Both Giles and Xander looked up when they heard swearing and laughter coming up the stairs from the floor below.
“Get a move on, ‘B’, it isn’t heavy for a Slayer just awkward. You're the one who said we didn’t need help.” They heard Faith faintly laugh. “I told you it would need two people. We did shift a lot of these suckers while you were at the hospital with ‘X’ next time maybe you’ll listen.”
“All right put that one down and come help.” They heard Buffy groan in reply annoyed at being proven wrong.
Xander grimaced noticing Giles was as well, it seemed they had both come to spot the signs.
“Hold your horses, ‘B’, I’m coming!” was Faith’s comeback.
“Oh dear! That doesn’t sound good. I do believe Buffy’s pre-PMS has started early.” Sighed Giles. “I shall have to find the money for some chocolate, that cereal you bought will not be enough for us to survive given how many of them are now on the same cycle.”
“Yeah!” breathed Xander, “I was really hoping to get through the weekend before dealing with the monthly woe but if Buffster is this bitchy tonight she’ll be in full swing tomorrow night or Sunday at the latest and the others will follow over the next week. Damn! Well at least my gift is telling me we can get some free chocolate at the mall tomorrow. I can see why it thought that was a good idea. They need the chocolate god to offset the misery, we won’t survive them without it.” said Xander ruefully.
“Indeed!” said Giles cleaning his glasses, “Wait a minute! Your gift is actually telling you something as inane as you can get free chocolate at the mall tomorrow?”
“Chocolate is not inane, chocolate is a major food group and my gift seems to agree,” Giles just looked horrified so Xander expanded the explanation. “It’s always found me chocolate even when I was little. The moment I started feeling run down or depressed I’d usually win some chocolate an feel better. If I didn’t win it, I could always hit Uncle Rory for some, although when dad’s drinking picked up I usually ended up having to promise Uncle Rory to share it with mom as dad wouldn’t let it in the house as he had an allergy. Carob just doesn’t give the same reaction.” Sighed Xander with a grimace. “Dad always screamed and ranted every time I bought real chocolate home. I swear I must have been the only kid in Sunnydale whose Uncle taught him to hide chocolate from his parents before they were two. When I found out about the Hellmouth I started noticing the run down feeling always happened when the Hellmouth was playing up and it just got worse until I had some chocolate. It was Uncle Rory who got me onto the Harry Potter books. He gave me the first book in hardcover along with a pile of chocolate for my birthday the year it came out, eventually the books gave me a working idea of why chocolate had always helped when I got hit with the bad mojo or had to deal with the Hellmouth vibes when it was playing up or opening.”
“Good grief, I knew it had some beneficial properties but I don’t think anyone has actually studied it as far as I know. You honestly believe it helps relieve some of the effects of dark Magic?” questioned Giles intrigued by the possibilities.
“I tested it, G-man. Even Buffster fought better after some chocolate whenever the Hellmouth played up. Why do you think I scrounged chocolate the night before the last battle? You didn’t really think I usually have all that chocolate for breakfast, the younger girls were the easiest to convince to have the all chocolate breakfast all I had to mention was Harry Potter and they took it as an excuse to binge their chocoholic tendencies,” smirked Xander. “Given the emanations from the open Hellmouth the other times it briefly opened I knew we’d need the pick up before the battle and I also knew the extra energy couldn’t hurt if my theory was wrong.” Said Xander reasonably.
“I had wondered, chocolate cereal, chocolate pancakes with chocolate sauce and chocolate milk seemed overkill on the chocolate although the potentials seemed to be enjoying it so I didn’t say anything considering what we were headed for quibbling over a chocolate breakfast seemed petty and you did at least include some healthy thing as well.” sighed Giles remembering how many of those laughing chocolate faced potentials from that morning never made it out of the Hellmouth. “Aren’t these Harry Potter books for children, I do not think it wise to take a work of fiction seriously?”
“Giles, I’m the first to admit they are probably crock but the author must have used some really obscure Magical references as research, we need to find out which ones and track them down. I use to help Anya do the stocktaking, so I know the Magic Box’s usual stock as well as you do, I was getting a bit antsy about them after the chocolate played out as real so when the books had stuff that wasn’t on the Magic Box stock list I thought the author got lucky about the chocolate. Then Wesley proved even more stuff in those books were real and it’s getting me wondering is the Wizarding World real or did she just use some obscure Magical references we haven’t discovered yet.”
“I beg your pardon. What did Wesley do?” demanded Giles.
“Faith’s healing potion has 'bubotuber pus' in, that was one of the ingredients I thought made up as I’ve never seen a reference to it in any of the ingredient books we had but it’s a real ingredient. Wesley sent a bottle of it in the ingredient box he sent with the potion recipes. The bottle is actually labelled ‘Pus of the Bubotuber’, Andrew got really excited as the only place I or even Andrew have seen that even mentioned is the Harry Potter books.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that ingredient either, I shall have to look at the recipe Wesley sent, if it is listing unknown ingredients it might not be appropriate,” grimaced Giles.
“Ask Andrew I think he is working out the what and why of what’s real in Harry Potter as a pet project he pulled the ‘bubotuber pus’ listing from a online Harry Potter fan site and said, having it in a healing ointment made sense if the properties listed were right.”
“Oh dear! As if that Charmed monstrosity on TV wasn’t bad enough,” moaned Giles.
