Xander rolls over in the king-sized bed, looking at the clock before pulling
the pillow over his head. He's still got a half-hour until he has to be out
the door and headed for school. If anybody at school saw him getting out of
bed at this hour, they would be amazed. They'd be stunned if they knew what
he had planned for the hour before he'd normally be leaving for school.
/Let's see, use the tunnels to get into the library and leave the envelope
with the pictures on Giles' desk. Drop the envelopes with the pictures and
a note asking if they knew what their daughters were up to last night in the
Summers' and Rosenberg's mailboxes. 'Suggest' to the teacher that he
surprise the class with a pop quiz on the material Willow and Buffy were
supposed to be studying last night. Make sure Snyder pulls Buffy into his
office for a lecture after she fails the test. Make sure I let the girls
know that the teacher pulled a surprise quiz between classes. Good thing my
locker is right by theirs so I can give them the 'good news' before class.
'Buffy, Willow, it's a good thing you guys had a study session last night.
Mr. Aaronsen gave us a pop quiz over the material.'
Now, should I pretend to have been hurt while patrolling last night, or
would that be too much even for me? It would have to be something to keep me
off patrol duty for at least a week. Bruised ribs from a lucky shot from a
vampire? Nah, I'd have to show some bruises to the Slayer to make her
believe I'm actually hurt. How about a sprained wrist that will keep me
from being able to hold an axe for a couple of weeks. Nah, wouldn't be able
to prove I got it during patrol last night, she'd just complain I hurt
myself to spite her. Unless. . ./
"Hey Dad, you still awake?" Xander sticks his head out of his bedroom door
and yells towards his father's bedroom.
"Yes Alexander, what do you need?"
"I want to mess with the Watcher's head. Can you show up at the library
sometime today before I get out of class? I need you to tell Giles I was
injured last night during my patrol. I got knocked unconscious trying to
stake a vampire, you saved me and took me to the hospital where I was
diagnosed with a concussion and a sprained right arm. This way I can get out
of patrol duty for a couple of weeks."
"Why would you want the Watcher to think you'd been hurt last night?"
"This way he'd be even more pissed off at Buffy. If he thought I'd been
hurt while trying to patrol last night because he thought Buffy had to
study. And he'd be upset, because he was the one who had sent me out to
"Whelp, you are evil, evil, evil." Spike chuckles from the doorway, enjoying
the look of mischief on his kid brother's face.
"I learned from the best." Xander smirks at his brother, grabbing the
loudest shirt in his closet and heading for the shower.
"Damn whelp, what are you trying to do, blind them?"
"Buffy and Willow hate how I dress, this will drive them nuts."
Meanwhile, in a quiet temple on Mount Olympus two gods are howling with
laughter. Their mirth quickly bring the others to their side.
"Strife, Cupid, what in Tartarus is going on?" Hades says, flashing into the
"Xander's going to be messing with the Slayer's head at school today."
"Good, I can't stand the whiny little brat." Bacchus says, popping into the
temple. "How in Tartarus she ever got chosen I will never know. If any of
the potential slayers were old enough, I'd ask Spike to get rid of her."
"Told you not to piss off the Fates, they can be real bitches when they're
"Why is Xander tormenting the Slayer? I thought I told him to play nice."
Ares says, popping into the room.
"Watch." Cupid says, waving his hand over the scrying pool and showing the
other gods what had happened last night.
"I will strangle that little Bitch." Bacchus rages, "How dare she decide to
throw away her duty because she wanted to go on a date? She has lost all
the protections I have placed on the Slayers."
"Bacchus, you can't do that. We haven't gotten rid of the Watcher's Council
Xander walks into the mansion's kitchen, grabbing a couple of cereal bars to
eat in the tunnels on the way to school. Going down into the basement, he
undoes the triple locks on the door and enters the tunnels under Sunnydale.
Grabbing the door behind him to make sure it's securely locked, he heads
across town for the school.
Fifteen minutes later, he emerges in the library's stacks. Quickly looking
out the window, he sees Giles Citroen pulling into his usual parking spot.
He quickly enters the older man's office, leaving the envelope in the middle
of paperwork for Giles to find later this morning.
/Can't let him find the pictures too quickly, it would be over too quick. /
He thinks, before heading for the teacher's lounge.
"Yes, Mr. Harris. What do you want?" Assistant Principal Snyder asks,
looking up as a shadow falls across the chessboard.
"Buffy was a bad girl, and lied about having a study session with Willow
Rosenberg last night. She went on a date instead of going on patrol like a
good little Slayer." Xander says, smiling at the new history teacher. "I
thought you might like to give a pop quiz today to make sure the students
actually read the material you assigned them."
"Oh yes," Adam Pierson says, smiling evilly, "I think that can be arranged.
And I had been thinking about assigning a couple of term papers as well.
This will give me the excuse I was looking for."
Back on Olympus, Ares smirks as he recognizes the look on Methos face.
"Oh man, he's really gonna mess with them, ain't he?" Strife says, looking
up at his Uncle.
"Oh yes, and knowing Methos, he's going to make sure everybody in class
knows just why they have to do those papers and who they have to thank for
"I believe I will be talking to Miss Summers about cracking down on her
schoolwork." Assistant Principal Snyder says, with an evil smile.
