"I actually thought the candy was better this time."
"I don't know, the popcorn was too buttery. Salt is the heart of the popcorn, butter is just fluff that makes it tastier, but you could do without it."
"So you like your popcorn salty rather than buttery?"
Oz grinned, that cute little pull on the corner of his mouth, which made her heart flutter like butterfly wings, and her knees turn to mashed potatoes mixed with jello. Mushy, yet slippery. Thinking about this rather odd combination and slightly disgusting combination, Willow changed the subject.
"Are we gonna do it again?"
"What, talk about the pros and cons of popcorn?"
"Probably not. Although it's an interesting topic. Very debatable."
Oz smiled again, and Willow's knees turned to that disturbingly disgusting mixture again.
"Ah, you mean the movie." Willow nodded.
"Well as long as it's not the same movie. Tom Hanks never does it for me."
"Okay. Whatever is fine with you is fine with me."
Oz checked the hall clock, then looked back at Willow.
"Works for me. But I gotta go, Mr. Rambarn is really getting down on us for being late for trig. Especially me."
Willow waved as he turned around and sauntered down the hall, perfectly at ease. She had already been dating him for a couple months, and even after Buffy left and killed Angel, they were still going strong. She turned into English, where she sat next to Buffy.
"This has got to be a historical record. I got to class before you! What gives Will? No wait, let me guess. You were either horrifically attacked by hundreds of vampires wanting nothing better than to suck you dry, then take your clothes and belongings and sell them for big bucks in the black market saying that they were the property of the slayer's best friend - I actually really do like your sweater. Cute puppy! Or, you were talking to Oz. Which one is correct?"
"Second one." said Willow, her grin stretching wide. "And I know you don't really like the shirt. It has Kmart written all over it."
"Nah, it's cute! Besides, since Cordelia and Xander have been making with the smoochies, she can't make fun of you for it. Hopefully anyway. Maybe not. Does she even have that much dignity?"
"By the way, last night I ran into some seriously wacko demon. Totally crazed. Very bumpy. I was gonna check in with Giles after school, since I can't miss any classes today."
"I'll be there."
"Ah you don't have to Will. It's just a little check up."
"It's okay. I want to. Can I bring Oz?"
Buffy grinned. "Yes, you may bring your puppy dog."
"He is NOT my puppy dog!"
"Oh come on, have you seen the way he looks at you?"
"Yes I have actually, and right now I'm imagining how Ms. Brooks is going to look when she catches us chatting about boys when she's reciting Othello verses."
Buffy sank back into her seat and Willow turned forward, ready for class.
After last period, Willow caught up with Oz at his locker, cramming what looked like major piles of junk into it.
"Did your locker become the new city dump?" she asked.
"Willow! Hey-" he stopped when a portion of the good papers and books came falling down on him, basically pinning him to the floor.
"Let me help." she fell to her knees, digging through the rubbish.
"Thanks. Just junk from history."
"So, are you gonna stop by the library for some scoobie time?"
"Ah dammit, sorry Will. Band's practicing this afternoon. All afternoon. I would if I could, I actually haven't talked to Xander for a while."
"Well, you can come next time. I'm not even sure if this counts as a time, I'm just checking in."
"Okay. I'm still sorry though."
He kissed her softly, then shut his locker and walked off. Willow smiled at his back, walking away, then turned around and headed towards the library.
When she got there, Giles was going through a stack of books nearly three feet high, Buffy sat with her legs propped up on the table, and Xander and Cordelia sat hand in hand, talking.
"World, I present to you the brains for our operation, Willow Rosenberg. What's up Will?" Xander asked.
"Xander, I'm not the brains."
"Really? Who is?"
She moved her head a little to point out Giles, hunched over a four books at a time.
"So what's on the agenda here? Cause if this is just special little scooby bonding time, I'm so outta here."
"Cordy, if this is bonding time, you can bond with me, your faithful soulmate, kay?" Xander said with a very pointed expression. Willow pulled up a chair and sat next to Buffy.
"So what's the deal?"
Giles started to speak, but Buffy cut him off.
"Hey, weren't you gonna bring Oz?"
"Couldn't make it. He had practice."
"Oh, that sucks. Sorry."
"He was pretty sorry too. But I said it was okay."
"Giles? Is the world doomed again?" Xander asked.
Giles picked up another book, flipped through the pages until he could find what he was looking for.
"Aha! Yes. Yes, of course. Of course..."
He looked up to see everyone staring at him, apparently forgetting their presence.
"Oh, no need to alarm. I was worried for a moment, but nothing to fear. The demon Buffy encountered last night, which you said was 'bumpy' and 'horny' correct?"