“I had Andrew ask Wesley for a CD of the book Faith’s potions came from as they are healing and medical which might come in handy, plus any Magical herbals or ingredient preparation books the evil lawyers had on hand, being Demonic they might have stuff the Watchers never knew about, that way we might track down what references the author was using when she invented her world.”
“Careful, ‘B’, I know these were cheap but there is no need to bash it around,” said Faith.
“They are just so awkward to manoeuvre couldn’t you have found something smaller,” complained Buffy.
“No, I couldn’t, everything else was much more expensive, they cost me eight dollars each, ‘B’, they were the cheapest thing I could find that was useful, ‘X’ can cut each these down into two things, a set of three drawers and a cupboard, they make good storage space, without them you’d be keeping all your stuff in a bag or on the floor for the foreseeable future,” said Faith annoyed at the criticism she knew the cabinets were a good buy.
Giles and Xander watched the two senior Slayers finally carried the cabinet up the final set of stairs.
“Where do you want this, Geekboy? We still have to get the other one you wanted,” called Faith.
“Put that one opposite the stairs. I’m going to use it for storing the files as I copy them, the scanners and printers are coming tomorrow to do the paper copying so we’re not using the one in Giles office all the time as he needs it for his work but we’ll still have to take the blueprints and bigger stuff to get professionally done before we give them back.” called Andrew following them up the stairs with the filing case and a few Wal-Mart bags, Willow trailed behind also loaded down, the bag she carried her Magic stuff in one hand and more Wal-Mart Bags the other. Kennedy was carrying a chair with a big Wal-Mart bag resting on it, if anything Willow looked annoyed.
“Faith! Did you buy out Wal-Mart?” exclaimed Xander taking in all the bulky bags. “Andrew, I suggest putting the cabinet against the wall in the little back room, there’s a hidden desk in there for us to work on.
“Oh! Wow! That’s great,” exclaimed Andrew excitedly heading out there to find the desk.
“Most of it’s the blank CD’s and DVD’s and a few packets of blank video tapes. They were on special so I stocked up, some of the DVD’s and the tapes are mine as I got a combo video and DVD recorder with the TV I bought for my room.” explained Faith, as they started piling the bags onto the nearest bed. “The mini-Slayers said they unpacked the fridge when they brought it up so hopefully it’s ready for the milk she said holding up the large milk bottle she pulled from the bag. The rest of these bags are food and little things for your kitchen she continued showing off the ground coffee, sugar and cookies as well as washing up detergent, a drying rack plus a dish cloth and tea towels before putting it all back and giving it to Buffy to take to the balcony kitchen.”
“The boxes of paper and filing stuff’s still downstairs, not all of it’s for you and Geekboy, I stocked ‘G’s’ office as well so he has paper and a place to file his Watcher finance stuff, we moved all the old Coffee Shop files back into a cabinet in the other office, which cleared the desk draws for ‘G’ to use. The big box Kennedy was carrying on the chair is the entertainment set I bought to stock the kitchen up here. I did real good on that ‘X’ only thirty bucks for a complete kitchen kit-out of crockery, glasses and cutlery.”
Xander groaned. “First of all what made you think we needed a kitchen up here and secondly, what’s an entertainment set?”
“It was a clearance sale of Christmas leftovers. It’s a box with Christmas settings for four people, a set of four each, diner plates, bread and butter plates, bowls, tea cups and saucers, plus a extra four mugs for coffee or hot chocolate it even came with four sets of cutlery to match, four serviette holders and four place mats and four napkins. That was twenty-five bucks which is a bargain as they were over forty last Christmas. The water jug set was extra but even that was only five bucks and has a water jug and six glasses. See thirty bucks was a good price for all of that and it has everything you’ll ever need up here,” said Faith reasonably.
“Good grief, please don’t tell me you bought Santa Claus crockery in June! Even at Christmas they are in bad taste!” exclaimed Giles in horror. “Really Faith, even considering you bought them for the Hawaiian shirt king of Sunnydale High that is too much to contemplate.”
“Nope, gee, ‘G’, even I’m not that bad I do have some taste they’d have to be a heck of a lot cheaper for me to buy anything with the big red one on it even at Christmas time, give me some sense these are nice they were trying for a fourth of July sale from the way they had one set up and all the independence day decorations around it. I got ‘X’ and the Geekboy a green set with the gold and silver twinkly Christmas stars on the plates, the Wal-Mart guy stacking the boxes said everyone bought the red ones last Christmas and the blue ones sold out for independence day even at the old price. The green ones weren’t selling at all that’s why they cut the price for the green ones down to twenty-five trying to get rid of them. The water set sold separately the glasses were fifty cents each and the jug two dollars, five dollars the lot. I went for the snowflake design for that,” she said with a grimace, “The big Santa Claus, Christmas trees and the holly on the others were all barf worthy even at that price.”
“Faith! What the hell! We don’t need a kitchen up here! That’s a waste of money we can easily use the shop stuff.”
“Yes we do!” said Andrew forcefully coming back out, “I gave Faith the money from my Star Wars insurance this way I don’t have to keep going downstairs for coffee and snacks while I’m on the net or accessing the network from up here. Xan, you know I’m a night owl when I get insomnia I’m up all night, I’ll get screamed at if I wake them getting a coffee or a snack.” Andrew finished on a whine.