Xander grins, leaving the school and quickly making his way across town to
Willow and Buffy's houses. He drops the envelope with the pictures in the
mailbox while Joyce tells him that Buffy's already left for school with
"Thanks Mrs. Summers, I'll try to catch her before school starts." Xander
says, the goofy grin on his face bringing out Joyce's mother instincts.
"Xander, have you had breakfast yet this morning?"
"I grabbed a couple of breakfast bars, Mrs. Summers. That will hold me
"Xander, come inside and sit down at the table. Buffy left without eating
breakfast AGAIN and there's no use putting it in the freezer for later. I'
ll drop you off at school on my way to the Gallery."
"Thank you Mrs. Summers."
Joyce watches as the young man sits down at the table. She puts a full
plate of food in front of him, pours him glasses of milk and orange juice,
and not for the first time curses his parents for not taking care of him.
"Where the hell is he?" Willow asks, looking around the school for Xander.
"Dammit Xander, how am I supposed to keep my grades up if you're not here to
give me my homework."
"Xander, you'd better have a damn good excuse to keep me waiting." Buffy
snarls as she slams her locker door with a resounding crash, then turns
around to face a glaring Snyder.
"You're on a three day suspension, starting tomorrow, for damaging school
property. Miss Rosenberg, I'll see you after school about having another
student do your homework."
"But school hasn't started yet." Buffy cries in her 'nails on a chalkboard'
"To quote some of the other students, 'Tough toenails.'"
While Buffy and Willow are facing detention and/or suspension in the face
and not liking the prospect one bit, and Xander is getting out of Joyce's
car outside the school, Giles settles into his desk chair picking up the
telephone and dialing a familiar number.
"Magic Box, how may I help you?"
"Ethan Rayne, please."
"Who may I say is calling?"
"This is Rupert Giles, he knows me." Giles smiles, remembering the feel of
Ethan's arms around him when he woke up this morning. He checks himself in
the mirror, making sure the shirt covers the hickey Ethan had given him.
"One moment please Sir, he's with a customer right now. Can you hold?"
"Yes, I'll hold." Giles says, holding the phone between neck and shoulder
while he goes over to the altar set in the corner of his private office.
Lighting a candle, he makes his daily prayer to Lord Bacchus, God of
Vampires and Slayers, Lord Janus, the god he and Ethan had pledged
themselves to as teenagers, and Lady Hestia, asking her for the patience he
needs to keep from strangling his Slayer.
On Mount Olympus, Hestia snickers as she receives the last prayer. She
knows it's going to be the first of many that day.
"Hey babe," a familiar voice growls in his ear.
"Morning love how's business?"
"Booming. We've got new customers coming out my ears thanks to that damn
book that came out last year, not to mention the movie they're making from
it. Now all the 'popular' kids want to get into witchcraft. I've been
weeding out the posers and wannabe's from those who actually have some
talent and making sure those who really want to learn are getting lessons
from the older practitioners."
"I hoped something good would come of that damn book." Ripper growls as
Buffy comes into the office, whining about Snyder's actions.
"Buffy, if Assistant Principal Snyder suspended you for three days, you
probably deserved it. Now toddle off to class before you're late, again. I
won't give you another excuse."
GGGGGGGiiiiiiiiilllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssss. He was meeaaaannnnnn to
"Oh for Janus' sake. Get over yourself, you stupid little Git and get your
bloody ass to class." Ripper says, just as the bell for first class sounds.
"There, now you really are late. Satisfied? Don't let the door hit you in
the ass on the way out."
"Your Slayer?" Ethan asks from the phone, enjoying listening to his lover
rip the annoying girl to shreds.
"Yes, the annoying little git. If it weren't for that damn Prophecy, I'd
kill her myself and hope the next one was more competent, not to mention
less annoying. Listen love, I've got to go now, I'll see you later
Ripper looks up from his paperwork as the library door opens and Assistant
Principal Snyder walks into the room.
"Was Miss Summers in here when the bell for first class rung?"
"Yes, and I didn't give her an excuse for being late for class either."
"Thank you, Mr. Giles. Did she tell you that I had given her a three day
suspension, starting tomorrow?"
"Yes, but she didn't give a reason."
"She slammed her locker door, jamming it again. I consider that damaging
school property and gave her three days suspension. I also plan on giving
Miss Rosenberg detention for two weeks. I caught her complaining that Mr.
Harris was late in delivering her homework."
"I had wondered how she was supposedly getting straight A's when she never
seemed to do any homework."
"She can't be that smart, she doesn't bother to look at her work before she
hands it in. The last few homework assignments have had a number of
interesting messages in place of answers. I believe her last science
assignment had the question. "What is the boiling point of lead?" and the
answer was, "Help, I'm trapped in an alternate universe where Willow can
freeze me with her death glare."
"That boy is going to be the death of me. I'll have a talk with him after
"Don't bother, he has had a 4.0 grade point average ever since he moved to
Sunnydale, is taking advanced classes at the university, and if he keeps
this class schedule up I expect him to graduate two years ahead of schedule.
Besides, I find his sense of humor refreshing." Snyder walks out of the
library, smiling at Ripper's stunned 'Xander?'
Buffy slinks into her first class five minutes after the bell rang, hoping
against hope that the teacher didn't see her.
