Artifacts make the heart grow fonder
Disclaimers: Don’t own BTVS, don’t own the DVC
By: Cousin Mary
The next morning Gechina hadn’t come back. No real surprise there, the Romantic Lit professor had that air that she’d show up again shortly before her next class, rumpled, tired and smiling from ear to ear. Buffy was starting to seriously resent Gechina. As for the Slayer herself, she took a shower, a cold one, while Silas did some sort of mediation/prayer routine in front of the fireplace.
After her skin numbing experience, Buffy tried to finish up her morning routine and brush out her hair, but conditioner didn’t seem to work as well without hot water… Anyway, she’d decided to cool it with Silas, hence the shower, a powerful and uncomfortable reminder that she was on a mission, an important world saving, or at least sister saving, mission that required her complete concentration. And there was no time for smoochies anyway, no matter that they were probably the most knee-melting smoochies of her life.
Silas was a hot and cold running hottie, but he sent out more mixed messages than a blackberry in a blender. For example, he’d spent the last night avoiding looking at her, but when he’d fallen asleep he’d gasped out her name all breathy like at least four times! He’d obviously been having some pretty interesting dreams, but the noises he’d been making had ensured that Buffy hadn’t gotten much sleep herself, and what she'd had had hardly been restful. Then when he’d woken in the morning he’d blushed and refused to look at her until she’d headed up the stairs for her shower, then he’d stared. She’d ignored him. Silas wasn’t ready for anything and she had to stop letting him get to her. If she was cookie dough then he was a bag of flour, sugar and eggs sitting on the counter next to an unheated oven.
There, she’d almost convinced herself that she could keep her hands off him. And that resolve lasted all the way back down the stairs where she found that he’d made her breakfast and was eager to finish so they could go off into the city. His quiet brand of enthusiasm was infectious, even if his coffee was a little on the weak side. He seemed quite pleased with the coffee though, or maybe he was pleased with something else. He’d found new clothes somewhere, that Gechina kept an assortment of men’s clothes for every occasion wasn’t that big of a surprise either, but seeing Silas in dark slacks and a blue/gray silk shirt was making her wonder if he’d notice if she took off for another cold shower.
When they slipped back out onto the walkways of Venice it was into golden light and the scent of the sea. She was glad Silas seemed to know where they were going, because between the tiny alleys and the dozen bridges she was hopelessly lost. Idle speed boats bumped against moorings as barges floated almost silently down the canals. Everywhere there was the sound of motors whirling, water splashing and the constant chatter of a thousand conversations. Venice, for all it’s history, brimmed with life and the here and now. Historical fountains and sites were used as much today as they had been centuries ago.
Silas led her to a church that was hidden away along one of the smaller canals among run down apartment buildings and a huge glassworks factory. Buffy could hear fires burning as they passed and the building itself seemed to radiate heat out onto the sidewalk. The church was the had an almost dingy looking white plaster façade with four windows that were too high for Buffy to look through. Unlike the other churches they’d passed, the double doors weren’t thrown open to welcome in the faithful, instead the place looked almost deserted.
Silas pushed open one of the doors until it gave way with a long, low creak. He left her standing in the doorway, with only a quick look and a lingering hand on the shoulder to tell her he’d be back. Buffy looked around the small space, tiny oil lamps sat seemingly abandoned on low tables that sat against either wall. There was another set of double doors, also closed, that probably led into the main chapel, but out where Buffy’d been left there were just the lamps, the tables and the dirty floor. A small plaque, that was lower than you’d except, explained in Italian, English and what was probably French, that the church had been founded in the tenth century and restored many times. Looking around again, Buffy wasn’t too sure about that. It went on to say that in the eighteenth century the new floor had been added over the elder because of all the plague victims buried inside. Well, wasn’t that pleasant?
Silas slipped back out through a small, hidden door off to the side that Buffy hadn’t noticed. He motioned for her to follow and with one last look at the filthy floor, she did. They went up a rickety staircase which was lit by one of the high windows that let in just barely enough light to make out the ancient, splintering wood and the moths that fluttered in the gloom. Up and up they went, further than Buffy had thought possible in the relatively squat building. When the case came to an end they were in a small room tucked under the rafters. Silas had to hunch over because there wasn’t enough room for him to stand, Buffy could, but just barely and only if she stayed in the middle where the roof peaked. The only light was what crept up through the unevenly spaced floorboards, through which Buffy could see the ordinary, almost plain looking chapel underneath.
Across the way, Silas began ripping into the cardboard boxes that were stacked far back under the roofline. Spiders and a few mice scurried away as he tugged and scraped the large boxes along the floor and out into the relatively bigger center of the… attic, or where ever they were. They smelled musty and when the lids came off they were stuffed with newspapers advertising miniskirts and Volkswagons Beetles.
What followed were some of the strangest objects Buffy’d seen together in one place. Metal objects that weren’t weapons, but rather artifacts that would have made Giles drool…probably, though she assumed Giles would have known what they were for and been suitably impressed. But as it was, when Silas handed her the scepter looking gadget all she could do was hope none of the tarnish got off on her sweater.
He collected a few more items, wrapped them in a burlap sack, she wasn’t sure where he’d been carrying that, and then shoved the mostly empty boxes back where they’d been. Probably not to be seen again for a few more decades if not longer. Then they left. She followed him for a few blocks in silence, still trying to piece things together and ask a half way intelligent question, but all she could really come up with was, “Huh?”
Silas turned back to look at her, his sack of plunder clanging against his back as he did, “Signorina?”
She looked at him, waiting for an explanation, but he just looked back. All still and statue-y. “We just went all Indiana Jones and the Temple of James Bond back there and I’d like to know why.”
His pale brows lowered but he didn’t respond right away. He was possibly thinking of an answer, or possibly trying to figure out how God’s angel was so dense. And normally Buffy would have felt bad, but she was rapidly running out of patience. The Order of Dagon, or whoever was behind the kidnappings and ransacking, had a big head start on them and without any sort of clue what was going on there wasn’t anything she could do. And Slayers needed to do, otherwise they were just Sitters, and there was no way in hell she was going to be Buffy the Sitter!
“Well?” Buffy pointed at the sack, then shoved her thumb back to indicate the church behind them, “What is that stuff and that place?”
“The St. Simone Profeta was once a stronghold against the occult here in Venice,” Silas fidgeted under her gaze, as if unsure what to say, “These objects will help us defend against their forces.”
“Who’s forces?” Buffy was confused.
Once again Silas hesitated, “I-“
“Evil’s forces?” Buffy started to smile despite herself.
Silas’s pale eyes darted away, “I was mistaken, I apologize- I-“
“Hey, hey,” Buffy’s amusement faded and she put her hand on the monk’s arm, “It’s me who should be making with the I’m sorries, I keep forgetting that you aren’t a big ol’ veteran of what goes bump in the night. And I,” She moved her hand to his cheek when he frowned, “And I don’t need you to be. I can take whatever the bad guys send our way, I just need help figuring out who the baddies are, ya know?”
He didn’t look terribly convinced, but at least he didn’t look like he was going to die of embarrassment.
“And hey,” Buffy smiled, holding up her sceptery-hatchet thing, “Maybe this stuff will come in handy anyway. You never know.”
Silas didn’t answer, just led her back through the maze of walkways to Gechina’s.
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