Xander winced easily seeing that happening as well.
“What else did you get?” sighed Xander watching them lug the cabinet and chair into the small room made by the wall divider, leaving all the Wall-Mart bags on a bed for the time being.
“Just a coffee maker but we already bought that and the microwave up with the big stuff when we did the beds. So they should already be unpacked and set up” shrugged Faith as they came out again, “The fridge was on special, it’s just a small one for milk and a few other things, about halfway between a bar fridge and a small normal size one, the microwave’s small as well. ‘X’ you know it will come in handy and this way I don’t kill him for waking me after I get in from patrol, it’s not as if he’s actually going to be cooking meals up here,” she snorted, “According to the girls all you have is a old wood burning stove and a fireplace and iron kettle too heat water with.”
“The owner was a Witch, Faith. I won’t be surprised if the damn stove is Mojo’d up the wazoo like the rest of the place, I don’t think it’s old either it looks new, the old wood burners have much more decoration from what I looked up on Andrew’s computer after I bought the place.” snorted Xander. The wood stove probably did double duty heating the back balcony none of the balconies are included in the central heating, that’s something I’ll have to compensate for when I insulate the balconies in the other two buildings. Even with insulation they’ll need heated in winter to be useable.”
Faith shrugged, “That just means we have to find a wood supply before winter or you’ll freeze, you do know it needs seasoned wood for those things. Even if we get the school and use the gardens as a supply, we’ll have to cut all the trees and bushes back and store it somewhere it can dry out, if we leave it much longer it will still be usable come winter.”
Giles looked up at that with a frown, “Oh dear! I had forgotten about that, our country home had trouble obtaining suitable wood for the furnace if we didn’t plan the stay well in advance,” sighed Giles. “Another thing Ethan was an expert at cheating on with Magic. He used his wood potion to turn old newspapers into fire wood,” snorted Giles. “Much cheaper than purchasing seasoned wood for the winter and easier to come by given the amount of newspaper that is thrown out daily.”
“Good to know, I’ll have a talk to Ethan about things like that when he turns up Sunday, he may be a bastard but it sounds like he was practical about some things the nearest I’ve come to a fireplace is a barbeque, and I doubt any of the rest of us California Sun babies have either, we need a list of things to do to make a place habitable for the winter we really are going to be depending on people who know what to do in snow country to tell us what to do, that way those of us from sunny, Sunnyhell know what’s needed this winter.” Ordered Xander. “That reminds me we need to check out the Army Surplus that caught fire we might be able so buy some of the damaged parkas and winter gear cheap. As you reminded me, Faith, Cleveland isn’t California. It has things like snow and all that cold wet stuff which we’ll need clothes for not to mention something the Slayers can patrol in this winter, ski gear might be the best option for that it will probably not only have good thermal insulation against the cold but also have movement taken into consideration when they designed them as skiing it is a sport.”
Giles winced imagining the cost of that, only brightening when he realised it could be another reason for the ‘bike’ as Xander called it.
“Sounds good, Boytoy! If you can’t move in clothes, you certainly can’t fight in them but we can research all that later.” She said eagerly pulling a big box out of the bag Kennedy had been carrying on the office chair. “Tell me I did good! I got it all for under thirty dollars, as I said, which is twenty dollars under fifty dollar budget Geekboy gave me for the crockery and cutlery, I used the extra twenty for the tea towels and stuff. And yes, ‘X’, I kept the receipts.” grumbled Faith pulling the boxes out of the big bag Kennedy had been carrying and showing them the side of the entertainment box. “Isn’t it pretty, it isn’t real Christmassy so you and Geekboy can use it all year except for the placemats that are vinyl with a tacky Santa sleigh on but I figured a roll of contact will solve that problem until we find something better, the serviettes are just large paper ones with a Christmas tree stencilled on them so they are easily replaced as well.” She said proud of her shopping skills.
“Good Grief, well at least they aren’t Santa Claus,” said Giles taking in the dark forest green background with the gold and silver stars. “I can see why people preferred the red or blue sets the green background doesn’t really set off the gold and silver making the setting seem dull compared to the way they twinkle on both the red and blue ones in the photo on the box. Still the green looks quite nice even with that flaw and I must admit they are an extremely good buy, at least at the price you quoted.” Giles said rubbing his glasses, “Despite their festive decoration they aren’t gaudy and at least china not something heavier. So yes, given the price they are a good buy and they should do extremely well for everyday use up here and will certainly receive a lot of use whenever we need to make potions, which is an incredibly time consuming process on occasion, I dare say being able to obtain refreshment so easily will be a godsend.”
“You’re right, G-man, they are a good buy!” said Xander gazing at them thoughtfully, “I wouldn’t mind getting some for the school at that price, special dinners should be dressed up and it isn’t as if we can afford gold plates like at Hogwarts,” he said, looking up and smirking at Willow watching her turn red at the Harry Potter reference, Willow was just too easy sometimes and the game Dawnie and the younger Slayers thought up of referring things to the HP universe was fun and got a reaction from Wills every time. “What do you think, G-man, another twenty-four boxes to bring it up to a hundred setting? Or should we go for more?” he frowned thoughtfully they really needed to get numbers of what to expect would a hundred setting be enough.
