tagCelebritiesThe Real Me

The Real Me

byBlissfulZimZum666©

“There is nothing but you.” Giles said. “You are the centre. And within you, there is the core of your being... of what you are. “

Giles walked in a circle around Buffy.

“Find it... breathe into it.”

Buffy was leaning over a short pedestal with both her hands on it; she had her eyes closed. Giles walked in front of her.

“Focus inward. Let the world fall away... fall away... fall away...”

Buffy opened her eyes. She leant forward and went into a handstand, balancing on her hands on the pedestal. The pedestal was about two feet high and four inches square. There were exercise mats underneath it and a vault stood in the background. Giles was still walking circles around Buffy, staring at her.

Off to one side was a large flat crystal with three smaller crystals standing on end atop it.

Giles continued watching Buffy.

Buffy closed her eyes again. She removed one hand from the pedestal.

Buffy brought one arm out parallel to the floor, so she was balancing on the other hand. Giles was still walking around her, watching. Buffy’s face looked very peaceful.

Someone tried to balance a fourth crystal on top of the three standing ones, but it was clumsy and all the crystals fell over with a clunk.

Buffy’s eyes flicked open, she lost her concentration and crashed to the floor with a cry. Giles started toward her in alarm, saw she was all right. He then looked in a different direction, pulling off his glasses in an angry motion.

As Buffy lay on the floor Dawn went and stood over her

“Can we go now?”

Buffy looked annoyed.

Nobody knows who I am. Not the real me. It’s like; nobody cares enough to find out. I mean, does anyone ever ask me what I want to do with my life? Or what my opinion is on stuff? Or what restaurant to order in from?

Dawn was sitting on her bed, wearing pajamas, writing in her diary. There was a huge pile of stuffed animals on the bed with her.

No. Underline. Exclamation point.

Dawn underlined the word and drew the exclamation point. She pondered for a moment and then violently drew a few more, stabbing at the paper with her pen.

Exclamation point, exclamation point. No one understands. No one has an older sister who’s a Slayer.

Buffy opened the refrigerator and took out a carton of milk.

People wouldn’t be so crazy about her if they had to live in the same house with her every single day. Everybody cares what she thinks. Just ‘cause she can do back flips and stuff.

Buffy sniffed the milk and put it on the counter. Behind her Joyce was drinking coffee and Dawn opened a cabinet to get out a box of cereal. Buffy picked up a banana from a bowl of fruit, and turned away.

Like that’s such a crucial job skill in the real world.

Buffy moved to the cupboard to get a bowl. Joyce poured milk into her coffee cup. Dawn opened the cereal box and sat down.

Plus Mom lets her get away with everything. ‘Your sister’s saving the world.’

Joyce moved back to lean against the counter again, Buffy returned with a bowl, which she placed on the counter, moving the milk carton aside. She picked up the banana again and turned away, peeling it. Dawn took Buffy’s bowl and poured cereal into it.

I could so save the world if somebody handed me super powers...

Dawn turned away from the table as Buffy returned with a knife, prepared to slice the banana into her bowl, but found the bowl missing. She saw it sitting at Dawn’s spot full of cereal, and made an irritated face.

... but I’d think of a cool name and wear a mask to protect my loved ones, which Buffy doesn’t even.

Dawn returned with a spoon, wearing an innocent expression. Buffy turned away to get another bowl, and Dawn picked up the carton of milk. She emptied it into her bowl and sat down to eat.

If this town wasn’t so lame everyone would completely know what she does. And then I bet they wouldn’t even be that impressed, because like, killing things with wood? Oh, scary vampires, they die from a splinter.

Buffy returned with another bowl, reached across Dawn for the cereal box, poured it into her bowl, picked up the milk carton and found it empty. Dawn continued eating, pretending not to notice.

“So Buffy, what are your plans today?” Joyce asked.

Buffy continued giving Dawn a dirty look for a moment, then looked away.

“Oh, actually, Giles and I are gonna go to the magic shop for supplies for my new and improved training sessions.”

“Oh, that’s great.”

Buffy walked to the sink, then to the fridge, “Oh, yeah, I’m actually…”

Joyce interrupted, “You can take Dawn shopping for back to school supplies.”

Dawn put down her spoon and turned around, preparing to argue.

“What??” Buffy said.

“Mom, I-I thought you were taking me.” Dawn said.

“Well, honey, I’ve got the Gurion showing tonight, and there’s so much to do to get the gallery ready.” Joyce turned to leave kitchen.

“No, but, see, Mom…” Buffy began.

Buffy and Dawn ran after Joyce as she walked to the living room.

“That doesn’t really work for me. We’re just going to the magic shop. No school supplies there.”

“Yeah, Mom, I’m not going to Hogwarts.” Dawn giggled at her own joke till she noticed Buffy looking annoyed and confused. “Geez, crack a book sometime.”