"Good morning, Miss Summers. How nice of you to finally join us." He says,
making a note in his book. "Do you have another excuse from Mr. Giles for
"I'm sorry Miss Summers, would you care to repeat yourself? I didn't
understand you the first time."
"No Mr. James, I don't have an excuse."
"This makes three unexcused tardies, Miss Summers. Please report to the
Buffy slowly walks out of the classroom, swearing she could hear a funeral
dirge playing somewhere in the background.
Meanwhile, back at the Ranch, err Mount. Olympus, Strife looks around in the
classic 'who me?' innocent look as Ares glares at him. Joxer snorts in
amusement as the scene in the scrying pool changes to the Magic Box.
Ethan looks up as the wards he had set up on the building flare into life. A
huge power source is coming into the building. He reaches for the sword
tucked under the counter, snarling as he recognizes the older man coming in
"Oh my, how charming an establishment." Travers sneers as he looks around.
"What the hell do you want, you wanker?"
"I don't like how Giles is turning out as a Watcher. This is Wesley
Wyndham-Pryce, he's going to be working with Giles and reporting back to the
Council for me." Travers sneers as he exits the store, deliberately knocking
over a display of focusing crystals on his way out.
"Arsehole." Ethan growls, going over to where Wesley is picking up the
crystals and replacing them on the shelf. He looks at the younger man and
extends a hand, pulling him to his feet.
"Not that the wanker could be bothered to properly introduce us, but I'm
Ethan Rayne. Now what did you do to piss off the council enough to get you
sent to the Hellmouth?"
"Th. . .The. . . The Hellmouth?" Wesley says, his voice stuttering and
ending in a near shriek.
"Didn't the Arsehole even bother to tell you where you were being sent?"
"N . . .n. . . no, h. he just told me to gather together what I would need
for a couple of days and he would have the rest of my stuff sent along
later. You mean, you're the Watcher for the Active Slayer? I thought I was
just going to help watch a potential Slayer."
"Not me, my mate's the Watcher. Come along, I'll take you to meet him.
Cheryl, I'm taking off for an hour or so. Keep an eye on the place, eh?"
Ethan grabs the younger man by the elbow and pulls him out the door,
grabbing the overnight bag and tossing it in the back seat of his car.
"Righto, knowing the assholes at the council, they didn't bother to set you
up with an apartment, right?"
"I. .I.. I had pl. . . planned on staying at a motel until I could find an
"Not on the Hellmouth, you're not. Ripper and I have an extra bedroom at
our house, you're welcome to use it until you find an apartment." Ethan
says, pulling out into traffic, pausing momentarily to flip off the driver
laying on the horn behind him.
Ten minutes later, Ethan pulls into the visitor's parking lot.
"Here we go, Sunnydale high school. I can't believe the idiots built it
right over the Hellmouth. Of course, we're talking about Sunnydale here,
anything weird in this town seems to be ignored. The town has the highest
death rate in the entire US, not just the state but it's just ignored."
"The Hellmouth is under the high school?"
"The school's library to be precise, which is where Ripper and the others
have set up their base of operations. It's not like any student would
actually choose to go into a library out of their own free will."
Buffy looks at the visitors as they leave the office after getting checking
in. Why does the older man sound familiar?
"Good morning, Buffy, have a seat. Mr. Snyder will be with you in a
"I'm here to see Principal Flutey."
"Principal Flutey's out of town attending a seminar." The intern behind the
counter smiles, ignoring Buffy's not so silent "Oh SHIT."
/'It's not fair,' Buffy whines to herself, 'Snyder hates me. Principal
Flutey would have listened to me.' I wouldn't be in this mess if Giles had
given me that late pass like he should have. I'm his Slayer, dammit, he
should give me anything I want.'/
"Oh grow up you stupid little twit." Ares snarls at the scrying pool. "Life
isn't fair, get over yourself."
"Buffy? Mr. Snyder will see you now."
Ethan knocks on the locked door to Giles office, turning around and shoving
Wesley between himself and the door as he hears a scraping sound coming from
the stacks. He's got a stake in one hand and a crossbow in the other that
he replaces in his coat when he sees it's Angelus.
"Good morning, Angel." He says, "It's okay Wesley, this is Angel. He's been
working with Giles and I." He looks at the younger man, rolling his eyes
when he sees the look on Wesley's face. "Breathe Wesley, I take it you
recognize him from the Council's files?"
"That's Angelus, the Scourge of Europe."
"He ate a gypsy clan's favorite daughter and got himself cursed with a
soul." Ethan says flippantly, having heard the story before, "He's on our
"H. . .H. . . How did you get inside without being dusted by the sun?"
Wesley asks the vampire.
"Sunnydale has got a whole system of tunnels under the city. Most of the
buildings have openings into it." Angel says, smiling at the younger man,
not that they're all younger when you're a couple thousand years old. He
begins to purr subvocally, trying to calm the younger man before he hurts
himself, he's so nervous.
An outraged yell causes all three heads to turn towards the locked door.
Angelus smiles to himself, /Ripper must have found Alexander's pictures. /
'Ripper, you okay?"
