Out Of My Mind


In a graveyard at night Buffy was crouched on top of a crypt. She stood up, stake in hand. She looked around, and then leapt to the ground.

Buffy ran through the graveyard, pausing, she looked around.

A pair of arms burst out of a fresh grave but Buffy staked the vampire before it could finish coming out of the ground.

Buffy straightened up, and turned as another vampire emerged from another grave. She ducked his swing, threw a few punches, kicked him in the chest. He did a back-roll and came up to his feet.

Michael appeared out of nowhere and threw the vampire aside.


Smiling, Michael said, “Buffy, what are you doing here?”

“My job?”

“Well, I just thought you were in the north sector.”

“Watch out!”

The vampire attacked Michael from behind. He kicked the vampire’s legs out from under him and threw him aside. The vampire hit a crypt and slid down.

“Never mind.” Buffy said.

Michael punched the vampire, and then staked him.

Another vampire emerged from the ground. Buffy spotted him and started forward with a yell, raising her stake.

Another person appeared from the left and tackled the new vampire, carrying him to the ground. Buffy looked bemused.

“Why do I even bother to show up?”

The two fighters got up; the newcomer was Spike. He blocked a couple of punches from the other vampire, then grabbed his arm.

“Spike, what are you doing here?” Buffy asked.

“Same thing as you and your Cub Scout here, I’ll wager.”

He landed a few punches and the vampire went down. Spike turned toward Buffy with a big grin.

“A spot of violence before bedtime.” Spike said.

The other vampire punched him in the face and he went down. He got to his knees, wiping blood from his nose. The other vampire growled. Buffy rushed forward.

Spike stood up, still wiping his nose with his hand. The other vampire attacked from the left. Buffy appeared from the right, shoved Spike out of the way, and staked the vampire.

Spike exhaled loudly, and Buffy gave him a dirty look.

“What? I softened him up.” Spike said.

He wiped more blood from his nose, sniffed it, and then licked it from his fingers.

“Better keep out of my way, Spike. I’m not gonna take this much longer.”

Michael walked over to join them.

“And I should do what in my spare time? Sit at home knitting cunning sweater sets?”

“Would it keep you out of my way?”

“She’s right. You shouldn’t be out here when she’s patrolling.” Michael said.

Buffy turned to Michael in exasperation as if she was going to say something, but she didn’t.

“Oh! I saw that. Looks like neither boy’s entirely welcome. You should take him home, Slayer. Make him stay there. I’ve got knitting needles he can borrow.”

Michael looked annoyed.

“Spike… I just saw you taste your own nose blood, you know what?” Spike grinned at her. “I’m too grossed out to hear anything you have to say. Go home.”

She stalked off. Michael gave Spike a dirty look, then followed. Spike looked injured.

Yelling after them he said, “It’s blood! It’s what I do!”

Buffy walked along, looking tired and annoyed. Michael caught up with her.

“Hey, hope I didn’t get in the way.”

He put his arm around her. She gave a fake smile.

“Of course not. I-I was just… startled. And, you know I don’t… love the idea of you patrolling alone.”

“Not much for bench-warming.”

“No, you made the squad. You… threw that vampire like he was a… teeny-weeny little vampire.”

Grinning, Michael said, “Hey, wanna go again? Come on, I bet this place is just teeming with aerodynamic vampires.”

Buffy looked around.

“Nah.” She paused. “Unless you wanna go back and kill Spike for the fun of it?”

Michael raised his eyebrows in a sort of shrug. They both turned and continued on their way.

Spike stared after them.

“I will know your blood, Slayer. I will make your neck my chalice… and drink deep.”

He wiped blood from his nose again, turned, and tried to stride away purposefully, but he fell into an open grave.


“You can’t possibly be arguing that Marat didn’t betray the French Revolutionaries.” Willow said.

Willow and Buffy walking through the halls of a UC Sunnydale building filled with students walking around, talking, studying, etc.

“This was the guy who declared the rights of man, and then the next thing you know he’s… killing Girondin like it’s going out of style.”

“Will, you’re totally missing my point. Now, I agree that Marat wasn’t a real martyr, but the death in the tub… the neck wound, all that blood, just a little more fang-y than knife-y. I mean, Charlotte Corday wasn’t a real martyr either, but…”

“Buffy!” Willow stopped walking and grabbed Buffy’s hand.


Willow was smiling hugely, “Listen to us! We-we’re arguing! We’re having a debate about a college lecture! I have dreamt of this day since… forever!” Then proudly. “You are turning into quite the student.” Buffy smiled. “Should I be watching my occipital lobe?”

“Your what?” Buffy asked confused.

“Occipital.” Willow pointed to her head. “The lobe in the back of your brain. You know, like, ‘should I be watching my back?’ But, you know, the… back of your brain.” She sighed.