“Alexander LaVelle Harris! Another twenty-four entertainment sets will cost almost six hundred dollars even at that price, that’s too ruddy much!” growled Giles. “And that isn’t even mentioning the extra hundred for the water sets!” he growled.
“No it isn’t!” objected Andrew. “Holidays should be celebrated and Xander’s right we can’t afford gold but these are nice. Xander tell him! We’re going to have snow this Christmas,” he whined, “We’ll have a real snowy Christmas this year. Please, Xander! I’ll even pay Faith back later from my scratch win, the school needs at least a hundred setting,” begged Andrew.
“Bloody Hell!” moaned Giles in horror. “Andrew, Slayers break things, I doubt the settings will last more than a few years at most.” Giles attempted logic in an effort to curb this insanity.
“If I can spell my Star Wars cups so Tucker couldn’t break them even when he threw them against the wall, I can spell these so Slayers can’t as well,” said Andrew stubbornly he wanted a traditional Christmas dinner with all the decorations now that he was going to have snow, Giles couldn’t stop him spending his money if he wanted to.
“I don’t think they have that many left at the Wal-Mart we go to,” mused Faith in contemplation. “They might have some more out back but I doubt they will have that many Geekboy.”
“Oh!” said Andrew deflating.
“We can still ask and if not they might be able to get some from other stores for us since we are buying so many.” placated Xander, which brightened Andrew’s mood immensely.
“If Giles is going to help make potions we better get an electric jug when we go, he won’t be able to make tea up here without one unless he wants to light the fire for the kettle the Witch used.” Said Andrew in contemplation. “Xan, I think she was a Wand Witch! She seems to have things a Witch like that would have, the knitting needles and a fireplace, even the clothing are the right style, it would certainly explain all the Wizard space she used.” said Andrew eagerly.
“The Harry Potter books are fiction, Andrew. How many times must I tell you that, fiction means not real.” Groaned Willow. “Besides the Magic in those book is ridiculous, stick to Sci-Fi at least it’s more believable, I’m starting to hate Harry Potter; Xander, the mini-Slayers and Dawn demanded I check the sewing machine tonight, so they can sew up the hems on those long dresses you found. They want to wear them to the mall tomorrow as the new Harry Potter book is arriving, they even got wooden chopsticks to use as wands.” growled Willow she was heartily sick of Harry Potter.
“Calm down, Willow, although I have only heard of the books second hand, mainly from the babbling of the younger Slayers discussion of the contents each time we stopped for a break on our trip here, I do not think the entire worlds seeming obsession with those books will cause trouble on a Magical level, the Wizards and Witches described in the series have internal Magic which is almost unheard of amongst humans. In my opinion their obsession is quite harmless if annoying to those around them. The TV series Charmed shall do much more damage as it is teaching Magic through chanting, spell work and potion use, which you must admit is much closer to the Magecraft we make use of, as I told Xander I fear we shall have a spectacular rise in Magic users in the coming decade due to that TV show. The Harry Potter books on the other hand seem to be harmless fun as the Magic can’t be duplicated. And yes, Andrew, Xander, has informed me of the references to obscure Magical herbs and their properties in the books. We really only need to start worrying if the actual potion making instructions are written in the books as that might correspond to our Magic. If we are lucky most of the budding Witches will try to relate to the Harry Potter Magic and attempt to draw on internal Magic the best that will produce is a Shaman able to do low level wards and a few herbal potions. It is the ones who try to emulate that infernal Charmed series we shall have to look out for it is much to easy to relate it to any of the high level Magic’s and the instruction books you can easy find if you actually look with intent to learn. Any other problems? I did notice you brought your work bag with you.” asked Giles trying to calm her down.
She nodded understanding the point Giles was trying to make even if she didn’t agree with him, sure the Harry Potter books might be harmless on a Magical level but Giles didn’t have to listen to the mini-Slayers constantly making giggling Harry Potter references, she really wanted to kill Xander for remembering to save his Harry Potter books along with his Babylon Five collector plates. That she could have dealt with as Xander was a long time fan of the books due to his Uncle Rory giving him the first book as hard cover edition as an early birthday present the year it came out in 1997, although he had to wait for his actual birthday for the usual; big box of chocolate he got every year from his favourite uncle, Xander had loved that first book so much his Uncle Rory had bought him them each year from then on. His Uncle had even shipped the last one from New Orleans in 2000 when it came out as he had already left Sunnydale by that time. Of cause the last two years he had had to find something else but for four years Rory LaVelle had discovered an easy present for his nephew. No, Willow could forgive Xander saving the presents from his favourite Uncle what she couldn’t forgive was the nightmare of being surrounded with Harry Potter fanatics as that wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t gotten the younger Slayers and Dawn to all take turns reading those damn books aloud on the trip to Cleveland. Sure it kept them occupied on the long trip but did they have to be so enthusiastic about the series, they were worse than Andrew going on about Star Wars or Xander all those years ago when he discovered Babylon Five. There was a reason she decided driving in the car with Giles was preferable after a few days of that. Xander and Andrew were true geeks when it came to these things and they hadn’t been content to just read the damn things they got the girls taking them to pieces in true geek fashion, now they even wanted to play dress up for the new book.
“Wills, are you in there?”