“Look, I’m sure Giles doesn’t mind dropping you and your sister off at the mall afterwards.” Joyce said.

“Actually, he does mind. This is supposed to be quality Watcher/Slayer time. I told you, she completely ruined my training yesterday.” Buffy complained.

“Did not!”

“Oh, you know you did too.”

“Buffy. I realize the importance of your new Slayer thing, but…”

There was a knock on the door.

“… I could really use your help.”

Joyce walked past the two girls, both sighing and rolling their eyes in annoyance. They glared at each other as Joyce opened the door and Michael came in.

“Morning, Mrs. Summers. You look great.” Michael said.

“Oh, thank you, Michael.” Joyce said and left the room.

Buffy went over to Michael, “Suck up.”

“What? It’s a nice outfit.” Michael protested.

Dawn pretended not to be watching them.

“Mm-hmm.”

“Besides, ‘I’m here to violate your firstborn’ never goes over with parents. Not sure why.” Michael said.

He and Buffy smooched.

Michael, my sister’s boyfriend, is so into her. They’re always kissing... and groping. I bet they have sex! He so looks like a woman.

Michael was wearing black leather pants and a purple velour top with a neck that was low round his neck. He also had his nails painted purple. He also wore a ring on nearly every finger.

Michael stopped kissing Buffy and looked at Dawn.

“Hey, kid.” Michael said.

“I’m not a kid.” Dawn said annoyed.

She walked off as Buffy and Michael moved into the living room.

“Well, this is a surprise of the nicest kind.” Buffy said.

“Now it’s my turn to be surprised. I thought we had plans today.”

They sat on the sofa.

“Plans? We planned plans?” Buffy asked.

“Well, you said, uh, ‘come over tomorrow and we’ll hang,’ and then I said, ‘OK.’ Not the invasion of Normandy, but still a plan.”

Buffy nodded in resignation.

“Right.”

Michael studied her expression, “We’re not hangin’ today, are we?”

“Giles is on his way to pick me up.”

“Oh, Slayer training.”

“Slayer shopping, actually, but equally as important.”

“I have no doubt. Okay, well, we’ll hook up later.” Michael started to get up.

“Are you mad at me?” Buffy asked.

“Oh, no, not at all. I’m plotting your death, but in a happy way.” Michael smiled.

“Good.”

“Look, Buffy, I know what this means to you. I think it’s great that you’ve got this new mission. I’ll see you tonight.”

They smooched and Michael got up.

“Bye.” Michael said, then called. “See ya, kid!”

“I’m not a kid!” Dawn called back.

A bright red convertible was driving down a street. Giles was at the wheel, Buffy beside him and Dawn was in the back. Classical music played on the radio.

“Well, I sympathize with you, Buffy, I truly do. But I’m certain that Michael understands the importance of training. You can’t allow personal concerns to distract you from…” Dawn reached between them to change the radio station. “Dawn, will you stop fiddling with the radio and sit down?” Giles said irritably.

Dawn sat back, looking exasperated. The radio still played classical music.

I don’t think Buffy’s Watcher likes me too much. I think it’s ‘cause he’s just so... old. I’m not sure how old he is, but I heard him use the word ‘newfangled’ one time. So he’s gotta be pretty far gone.

Dawn sat fidgeting in the backseat of the car.

Buffy was studying a piece of paper, “There’s a lot of books on this list. Any of them come on tape? You know, read by George Clooney or someone cute like that?”

“You’re entering a new realm here, Buffy. One for which I myself am not entirely prepared. Are you ready for this commitment?”

“I’m just kidding! Hey, this Betty’s ready. Colour me committed.”

The car engine raced as Giles tried to shift gear.

“Blast!” Giles exclaimed.

“You put it in neutral again, huh?” Buffy asked.

“I’m just not used to this automatic transmission. I-I loathe this sitting here, not contributing.”

Dawn looked surprised.

“No, i-it’s not working out.”

“Giles, are you breaking up with your car?” Buffy asked jokingly.

“Well, it did seduce me, all red and sporty!” Giles confessed.

“Little two-door tramp.”

Giles gave her a sour look.

“I-I-I don’t know, I just… I was so at loose ends, I-I found myself searching for... some way of feeling more...”

“Shallow?” Buffy offered.

“Perhaps, as I am to act as your Watcher again, a modicum of respect might be in order.”

“Do I have to?” Buffy asked, winding Giles up.

“I’m serious, Buffy, there’s going to be far less time for the sort of flighty, frivolous…”

Pointing Dawn called, “Hey, there’s Willow and Tara!” “Ooh, they haven’t seen my new car.” Giles said.

Giles pulled over. Buffy rolled her eyes at him. Willow and Tara were coming out of the coffee shop. Then Michael and Kaz came out behind them.