"Ethan, what the hell are you doing here?" Ripper asks, throwing the
envelope containing the pictures onto his desk and going over to unlock the
"Travers came into the Magic Shop after I hung up. This is Wesley
Wyndham-Pryce, the Wanker Travers sent him to work with you and report to
the Council because he doesn't think you're doing a good enough job with the
Slayer. He didn't bother to set him up with an apartment, so I offered him
our spare room until he can find a place of his own."
"If the Arsehole doesn't like the job I'm doing teaching the Slayer, he can
get off his bloody fat ass and take over the job himself. Have a seat,
Wesley, I'm glad to meet you, I only wish it were under better
circumstances. Angel, what can I do for you?"
"Have you seen Harris today?"
"Why was he out patrolling last night? He could have been killed if I hadn'
t gotten to him when I did."
"What happened?" Ethan asks, worried about the younger man. He's like a
puppy following you around, he drives you nuts but you can't kick him. And
if you kicked him by accident, he'd yip, run away, and be right back
following you around five minutes later.
"He got ambushed by a Gandar demon. I took him to the emergency room last
night, they said he has a concussion and sprained wrist."
"I had thought that Buffy and Willow were studying at Willow's house, but
these pictures tell me different." Ripper snarls, dropping down in his chair
and throwing the envelope towards the vampire. Angelus takes the pictures
from the envelope, handing them off to Ethan and Wesley.
"C. . .Co. .Could the pictures have been taken some other time?" Wesley
asks, shrinking back from the angry men surrounding him.
"No lad, the movie just opened last night." Ethan says, clapping a hand on
Wesley' shoulder in comfort before turning his attention back to the
"Well, I'm going to have a long talk with her later today about her
responsibilities, lying to me and others, and she's going to have to
apologize to Xander for getting him hurt last night. Are you sure that damn
prophecy says she's going to be the last Slayer?" Ripper asks, closing his
eyes and rubbing his temples to abate the pounding headache. He looks up
when fingers begin to rub his temples and looks at the younger man. He
starts to say something, but Wesley lays a finger against his lips and
resumes the massage.
"Thank you Wesley, where did you learn to do that?" Ripper asks five minutes
later after the raging headache has been deadened slightly by the massage,
two extra-strength Excedrin tablets, and a healthy slug of whatever Ethan
had in his flask.
"My father, my real father that is," Wesley says, "taught me. He doesn't
believe in modern medicine. The human body is able to heal itself, it just
needs a little help."
"You'll be a great help to us then, Xander frequently comes to school with
Angelus growls subvocally, who the hell has been hurting his child? He'll
//"Angelus, it's okay."// Bacchus reassures his High Priest mentally. //"
Alexander has been using makeup to make it appear he's being abused by his
'parents' as an excuse to stay away from home and integrate himself into the
//"Thank you, Lord Bacchus. I was afraid I was going to have to drop my
disguise by killing whoever had laid a hand on my son."//
//"We would never have let Alexander come to harm, not that he can't take
care of himself quite nicely."//
Buffy slowly trudges her way back to her locker, getting chewed out by
Snyder for a solid hour is not a good way to start the day. Now she's going
to be late for her next class if she doesn't hustle.
"Xander, where the hell have you been?" Willow snarls, grabbing Xander by
the collar of his shirt. "I got yelled at by the Troll because of you."
Willow snarls, ignoring the fact that the reason she got yelled at is
because Xander has been doing her homework.
"I tried to catch you before you left for school today, Wills. I got
ambushed during patrol last night and spent the entire night in the
emergency room. It's a good thing you and Buffy spent the night at Buffy's
house studying, Mr. Aaronsen found out some of the students didn't read the
material he assigned last night, so he's giving all the classes pop quizzes,
and he's assigning 25 page papers." Xander says, pulling his shirt out of
Willow's suddenly slack hands and grabbing his chemistry book from his
locker. "I've got to hurry, if I'm late Mr. Sanders said he was going to
make me stay after school and clean all his test tubes."
Willow turns around, seeing the look of horror on the Slayer's face that is
nearly identical to the one on her own.
/We are so screwed./
"You got that right, ya bleached blonde menace to vampires. You sure she's
not one of Gabby's descendants? She sounds just like her."
"Nope, none of Gabby's kids made it to adulthood. That's one of the reasons
she hated us, kept blaming us for all her problems. The little bitch didn't
realize she picked up a disease from all the men she had and that's why she
kept losing the baby every time she got pregnant." Apollo says, splitting
his attention between the scrying pool where he sees his son Wesley talking
to Ethan, Angelus, and Ripper, the scrying pool where he sees his son Blair
Sandburg arguing with his partner and Sentinel Jim Ellison, and the scrying
pool the others are gathered around watching Buffy get her head handed to
her by Methos.
Buffy slowly makes her way into the classroom, not caring if she's late or
not. In fact, getting yelled at by Snyder for being late would certainly be
better than what's going to happen now.
"Good morning class. I have some bad news for some of you." Methos says,
shutting the door behind the last student coming in. "I found out that some
of you decided not to bother reading the material I gave you last night, so
today you get to have a pop quiz. And since I don't like it when students
don't bother to do their work, everybody is going to be assigned 25 page
term papers on the subject of my choice." Methos purrs, enjoying himself as
he passes test papers down the rows. "And no, you do not get extra credit
for spelling your name correctly when you put it on the page. This is high
school, not kindergarten. You are supposed to be honor students, that's why
you're taking this class."
