Rating: R (for language)
Betas: Karabair, SpikeNDru, Mia
Willow sat up slowly, her eyes squeezing shut as all of the feeling her body seemed centered on the mass of pain at the
back of her skull. She put a hand behind her head, carefully exploring and then wincing as she found a tender spot. She glanced
around and realized that she was in the Magic Box, complete with all the details, right down to the “Shoplifters Will
Be Turned Into Frogs” sign. Which was abso-freaking-lutely impossible, since the shop now existed only in a giant pit
full of ubervamp dust.
She was still blinking away troll-hammer
sized pain when the door flew open and Xander raced in, arms flailing and hair flopping. He skidded to a stop when he saw
her perched on the edge of the table.
“Willow!” he gasped, his
face pale white with shock, “We’re back in Sunnydale!”
Willow stared back at him blankly, her mind trying to process possible head trauma, resurrected Magic Box and buff-and-not-in-Africa
Xander all at once.
Seeing her confusion, he snapped
a finger in front of her face. “You know, Sunny D! Hello, Sunnyhell? La boca
She sighed and eased off the table
top. “Yeah, I know, Xander.”
And?” he demanded. “This is so not right. I mean, we finally got out of here! I have a life – and a better
haircut! And, check me out,” he whipped open the edge of his caramel colored, butter soft, three quarter length leather
jacket. “I’m totally ripped and hot.”
He let the
coat fall closed and ran a hand through dark, expensively tousled hair. “I cannot be back here. This is the
place of badness and abasement and basements of debasement and demon magnetism. This is the land of the not good. Is this
a wish? A spell? Demons, witches, trolls, pixies, banshees…gah!”
He jerked back
as Willow suddenly grabbed his bottom lip and yanked hard. “Xander!” she yelled, all patience gone, "just tell
me before we both asphyxiate from mega-babble. What the fuck is going on?”
Xander’s mouth fell open
as he stared back at her, gobsmacked. “W-what did you just say?”
Willow frowned, rubbing her tongue briefly against the inside of her upper lip. “Um, I’m sure I said 'babble
be damned!'" She winced as Xander continued to stare at her, google-eyed, and shook his head slowly. “Uh, ‘what
the goddess’?” she offered weakly.
“You said f-fuck!”
Xander shouted, a finger jerking out to point at her in accusation. His hand flew to his mouth. “Holy shit! I said fuck!”
His forehead crinkled in consternation. “I never say fuck. Or shit. Only evil, soulless creatures talk like that, and
they’re usually cut off before they can…”
“Fuck piss shit hell,”
Willow blurted, her eyes widening in horror. She and Xander stared at each other in silent amazement, and then Xander drew
a deep breath, raising his hands slowly before him and held them palms out toward Willow as their eyes met.
he intoned gravely.
Willow gasped aloud at that and
suddenly realized that there could be only one plausible and fairly simple and not terribly complex because that’s time
consuming explanation. “It’s a spell. A goddamn, booger-ass spell.”
“I feel weird, Wil,”
Xander said, rubbing his hands against his face. “Fuckity-fuck-fuck weird. And not like me.” His eyes narrowed.
“What’s the big shit?”
Willow shrugged, cringing as the
pain in her head thudded again. “I have no idea, Xan. All I know is that I woke up here with a throbbin’ in my
noggin’ and now suddenly we’re channeling George Carlin.” She raised her brows, considering. “Although
the situational Tourette’s seems to be fading.” She glanced around
half-heartedly at the shelves. “I guess we could, you know, hit the books…”
Xander groaned. “Ah, horseshit.”
Willow looked at him in surprise. “Sorry, that one was all me. It’s just that I thought my dense volumes, donut
boy days were behind me.”
Willow smiled in commiseration.
“I know. I have people to do this expositiony research crap for me now.”
She yanked open the nearest leather
cover and read a passage at random. “Come on let’s take it easy. Take it
easy. Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and monkey…” She trailed off. “What the
hoo-ha? What is this?”
Xander reached around her to open
another book. “This one’s blank,” he said. He quickly slammed shut. “Could be a trapped demon. Quick,
look at another one.”
Willow opened a book and ran a
finger quickly under the text, translating, “Now for ten years we’ve been
on our own, and moss grows fat on a Rolling Stone. But that’s how it used to be, when the Jester sang for the King and
Queen in a coat he borrowed from James Dean…whoa!”
Willow felt Xander’s hands
grab her shoulders and pull her back sharply as the words began to rise from the book and crawl slowly up her arms.
“Thanks,” Willow breathed
as she sagged back against Xander. She ran her hands weakly up her now bare arms. “I would have gone crazy with American Pie stuck in my head all day.” She grinned wobbly. “Though it has been a while since I’ve
had a good book suck.”
Xander hugged her briefly and then
stepped back. “I don’t get it. Blank books, classic rock lyrics…it’s like whoever stocked the shop
isn’t even trying. We’ve got to get out of here, Wil. I popped up in the alley behind the Bronze, and I didn’t
see much on my way here, but the streets were empty.” He frowned. “And somewhat shorter and less…there.
We’ve got to see if we’re the only ones here.” He began to hum the tune to Land of the Lost under his breath until Willow cut him off with a look.
she said, nodding him toward the door. “Let’s get out of here.”
He turned to lead the way and then
turned back, his face contorting in horror. “You’re not going outside like that, are you?”
Willow looked down at her jeans
and camisole. “What?” she asked in surprise.
Xander sighed. “It’s
June? In southern California? And you’re going out without a jacket?”
Willow cringed, crossing her arms
over herself in embarrasment. She looked around and picked up a mod-print, double breasted trench coat. “Will this do?”
“I guess,” Xander said,
opening the door for her. “Don’t you have anything in leather?” he asked as the bell jangled and door slammed
shut behind them.
Lyrics are from "Everybody's Got Something
to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" by The Beatles and "American Pie" by Don McLean.