dragonyphoenix: (raven)
dragonyphoenix ([personal profile] dragonyphoenix) wrote in [community profile] summer_of_giles2017-07-09 08:29 am

FIC: In a Corner of My Soul PG

Title: In a Corner of My Soul
Chapter: I Robot; You Jane 1/4
AO3 Mirror:
HERE
fanfiction.net Mirror
HERE
Rating:
PG
Setting: Season 1 of BtVS
Word Count: 5381
Note: Many of these scenes were written for prompts at
Taming the Muse.

 

What went before:

  • Eyghon in Giles’ mind: Eyghon is connected to Giles by a process called domination. Unlike possession, in which a demon takes over a human host, domination entails the creation of a psychic bond between the demon and its host. The demon does not inhabit the host but is, instead, connected to the host’s mind. The demon is, in effect, always in the back of the host’s mind, whispering directly into the host’s thoughts.
  • Giles’ split personalities: Under the stress of Eyghon's influence, Rupert's personality has split into three. Rupert is closest to canon Giles and has the least contact with Eyghon. Giles is the personality in charge of protecting Rupert. Ripper takes care of any dirty work Giles needs done. To keep Eyghon from tormenting Rupert, Giles has agreed to give Eyghon access to the Slayer line.
  • Willow’s breaking taboos: Giles, in order to control Willow’s power and make it his own, has put magical hooks into her that allow him to call on her magic at will. Because she’s an unskilled magic user, her power does not flow as easily as Giles would like. Meditative practices would improve the flow of her magic. In order to get her to meditate more often, Giles has introduced the girl to Tantra (in a “please don’t look at this forbidden book” kind of a way. This story is not going into a squicky adult/youth sex direction.) He expected she would take up solo sex meditative practices such as energy orgasms. Willow, intrigued by the sex magic but a little put off by them as well, has instead chosen to follow the book’s idea on breaking taboos.
  • Giles studying students possessed by the hyena spirit / Weirick invoking Eyghon: When removing the hyenas from the students, Giles and Weirick came to an agreement: Weirick would help Giles study the effects of hyena possession by putting the hyena spirit back into one of the students and Giles would help Weirick gain the power he craved by possessing him with a demon. Because Giles used a modified ritual, Weirick’s possession did not last. Weirick, not satisfied with the deal, is invoking Eyghon into himself.
  • Who is Antonia Ashworth and what’s her vengeance deal against Giles all about? : When Merrick was Buffy’s Watcher, the Council decided that the next two Watchers to be assigned to a Slayer would be Roderick Travers Ashworth and Rupert Giles, in that order. Giles, to gain access to the Slayer more quickly, invoked Eyghon to kill Roderick Ashworth. Antonia Ashworth, to prevent her son Cecil’s death by quest for vengeance, has taken over that quest for vengeance herself.
  • Okay but what about this Miller guy who's scanning books in the library? : Working for Antonia Ashworth, basically spying on Giles.
  • Kris Mansfield: Kris is the principal’s administrative assistant. She’s been investigating supernatural events in the school, for example Amy’s attacks on the cheerleaders. Buffy’s suspicious of Kris’ interest in these events but so far the only interesting info Willow has turned up is that Kris had been kidnapped as a child only to be found in her late teen years. Buffy does not know that Kris is aware of Slayers and Watchers.
  • Buffy’s homeroom in the library: Giles set this up without giving Buffy a head’s up. Buffy is taking homeroom in the library. Giles expects her in an hour early so she can meditate. That's going about as well as you'd expect.
  • The Amulet of Dominion: Giles has learned of an artifact, the Amulet of Dominion Over the Line of Aurelius, that will allow him to weaken any or all vampires of the Aurelian line. He plans to use this artifact to kill both the Master and Angelus. He already has the spell that activates the amulet but does not know the amulet's location.
  • Snyder: He started as the principal in “Angel”
  • The little girl: Buffy had a chance to join a search for a missing girl at the zoo but Weirick led her back to the gates because he planned to sacrifice the girl to invoke Eyghon into himself. The girl's still listed as missing but Buffy's feeling guilty that she didn't save the girl.
  • Xander asking about Angel: Giles asked him to get info on Angel from Buffy and Willow
  •  
  • Catherine Madison: In “The Witch”, Giles put a frog's mind into Catherine Madison's body and sent her soul to a hell dimension so she couldn't return to threaten his Slayer.

 

 

Buffy stared at the body. No, not body, boy as in boy sprawled on the ground as in Owen. As in Owen who'd just seen her stake a vampire. As in Owen who brushed his pants as he rose to his feet – more worried about clean clothes than almost dying said a part of her mind – and asked, “Did you see that guy? It's like he vanished into a puff of smoke.”