“Apparently not. Don’t worry, Will, you still wear the smarty-pants in the family.”

“I don’t know. You’ve been studying… really a lot.”

“I’m trying. But they’re really piling on the reading, and Giles fills any free time I have with extra training… I’m starting to think this working hard is hard work.”

“Isn’t it crazy like that?”

“I thought it was gonna be like in the movies. You know, inspirational music… a montage, me sharpening my pencils, me reading, writing, falling asleep on a big pile of books with my glasses all crooked, ‘cause in my montage I have glasses.” Willow nodded. “But real life is slow, and it’s starting to hurt my occipital lobe.”

Sympathetically, Willow said, “Aw. Poor Buffy’s brain.” She patted Buffy on the head.

“Actually, I’m heading to training now. Do you wanna come with?”

“I’m in.” They started walking again. “Maybe we can argue some more about the French Revolution. Hey! Wasn’t that Robespierre the coolest?”

“Robespierre? You’re kidding me, right?”

“I’m just gettin’ it goin’.”

Xander was wielding a circle saw, cutting some wood, wearing safety goggles, standing in the middle of the magic shop. Giles was behind the counter wearing a dust-mask, painting something.

Giles’ voice was muffled by the noise, “It seems the plans worked perfectly.”

Xander stopped the saw and unclamped the piece of wood from the vice.

“Yes, blueprints, not a bad idea. That, and getting straight ‘measure twice, cut once.’ You know, for the longest time I had it backwards. Mess-y!”

Xander began fitting the piece of wood into the shelving that he was working on.

Giles pulled mask down from his mouth, so it hung around his neck, “Well, I must say, I’m very impressed.”

“Yeah, carpentry is pretty cool.”

There was a knock on the door. Giles went to answer it. As he walked across the shop he passed Tara standing by a small round table, wearing a long skirt, holding a deck of tarot cards. Anya was moving stuff around on the shelves.

“Oh! Who put the monkey heads near the Styx water? Do we want to pick exploded monkey out of our hair?” Anya picked up a jar and a monkey head, and walked across the room.

Giles opened the door. Willow and Buffy stood there, smiling.

“Trick or treat!” Buffy said.

“Hello, you two, come on in.” Giles said.

“Thank you, kind proprietor.” Willow said with a smile.

They entered.

“Hey, you.” Tara said to Willow.

“Hey!” Willow said, then looking around. “Oh, wow, this place looks great. Oh, I feel like a witch in a magic shop.” She picked up a jar from a table. “Ooh. Are these real newt eyes?” Willow looked at Giles.

“No, too… rich for my blood, I’m afraid. No, these are salamander eyes, it’s the… cataracts which give them their newt-like appearance.” Giles moved past her. “They’re really equally effective, though, it’s… just a matter of overcoming snobberies.”

Buffy put her purse down, and Xander was looking at a blueprint, holding a pencil.

“I’m telling you Giles. You gotta set up a blind taste test and prove once and for all that generic amphibian eyeballs are just as good.” Xander said.

“I don’t know. If you ask me, the newt name still means something.” Willow put down jar and walked off.

“You ready to train?” Giles asked Buffy.

“You betcha.”

“Shall we then?”

“We shall then.”

They walked off toward the back.

Willow was sitting at the round table, with Tara standing beside her. There were a lot of tarot cards on the table.

“I just… keep thinking how cool it would be, if we got a real psychic to sit up here and read fortunes and stuff.” Tara said.

“You should do it.” Willow said encouragingly.

“Not me. But, but I’d love to, to watch and learn. From someone who’s really good, you know?”

“You’re really good.” Willow held out her hands. “I’ll prove it. Here, do me.”

Tara nodded and sat down, putting down the cards, taking one of Willow’s hands. Willow watched her study it.

“Hmm.” Tara said.

“What do you see?” Willow asked.

“Willow hand.” Tara replied.

They both smiled.

Giles opened the door to the back room as Buffy and Xander watched. Giles held the door for Buffy.

Buffy entered, and looked around. Someone tackled her from the side, pulling her down. Giles and Xander looked surprised.

Buffy fell to the floor on top of Michael, who had his arms around her waist.

“Unh! Ow, Michael...”

They got up.

“Just keeping you on your toes.”

“Or off them, as it were. What’s gotten into…”

She stopped as she looked around the room and saw it for the first time.

“Oh my God. Look at this place!”

There was a punching bag hanging from the ceiling, a vault horse atop a set of mats, a stationary bike, and a scarecrow/dummy. At the far end there was something that looked like a mini-fridge. Against the far wall there was a set of weights. Symbols were painted on the floor and walls.