“I’m just thinking, Xander.” She snapped grumpily before she could help herself, she forced herself to calm down snapping at Xander wouldn’t help, she seemed to be the only person complaining about this Harry Potter nonsense Xander had infected the younger girls with, turning back to Giles she said, “In answer to your question, Giles, there is something else! I need to ward the conservatory. Since she was killed there we need to put extra wards on it as I didn’t know about it or the hidden balcony when I did the spells so now I need to include them into the warding spells.”
“What conservatory?” asked Xander confused as far as he knew they didn’t have a conservatory.
“Where she died, I looked it up when you said she was killed here, the coroners report said she was ripped to pieces in the conservatory which is why we need to ward it.” Said Willow with a frown as Xander just looked blankly at her.
“Wills, as far as I know we don’t have a conservatory, this room and the two balconies and as the front balcony was Magically hidden and all her things are still there, I know that was a craft room not a conservatory,” explained Xander with a frown, “It really said, she died in the conservatory? I thought that only happened in old murder mysteries!”
“Maybe the Butler did it!” said Buffy with a giggle trying to look innocent but failing miserably, which cracked Faith and Andrew up.
“Good one, ‘B’” laughed Faith.
Willow frowned at them, “This isn’t a joke, according to the report she was spread all over the place the clean up had to remove a lot of the plants and scrub everything for a final decontamination, they had pictures an everything,” said Willow with a grimace, “Whatever did that was strong and dangerous I want wards put on tonight.”
At her tirade they became serious wincing at the description of the Witches death.
“Relax, ‘Red’, it’s been a decade it isn’t as if the thing’s still where ever this Conservatory is.” Said Faith reasonably.
Xander looked around puzzled obviously there was a other room and since the police hadn’t freaked it wasn’t hidden Magically or expanded like the front balcony, that only left the roof as the likely place, which meant they had to find the stairs into the roof. Looking over the roof he tried to see where the opening could be, the most notable additions to the ceiling were the skylights inset into the what had been originally been the corners of the unmodified room, one of them now added light to the bathroom, and another lighted the small room made by the divider, the other two were nestled about four feet in from the corners of the room next to the balcony wall if there was a conservatory in the roof space, logic said it had to be within the area designated by those skylights unless the stairwell were outside the roof like the back fire exits on this level there had to be a hidden stairwell inside the area defined by the skylights, there he was right an anomaly directly opposite the stairwell it wasn’t obvious but there was a slightly recessed panel big enough for one of those pull down stairwells.
“I think that’s a pull down stair,” explained Xander pointing to the section of roof he had identified, “ The conservatory must be in the roof. We’ll have to stand on something to see how it opens.”
“Faith and I will go get that second cabinet, we’ll use that to climb up there and open it before we shift the TV onto it.” Decided Buffy looking at it.
“Good idea, ‘B’, we’re getting it anyway we may as well use it. Do you have any weapons handy, ‘X’?” she asked hopefully. “It may be a decade but it could easily have come back now that this place is occupied again.”
“I haven’t brought any up yet,” said Xander with a frown even after he and the mini-Slayers checked the room he had automatically taken his axe downstairs again, definitely something to be corrected in the near future given the Scoobies past record of Demonic home invasion.
“Damn!” said Buffy feelingly in agreement with Faith. “When we open that, I want something better than a stake in my hand anything that can rip a Witch apart isn’t something we want to face with just a stake.”
Faith shivered at the blunt statement. “I want at least a sword before we open it!” she said in agreement.
“Damn right! There’s a lot of things immune to Magic and they’re usually big and strong and non stakey. I vote we get the scythe just in case.” said Buffy thoughtfully.
“Ditto!” said Kennedy after a slight pause, turning to her lover she said apologetically “I know you’re powerful but I don’t want you near something that’s already taken out a Witch.”
Willow frowned at her lover, she wasn’t helpless but decided not to push it when Xander frowned at her, that puppy dog look of his was lethal and worse than her resolve face any day, so she capitulated meekly “Okay, I’ll let you an Buffy and Faith go first, I’ll be backup.” She said to her lover, seeing Xander relax as well.
“Okay! ‘B’ and I go get the cabinet, ‘Red’ can get her Witchy stuff ready for the warding and ‘K’ can go get some weapons, anything that can tear a person to pieces I don’t like the sound of so ‘B’s’ right get the scythe as well just in case. Sounds like it’s a weak spot in our defences I think we’ll all sleep sounder if it’s warded before we go to bed tonight,” grimaced Faith the other Slayers obviously agreed with that from the nods she was getting.
“Willow, are you sure the un-invite doesn’t cover up there as well?” asked Buffy just in case they were getting paranoid for no reason.
“The un-invite should hold as it’s private property but the wards won’t, I warded from the corners of each room including the basements, the docks may not hold as they are for deliveries, the shops won’t hold either once we open for business they get classified as public space when open, Spike proved that all the time even the Wiccan ones I can do that can hold against some Demons didn’t hold against Vampires in that case.”
“No they wouldn’t a Vampire can even enter a Church as it is public space and has an open invite, unlike holy water and icons, consecrated or blessed ground is not a Vampire weakness.” Said Giles with a sigh.
“Can we say, Duh! G-Man,” said Xander with a grimace. “Which of us here didn’t work that out pretty quick?”
Willow blushed and Buffy grimaced both of them raising their hands sheepishly.
