consider this and then frowned slightly.
“Then why don’t you go back to bed now and we’ll find it tomorrow, together.”
“Yup. Sure. We’ll find it tomorrow together.”
She frowned a little more and then just like a small child she shrugged her assent and padded back to the couch, burying into the covers and immediately falling deep into slumber again.
Xander sighed in relief. He didn’t think she would be wandering around again tonight but just in case he curled up himself in one of the chairs close by. If she woke up again he would be there, and hopefully in time to stop the door getting destroyed. Again.
“So, that it?”
It was after breakfast and the baby slayers were all off to school or college. The two of them had the house to themselves and they had settled down to watch the tape and to try and glean any scraps of information they could out of it. Buffy had watched it silently, occasionally frowning as her sleeping self did something slightly out of character but otherwise not reacting, even as Xander expanded on his observations. When they had watched it two or three times they sat back and drank their respective coffees, Xander gaze fixed on her face.
“Yup. You didn’t stir for the rest of the night. Slept like a baby.”
“If you don’t mind me saying Buffster, it seems like the Powers are messing with you again.”
Holding up his hands to ward off her glare, he backpedalled defensively. “I’m just saying! At least you don’t have to worry that you are actually going mad.”
She nodded in agreement. That was a seriously huge weight off her mind. Going mad was one of those horrors that had haunted her dreams ever since that time when her parents had committed her to the psychiatric hospital just after she had first been called. But now instead of looming madness she had to worry about this mysterious call and what it was all about.
Since she had heard what Xander had to say and had watched the tape she had felt what her sleeping self had been going on about, a faint, almost unnoticeable pulse inside her, very close to the place where she felt vampires and demons but subtly different. If she hadn’t known it was there she wouldn’t have been able to distinguish it from her general supernatural “pulse” but now she had it was clear and distinct. And it was calling her. Calling out that she had to be elsewhere.
She shifted restlessly, aware of Xander’s inquiring gaze.
“I think that I have to be somewhere.” It came out in a rush but to her surprise Xander didn’t seem even vaguely taken aback. Instead he nodded in agreement.
“I thought you might have to.” He grinned slightly at her nonplussed expression.
“I did have a large part of last night to think about this Buff,” he pointed out gently. “And if the powers are telling you to go and find something so urgently that you sleep walk to find it…well, “ he shrugged “stands to reason that you’ll have to go and find it as soon as you can. Even if it’s just so you can get an uninterrupted night’s sleep.”
They exchanged quick smiles at that before Buffy pushed herself up from the table, indecision over. Already her mind was making lists of what she had to take, who she would have to tell.
“Xander, can you tell Giles and stuff?”
Nodding, the young Watcher, wrapped a hand around his cooling cup of coffee. “Don’t worry. I’ll deal with all that stuff. Just go and do the thing that you have to do.”
She smiled gratefully at him and turned to go upstairs, some part of her already tuning in to the hunt, her body quickening with the urge to go and find the thing. Damn Powers.
She turned back, raising an inquiring eyebrow.
“Be careful, okay? And keep in touch.”
With a nod of acknowledgement she bounded out of the room and Xander shook his head as he recognised the tell tale signs of a Slayer on the hunt. He ‘d be lucky if he got a phone call a week. Sometimes he really hated the way the powers interfered with the women in his life, whether senior or baby slayers. But that was just the way it was.
And with that last muttered comment he went to phone Giles. The Senior Watcher certainly wasn’t going to be happy about this new development.