 

 

Smoke? Uh, no, it's nighttime, as in it's dark. He ran off. Really. You just couldn't see 'cause it's dark.”

 

 

Buffy.” He pointed up. “We're under a streetlight.”

 

 

Right, which is lit because it's night and, uh …” She glanced around, hoping to find a distraction. “Hey, burgers.” She curled her arm through his. “You hungry? I'm famished.”

 

 

He pulled his arm away. “Buffy, I saw you fight that guy. And then I sort of saw him vanish?”

 

 

Hunger will do that to you. Makes you see all kinds of wacky things. Things that aren't there. We should eat.” Buffy stopped and cocked her head. Was that … growling?

 

 

As she turned, the vamp leaped over the cemetery fence. Damn, he must have been a pole vaulter to get that much height. With Owen between them, she couldn't get to the vamp before he'd grabbed Owen by the collar, raising him so high that Owen's feet dangled above the ground. “You,” the vampire snarled at Owen, “you I'll let live just long enough to see me break your pretty little …”

 

 

Who the hell was he calling little? Buffy staked him clear through the heart. Oops, and she should have made him drop Owen first. “Ow!” he said, again from the ground. Rising, he brushed at his clothes. “What is this? Dust?”

 

 

Ashes, Buffy thought. “I try not to think about it.”

 

 

As Owen glanced around, Buffy could see him putting events together. He brushed at his jacket. Dust drifted into the air. “Is this all that's left of that guy?”

 

 

Distracting him with burgers obviously wasn't going to work. What next?

 

 

What's going on, Buffy?”

 

 

She really should have a cover story. Hey, maybe she could work on one in homeroom. That had to be way more important than meditating, right? Maybe she could even stretch it out …

 

 

Buffy.”

 

 

Right, well, you see, there's something you don't know about me, that nobody knows about me. Well, no, not nobody, 'cause Giles knows and Willow and Xander …”

 

 

Buffy, just tell me.”

 

 

He took the whole Slaying unholy forces of evil talk better than she'd expected given that she'd never expected to be telling him, but then he started walking away without saying a word, without even looking at her. It sort of seemed like he was leaving her, as in breaking up with her. She scrambled after him. She couldn't just leave him walking on his own. She had to make sure he got home safe, right?

 

 

When he stopped she was sort of afraid to look at him, afraid of what she'd see in his eyes, so she stared up at the cemetery gates. The name, Restfield Cemetery, arched over the gate but the words sort of swooped down at the right as if death were some kind of slippery slope or maybe it was supposed to represent a descent into death but if it were death wouldn't you want to be ascending into Heaven? Maybe the gate's designer didn't have a high opinion of people.

 

 

So that thing.” Owen paused to glance at her. “Vampire?”

 

 

Vampire.”

 

 

He came out of a grave?”

 

 

Sure.” When Owen just looked at her, Buffy added, “He was a bit dirt-covered so, yeah, he probably just dug himself out of a grave.”

 

 

And you were hunting vampires?”

 

 

So not the time to bring up other demons. “It's called patrolling, but yeah.”

 

 

And how do you kill them?”

 

 

Crosses, garlic, stake through the heart.” Probably best to skip that whole decapitation with a spoon story. And fire. No need to mention burning down the gym. “Oh, and sunlight works too but, you know, it has to be daytime.”

 

 

Do you do this often?”

 

 

Right, say goodbye to any future dates. “Every night.”

 

 

That's so cool!”

 

 

Uh, what?”

 

 

I never thought nearly getting killed would make me feel so … so alive! When can we do it again? Tomorrow?”

 

 

Uh, no.”

 

 

Day after … or, uh, night after? Any time, I'm ready.”

 

 

Owen, you don't seem to see how dangerous …”

 

 

But that's what makes it so amazing! I finally understand that line by Emily Dickinson, 'Death sets a thing significant.' My life, it's like I've never lived before, like I've been empty. No, not empty, hollow. I've been hollow and now, now I'm so energized.” He took her hands in his. “We can go again tomorrow, right?”

 

 

Maybe if she lightened the tone a bit, he'd calm down? “I was kinda hoping for a normal date. You know, catch a movie?”

 

 

But after, we could do your patrolling thing after.”

 

 

Uh, maybe.” Home. She should get him home. In the light of day, after a good night's sleep, he'd realize how much danger he'd been in or maybe he'd just think the whole thing had been a dream. Either way, he'd give up this whole patrolling idea, right?