“Hey Giles, sharp wheels!” Willow said.

“The rest of the car’s nice too.” Tara added.

Everyone got out of the car. Buffy and Michael kissed.

“Handles like a dream.” Giles said.

“It’s the new Giles.” Kaz said.

“Did Buffy give you a pay rise now you’re her Watcher again?” Michael asked.

Buffy and Giles ignored this.

“Where are you guys heading?” Buffy asked.

“Magic shop. I have some charms on back order.” Willow informed her.

Smiling Dawn said, “Willow, hi.”

“Hey Dawny!” They hugged. “How’s my favourite chess partner? Still leading with your knight?”

Dawn shrugged in embarrassment.

Willow’s the awesomest person. She’s the only one I know who likes school as much as me. Even her friends are cool!

Tara smiled and gave a little wave, “Hey Dawn.”

Like Tara. She and Willow are both witches. They do spells and stuff, which is so much cooler than slaying. I told Mom one time I wished they’d teach me some of the things they do together. A-and then she got really quiet and made me go upstairs. Huh. I guess her generation isn’t cool with witchcraft.

Dawn and Tara were walking side-by-side, with Giles, Michael and Kaz ahead of them and Buffy and Willow were in the lead.

“So, why are you two tagging along?” Giles asked Michael and Kaz.

“I need to stock up on stuff.” Kaz said.

“Oh I didn’t know you practised Witchcraft.” Giles said.

“Yeah, have done for a while. Might try teaching some to Michael as well, if he can keep up.” Kaz said.

“Hey, anything you can do I can do too.” Michael said.

“W-well, I’m sure it will be helpful to have more witches around.” Giles said. “Sorry Michael, and a warlock.”

“Hey, witch is fine with me.” Michael said.

“So Giles and I worked out a whole schedule around school. A block of time every day just to focus on my new Slayer training.” Buffy told Willow.

“That’s a work ethic! Buffy, you’re developing a work ethic.” Willow said excitedly.

“Oh, no. Do they make an ointment for that?” Buffy joked.

“People gotta respect a solid work ethic. Look at you, motivated Buffy. Eager to soak up learning. Oh, you and I are gonna have so much fun this semester.”

Buffy stopped walking, so did everyone else.

“Yeah, that reminds me. With the whole new training schedule, I kinda had to drop a class.”

“That’s understandable. Your Slayer studies are way more important.”

“So I won’t be taking drama with you.”

Behind them Tara and Dawn peered in the windows of the magic shop.

“What? You have to, you promised!”

“Well, I know, but Giles said that it just was…” Buffy was gesturing to Giles who was behind her, looking in the opposite direction.

“The Hell with Giles.” Willow said.

Giles turned in surprise.

“I can hear you, Willow.” Giles said.

“Drama is just Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. You can blow off training Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, can’t you?”

“What happened to ‘people gotta respect a work ethic’?”

“Other people, not me! There’s a whole best friend loophole.”

Calling to them Tara said, “Shop’s kinda dark. Maybe it’s closed.”

“That’s odd.” Giles said.

Everyone looked bemused and walked toward the magic shop.

Giles opened the door and walked in. It was dark and the furniture was overturned. Giles and Buffy walked in slowly, followed by the others, all looking around.

“Well, I think ‘odd’ just got upped to ‘bad’.” Buffy said.

“Hello? Anyone here?” Giles called.

“Mr. Bogarty?” Tara called.

Everyone looked at Tara.

“The owner. I-I come in here a lot.”

Willow advanced further into the store, “Well, maybe this happened... really late at night when nobody was...”

Willow tripped over something and fell to the floor.

“Will?” Buffy said.

Tara moved forward.

“I’m fine, I-I just tripped over...”

Willow sat up and saw the body. He was lying face-up and there were vampire bite marks on his neck.

“Mr. Bogarty.” Willow finished.

Dawn was behind Buffy and Giles, “Wha-what is it, is he okay?”

She tried to move forward but Buffy pushed her back.

“It’s nothing you need to see, Dawn, go wait outside.”

Buffy hustled her toward the door with a hand on Dawn’s elbow.

“I don’t wanna wait outside!” Dawn complained.

“Dawn!” Buffy warned.

“Ow, that hurt!”

Buffy pushed her out the door onto the street.

“You’re hurting me. I’m telling.”

“Look, I don’t have time for this. Just do as I say and wait.” Buffy said.

She started off, then turned back.

“Here.”

Buffy went back inside. Dawn sighed in annoyance, walked around a little, then went back and peered between the blinds. Inside the shop she could see Buffy, Michael, Kaz, Tara and Willow standing around as Giles knelt beside the body.

“Whatcha doin’?” said a voice behind Dawn.

