Copyright November 2019
Disclaimer: Characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: the Series are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, the WB, and UPN.
Setting: Buffy, Season 4 (with Dawn retro-inserted)
– i –
Joyce opens the door, and Giles says, “Ah, hello, Dawn. Is your mother —?”
“I’m the mother,” Joyce interrupts through Dawn’s mouth. “It’s me, Giles. I had Buffy make the call, but I wasn’t joking about this being an emergency.”
Life in Sunnydale means Giles doesn’t automatically dismiss any possibility, however far-
fetched. “J-Joyce?” he says, hearing the tones and assurance inside the adolescent’s voice. “But where —?”
‘Buffy’ dashes across the living room, waving something sheer and lacy and shouting gleefully, “Wooo, looky here! You wear this thing for Riley?”
“Dawn!” Joyce’s voice, Buffy’s outrage. “You are so dead!”
– ii –
“It’s a curse,” Buffy(Joyce) insists.
Dawn(Buffy) bounces on Slayer-muscled legs. “It’s cool!”
“It’s a relatively minor mischief, actually.” Giles blinks, clinging desperately to propriety. “Probably short-lived and easy to break. The supernatural equivalent of, of a whoopee cushion.”
Joyce(Dawn) glares at both her daughters; to Giles she says, “Easy to break? how long will that take?”
Giles considers. “Well, if I knew what triggered it …”
“I have a date!” Buffy(Joyce) wails. “I can’t show up wearing this!”
Dawn(Buffy) does a one-handed cartwheel. “Does this mean I get to go Slaying tonight?”
“Cure,” Joyce(Dawn) orders Giles flatly. “Now.”
– iii –
At Joyce’s insistence, Giles brings his reference materials to her house; she needs help controlling her daughters, and doesn’t trust them outside these walls.
Dawn is bursting with energy, practicing snap-
kicks. Buffy keeps studying ‘her’self in the mirror, expressionless. Joyce watches them sharply and leaves Giles to his research.
Focused though he is, he catches a snatch of conversation clearly not meant for him. “I’m really not making fun of you,” Dawn is whispering, furtive and earnest. “It’s just, your body likes Giles. You’ve seriously never noticed?”
Buffy’s instant response: “Eww!”
Giles shudders — ‘eww’ indeed — and redoubles his concentration.
– iv –
Joyce eyes the markings on the floor, the unevenly spaced candles. “You’re sure this will work?”
By no means, Giles emphatically doesn’t say. “There are stronger measures, but those are … less predictable. This should be the best approach.”
Joyce nods, calls, “Girls!” They obey without resistance: habit, or hope. She places them according to his instructions, takes her own place, waits.
Fortunately, the matter resolves as easily as he had hoped. Restored to themselves, the three women hug each other, laughing. “Thank you,” they tell him together.
“You’re quite welcome,” Giles says … then departs as quickly as he politely can.
– v –
They celebrate with pizza and ice cream, sprawled out across the living room like teens at a slumber party. “I liked being stronger,” Dawn says, digging into the Chunky Monkey.
Grateful, relieved, Joyce agrees, “It did feel nice being younger for a while.”
Buffy mulls on it through another bite of pizza before admitting, “Okay, being taller didn’t suck.”
They smile at one another. Sharing. Together. Life back to (approximately) normal.
“Plus, you finally had a decent-sized rack,” Dawn observes cheerfully. Then, at Buffy’s outraged expression: “What? everybody knows you always wanted that.”
As ‘normal’ as Sunnydale ever gets.
Comments? Any feedback is welcome!
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