Buffy stares at the questions on the page in stunned disbelief and horror.
Why is everybody being so mean to her today?
"If you don't get it by now, you never will." Ares says, watching in the
scrying pool as Methos checks his watch.
"Everybody, put down your pencils and hand your paper to the person in front
of you." Methos says, watching as the papers are shuffled around. "Yes,
"Are we going to grade them now, Mr. Aaronsen?"
"Why yes, is there a reason why you don't want the rest of the class knowing
how you did on this quiz? Yes, Miss Rosenberg?" He sighs as the other girl's
hand shoots into the air, waving frantically."
"Sir, are these quizzes going to be part of our grade?"
"Why no, Miss Rosenberg, I handed them out for the fun of it." Methos purrs
at his most sarcastic best, "Of course they're going to be part of your
grade. These pop quizzes are going to make up one third of your grade. And
I work on the three strikes system, if you fail three of these quizzes, you
automatically receive a failing grade for my class." Methos watches as the
pair turns whiter by the second, and then decides to twist the knife even
deeper. "And anybody who turns in a failing grade on my quizzes gets to go
talk to Mr. Snyder about not concentrating on their schoolwork." Buffy turns
green at the last sentence.
"Sir," another student asks, "what makes up the other 2/3 of our grades?"
"One third will be the papers I assign, the other 1/3 will be my tests. And
be warned, my tests are much harder than these pop quizzes.
/His tests are harder than these quizzes?/ Buffy thinks, /And I have to see
Mr. Snyder if I fail one of these things? What happens if I fail a test, he
hangs me from the flagpole? What else can go wrong today?/
Buffy looks up as insane giggling sounds right next to her ear. Nobody else
seems to hear anything, so she turns her attention back to the test in front
of her, which turns out to be Harmony Kendall's. /Well, well, well, looks
like I'm not going to be the only one heading to see Mr. Snyder./ She
thinks maliciously, /The Queen of the airheads certainly couldn't pass this
test.. Why else would they be following Cordelia Chase around all day? What? What do you mean Harmony got all the answers right? IT'S NOT FAIR/
"Well, well, well, no wonder you didn't want everybody to know your grade,
Miss Summers. I'd be embarrassed too. And Miss Rosenberg, I expected
better than this out of you. Please, gather your books and go to the
principal's office, I'll call and let them know you're on the way."
Assistant Principal Snyder opens the folder containing all the homework
Willow has been handing in since school began a month ago and hands it to
"This is the reason why I called you and Sheila in today, Ira. Please look
at everything Willow's handed in and tell me what you think."
Ira looks at the first piece of paper and growls; it's not even in his
"What? That's not Willow's handwriting.' Sheila says, grabbing the next
piece of homework and beginning to read.
"No, it's Xander's," Ira tells his wife, snickering as he finds the hidden
message the younger man had inserted into an algebra problem.
"Willow's teachers quickly began to realize that the homework she had been
handing in wasn't in her handwriting, even before the messages began
appearing. I couldn't do anything about it until today when I overheard
Willow complaining that Xander was late getting her homework to her."
"Willow hasn't been doing her work at home, when I asked she said she'd been
doing it after school with Buffy Summers." Sheila says, taking off her
glasses and pinching the bridge of her nose to relieve the headache she got
the minute she saw what her daughter had been handing in to her teachers.
"What are you going to do to Willow?" Ira asks, knowing Willow has to be
punished for this.
"I had planned on giving Willow three hours detention every day after school
for the next two months." Snyder says, "Anything more severe is up to you."
"Can she be expelled for this?" Sheila asks, putting her glasses back on as
the student intern enters the office with a glass of water and two aspirin.
"She can receive a one-week suspension for this. I waited until I was able to speak to you two before I did anything."
"Do it." Ira says harshly, "I came to this country from Germany after losing
all my family at Auschwitz. No child of mine is going to get away with this
kind of nonsense." Sheila nods in agreement.
The phone on Mr. Snyder's desk rings and he answers it, grinning evilly at
whatever he hears on the other end of the line.
"Willow is on her way to the office right now. It seems that one of her
teachers gave a pop quiz today on material she was supposed to have read
last night for homework. She failed it, along with Buffy Summers."
Buffy and Willow enter the office, ignoring the student intern's muttered
'Not you again, Summers' comment under her breath and have a seat in front
of Snyder's shut door.
"Please come in Willow." Snyder says, blocking the view of his office from
Willow until she enters the office.
"Mom, Dad, what are you doing here?"
"Assistant Principal Snyder called us after he talked to you about forcing
Xander to do your homework. Now sit your butt down and shut your mouth, you
're already in trouble, don't add to it." Buffy hears before the door to
Snyder's office shuts with a loud click.
Ripper grabs the phone, listens to the voice on the other end, and resists
the urge to throw the telephone through the wall and pound his head on the
desk until he loses consciousness.
"That was Snyder. It seems Buffy and Willow have been sent to the Principal
's office again. Mr. Aaronsen gave a pop quiz over the material they were
supposed to have been studying last night, and they didn't get a single
question right." Ripper gets up, walks over the altar in the corner of the
room, lights Hestia's candle, and once again prays for patience. But
instead of like last time, he also lights a candle to Ares and the prayer he
sends to the War God is not repeated out loud before blowing out both
"Spill Unc, what did Ripper ask you?" Strife asks the smirking War God.