Buffy gasped, “Thank you.” She looked up at Giles. “Thank you… so much.”

Giles removed his glasses and then the mask that was still around his neck. “It’s just a start, you need a proper space to train, so…”

“I love it.” Buffy said and Giles gave a small smile.

Grinning, Michael said, “So come on, let’s test this puppy out. Think you can take me?”

He threw a few fake punches at Buffy. She mostly ignored him, walking farther into the room.

“What’s the matter, afraid of a little competition?”

“It must have been so much work.” Buffy said.

“I’m the dummy man.” Xander said coming forward. “I mean, I… made the dummy.” He gestured at it. “The thing that you hit that doesn’t hit back.” He shrugged, looking embarrassed. “That, I made.”

“It’s great.” Buffy said to Giles. “I-it’s all great.”

Putting his glasses back on, Giles said, “Well, you’ve earned it. Truly.”

“Thank you guys so much. You’re like my… fairy godmother and Santa Claus and Q all wrapped up into one.”

Michael looked confused.

“Q from Bond, not Star Trek.” Buffy clarified.

Xander nodded.

“I’m gonna go change.”

Spike sat in his crypt, that night, watching TV.

“Oh Pacey, you blind idiot. Can’t you see she doesn’t love you?” Spike said to the TV.

Suddenly there was a banging on the door. Spike jumped up and turned off the TV. There was more banging and Harmony came in, looking dishevelled and nervous. She shut the door behind her and pressed her back against the wall.

“Well, well, well. Looky here.”

Anxiously, Harmony said, “Is it safe? Has Buffy gotten to you yet? I saw her patrolling just now… with a stake!”

Spike pretended to look shocked.

“She won’t give up until she’s killed me to death!”

Sceptically, Spike said, “Buffy’s looking for you.”

“Of course!” Harmony walked forward. “That’s why I’m on the lam. Didn’t you hear? I’m totally her arch-nemesis!”

“Is that right. I must have missed the memo.”

“There was a mem-?” Harmony sighed. “Spike, oh my God! This is like a real emergency! Uhh!” Spike grinned. “I need a hideout so bad. You’re my only hope. We’re just gonna have to rise above… our petty differences…” she looked anxiously at Spike. “Listen, Spike… I’m desperate.”

Still grinning, looking her up and down, “Desperate, are you?”

Harmony gave him a cajoling smile.

“Come on, Spike. Pretty please? I’ll do anything!”

“Anything, will you?”

“Yeah! I said I’ll do anything.”

Spike raised his eyebrows.

“Ohhhh. You mean will I have sex with you?” Harmony shrugged casually, like ‘duh’. “Well, yeah.”

Spike grinned to himself as Harmony sat in his chair and took out a cigarette. She began flicking a lighter, trying to light it. She flicked it quite a few times before she finally figured it out and got the cigarette lit.

“Taking up smoking, are you?”

Harmony lent back in the chair.

“I am a villain, Spike, hellooooo.” Harmony took a drag and started to cough.

“I guess you are at that. What with the Slayer on your tail and all.”

Harmony watched him warily.

“She’s not the type to give up, either. She’ll hunt you down, day and night, till you’re too tired and too hungry to run any more. And then?” Spike lent down to grab a handful of dust. “Then…” dusting off his hands, “that is you.”

Harmony looked upset.

“I guess you’re gonna have to kill her.” Spike said.

Whining, Harmony said, “I tried! It was all hard and stuff!” She sat up. “You do it.”

Looking down at her, Spike said, “I’d love to. But, I can’t. Remember? I’ve got this cute little magic chip in my head.”

Harmony sighed, “Oh, right. Guess it’ll have to be me after all.” She looked up at Spike again. “Can you help with the thinking?”

Nodding, Spike said, “Yeah. I suppose I could do that.”

Harmony smiled and sat back again, putting the cigarette to her lips.

Buffy and Michael lay in bed, side-by-side. Michael was tapping his hands agitatedly on his chest. Buffy gave a contented sigh.

“Yeah.” Michael said.

“Mm, that was relaxing.”

She turned onto her side as if to sleep. Michael continued patting himself, then looked over at her.

“You, uh… wanna relax some more?” He turned onto his side and snuggled up against her.

“Again? Right away again?”

Michael was kissing her bare shoulder.

“Maybe you’re too tired.”

“Hey.” Buffy reached behind her to caress his cheek. “I have the endurance of ten men.”

“Let’s make it women, okay?” Michael said and Buffy laughed. “Just for the imagery.”

“Whatever. You know, it takes a lot to wear me out.”

Buffy turned toward him.

“Oh, I love a challenge.”


Buffy turned back onto her back and Michael moved on top of her. They kissed passionately.

“Well, wouldn’t you?” Dawn asked.