 

 

* * *

 

 

Human skin, stripped from living flesh, had been processed in long-forgotten rituals to bind this dark tome. It wasn't the type of book often found in a living room. In fact, only scions of high-Council lines still knew the secrets of translating proto-Elamite.

 

 

The text had been translated many times over the centuries. In fact, it had been one of those translations, in which the ritual had been renamed the Rite of Bellitorius by some medieval arse of an alchemist, that had sent Giles searching for the original. The rite, the version that had been translated into Latin, had been attempted before. In the mid-thirteen hundreds, the threat of the Aurelian line, vampires that had floated like detritus into Europe in the wake of the Red Death, had been deemed too great. Roger Giles, then head of the Council, had performed the ritual himself. A dozen good men had died at the hands of Aurelian vampires. It wasn't his primary motive, but if Giles succeeded, their deaths would be avenged.

 

 

The cuneiform looked as dark as dried blood on the ancient pages. Giles, translating as he read, found the clue he'd been looking for: to rule over those who feast on the blood of men. Yes! This had to be it, the spell that would allow him to control any vampire of the Aurelian line. Angelus would no longer present a threat to his Slayer.

 

 

Perhaps a small glass of Glenlivet to celebrate? Giles glanced at the clock. Gods, it was almost evening and he hadn't eaten since breakfast. Food first. He was already feeling almost too giddy to translate. There was no need to make himself tipsy as well.

 

 

He was halfway through a quick stir-fry when he heard a knock at the door. Before responding, he locked the text he'd been translating in a wall-safe and then hid the safe with magic. With the ancient text secured, Giles turned toward the door but before he could answer the knocking turned to pounding. “Give it up, Rupert. I know you're in there.”

 

 

Jenny? What was she doing here? Giles pinched the bridge of his nose. Rupert had arranged a date. Of course he had. Giles could make an excuse but … even if he did translate the ritual that night, he couldn't act on it until he'd found the Amulet of Dominion. While he did have an idea on how to locate the amulet, he'd almost certainly need access to a vampire of the line. With Angelus pretending to play nice for Buffy, he might be able to use the vampire, but arranging the meeting would take time. And besides, he rather did want to celebrate.

 

 

Rupert!”

 

 

He opened the door to find her with one hand raised, ready to pound again and almost regretted forgetting their date. Jenny looked stunning in a cheongsam, red with flowers embroidered in gold, with a skirt so short he could almost see heaven. “I see you dressed for the evening.”

 

 

Her smile had a knife edge to it. “And I see you forgot our date.”

 

 

Ah, well.” He brushed a hand through his hair in a way he'd been told was adorable. He'd need all weapons to hand to survive this angry goddess. “I did get caught up in a book.”

 

 

Good thing I came early. You've got twenty minutes.”

 

 

Giles let his gaze linger on her curves and wondered if she'd be willing to stay in. “We'll be doing what exactly?”

 

 

Dinner. Movie.”

 

 

Right, she wanted to see The Saint. “Ah yes, eye candy. How could I have forgotten?”

 

 

Hey, Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag is still playing if you'd rather.”

 

 

I think not.”

 

 

Michelle and Remy's High-School Reunion?”

 

 

Giles suppressed a shudder. “Please, I'm at high-school all day. Besides, I have no objections to the eye candy.”

 

 

He'd just started running the water for his shower when he heard her shout. “Hey, the eye candy's supposed to be for me.”

 

 

Wrapped only in a towel, he stepped into the living room. He grinned as her eyes bulged a bit in surprise. “If you'd rather Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag, I can assure you I have absolutely no interest in Joe Pesci.”

 

 

Uh, no, I think I'll go with the eye candy, thanks.”

 

 

You're drooling.”

 

 

Perhaps what I'm seeing is worth a little drool.” She raised a hand to her mouth as if to wipe it away.

 

 

Only a little? I must be losing my touch.”

 

 

Fifteen minutes, England. Get moving.”

 

 

* * *

 

 

Giles held the door for Jenny, waiting until she'd left the restaurant before offering his arm. She didn't take it. “I'm not sure I can afford to be seen arm-in-arm with such a lunatic.”

 

 

Dramatically pressing hand to heart, Giles replied. “You wound me. I'll have you know that I'm nothing more than a traveller searching for purity.”

 

 

They burst into laughter and Jenny wrapped her arm through his. “It really was an awful movie.”

 

 

But it did provide a plethora of eye candy, as promised.”

 

 

So England, what next?”

 

 

It was her smirk that decided him. He'd been debating all evening: should he invite her home or not? Her smirk suggested she expected him to. “If it's not too forward, there is a delightful Sauvignon Blanc chilling at my place.”