“Huh!” said Xander speechless, “but it’s so obvious!” he said shocked. “Come on, Wills, of course it doesn’t affect them if it did we wouldn’t have lost Jesse or spent so much time waiting for the fledges to rise, they would have dusted in their coffins if blessed or consecrated ground worked. Zeus, I don’t believe this! Wills, Spike even lived in a crypt.”
“I didn’t even think of it.” Said Willow embarrassed.
“I didn’t realise until Angel told me about Drucilla, he turned her in a church.” Confirmed Buffy with a grimace.
Giles looked startled as well, “Something I obviously overlooked when explaining Vampire limitations.” He said frowning. “I truly thought that detail was self explanatory given the patrol routes.”
“Sounds like you and ‘Red’ were having a blond moment there, ‘B’, I thought it was obvious as well,” shrugged Faith. “Sounds like we need a way to keep the unfriendlies out of the building even in the public parts once the shops open!” she stated.
“I was looking up wards that respond to intent for Anya because that worried her as well she was really paranoid about the back door of the shop being left open as Spike killed the owner before Giles by just walking in the back door. I didn’t really find anything but still have all the research so hopefully we’ll find something before we actually have shops open to the public. I don’t think the un-invite will cover the back stairwell either as they are part of the fire exits so technically they’re for public use. I didn’t know about the hidden balcony or the roofs so didn’t define them when I did the original wards the general un-invite spell I used should cover them as it is private property and Xander owns the building but the wards are another matter.” Babbled Willow looking up at he closed stairwell worried.
“The back balcony above the docks will not be covered either I’m afraid it is technically part of the outside of the building so fair game as far as the Vampire invitation rule is concerned.” Winced Giles, “Angel proved that quite often in Sunnydale by climbing up the outside of buildings to both Buffy and Willow’s bedrooms whenever he felt like it, only the inside of the house seems to be kept inviolate without permission by the Vampire invitation clause.” Sighed Giles. “We shall definitely have to research other protections for those areas, I suggest we ward both the hidden balcony and the roof conservatory in this building then check the other roofs as well they also might need some extra warding as they are probably constructed like this one even if they are not being used as anything but storage.” Decided Giles thoughtfully.
“Willow, where are my master keys for the buildings, they should have keys to the balcony fire exits, that will let us move between these attics easier to check the other two, it should be safe enough with three Slayers as protection, otherwise well have to change buildings on the ground floor as that has the only internal connection at the moment.” Xander decided. “Hopefully they will track down the blueprints to these buildings as I requested, at the very least the ones from the seventies should give us some idea of where things like the plumbing and wiring are,” muttered Xander in disgust. “I’m just hoping there aren’t any more surprises like the TARDIS craft room and conservatory!”
“Be thankful there aren’t any caverns below this Hellmouth for the demons to congregate in, that was one of the first things Willow and I checked,” said Giles dryly.
“Oh, I am! G-Man, that’s one of the only good points about this place we don’t have to go underground to empty out the squatters,” said Xander dryly. “The ‘Ring Area’ will be bad enough with all those rooms carved out under it, we don’t even know how far they go down or if the protections on the area work underground as well. Hopefully it won’t be Demon central down there like in Sunnydale.”
“Willow, why don’t you help Kennedy fetch the keys and the weapons, while you’re at it can you possibly retrieve my tea making paraphernalia from the ground floor as well, it would seem we shall be up here for a few hours, and we shall all be ready for a break at some stage tonight, we shall have a long night ahead of us between warding all three roofs and the balcony then if we feel up to it checking and cataloguing the potion ingredients to see if any of it is salvageable after a decade,” sighed Giles. “If we get that done tonight I can send in an order for the remaining potion ingredients we need. I want to be fully stocked for at least the basic banishing potions in case of an emergency.”
“Wills, just bring up the tea and kettle, the Witch drank tea so we already have a tea set, it’s a silver one Giles you’ll love it, I doubt she had anything harmful on her teapot but Andrew can check it out while you are downstairs, meanwhile Buffster an Faith can go get the cabinet.” said Xander it wasn’t long before they were watching Willow and the three Slayers head down stairs to their assigned tasks, Xander hid a smirk suddenly realizing the idea of him going to bed early and resting had been forgotten about.
“Let me show you the balcony switch,” said Xander getting up and showing the Giles and Andrew the hidden switch.
“My word!” exclaimed Giles impressed with the Magical transformation. “Oh! Bloody Hell, you weren’t kidding about the dimensional adjustment spells on the ruddy room,” growled Giles in disgust. “Check the tea service, Andrew! After seeing this I’m definitely going to need a pot of tea.”
Buffy and Faith didn’t take as long bringing the next cabinet up and they immediately moved it under the pull down stairs.
“Come in here, I don’t want that opened until we have some weapons on hand.” Called Xander when Buffy looked like she was going to climb up. Buffy and Faith immediately headed for the now open balcony mainly because they had heard all about it and were curious to see it themselves.
“Damn! I can see why you said it’s Mojo’d to the hilt, Boytoy.” Said Faith in awe.
“Ditto! What that spell could do to closet space.” Breathed Buffy covetous.
“It takes internal Magic, Buffster. Mages like Willow will blow up Ohio and the surrounding states if they try it. Andrew has the Math if you and Willow don’t believe us. According to him, Dawn and myself might be able to manage the spells but only if we get shown how to do it by someone who is experienced but Buffy, even that’s iffy, you know Dawn and I are usually crap at Mojo unless it’s a few low level wards and potions.” Xander warned he knew Buffy she’d try to talk Willow into trying it.”