Dawn was in the kitchen, pouring from a box of Sugar Bombs cereal. There were a number of bowls on the table in front of her.

“Every kid tries to make the substitute cry. It’s like a rite of passage.”

Joyce was cooking over the stove.

“I certainly would not. Being a substitute is an extremely difficult job. Besides…” Joyce looked at the bowls. “Honestly, Dawn, how many bowls of cereal are you planning on eating?”

“Oh, these aren’t for eating. I’m just trying to get the extra out of the way so I could…” Dawn stuck her hand in the cereal box, and pulled out a toy, “get this.” She smiled cheerfully at Joyce and sat down. “Anyway,” Dawn said pointing to Joyce, “I want eggs.”

“You want the cereal prize, but you don’t want the cereal. You are growing up. All righty, half an omelette coming up.” Joyce said scooping the eggs onto two plates.

“Oh, um, with ketchup if you please?”


Joyce turned away from the stove, holding the two plates. Suddenly she stopped and blinked as if she was dizzy. Dawn looked up from unwrapping the prize.

Joyce was confused, “Oh, what is the…” She looked at Dawn. “Who are you?”

Dawn looked confused. Suddenly Joyce collapsed to the floor, the plates shattering. Dawn jumped up in alarm.

Joyce lay unconscious on the floor, surrounded by pieces of plates and food.

Dawn backed away, panting fearfully, and grabbed the telephone. She dialled 911.

The double doors to a hospital emergency room burst open and Buffy pushed in past some people, followed by Michael.

Dawn was sitting on a chair, fiddling with a stethoscope that was hung around her neck. Buffy rushed up to her.

“Hey. How’s Mom? Are you okay?” Buffy asked and hugged Dawn.

“I’m okay.”

“And your Mom’s doing just fine.” Said a man’s voice.

A young man in a white coat approached. Buffy let go of Dawn and stood up.

Still sitting, Dawn said, “This is Ben. He gave me his stethoscope.”

“Lent you his stethoscope. Buffy, right?” Ben held out hand. “I’m Ben, I’m an intern here. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with the renowned Dr. Dawn here while your Mom’s being tested.” Buffy shook his hand.

“So what’s goin’ on? What happened?” Michael asked.

“Well, she’s doing okay now… the doctors don’t really know what caused the collapse…”

Dawn put the stethoscope earpieces in her ears and tapped the end with her fingers. The voices faded out; Dawn could still hear them, but they were muffled by the stethoscope in her ears.

“… it could’ve just been a dizzy spell, low blood sugar, that sort of thing.” Ben said.

“But it’s nothing bad. I, I mean it’s not… serious, right?” Buffy asked.

“Very unlikely. So your Mom doesn’t have a… history of fainting?”

Dawn put the stethoscope to Ben’s chest. She heard a normal heartbeat.

“No. I mean, not that I know of. She’s usually really healthy.”

“Well, I think they’ll be running tests for a few more hours…”

Dawn put the stethoscope to Buffy’s chest. Again she heard a normal heartbeat.

“… then they’ll probably want her to come back for some follow-up tests in a couple weeks, but it really doesn’t look like anything too serious.”

“Oh, thank God. I was freaking out.”

Dawn got up and walked around them.

“I think you’ll be able to take her home before too long.”

“Well, that is definitely good news.” Michael said.

Dawn put the stethoscope to Michael’s chest. She heard a heartbeat that was much too fast and irregular. Dawn’s eyes widened and she looked up at Michael’s face.

In hospital exam room Michael sat on the exam table putting on his red velour top.

“I know I’m repeating myself here, but I don’t know what else to say to convince you.” A female doctor said.

Buffy was watching as the female doctor talked to Michael. The doctor was writing on her clipboard.

“I have never in all my years of medicine let a patient with tachycardia this severe leave a hospital.”

“You said you couldn’t keep me.”

“Legally, no, I can’t force you to do a thing.” Michael nodded and resumed putting on his top. “But with that pulse, believe me, I’d get on my knees and beg you if I thought I could change your mind.”

“You can’t. I’m going home.”

“And your friend here can’t convince you to…”

Michael held up a hand to stop her.

“I’m going.”

Buffy looked very concerned.

“All right then, but you’re leaving against my recommendation.”

The doctor left. Michael looked at Buffy, and then stood up.

“What’s going on? What are you doing? What if you have a heart attack?”

Michael put his hands on her shoulders, “Listen to me. Calm down.”

“Me calm down? I’m not the one with a pulse of a hundred and fifty.”

“My heart’s different than yours, Buffy. It works differently now, but it’s okay.”

“But you’re still a human, Michael. You could still have a heart attack.”

They looked up as the door opened. Joyce and Dawn entered.

“Hi.” Joyce said.

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