"Yep. Bumpy and horny like most of them."
"Yes, well, the demon Buffy faced was a Feignar demon, not a particularly dangerous demon, just rather showy. Feeds on..." he stopped to look at a page. "...well."
"What?" Xander said. "Well what? Good well? Bad well?"
"Uh, good well I suppose. He's...he's a vegetarian."
Buffy sat up. "As in world peas? No steak and potatoes? Well no steak anyway. Celery? Baby carrots?"
"Yes, actually. It lives off fruits and vegetables from home gardens. If it encounters a human, it will most likely defend itself, but it never attacks."
"That makes sense. I found it in it's cave. But it's still a hell of a fighter." Buffy said, seeming disappointed at her word. "It kicked my ass."
"Well, the diet strengthens it quite well."
"Is it actually dangerous? I mean, all it does is steal foods from gardens, not like it's an actual threat right?" Willow said.
"I'd suppose I'd say that. But maybe not...Buffy. Go to it's cave tonight. Talk to it. See what it's plans are, see if it's new or old. See if it's planning on staying."
"Will do," Buffy replied, getting up from her chair. "But now I gotta go. Quality mom time, cleaning cooking. Plus mucho homework."
"Got enough free time to go to the Bronze tonight?" Xander asked.
"Yeah, Garbage is playing tonight! Major cool music, plus food and beverages, my treat."
"Wow Cordelia, that'd be a first. This day is full of firsts." she winked at Willow.
"I'll see what I can do. I'll probably come before patrolling."
"Cool! See you there." She and Xander walked off, leaving Buffy and Willow alone in the parking lot.
"So, how's Oz lately?
"Oh, Oz is just being Oz."
"Is that a good thing?"
Buffy grinned. "You know, I think you two are really hitting it off lately. I mean, I know you've been dating for a while, but you guys seem really tight lately."
"Yeah. I guess so. We went to see that new Tom Hanks movie last night. Awful."
Buffy laughed. "But the movie isn't what matters."
"It's not the smoochies either. For us anyway. We have engrossing discussions about the snacks afterwards. And how the ushers are actually really bad at remembering the seats. He said we could sit in A7, but he sat us in C4. Oz thought he looked a little stoned."
Buffy smiled. "Well, I think you two are adorable. Keep up that adorable work."
"Thank you. I will."
"Good, good. My stop." she jammed her thumb in the direction of her home. "See ya at the Bronze later?"
"Count on it."
Later at the Bronze, Buffy and Willow sat at a table while Xander and Cordelia danced. They were eating from a large onion ring basket, and they chatted about things. Mostly Oz. Or pretty much all about Oz.
"Do you think he might show?" Buffy asked, curious.
"Oh he comes every night, I'm sure he'll be here."
Xander and Cordelia came back to drag them onto the floor, and they danced to three songs. When they finished, they headed back to their empty table. Willow checked her watch.
"It's after nine. Oz would've been here by now."
"Ah don't worry Will. I bet the Oz man just wants to spend some quality time with his beloved guitar. Most likely he'll be here soon." Xander said.
"It's after nine? Dammit!" Buffy grabbed her coat. "Be seeing you guys, but I got demons to kill, vamps to slay. You know the drill."
"Can I come with you?"
Willow blushed slightly. "Well, I'm pretty sure Oz isn't gonna show up, and I'm not in the mood for home. Can I tag along?"
Buffy pondered over it for a minute, then decided.
"Fine, but if it comes to a fight, you are staying out of my way, got it? This thing is seriously ferocious."
"Fine. Fine, I will."
"Good. Xander, Cordy - see ya later."
Willow followed Buffy out of the Bronze, who was fast walking.
"So what exactly are we gonna do with this thing?" Willow asked.
"Talk to it. Get info. If it's important, we report back to Giles tonight. If he's harmless as a kitten - a really, really, ugly kitten - then we call it a night."
They walked to the graveyard, keeping a fast pace but talking the whole time.
"Where's this Feignar demon's cave?" Willow asked when they got to the gate of the cemetery.
"Well it was on the edge. Far edge. In fact," Buffy checked her watch. "It's getting late, and I have this new pact with mom that I have to be home from slaying by eleven, and I'm assuming the talking part of this whole interrogation might take a bit. So-" She turned around. "I'm gonna carry you on my back. Run like a bullet. Use slayer strength. Kay?"
Buffy hoisted her up onto her back then speeded off to the west side of the cemetery. Willow watched the murky scenery go by her quickly. When they stopped, Buffy carefully sat Willow down.
"This is it." They stood in front of a small cave, murky and mossy, with a moist feel to the air.
