The story begins here.
Disclaimer: All characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, etc. Only the lame plots and dialogue herein are mine.
Notes: Set in version of S6 that is so AU it's nearly angst-free. Buffy either didn't die at the end of S5 or was happy to come back. Everyone gets along, more or less, at least until someone gets a really nifty notion.
Rating: R, barely
Thanks: to keswindhover and revdorothyl for the beta, not to mention coming up with the plot bunny in the first place. I am wholly to blame for any errors. And thanks to itmustbetuesday for the comm, and because her name prompted me to think of a title at last.
I forgot to acknowledge Katharine Briggs' Abbey Lubbers, Banshees & Boggarts in some earlier posts. (Wow, look at that price on a new copy! It looks like you can get used ones for a song, though.) I have several of her books of folktales, and after browsing through some of the stories in this one for the first time in many years, I'm tempted to reread the others. Several of the "demons" in my story are
For a very different treatment of selkies, see also The Secret of Roan Inish.
Rebel with Furry Paws
"The charges for food are absolutely ridiculous." Maindepeste waved a sheaf of papers at Anya. "For these prices you should have been serving Sumatran rats, not sewer rats!"
"There are so many minor demons living down there that sewer rats are nearly an endangered species in Sunnydale." Anya was standing, arms crossed, on the sidewalk in front of the Magic Box. Behind her, the Warthogs were loading their luggage into the bowels of the tour bus. "It's a simple matter of supply and demand."
"No, it's a simple matter of extortion!"
Buffy stepped between them. "Anya, did you charge him for services rendered by slaying a dangerous employee?"
"No!" Anya's face fell. "I didn't think of that."
"But he did pay you the full amount of the bill?"
"Yes, after he made me take off half the fiancé-fondling charges."
"Good." Buffy turned to Maindepeste. "You got off cheap. Get on the bus. I have someone watching to make sure you get out of my town."
He hesitated for a moment, and then apparently thought better of it. He climbed on the bus. The Dean followed him, saying over his shoulder, "And I still say those aren't real newt eyes!"
The students milled around, waiting for their turn to board. The selkies took one long, longing look at Xander, who was sitting behind the bus in his car, the windows up and the doors locked to defend against any last minute attacks. Duegar stepped on Maeve's toe and the resulting screech echoed up and down the street. Two of the younger demons slowed the process by getting into a tussle over who should board first. Inevitably, the last in line was a small, furry figure.
"You." Buffy, who had been carefully monitoring the boarding process, pointed at Felix. "Come here."
The little servaline inched forward as the other students retreated in the opposite direction, into the bus and away from the Slayer.
"Your pig was okay, wasn't it?" Felix said when he reached Buffy.
She crouched down to his level. "My pig is fine. Thank you for returning him, and thank you for helping me find the dragon."
He gazed at her worshipfully. "This was the best trip ever. I got to meet a real Slayer, and you killed one of our teachers. Right inside a school that you blew up. It was so awesome."
"Yeah, well, even slaying evil teachers gets old after a while. But when I was putting Mr. Gordo in a safe place, I found something that I packed away years ago, after one of my first big nights in Sunnydale. I'm not sure why I saved it, but as a souvenir, I think it beats a stuffed pig." She reached into the messenger bag and pulled out a shiny round object.
He took it, turning it over in his paws. "What is it?"
"It's a cymbal that I used to decapitate one of the first vampires I met here on the Hellmouth." She made a throwing gesture. "And this really is guaranteed used by the Slayer."
He clutched it to his chest, making a hissing sound. His mouth opened and closed a few times.
She smiled. "Cat got your tongue?"
He rolled his eyes. "I knew you were going to say that. And I know you only gave me this because you didn't want me to have a stake or a knife. But it's really cool anyway."
"Good. Now, scoot." Buffy watched him climb safely into the bus. He turned just as the door closed. "Thank you!"
She stood on the sidewalk, watching the bus pull away. "I blunted the edges before I gave it to him, but I really hope he doesn't try to use it as a Frisbee."
"Well, at least someone said 'thank you,'" said Anya behind her. "And I don't see why Xander has to follow them all the way out of town just because you want to make sure they're gone. I need him to help me fix up the mausoleums so we get the cleaning deposit back, and I really to have sex because there hasn't been any time this past week and—"
Buffy ignored her. She reached into her pocket to touch the check she'd made Anya write out first thing that morning. As she walked toward the bank, she began calculating just which bills she would pay first.
Then she began calculating something else.