"He told me thank you for the confidence you have in me, Lord Ares, but I
wish you didn't have this much confidence in me. Bacchus, you might want to
visit him in his dreams tonight and reassure him that you're not angry with
him. It's not his fault that his Slayer is a world class Spoiled Bitch with
delusions of grandeur who never got past the me, me, me, it's all about me
Buffy looks up as the door to the Troll's inner sanctum opens an hour later
and a white-faced Willow exits the office, silent tears running down her
"Get out of my sight before I do something I'll regret." Sheila hisses at
her daughter, who scurries out of the room. Willow looks at her father, but
the expression in his eyes tells her that he's letting her mother deal with
her this time.
"Miss Summers, I'm ready to see you now." Snyder says, his smile cold as
Willow leaves the girl's bathroom, a cold paper towel against her eyes has
taken care of the swollen eyes she got from crying, but can't do anything
for the blotchy skin. Looking at the watch on her wrist, she sees it's time
for lunch. She heads for the lunchroom where she dumps her books on a table
and stands in line.
/Jeez Xander, are you first in line every day?/ she thinks snarkily as
Xander hands over his free lunch ticket to be punched. You won't see Willow
Rosenberg qualifying for free lunch, oh no, her parents can actually afford
to pay for her lunch. Xander gets in line and smiles as the lunch lady
behind the counter gives him a heavily laden tray.
She takes her own tray and sits down to eat. She looks up as Xander places
his tray on the table.
"Xander, get the hell away from me. You're the reason I just spent an hour
in the principal's office, getting yelled at by the Troll and my parents."
She hisses under her breath, ignoring the 'kicked puppy dog look' he gives
her. Xander turns to go to another table, accidentally hitting her arm as
she lifts her carton of milk to drink. The whole carton ends up pouring
down the front of her dress.
"Jeez Rosenberg, don't know how to feed yourself?" Cordelia Chase calls from
her table as the others in her group laugh at her. Willow turns to glare at
Xander, but he's already left the cafeteria, gone to eat lunch in the
library like he does most days. Of course, what Buffy and Willow don't know
is that he usually doesn't eat alone.
Xander closes the library door behind him softly, not wanting to bother
Giles if he's in his office. He sits the tray on the table, turning around
as two pops herald the arrival of Eris and Aphrodite.
"Eris, 'Dite, what are you guys doing here?"
"We just wanted to thank you for all the entertainment you've been giving us
on Mount Olympus. Oh, and to warn you, go home with your father tonight.
Something big's going to happen, and we don't want you caught in the
"Do you know what's going to happen?"
"No, the Fates still won't tell us. They just say that something's going to
happen to Buffy on her patrol tonight, and she's going to get a major
"Xander, how do you know Lady Eris and Lady Aphrodite?" Ripper asks, coming
out of the stacks where he had been shelving books.
"Whoops, busted" Eris says cheerfully, flashing out of the library.
"Why Hello, sweetcheeks. I've been meaning to thank you for all the energy
you and Ethan send my way. You're one of the most active couples I've seen
since Hercules and Iolaus. Later, Alex." And Aphrodite pops out of the
library, leaving the smell of roses behind her.
"They helped raise me." Xander says, settling down at the table to eat.
"Hope you don't mind if I sit in here and eat, G-Man."
"And why would Lady Aphrodite and Lady Eris have helped raise you?" Ripper
patiently, for him that is, asks the younger man as he pulls a chair out
across the table from Xander.
"I can't tell you, G-Man." Xander says, serious for once. "Not yet,
anyway." Ripper looks at the serious expression on the teenager's face and
nods, he'll let it go, for now.
Sheila storms into the house after leaving the high school, furious at her
"You get your ass in that bedroom, right now, Young Lady. You are grounded
for the next six months. That should give you plenty of time to actually do
your own homework for a change. And since you have to redo all the homework
you had Xander do for you before you can return to school, I'd suggest
starting right now."
"Buuuttttt, Mmmmmmmmmooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm, sccchhhhoooooooooollllllllll's
booorrrrrriiiiinnnnnnggggggggg." Willow begins to whine. The hand across
her face silences her immediately.
"Don't you ever 'Buuuuutttttt Moooommmmmmmmm, it's
boooorrrrrriiiinnnnnggggggggg, ME, Young Lady. Your Father lost his entire
family to a death camp. I lost both sets of grandparents, two aunts, an
uncle, and numerous cousins. Your father did not work himself nearly to
death getting an education and earning enough money to bring us to America
for you to you throw it all away by screwing around in school. I asked Mr.
Giles to tell Xander to come over tomorrow, he is such a darling boy by the
way, and you can apologize to him for your actions."
Ira comes into the room, the mail in his hands. His face is so white for a
second Sheila and Willow are afraid he's having a heart attack.
"Ira, what is it?"
"This just came in the mail, Willow, would you care to explain?" Ira says
icily, throwing the envelope of pictures between his wife and daughter.
Sheila grabs the pictures falling out of the envelope, her eyes growing hard
and her lips thinning into a hard line.
"Answer your father, Willow. Did you and Buffy study last night, or did you
lie to us and go on a date instead?" Sheila asks, her voice so cold it could
have been carved out of dry ice.