"Ready?" Buffy asked.
"No sweat." Willow replied.
They walked into the cave, down a small slant into a room. A room that was not empty. A room that was full of people, gagged with their hands bound, a deep slash cut into their forearms that looked like a crescent moon with a strange pattern around it. In the corner was what looked like a man, but a very small man. A man with fiery orange hair.
"Oh dear lord." Giles whipped off his glasses and threw them onto the book. "Oh god." He got up and strode to a bookshelf where he counted off till he found the right book, dusty and old with a beaten cover and spine. He flipped through, searching desperately until he found the right page.
"Oh dear lord." He said again. He whipped around and snatched his coat off the rack in his office, grabbed an ax and a stake, then set out of the library.
"Oh dear lord." he said under his breath. "Oh dear lord, oh dear lord, oh dear lord." He climbed into his car and turned the ignition. The car didn't start. He tried again, and again. It didn't turn on. "Dammit."
"Oz?" Willow called. The body didn't move. "Oz!" Willow rushed to his side. His forearm was also cut deep. She felt for his pulse. He was still alive.
"Buffy, he's still alive but we've got to get him out of here! Everyone out of here!"
"You're right. This guy is no vegetarian. I'm sure this is the right cave -" She was cut off by a deafening roar, and the same demon she had fought the night before faced her.
"So, given up your vegetarian ways huh?" Buffy said, backing away slowly. "I understand. I saw a pig slaughtered when I was nine. I went veggie for one week. Then we had hot dogs for lunch, first time in forever. And that was supposed to be a funny story, but I guess I couldn't pull it off. Now the magazines say after having a nice bonding convo, you could maybe move to a bit of the touching? I guess our relationship is close enough that we could do that."
The demon roared again and lunged, but she dodged him and kicked his side, knocking him into the wall. His cry filled the small cave and he lunged once more. Willow carefully moved everyone out. Some were waking and helped. She caught glances of the fight as she worked, as far as she could see, the demon seemed to be gaining strength by the minute. The demon punched Buffy in the stomach, she doubled over, and the demon pounded her back and she fell.
"Buffy!" Willow cried, for the demon was about to snap her neck, but then a loud screech made her turn around, and Giles, Xander, and Cordelia all jumped out of Cordy's bubblegum pink car, which they had drove through the cemetery here. Giles clambered out and rushed into the cave to help Buffy, followed by Xander. "Come on! There's more people!" Cordelia whispered to Willow, and they hurriedly helped more people out. When everyone was out, they rushed back in just in time to see Xander push the demon into the tip of the ax Giles had given to Buffy. Giles sighed with relief.
"Giles, what the hell was that? That thing was not a vegetarian Feignar."
"I know. Giles replied. "It's a Feignarette."
Buffy looked at Willow. She shrugged.
Giles answered their questioned faces with "A female Feignar. The males of the species are indeed vegetarian. The females however, are, well, your everyday demon."
"Why didn't you know this?"
"Because the book I had covered only male species of demons. That's what I found earlier today. I was just looking through books, I didn't know it was only males. I was looking at the same book this evening, but for females, and that's when I realized. Luckily Cordelia and Xander were at home, doing, well, um, things, because my car wouldn't start."
Everyone nodded, glad to have things cleared up.
"Hey Will, didn't I see Oz out their with the other victims?" Cordelia said.
"Oh! Right!" Willow rushed out of the cave to him, where he was just waking up.
"Oz?" Willow asked, kneeling by him and supporting his head.
"Yes, yes, it's me, Willow, Willow!"
"Good. Really good. It was totally freaked, this random demon jumped me on the way to the Bronze. I figured you would be there. Before it knocked me out, it cut this into my arm." He indicated the symbol.
"Just a symbol to show he's your food. Nothing serious." said Giles, coming out of the cave.
"Good. It's all good." Oz said. He sighed.
The next day at school, Willow got to her locker late, due to her forgetfulness of setting her alarm. Oz was waiting for her.
"Why with the late?" He asked when she arrived.
"I forgot to set my alarm clock." She spun her locker number and opened it up.
"You've got an alarm clock?" He asked while she pulled together her books and folders.
"Does it have like a song or something? Like the cookie monster song, or does it look like a blob of jello?"
Willow grinned. "No, it's an Elmo one. Everyday I wake up to the joyful sound of Elmo's World."
She turned to look at him and grinned. He grinned back, then he kissed her. Soft and gentle.
"What was that for?" she asked when he pulled back.
"For being you." he replied. He took her hand.
She smiled at him, then walked down the halls of Sunnydale High with her perfect wolfy boy.
The stars of our fan fiction!