Disclaimer: The characters will always belong to Joss, and I just like to play with them.
Timeline: Season 5 - Triangle
Summary: A "missing scene" from Triangle, Season 5 - just after Olaf returns the land of shrimp or no shrimp. A moment of reflection for a vampire.
"Their love," Buffy punched for the nose, "will last," followed by a roundhouse kick, "forever!"
Olaf hit the floor with a thud as Willow completed the spell and dispensed with the troll.
"Where did you send him?" She half listened as Anya explained about the worlds of troll and shrimp and no shrimp. The Magic Box was a total wreck, chairs overturned, carefully arranged stock now tumbled to the ground. She tuned back in. "I only care that he’s not here and I got this nifty souvenir."
She sat the hammer down and watched in horror as the display case shattered, shards of glass now littering the floor. "Oops." Buffy cringed. Giles wasn’t going to be happy with this.
Xander waved away her concern. "The place is trashed enough anyway."
Buffy turned back to the couple. "Well, see how well things worked out?" She took in Anya curled against Xander, holding his arm gently. "And look at you guys. So good and alive and together." She could feel the tears starting to well up again. "So together, and ... good, and ... alive..." Buffy searched frantically for a tissue. "Oh, god. . . I'm ... I'm just so happy for you..."
The rest of the group stared at her and she quickly sniffled and wiped her eyes.
"You guys go ahead. I’ll see about getting this cleaned up."
"You sure you want to do that, Buffy? It’s really our fault." Willow had the resolute look of a puppy ready to be exiled on her face that always materialized when she’d caused something to go awry.
"Yes, Willow is right, her stealing of Giles’s stock was the cause." Anya frowned as Xander elbowed her with his good arm. "Oww, alright, perhaps I assisted, but it was her peer pressure."
Xander just shook his head ruefully, "Seriously, Buffster, you don’t want to be here, doing clean-up patrol by your lonesome."
Buffy gave her nose one final blow and crossed her arms. "What I want is the cute couples to go and do cute couple things. This mess isn’t going anywhere, and I, unlike you guys, don’t have anyone," she paused, then corrected herself, "anywhere to be tonight."
The specter of the absent Riley hung heavy in the air, but she pressed on. "Besides, I’ve got to hit the books." She patted the bookbag sitting in the one chair that miraculously hadn’t overturned.
"Are you close to being caught up?" Willow asked.
Buffy nodded. "I just need to finish that translation for Professor Jeffers. I don’t know how I let Giles talk me into talking Latin for my language requirement. Couldn’t I just have kept butchering French?"
Willow patted her on the back. "It’ll get better. And hey, maybe you’ll be able to help more with the research parties."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m looking to avoid, Will. Remember, I’m Fight Girl, not Research Girl."
"Well, you never know when it’ll come in handy. Besides, you’ve got to have it to matriculate - so at least you’re killing two birds with one stone."
"Maybe. Anyway, enough, shoo, go."
Willow gave her one final guilty look. "Well, if you’re sure." She turned to Tara. "You want to go let’s make cookies? I think I’m gonna owe Giles about a gazillion." She frowned. "And probably another car detailing."
Anya herded Xander towards the door as well, avoiding the broken objects on the floor. "We’ll see you tomorrow then. I must get Xander repaired."
Her voice floated back as they exited behind Willow and Tara. "Perhaps after we visit the hospital, I can wear the naughty nurse’s costume you like, Xander."
Buffy gave a sigh of relief as the Magic Box cleared out. All was right again, despite the wreck around her.
So much glass. The orbs were a total loss; she was going to have to get a broom to sweep up all the broken fragments. She straightened the fallen bookshelf, picking up the freaky artifacts Giles stocked the shelves with.
She picked up one statute that was, she peered closer, whoa, that must be one of the fertility ones. She shuddered and set it back down. Probably Anya put that one out.
Xander and Anya. They were so cute together. She gave another little sniff. And as long as things were right with them, she had hope. Maybe it hadn’t worked for her yet. Maybe Riley hadn't been the right guy after all. But there had to be somebody out there for her. Didn't there?
A crash suddenly sounded from the basement and she froze. What if they’d inadvertently zapped the troll downstairs into whatever dimension that had been aiming for?
She crept to the top of the stairs and eased open the door, listening quietly until she caught the muttered British curse.
No troll, just the bleached blond menace. She crossed her arms, narrowed her eyes, and descended.
"Slayer?! What are you doing here?" Spike picked up the jar he’d knocked to the ground and feigned surprise as he noted the pissy expression on the Slayer's face. She must still be angry at him then. Well, and he was here nicking stuff. She always got angry with that. Bloody difficult woman to please.
"I think the better question is what are you doing here, Spike?"
"Just in the neighborhood, thought I’d swing by, see what the Scoobies were up to, find out happened to the big troll that was mucking up the Bronze. Offer my help." He casually slipped the Burba weed in his pocket.
