Lair of the Stealth Bunnies
Home Chapter Thirteen
"Just to make the record clear," Xander said the moment Sarah and Giles walked into the library, "None of this is my fault."
"Coward," Buffy shot at him.
"Yes," Xander agreed. "And your point is...?"
"Oh, dear." With the long-suffering expression of one who has had entirely too much experience in such matters, Giles set down his briefcase. "What's happened now?"
"I'm taking refuge in coward-dom... you tell them, Buffy." Xander edged away.
"I'm liking this less and less," Giles observed. "Go on, Buffy."
Buffy made a face at Xander. "There's a perfectly reasonable explanation," she said.
Giles groaned. Sarah began to unobtrusively wander away, letting Giles be the Figure of Authority.
Buffy sighed. "All right. We found something important. Really important. So we thought we'd better go tell you."
"There's no 'we' in this," Xander put in quickly. "I was dragged along. Given no choice in the matter whatsoever!"
"Xander," Buffy and Giles chorused.
"I know, I know. Shut up, Xander," Xander subsided.
"Go on, Buffy," Giles prompted.
"Right. So we went to the university library, and we couldn't find you." She bailed her fists on her hips. "That was very irresponsible of you, you know. We might have needed you!"
"Somehow, I'm not sure you should be bringing up the matter of responsibility in this conversation." Giles leaned against the edge of the study table and crossed his arms.
"Well," she hedged. "So when we couldn't find you, we called Sarah's, and Willow said you were coming back here. So here we are!" She smiled brightly, and Xander choked.
"Why do I feel that there's more to this story?" Giles asked severely.
Buffy twisted her fingers. "Well... there were those vampires..." She looked beseechingly at Sarah.
Sarah held up her hands defensively. "Don't pull me into this one, kiddo. I want nothing to do with this."
"Don't be so sure," Xander couldn't help saying.
"Some big sister you are," Buffy pouted.
"What vampires?" Giles sat back, readying himself for what was obviously going to be a long story.
Buffy took a deep breath and began speaking very fast. "Well, when we realised you weren't at the library, we went back to the car. Only we didn't, because my Slayer radar when off, and we started poking around, and found this vampire hiding out on one of those wooded paths around the campus. You know the ones? Oh, you do. Anyway, so we fought, we staked, but it turns out he had friends, who jumped us when we got back to the car. That's how the window got broken. We fought them off, staked one of them, but as we drove away, they came after us in a pickup truck, of all things. I thought vampires had a bit more class than that, but once again, I overestimated their sense of good taste. So they rammed us a couple of times. That's what happened to the back bumper. We tried to out-race them, but they caught up to us -- I didn't realise pickups were so fast!-- and started throwing things at us. It was a flashlight that broke the other window, but, hey! I have a new flashlight, now! Then they sideswiped us, and I floored it -- I've always wanted to say that -- and turned a corner real fast, which is when the tire blew, and pickups apparently aren't made for high speed chases and quick turns, 'cause they flipped and rolled, and we got away, so here we are!" She took a deep breath and let it out with a bright smile.
Giles and Sarah stared at her, wordlessly. "Well, Buffy," Giles finally said, "truly, I don't know what to say." He blinked, then took off his glasses and massaged his temples wearily. "What are you going to tell Oz?"
Buffy's eyebrows went up in confusion. "0z?"
Giles lowered his hand and frowned at her. "Yes. His van appears to be very important to him."
"Oh!" Understanding flashed across her face. "No, it wasn't Oz's van."
"Good Lord, not Cordelia's BMW!" Giles voice rose.
"Better hope she has good insurance," Sarah murmured, picking up a book and idly flipping through it.
"No..." Buffy hedged. "It wasn't Cordelia's either..."
"What other car do you have?" Sarah asked absently.
Giles was studying Buffy carefully. "They don't have another vehicle, do you, Buffy?"
Sarah looked up, startled by his tone. Buffy squirmed, then held up her hand, Sarah's key chain dangling from her fingers.
Sarah's face lost all expression for a moment, then she launched herself across the study table. Xander yelped and ducked behind Giles, although from the librarian's expression, the safety was dubious. Sarah crouched on the table top, eye-level with Buffy, and with a sudden move, she snatched the keys from Buffy, then leapt from the table and ran out with a speed Buffy hadn't expected, but should have.
"Well, that's it. I'm outta here." Xander grabbed his coat and made a run for the door, but it burst open again, Sarah striding through it, and Xander dodged behind Giles again. Sarah's eyes blazed inhumanly and her fangs flashed as she towered over Buffy. Buffy thought that she looked not too dissimilar to a vampire, and she squared her shoulders.