“Are you sure, Boytoy?" asked Faith just as disappointed but for another reason. “It really would be a handy spell to have, we could carry the bigger weapons in a handbag without suspicion.”
“Yeah! I’m sure, Faith. Dawn and I are the only two who even have the necessary internal Magic to try D-Magic an even that would be dangerous without someone showing us how it’s done. I already promised Andrew to learn how its done if we ever find a trainer but according to Andrew, Willow really will Atomise Ohio if she or any other external Mage tries the spells, something about Universal Flux. So keep an eye on Willow she might try it anyway just to prove she can.” Warned Xander.
Buffy and Faith paled, “Yeah! Don’t let Kennedy goad her into trying it either I’ve noticed she gets a kick out of proving how powerful her girlfriend is. I’m not joking about the atomising Ohio!” Xander stressed just how catastrophic that spell could be if tried by an external Mage like Willow. “All we can do is stress the math doesn’t lie and Universal Flux if she looks like trying! Side track her into the math instead, I know my Wills, she’ll become obsessed with proving Andrew wrong and that should stop her from just trying it. In this case it’s that scientist in her that will work in our favour not the Witch!” ordered Xander seriously. “Giles! How are you guy’s doing with the silver, did she Mojo it like everything else?” asked Xander turning to the other men in the room.
“It is a beautiful set, a real antique as well, pity about its value being drastically cut due to all the Victorian scrollwork being added last century but that happened to a lot of silver I’m afraid. Even so it is still an exquisite set as it has both the tea and coffee pots, the sugar bowl and its spoon plus the creamer on a matching tray.”
“I thought it might be, Uncle Rory has a similar set without the scroll work that can be traced back to the early eighteen hundreds he kept it in a old doubloon casket that’s been padded and lined to hold it and a old china set safe when not in use, they’re the only LaVelle family heirloom our branch had, seeing as we are a minor line that stayed in America while the rest went back to France. Uncle Rory claimed it was Black Pearl booty.” Smirked Xander. “The question is, does this one have added Mojo?”
“It’s safe the only spell seems to be a practical one,” mused Giles. “The tea caddies and biscuit tin are also spelled they seem to have something to keep the contents fresh, the contents are possibly still usable even after a decade which is quite impressive, even so we won’t take the chance I intend to throw the contents out just in case. There is quite a frightening range of Magic on display in this room, it is much too diverse to have been made by only one person.” He mused looking around pensively.
“You should see it, Xan, there’s a warming charm on the pots to keep the contents hot, and the milk one has a chill spell to keep it cool.” said Andrew in delight. “I’m not sure about the caddies and the cookie tin, they could be either a freshness charm or a more complicated stasis charm to slow time.” He babbled in excitement. “I’ll have to experiment and see if I can duplicate them, if I can put the charms on our storage containers everything will stay fresh longer and save money.”
“Still think she was a Wand Witch?” asked Xander curiously.
Andrew pouted, “The fireplace is wrong, it’s a stand alone with a glass door, you need an old style open one with a normal chimney for a Floo connection so you can get into it to travel, everything else matches,” he sighed disappointed. “I was so sure, although I must admit I like this fireplace it’s not only spelled for greater fuel economy and burning efficiency I bet it barely registers on the EPA scale it’s so non polluting.”
Xander frowned “Which is strange it actually does point back to some underground community like the Wizarding World really existing. Either she was a Magical progeny able to take anything apart and rebuild it into something Magical or she had a Magical support system behind her that had a trading economy that let her buy specialized Magical products like this fireplace. Which implies there is a Magical underground we know nothing about. If there is, I doubt an organization as old as the Watchers didn’t know about it, so that’s another thing to check into when we finally access the collection and records. It just might be another thing they didn’t tell the active Watcher candidates so they could control them better as it kept them more isolated an dependent on the Council.”
Giles winced but it did sound believable given the past actions of the Council it had taken him years to make contact with even the Devon Coven simply because they were human, his list from the council was more Demonic than anything and only useful for information and supplies both to be supplied at a price not altruism.
“Andrew, can you check the sewing machine, with Willow in a snit she’ll probably leave it to last, which will annoy the younger girls. G-Man, grab the silver we’ll go put the coffee maker on and wash those new cups and the service while we wait for Willow and Kennedy to get back up here. Buffster,” he called turning to the to Slayers. “While Andrew checks out the sewing machine can you and Faith carry this lounge suite out into the main room and make a lounge room area centring on the TV. That will give us a place to sit while we have some tea and coffee after we tackle the conservatory.”
“Sure, Boytoy, it’s a bit shivery in here with all the Magic anyway we’ll be more comfortable in the other room.” Said Faith with a grin before turning back to Andrew and saying seriously. “Geekboy, check the needles and thread for that thing as well, I’d rather not have them try killing little ‘D’ an the mini Slayers when they use it.’
“Sure, Faith,” said Andrew. “Take the chest out too, that way we have a coffee table to put everything on. Do you know what has Willow so pissy tonight?” he asked.
Faith Smirked, “D’ and the mini-Slayers raided the Magic wardrobe up here, when they brought up the fridge and microwave. The new radio in my Chevy had a lot of hype about the new Harry Potter book and everyone dressing up tomorrow for the book launch, I made the mistake of telling them when I got back, I got dragged out to pick up thinks like the chopsticks from the Matriarch because I knew they used wood ones, damn she’s freaky it was like she was expecting us, she was very amused at the whole Harry Potter thing said many of the children from her clan were also going.”