"You're too late. Troll poofed. Crisis averted. Sort of.” She glanced past him and lunged forward. “Ah-ha. Just what I was looking for." She grabbed the wooden handle of the broom just behind him as Spike stepped back, arms raised.
"Hey now, Slayer, no need to get violent, I’ll put it back."
"Put what back?" She shot him a puzzled glance. "I’m going to sweep."
She turned towards the stairs and he followed her, emitting a low whistle as he took in the condition of the shop.
"Well now, someone had a right spot of violence here. How do I always miss out on the fun?"
She ignored him, going to work on the broken glass.
Spike hefted the hammer Olaf had abandoned. "Now that’s a heavy bit of work."
She scowled in his general direction. "Spike, put that down, And make yourself useful if you’re gonna hang around."
He resisted the urge to make a cocky remark, as he righted the table. He picked up a bag and a pile of books.
"Wheelock’s Latin Grammar? Ovid? Did Red forget her bag?"
"I’ll have you know those are mine." Buffy turned, indignant, as she dumped the glass in the trash.
He laughed. "Good one, Slayer."
"They are too." She marched over and reached for the stack he held out of her reach.
"Oh no, if you’re all Miss Scholar, let’s see you translate a bit."
He flipped open the Collected Works of Ovid and began rapidly turning pages.
"Here." He plunked down the text in front of her. "Read that."
Buffy harrumphed and crossed her arms, giving a glance to the page.
"Um . . . it says . . ." She peered at the lines, then gave him a sideways glance. "It says, ‘The farmer plowed the field for the fatherland.'"
He cackled. "Pull the other one, Slayer, you don’t know any Latin at all."
She pulled out her workbook from the stack. “Like you do? And that’s what every stupid translation I’ve had so far has been about. Farmers and the patria. Did the Romans not talk about anything else?"
"It was big stuff for them."
"Whatever. It’s not like this is cool stuff like Willow and Giles do." She sighed heavily. "I think I was tricked."
"Ol' Giles put you up to this? Reckon he would think no education complete without a little Latin."
"Yeah, well, I’m starting to think mine could be plenty complete without it. And it may have to be if I don’t get this makeup work done." She flipped the pages rapidly. "I’m so far behind from missing class when Mom was in the hospital. And the professor is saying he’ll give me an incomplete if I don’t finish this by next week."
He dropped into the other chair that had been righted. "How is your mum? Up to par?"
"She’s better. She’s even gone back to work."
"Good to hear. She’s a tough lady." He watched her struggle for a minute, her pretty hair shining under the lights of the store. He was such a git. "So you need some help?"
She smirked. "Oh, like you can really speak Latin."
He leaned his chair back. "Hey now, evil, got to know the chanty bits to do the black magic and all."
"Yeah, pretty sure there’s none of that in here." Her nose wrinkled as she contemplated the bland brown binding. "Or then again . . ."
"I’m just saying, Slayer, hundred some odd years of unlife, you pick stuff up. Give me a try."
She shrugged. "Okay, fine. This one?"
He read the text. Agricola agrum sed non peculium habet.
"Alright, where’s it giving you trouble?"
She bit her pencil. "Well, I get that it’s yet another farmer, that’s agricola. And something about money."
He walked her through the tenses and matching cases until she pieced together the proper translation.
"Oh yeah! Good, let’s do another one."
He watched as she worked her way through, with occasional pointers from him. For the moment, she seemed to have forgotten her animosity about showing her Riley and starting off the chain of events to send the wanker running off out of town. Maybe she didn’t blame him after all.
It was rare when he’d seen her this way. Where she could drop being the Slayer, daughter, super friend and just be Buffy, ordinary college student.
It was just an illusion of course. Much as she didn't care to admit, she radiated extraordinary from every pore. Was no wonder he was so addled about her.
A snapping noise brought him back to attention. “Do I have this one right?” she asked, pointing at the paper. Simply terrible handwriting, overly rounded and near childish.
He helped her correct her translation, then idly picked up the other volume and flipped it open. Ars Amatoria. The Art of Love. He remembered sneaking home a copy to translate when he was younger, knowing his mother would disapprove, but tantalized by the thought of what he could learn about what would make a woman fall madly for him.
He flipped a page. And not just any woman. Dark-haired Cecily. He snorted to himself. He'd always had bleeding tragic taste in women. Cecily, then Dru, and now . . . her.
Spike glanced up at her, watching as she scratched away at her paper, brows knit together in concentration. He'd warrant she'd butchered another half a dozen sentences by now. He tossed the book aside. Ovid hadn't been much help to him back then, and he doubted the old chap would hold the key to wooing one's mortal enemy.
But for now, they were here, and he'd make the most of the moment.
He slid his chair closer, and smiled when she didn't move away.