"Er... Sarah ...... Giles said a little nervously. "Please don't break my Slayer. We still need her for... er... saving, the world."
Sarah closed her eyes. "Was it absolutely necessary?" she grated, her voice even harsher than normal.
"I thought it was," Buffy said in a small voice.
Sarah took a slow breath, then another. She opened her eyes, and there was sanity in them again. "Are you two all right?"
Buffy nodded, her eyes not leaving Sarah's. The tension eased out of Sarah's body with an obvious effort, and she stepped back. Buffy was the only one who saw Giles silently put aside the loaded crossbow. "Could I use your phone, please?" Sarah asked softly.
"Yes, go right ahead," Giles urged. When the door had closed behind her, Giles turned on Buffy. "Of all the irresponsible things to do, Buffy!"
"We did stake two vampires," Xander offered.
"Xander..." Giles warned. Xander sat on the bottom stair and sulked. Giles eyed him suspiciously, then turned again to Buffy. "So what was it?" he asked in a milder tone that didn't match his glare.
"What was what?"
Giles closed his eyes, struggling for patience. "The reason you got into that car in the first place."
"Oh!" Buffy brightened. "Ikit's Globe."
Giles gazed at her in incomprehension. "Would you care to elaborate?" Then he I blinked, then smiled. "Oh, is that what it is? I thought it must be something else, since we were finding such a lack of references."
"So we did good?" Buffy asked eagerly.
"Don't push it." Giles scanned the piles of books on the table. "Fortunately, I know we have several books that refer to Ikit's Globe."
Sarah came out of the office, and they all watched her warily as she sat down, put her feet up on the table and glowered. "Don't you want to know why we did it?" Buffy ventured.
"No," Sarah said carefully. "Then I would have to decide if wrecking my car really had been necessary." She smiled maliciously. "I don't think you want me to decide it wasn't."
"Absolutely," Xander said. "And moving right along to a change of subject... what's an Ikit's Globe?"
"Apparently, another name for an Orb of Gekkos," Giles supplied.
"Let's try that one more time," Xander said. "We don't know anything about an Orb of Gekkos. Is it to be hoped that we know more about an Ikit's Globe?"
"Oh, certainly." Giles smiled contentedly, then his smile wavered slightly. "Or, rather, I will, as soon as I look it up. I know it's important though. There was a whole lecture on it when I was sitting classes."
"But you don't remember any of it?" Buffy asked.
"Well, actually..." Giles suddenly appeared very busy, carefully stacking books, "... I missed that lecture."
"You?" Xander asked in amazement. "Mister I've-never-missed-a-class-in-my-life actually missed one? What happened?"
"Nothing important," Giles said lightly, but Buffy thought he looked a little embarrassed anyway. "Besides, this is a perfect example why attendance in academic matters is so important.
"Only Giles could turn his own attempt at playing hooky into a lecture," Xander muttered.
"Yes, well fortunately, I have a book with a large section on Ikit and her creations at home." Giles' smile of contentment was firmly back. "I'm certain it will have a proper explanation of her Globe. I'll head back there, and if you could contact everyone and have them meet me..." Giles looked at his watch. "Oh, dear, it is rather late, isn't it? And since none of you made it home last night, you probably should put in an appearance tonight, shouldn't you? Let's say we’ll meet at my place first thing tomorrow morning. That will make sure everyone gets a good night sleep, since none of us did yesterday."
"Well, I won't be able to supply any rides," Sarah said brightly, through her gritted teeth. "You kids are on your own." She climbed to her feet and stalked out the door.
"Yes, avoiding her for a while would be a real good idea," Xander said.
"It might be, at that," Giles agreed. "You two go on, now, before you get into any more trouble that I might feel responsible for." He gathered a few more books and his briefcase and ushered them out before he locked up.
Buffy caught Xander's arm and pulled him back a step. "Should we ask him what they were doing when we couldn't find them? After all, we shouldn't have made it back here before them."
"Buffy," Xander said in a low voice, "I don't want to even think about asking them anything else. We've all seen Giles' angry, and that's scary enough, but Sarah can rip our spines out without even breaking a sweat. Right now, hunting vampires is safer than being around her."
"You're no fun," Buffy pouted as they walked through the parking lot together. "And we didn't hurt her car that much..."
"Good Lord, Sarah!" they heard Giles say loudly. "Your car!"
"Run," Buffy said.