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It’s okay; nerds are in.

Story by Mai Shiranui
{Rating: Light romance ~ suitable for ages 14 and above}
Written on 11 Aug 97

All known Characters to the "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer ~ the Series" are owned by Joss Whedon,
Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Enterprises, Mutant Enemy, Inc. and the Warner Brothers (WB)
Network. No copyright infringement intended. This is merely a story written for fans by a fan. My
respect to Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendan, Anthony Stewart Head, Charisma Carpenter,
and, of course, Alyson Hannigan.

All other material and new characters are (C)1997 Seishun-Michelle Angeletti

[Time frame ~ the present, five weeks after the defeat of The Master.] [Location ~ Sunnydale Cemetery ..... where else?!] It all seemed fuzzy at first to her. Slowly, though, it came into focus. "Yeeaah!" ~ More dust ~ *sigh* "Seventy seconds, Buffy; you're a little slow tonight, aren't you?" Giles popped-out from behind a headstone. "Giles, give it a rest! One hard night's work of saving humanity from the evils of Hell-on-earth ... and on a Thursday night ~ a school night, even! And what, no thanks?!" "Uh, oh, right. Thanks. Are you satisfied now?" "What? No 'nice work, Buffy' or 'Well done, Buffy' or even an 'At least you didn't get killed this time, Buffy'?!?!?" Giles was far from relishing this attitude from her. "As a person whom himself has been accused of abusing sarcasm...." "Ok, ok, ok, I get it. Can we go now?" The pair returned to Giles' second home: the school library. This seemed to be the usual kind of night for them. A vampire on the loose in the cemetery near the school. Typical, typical, typical. But why was this one there in the first place? Giles contemplated this question during his sojourn back to the school campus. Since the defeat of The Master weeks ago, in theory, there should have been no more rogue vampires. At least, not until after the group had a chance to take a few weeks off, he surmised. It had been an odd adjustment for Giles especially. For the first time since his arrival from England, he had actually gotten five nights' rest in a row! Unprecedented, to say the least. For Buffy, it had been a shock to her system, nothing less. Last week, she had managed to do out on a couple of dates! One with Angel and one with Owen (Not on the same day, of course). The date with Angel had one embarrassing moment, though: Buffy (by pure habit, and nothing else) was wearing her trademark cross neckless around her neck and hidden underneath her blouse. Suffice it to say that Slow dancing was out for the first few minutes until Buffy clued-in. The duo got back to the library to find Willow, Xander and Cordelia frolicking around. If you could call it that. Actually, Cordy was primping herself yet again. The fact that she was in the library was miracle number-one; the second being that she was with the "Dweeb Patrol" ... in the same room ... voluntarily! Xander seemed to be staring at Willow's neon-green tennis shoes. Since the "Final Night," she had been wearing them daily, but nobody knew why. Everyone was doing their best to forget that day. "Maybe 'puke green'?" "Xanderrrrr ...."Willow, master of the soft, "innocent" voice was trying to work her own kind of magic on the unsuspecting Xander. Odd ~ he *never* clued in on her subtleties. Was that one of his endearing qualities? "Don't 'Xander' me, Willow. Just tell us what colour hat is, and I'll drop it." "Well? ... I was thinking of a 'soft green' or maybe 'neon green'?" Willow guessed "Actually, they match my wintergreen lipstick." Cordy piped-in. Yes, she spoke. To Willow. And Xander. There were witnesses. "Wintergreen! A cool and refreshing, yet bold colour. Like you, Xander." Willow lit-up with the warmest smile she had. It was easy ~ she was so in-love with him, for sure. If he could only *possibly* love her, too .... "For those of us who are me: 'huh?'" Cordelia had seen enough of this. For the last three weeks, Cordy had watched Willow's feeble attempts at winning Xander's attention grow more desperate by the day. Granted, Cordy hadn't even begun to learn their last names, but she did have one weakness: pity for those less fortunate than she. Sort of. Maybe a little. [THUD] "Uh, hey! What the hell was that for?!" Xander was reeling back from Cordy's make-up bag sailing a bee-line straight into his forehead (at what seemed to be Mach 3, easy). "Clueless!" Cordelia shot at Xander. Then, she threw a knowing look at Willow. Was that "confidence" Cordy was trying to tell her?! A small snicker escaped from Willow's lips as she enjoyed the irony of Cordy's apparent vote of confidence. However, that was quickly dispelled by the acknowledgment that Cordy had attacked "her Xander!" Cordelia's attack was met by Willow's return-fire seat cushion attack. "You socially downtrodden cretin! Look at this! It took over two hours to set my hair this morning. Something I'm sure you couldn't appreciate. Supercuts takes, what, 10 minutes ... on a slow day?" "WHOA!!!!!" Buffy ran in and stood in-between them in a mock-attack stance. "What, again? Please don't tell me you have another stake with my name on it!" Cordy was half-screaming and half-irritated, yet again. "Cool your jets, Cordelia. How, what's going on in here?!" Xander was the first to answer. "I dunno. I was just commenting on the colour of Willow's shoes, and they started going at each other. Who knew that these two together would be more life-threatening than The Master?!" Giles, panting heavily, had caught-up with Buffy, who had jogged the distance from the cemetery back to the school. "One would believe that shoes could start a lethal argument here at the Hell Mouth. Now, if you're all finished here, I have business with ... eh .... Damn." Willow cocked her head off to the left side in curiosity. Giles continued: "Miss Chase, as much as you have helped us in the ..." Cordelia didn't let him finish his thought. "Oh, is this my cue to leave? Fine ~ I'm out of here. You know ..." Cordelia was now talking over her left shoulder as she stormed out of the library, heels clicking impatiently, "I still haven't gotten that dress clean! I should send ...." The door ended her sentence for her. The door couldn't close fast enough for Buffy. "Hurricane Cordelia now leaving Sunnydale for drearier skies; story at eleven." Willow was the second to comment: "Come on, Buffy. She's just not used to how things work around here. She'll come around." "Why? I mean, who really wants her to?" Xander wanted a piece of this, too. "As you yourself once said, 'How come she's in the club?' Well, that was for Miss Calendar, but it's all good, right?" "As we're all ready to debate something this evening, how about we switch to more pressing matters?" said Giles, railroading the conversation to more ardent topics. Buffy, however, saw that one coming. "Mister Giles, down-to-earth man at-your-service. What have you by way of good news for us this fine evening? Mind you, I have a date tonight, so make it quick, okay?" "A date?!" Giles and Xander barked in unison. "With Owen. Remember? I told you about it at lunch." Willow didn't miss the crushed look in Xander's eyes. She knew she wanted to take away his pain. Personally. "Remember what happened last time?" Willow went to her "station:" the library computer. her fingers began flying across the keyboard. Within seconds, a cyber-diary was on the screen. Rupert Giles went to stand behind her and look over her shoulder. To this day, he could not understand how she was able to manipulate that dread machine so easily. He was still pondering the question: "Computer mouses" or "Computer mice" for the plural. Willow opened a file called "Buf1date.dia" and displayed it on the screen. She turned the screen to everyone could see it. Willow recollected: "Well, Xander, remember their first date? The mortuary? The one guy who we thought was the Annointed One who ended up 'well-done' and how he nearly killed Owen and Giles and all of us and how I seem to be the only one in this room who wants to hear this, not that I do or anything." Willow looked down at the floor. "I'll shut-up now." she said in her mousy voice. "Thanks, Will, for the social-life update. Who knew you were so ... biographical? You never know: maybe this time, it'll work out better?" Buffy challenged Fate. Willow, torn between her loyalty for her friend Buffy and her love for Xander, could only respond: "Maybe." Buffy continued: “So, Giles, what’s the scoop? New crew in town?” Willow looked over to Xander and tried to read his eyes. All she saw was dread. Nothing but pure dread. “*Sigh*” “Did you say something, Willow?” Buffy queried Ack! Willow did that out loud?! “Uh, no, nothing. Nothing at all. Go on, I’m listening.” “I see.” Giles attempted to continue. “Well, anyway, I’m not sure what we have here. With the Hell Mouth closed, there shouldn’t be any new threat in Sunnydale. At least, according to my research.” Willow found an odd, calm feeling start to wash over her. She figured it had something to so with the dulcid tones of his British accent. There