Dawn turned with a gasp. A scruffy older man was standing there, unshaven, his tie loose.

“What are you doing here? You can’t loiter. There’s no loitering.” He said.

He advanced on Dawn as she backed up, scared.

“That’s why I’m a cat. Quiet. See, cat’s in the cupboard,” he was making cat-scratching gestures with his hands, “but they find you there anyway, and it hurts.”

Dawn had backed up against a van. She looked around, scared.

The guy was sobbing, “Please, make it stop.” Then in a different tone, “Shut up, shut up, they’ll hear you!”

Dawn tried to call out, “Buff…” The gave a stifled shriek as the guy put his finger on her lips.

“I know you. Curds and whey.” Dawn looked shocked. “I know what you are.” Then slowly and ominously, “You ... don’t... belong... here.”

Dawn shook her head, looking on the verge of tears.

The door to the magic shop opened and Tara came out. She looked around.

“Dawn?” Tara called.

She walked out a little farther, looking around.

“Dawn?”

She looked down and saw Dawn sitting on the ground, leaning against a building.

“Dawn. You okay?” Tara asked.

“Is... Is that guy dead in there?”

Tara nodded, “Yeah.”

She sat down next to Dawn.

“They’re gonna be a little while longer, doing the detective thing. Best non-Scoobies like you and me stay out of the way.”

Dawn nodded. They sat silently for a few moments.

“Do you wanna thumb-wrestle?” Tara asked.

Dawn nodded again, “Okay.”

They locked their hands together and begin to thumb-wrestle.

Giles closed Mr. Bogarty’s eyes.

“Judging by the bite-fest, I’d say it was more than one vampire.” Buffy said.

Giles stood up, “I make it four at least.”

“Looks like someone’s put together a new fang club.”

Buffy walked to the counter. Willow was behind it, holding a book.

“Well, I’ve cross-checked the inventory list, and things are definitely missing.” Willow said putting the inventory book on the counter.

“What’s gone?” Kaz asked.

“Mostly books. Including A Treatise on the Mythology and Methodology of the Vampire Slayer.”

Buffy pulled out her book list as Giles picked up the inventory book.

“Oh, shoot! Was that the only copy?” Buffy asked.

“Come on, Buffy, this could be very serious. Whoever’s leading this pack of vampires appears to be interested in learning more about you. Perhaps searching for weaknesses or... good lord.” Giles said.

“What?”

“Well, I had no idea the profit margins on a shop like this were so high.”

Buffy and Willow exchanged a look.

“Now you’re worried about profit margins?” Michael asked. “What happened to someone’s looking for Slayer weaknesses?”

“Look at this! Uh, low overhead, out-of-state orders, international - it’s no wonder there’s never any trouble attracting new owners.” Giles looked around. “A place like this is a virtual…”

“Death-trap?” Buffy finished.

“What? Well, uh, yes, there is that. But, uh, still...” Giles put book down and looked around some more. “Location, pedestrian traffic...”

“So what’s the next step?” Willow asked.

Still gazing around Giles said, “Buffy, you should begin looking for their lair straight away.”

“Michael can help me patrol.” Buffy said.

“I’d be glad to lend a hand too.” Kaz said.

”Wait, aren’t you forgetting something?” Willow asked Buffy.

“Impressive square footage...” Giles said still going on about the shop.

Giles walked off as Buffy gave Willow a questioning look.

“You’re on Dawn duty.” Willow reminded her.

Buffy looks annoyed, “Oh, duty. I gotta drop my sister back home.” Her eyes widened. “My Mother’s gonna kill me.”

Wandering back Giles said, “I bet the death rate keeps the rent down.” He paused. “Oh, hello. Something’s been taken from this case, look here.”

He went over to a case where the glass had been knocked out.

“What’d they take?” Buffy asked.

Willow looked in the inventory book.

“I should think an item of, of value, or-or power, possibly even a…”

“A unicorn. 10-inch ceramic unicorn imported from Thailand.” Willow finished.

“Was it valuable?” Kaz asked.

Giles stared in puzzlement at the empty case.

“List price, $12.95.” Willow informed them.

“Which begs the question, what kind of an unholy creature fancies cheap tasteless statuary?” Giles asked.

“Okay, hi. First of all, I wanna thank everybody for a really successful raid on the magic shop last night.” Harmony applauded. “Good job, minions!”

Harmony stood in her underground lair, wearing a skimpy black top and shiny gold pants. Four male vampires were standing around. They applauded along with her, a little uncertainly. They were Brad, Cyrus, Peaches, and Mort. Mort was very tall and large, whereas the others were fairly average-sized.

“Yes, you deserve it. Secondly...” Harmony turned away to reach for something, “somebody remembered to pick me up the sweetest little unicorn!” She held up the ceramic unicorn and smiled at Brad.

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