Willow stares in horror at the pictures of herself outside the movie theater
last night. Sheila looks at her daughter's face and grabs the telephone.
"Hello Joyce, this is Sheila Rosenberg. Yes, Willow's mother. What did
Buffy tell you she was doing last night, if you don't mind my asking?
Really???? Willow told me she and Buffy were going to be studying at your
house." Sheila listens to the other woman's voice, nodding.
"Yes dear, I think both girls lied to us. Well, Ira just came in with the
mail and there was an envelope with pictures in it showing the girls outside
the movie theater last night." Sheila nods at the voice. "Ira, will you go
check the Summers' mail and see if she got an envelope too." Ira leaves the
room, coming back five minutes later with an identical envelope that he
opens at Sheila's raised eyebrow.
"Yes dear, you got an envelope too. Ira, open it for us and see if . . . Yes
Joyce, you got the same pictures." Sheila nods, and hangs up the phone.
"Ira, Joyce is going to be right over to pick up the pictures as soon as she
can get somebody to cover the gallery for her. I think Willow and I are
going to have a very long talk." Willow gulps at the expression on her
mother's face, she thought she'd been having a bad day before, she didn't
know how lucky she had been.
"Now, whose idea was it to lie about studying last night, yours or Buffy's?
And, more importantly, did Buffy go on patrol last night after the movie?"
"Yes Willow, Patrol. Your father and I aren't stupid, we know Buffy's the
Slayer. That's why we allowed you to hang around with her, we were hoping
Buffy and her Watcher would be able to teach you how to defend yourself
against everything that happens on the Hellmouth."
"Y. . .Yo. . . You know about the Hellmouth?"
"Yes Willow, I know about the Hellmouth." Sheila says, removing her shirt
and turning around so Willow can see the birthmark on her back. "I'm a
Slayer that was never called, your Father's my Watcher. We've both kept in
touch with the Council. That's how we knew Buffy was the Slayer the minute
we heard a new girl had moved into town. Or hadn't you ever wondered just
why we are so strict about making sure you call us and let us know where you
are going and why we make sure you're in the house before dark?"
"I. . .I didn't think about it. I just thought you were being strict with
me because of Janice." Willow says, looking at the wall where a picture of
her older sister, missing five years sits as a shrine.
"Willow, Janice didn't run away. She was killed by a vampire," Ira says,
standing behind Willow's chair. "Your mother and I had to stake her
Ira leaves his wife to comfort their sobbing daughter as the doorbell rings.
He re-enters the room, followed by an upset Joyce Summers. She stops when
she sees Sheila wrap an arm around her daughter.
"We finally told Willow the truth, that Sheila is a Slayer that was never
called, and that Janice didn't run away. She was turned and we had to stake
"I . . .I need to go back to the Library. I need to apologize to Xander."
"You can apologize to him tomorrow for making him do your homework . . ."
Sheila begins to say, but Willow cuts her off in the middle of the sentence.
"No mom, I need to apologize to him for lying to Giles about needing to
study when we really wanted to go out on a date with some college boys who
had asked us out." Willow's voice is stronger now, and Sheila looks at her
daughter, realizing that she had received the wake-up call she needed.
"Did Buffy go on patrol last night?"
"No mom, Mrs. Summers, she didn't. We lied to Giles, saying we needed to
study, and Giles made Xander take her patrol last night instead. And he got
hurt because I was acting like a spoiled, selfish little brat."
"Xander took Buffy's patrol last night?"
"Yes, Mrs. Summers, he did. He kept trying to tell us today that he'd
gotten ambushed last night and spent most of the night in the emergency
room, but I was so angry at him I kept telling him to get the hell out of my
sight, it was all his fault I was in trouble with Snyder."
Willow runs into her room to quickly change out of the stained dress she had
been wearing and comes out dressed in a pair of Capri's and a loose shirt
that will allow her to move comfortably. She gets in the back seat beside
her father as her mother takes them back to the Library.
"Call me Joyce dear."
"How do you know about Slayers?"
"My twin sister and I are the only known pair of Slayers ever born. Jessica
was Called when we were sixteen, I wasn't. The Council tried to break us
up, but realized that Jessica fought better with me at her side. She died
in my arms one day shy of our 18th birthday. Hank was Jessica's watcher,
and the Council ordered him to stay with me in case I was chosen. I wasn't
chosen, so the Council gave him another assignment. I was kept watch on by
the Council in case any of my descendants were Slayers."
Joyce leads the way into the library, finding Ripper verbally tearing Buffy
to shreds for her actions the night before.
"So you decided to lie to me and Xander and instead of studying with Willow,
you went out on a date?" Ripper says icily, looking up as the door opens and
blinks in surprise at who's entering the Library. Willow quietly walks over
to where Xander's leaning against the stacks, laying a hand on his shoulder.
He jumps, so enthralled at the sight of Ripper on a tear he hadn't heard
anybody behind him.
"Giiillllleeessss, it was just one night. I don't know why you're being so
mmmeeeaannnn to me about it." Buffy whines. "You're not going to tell Mom I
lied, are you?"
"He doesn't have to Buffy, I already know all about it." Joyce says.