was a certain rhythm to his speech ..... a certain ..... flow that eased her. Even when excited, his voice always possessed a certain lazy feel to it. Maybe it was the “mumbling” quality that seemed evident? His accent fascinated her, that was for sure. It had that ..... endearing “fatherly” touch to it. Was that the accent, or just him. “So far, your research’s track record is impeccable.” Buffy said. “Uh, yes, thank you, uh, Buffy. *ahem* As I was saying, the events related to the Hell Mouth should have ended with the destruction of The Master. However, these vampires that Buffy’s killed in the past few days have been a different breed, as it were; not so much stronger not faster as much as more skilled and deliberate. Almost as if they were selecting specific prey.” “Checking-out the quality of the fruit?” Willow ventured. “Squeezing the Charmin?” Xander gambled. Buffy rolled her eyes. “Beautiful, Xander.” Giles qualified: “Willow may not be far off. They’ve only attacked a few people. There is a common thread. Professor Genereaux, Amy Miller, the Science Team President, and David Jensen.” “The nerds? No offense, Will.” Xander guessed. “None taken. It’s okay; nerds are in. They still are, aren’t they?” “Xander’s right, in his usual manner ... for lack of a better phrase. Anyway, all these people have above average intelligence. That Jensen boy, the transfer student from Phoenix, Arizona, has an IQ of 161, as I hear it. I presume these vampires have an insatiable thirst for more intellectual challenges.” “Well, I’m safe for this eternity.” Xander confidently stated. “Xander!!” Buffy Chided in return. “Read the apparent writing on the wall.” Giles’ unfinished prediction was ominous at best. Buffy finished it anyway. “Yeah, you and Willow.” Willow’s fingers had begun typing random characters on the keyboard, creating incoherent gibberish on the screen. “I need to sit down.” Buffy knew this routine already. “You are sitting down.” “Good for me.” Xander walked over to Willow and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Don’t worry, Willow. With us around, you’re safe as ever. Neither possessed persons or dogs or vampires will ever get you without getting past me first!” Xander stuck-out his chest to show Willow his manliness. However, he was rewarded by Willow mock-squinting back at him. “Funny.” “Xander, I’ll be fine. I’m not worried, really. I’m fine.” Giles opted to go with the flow of the conversation and perhaps, as an inkling of thought entered his mind, help his trusted-yet-frustrated friend with her romantic life. Wait. “Friend?” Certainly, they had proved invaluable to him and Buffy, but did he really consider them “friends?” He needed to explore this further. “Until I can find-out anything further, I suggest Buffy and I keep our eyes open tonight. Xander, you should stay with Willow just in case. You have the number for Buffy’s, uh, beeping thing, right?” “Right.” Willow did something she’d never done before publicly: she blushed. Hardcore. “Yeah, I can protect Willow all by myself, thank you. You and Buffy can do the hero stuff; I’ve got this covered.” Willow allowed herself a smile. Who cares that he was just trying to be macho in front of Buffy; he was going to be watching over her. “Uh, yeah, sure Xander. Go right ahead. We’ll do the ‘hero stuff’ without you. C’mon, Giles. I’ll make-up some lame albeit colourful excuse for Owen. Again. I gotta stop by my house for some supplier, first.” Giles and Buffy left without locking-up behind them. Buffy noted that Giles never locked the library up. Was it his sanctuary from the real world? You’d think so. As well, Willow and Xander were conveniently alone in there now.. Maybe Will could score some points finally with him? “Very sneaky, Giles! I’m teaching you well.” “What on earth do you mean?” Giles wondered. “Leaving Willow and Xander alone in there. That’s planning if I ever saw it.” Buffy replied. “Actually, Buffy, that was spontaneous. I’m not sure why I did that at all. I just did. You may be surprised to learn that I have no interest in your personal lives so long as you can perform your duty. Now, shall we get back to the business at hand?” “Fine. But, you better keep the day clear when you get that wedding invitation!” Buffy tossed back. “Will that require dancing ... again?” “With me and Willow, yes! ~Duh~ You deserve to trip the lights fantastic with the girl of the hour.” [Blank, vacuous look] “Dance with you, sorry. Pop-culture reference.” “And I though I was getting better.” “Think again.” * * * * *

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