“So right this minute,” continued Faith. “Our little mayhem makers are happy little Harry Potter fanatics pinning up the hems on all those long dresses so they can play dress up tomorrow. That’s why ‘Red’s’ in a snit, it’s not only Harry Potter but they snuck out onto the balcony and got pins and the rest of the stuff they needed and started using them without getting them checked first. Now they want the sewing machine checked so they can move it down so they can use it tonight, it’s a good thing we’re all night owls I doubt any of us will get much sleep tonight.”
“You don’t seem to be worried, at this Harry Potter obsession?” said Giles.
“Why should I be, they’re happy ‘G’ which is a big change, right this minute they aren’t moping around like they have been for the last month they’re to excited about the dressing up plus they’ll be in a mall in daylight.”
“Vamps can go into shady places!” said Buffy with a frown.
“I know that, ‘B’, I made sure the chopstick wands were all real wood not fake so should be good as an emergency stake if they need a weapon I already told them to put a point on their wand or they can’t go. The only other thing I told them was if they can’t bend in the corset they couldn’t wear it and to have something they can tie the skirts up with if they need to fight,” smirked Faith. “I heard about your idea of them learning to fight in long dresses, “X’, you’ve got my vote if you need it.”
“Oh god does that brings back memories, the dresses I’ve ruined so I could fight in them!” moaned Buffy.
“They need the training, ‘B’, after seeing them trying to just wear a long dress without tripping I don’t think the lessons will be a waste of time, that way they can fight in a prom dress or even a wedding gown if they ever need too without ripping it to shreds,” said Faith seriously.
Giles grimaced, “Xander did have some notion of adding that to the curriculum of the Slayer school and I must admit having lived through Buffy’s rants about her destroyed dresses I am inclined to agree with him, it would be a useful talent for a Slayer to have in their repertoire, a much more useful idea than the only other alternatives a Slayer has in such a situation which would be destroying the dress, a horrendous thought not only given the cost of the damn things but the attention the destruction of such an expensive dress would bring to the Slayer in the aftermath of the fight. Buffy herself knows that danger intimately the state of her dress was the main reason she was cited with the destruction of the gym in her first school, she was unable to fade into the background as another victim.” Buffy winced at Giles cool evaluation of just why she had been picked as the cause of the gym fire which was the direct cause of her ending up in Sunnydale, looking at it from his point of view she could see he was right, the state of her dress was what set her apart for the police when they turned up lending credence to the cries of ‘She did it!’ from the other students, if her dress had been intact or only slightly damaged she would have had a chance of playing shell shocked victim like the others.
“The other choice,” continued Giles. “More suited to Faith’s instincts, that of stripping it off altogether and fighting in your underwear so you can don the dress after the fight is also not ideal. I fear both of those options are entirely dependent on the attacker of the moment actually giving you time to adjust your apparel for the fight.”
“We get it, Giles, fighting in long dresses 101, will be a Slayer subject at the new school,” said Buffy with a grimace, “Come on, Faith, lets get these couches moved.” She said hurriedly before Giles started another lecture, hefting one side of the two-seater couch forcing Faith to get the other side.
“Andrew, will you be alright in here by yourself while G-Man an I see to the refreshments?” asked Xander.
Andrew looked up from his examination of the sewing machine and blinked, “Sure it isn’t as if I’ll be sealed in, I’ll call when the machine has been checked, that way the mini-Slayers can come get it, where are they doing the costumes?
“They’re down in what will be the babies room, it was empty and that way they wouldn’t have to lug the machine far, plus Robin’s watching TV in our room next door so he can handle them if they get to loud, just call down the stairs and they’ll come running.” Smirked Faith over her shoulder as she helped carry the lounge outside.
“Xander, it’s not fair, you and I should have something to wear tomorrow as well!” he sighed. “If only we had more time we could have made something with all this material we even have patterns that can be adapted unfortunately even if we stay up all night we wouldn’t get anything finished in time, making something from scratch isn’t as easy as adjusting something already made,” he pouted.
“I know, Andrew, next year the third movie is due to be finished, I promise we can go whole hog for the première when it comes out, that will give you a year to plan what we’ll all be wearing even the girls can make new stuff by then,” promised Xander.
“Doesn’t help me feel better about tomorrow,” said Andrew with a pout. “We’re going to look bad next to the girls, we don’t even have anything decent Muggle to wear all our clothes are patched and stained.”
Xander grimaced, seeing Andrew’s point, surrounded by people dressed up his and Andrew’s patched clothing would be more noticeable than usual, bad enough the attention his eye usually drew. “The Goth shop we found a week ago opens at nine on Saturday, we could probably get a pirate shirt from there to wear to the mall that won’t look too bad with our jeans or be too expensive. We’ll add a sword and chopstick wand each and if anyone asks tell them we’re Auror hunting dark creatures.” He decided.
squealed in happy
at that idea,” Wow! Thanks, Xander, I knew you’d think of something!”
exclaimed happy again. “Now shoo! Go do some washing up
I finish checking this sewing machine.” He ordered waving them out of
balcony just as Buffy and Faith returned for the next part of the