"Xander, I'd like to say I'm sorry for everything I said today." Willow
says, pulling Xander into a hug. "I should have stopped acting like a
spoiled little brat and actually listened to you. It wasn't your fault I
got in trouble with the Troll, it's mine because I was using you by making
you do my homework, and I used you last night when I let Buffy talk me into
going on a date with her instead of insisting she patrol instead. And I am
so sorry you got hurt because of me."
"Buffy, shut the fuck up. You deserve everything you're getting and so do
I. I'm sorry Giles; I shouldn't have allowed Buffy to talk me into lying to
you and Xander about what we were really doing last night. If you have time
when you're not training with Buffy, I'd like you to teach me how to fight."
"No, I'm the Slayer, not you. Giles isn't going to teach anybody to fight
"Buffy, sit your ass down in that chair and shut up." Joyce says, grabbing
Buffy by the hair and shoving her into a chair. "Giles is your Watcher, not
your Slave. He can teach anybody he wants to fight, and I'd be more than
happy for the help. If somebody else is helping me fight, that means I don'
t have to do it all myself. Giles, will you please introduce me to
"Certainly, this is my partner Ethan Rayne, he owns and operates the Magic
Box store. This is Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, he just joined us today, and this
is Angel. Angel, Wesley, Ethan, this is Joyce Summers, Buffy's mother."
"M. . .Mrs. Summers, may I ask you a question:?"
"Certainly, Wesley." Joyce smiles at the nervous young man.
"How. . .How do you know that Mr. Giles is Buffy's Watcher?"
"Because I'm a Slayer who was never called, Wesley. My twin sister was, though, she died in my arms. The Council tried to separate us when
she was called, and I wasn't, but we fought better as a team than we did
"Who was your Sister's Watcher?"
"My ex-husband, Hank. He was ordered to stay with me after Jessica died,
because the Council thought that I might become the next Slayer. When I
didn't, he was offered a new assignment."
"And you, Mrs. Rosenberg? You don't seem surprised to find out that Buffy
is the Slayer."
"That's because I'm a Slayer too, Ethan. Like Joyce, I was never called.
Ira is my Watcher, and we still keep in touch with the Council. The Council
told us that a Slayer was being sent to Sunnydale, and I allowed Willow to
join the group, hoping Mr. Giles would be able to teach her to protect
"Buffy, you are grounded for the next six weeks. You can only leave the
house for school, Patrol, and training with Giles. You and I are going to
have a long talk about your responsibilities, Buffy. Don't think I'm going
to let you get away with treating your Watcher and the others like this.
Because, if you keep acting like this, you're going to find yourself facing
a dozen vampires with nothing but a stake and no backup."
"Buuuttttttt Mmmmooooooooommmmmmmmm. . ."
"Don't But Mom me, young Lady. I lost my sister; I'm not losing you too.
You are going to fight, you're going to let the others learn to fight if
they want to, and you're going to grow the hell up before I kill you myself.
Now get changed, and get back to training with Giles."
Hours later, Ripper drops onto the bed with a heartfelt groan. What a day
this had been, between Buffy getting called to the Principal's office a
record five times, finding out that Willow and Buffy had been out on a date
instead of studying, and finding out that both Joyce and Sheila were Slayers
that hadn't been Called, he's afraid of what's going to happen next. And he
still has to find out just how Xander knows Lady Aphrodite and Lady Eris.
Bacchus smiles as he touches Ripper's head, sending him off into a deep
healing sleep. He waits until Ripper is in a light dream state, then enters
Ripper finds himself in an ancient temple and looks around, his gaze finally
falling on the throne in the middle of the room. The occupant is looking at
a piece of paper on his lap, and looks up to smile at the younger man.
"It's okay Ripper, I'm not angry at you. Please have a seat."
"Please, where am I?"
"You're in my Temple, Ripper. Allow me to introduce myself; I'm Bacchus,
God of Vampires and Slayers. And I would like to thank you for lighting
candles in worship to me; I'm not worshipped much anymore. But that is
going to change soon."
"My Lord Bacchus, what do you have planned?"
"Well, first of all I'm going to have a little talk with your Slayer about
the facts of life I never would have chosen her, but she is one of my
Slayers, and I will not have her treating anybody like she has today. So
don't be surprised if you wake up tomorrow and find a very much subdued
Slayer waiting for you at the Library."
"My Lord Bacchus, what about the prophecy I found?"
"The one that states the 'Slayer who should not have been chosen will be the
end of all Slayers'? Yes, I am aware of that prophecy and I am working on
that. The Council is an abomination; I never would have chosen children to
fight the vampires. My warriors have always been grown men and women who
worked and fought with my bacchii and were a last resort to be used only as
needed. I plan on bringing back a thousand of my most able warriors to deal
with the vampire situation. The most dangerous are going to be destroyed,
and those left, the ones who have stayed with my teachings, will be used to
combat overpopulation among the human and demon populations."
"Thank you, My Lord Bacchus. Is there anything you require of me in
"Just keep praying to me Young one, that's all I ask." Bacchus says,
standing up and walking across the room to the Watcher. "Janus chose well
when he chose you. If you weren't one of his, I'd have chosen you years
"Thank you, My Lord Bacchus."
Bacchus smiles as Ripper drifts off into a deeper sleep, curling around
Ethan. He watches the young men sleep for a couple of minutes before
leaving to deal with a certain spoiled brat Slayer.