 

 

She leaned in so closely he expected her to kiss him. “Rupert, there's one thing you should know about me.”

 

 

Ah, yes?”

 

 

I'm a beer kind of a gal.” She stepped back, laughing, but took hold of his hand. “Your place though, that sounds good.”

 

 

Gods, it was a good fifteen minute walk back. He knew he should have driven although a madcap tear through Main Street at a breakneck speed would hardly impress her with his savoir-faire.

 

 

Teachers' out and holding hands.” The voice was appallingly familiar. “I feel they're not setting a good moral example.”

 

 

Hey, kids.”

 

 

Buffy, ignoring Jenny, addressed that Owen lad whom she apparently was out with. “Do you feel they're setting a good moral example?”

 

 

The boy seemed to be staring down an alley. “Huh? Oh, I think their example's fine, but don't you think we should be getting to that other thing?”

 

 

Gods, she was foregoing her duty to be with that idiot? At least the lad seemed to have gotten her mind off of Angelus. Speaking of which … “Buffy, could I speak with you a moment.”

 

 

Giles, sort of on a date here. Just like you're on a date here. Oooh, we're double dating, except not together.”

 

 

England.” Damn, Jenny did not sound pleased. “Are you dry gulching me to run off with a student?”

 

 

Ah, just for a moment.” He motioned Buffy down the street. “This way if you please.”

 

 

So,” she asked after they'd moved a ways down the street. “Piccola Firenze, any good?”

 

 

Jenny had picked the restaurant. He doubted it was worth even two Micheline stars, not that he needed to be distracted into discussing it with his Slayer. “Buffy.”

 

 

If you're gonna yell at me for not patrolling …”

 

 

No, it's not that. I need to see Angel.”

 

 

Her foot started tapping as she folded her arms.

 

 

There's as spell that will allow me to determine, unequivocally, whether or not he has a human soul.”

 

 

So, we're not trusting him now?”

 

 

No, we're bloody well not. “Buffy, he is a vampire. They are, traditionally, not known for their honesty.” When she didn't reply, he added, “I'd prefer to perform it sooner rather than later.”

 

 

Buffy glanced over at Jenny. “So, I should bring him over tonight?”

 

 

What? No!” He took in Buffy's smirk. He drew in as much dignity as he could. “Tomorrow will do nicely. Bring him around to the library after dark.”

 

 

Fine.” Buffy's eyebrows' raised as she caught site of Owen wandering into an alley. “Gotta go!”

 

 

He returned to Jenny and offered his arm. She didn't take it but did stroll next to him. “What was that?”

 

 

Ah, you are aware that I've been acting as a mentor to Buffy, yes? It's a special project to reduce recidivism in unruly youth.”

 

 

I did hear some horrific stories about her acting out in her old school.”

 

 

Quite, I gave her some, er, fatherly advice.”

 

 

She took his arm. “Is it bad that I find responsibility sexy?”

 

 

Not at all. In fact, I find that most encouraging.”

 

 

His hopes for the evening rose with her laughter.

 

 

* * *

 

 

The fat kid didn't have a home. Bob hadn't picked up on it – nobody had – until he'd stayed late one night. The ritual had been a bitch to translate. Maasai wasn't like any language he'd ever studied. It might have been easier to work on it at home but somehow it had been important to translate the text at the zoo. That night he'd been working his way across the lobby of the zoo's main building when he'd seen something odd in the gift shop. That had been Tim, big as a whale and trying to fit himself into a hammock. The boy worked at the concession stand, selling burgers all day. After a roommate had dumped him to the curb, he'd swiped a key to let himself in through the side gate at night.

 

 

Tim had been practically giddy when Bob hadn't fired him. “You can't sleep here,” Bob had told him. “Insurance won't cover it, but you give me that key and I'll let you keep your job.” The insurance had been an excuse. Bob couldn't risk the kid stumbling across his work with the hyenas. “You can come in an hour early to catch a shower and make yourself something to eat in the break room.” The kid was a nobody, but you never knew when even a nobody might turn useful.

 

 

After Giles had told him about Eyghon, Bob, thinking Tim could finally be of use, had started sitting with the lad first thing in the morning, bringing coffee and sometimes donuts for the two of them. Bob had been a day or two away from drugging the kid when that little girl, lost, had run up to him when nobody was looking. The power hadn't lasted though and Tim's time was up. Bob was reaching for the donuts when something in Tim's daily babble-fest reached through. “There are no real Sumo schools here in Sunnydale but I might get Sensei Brian to teach me the basics.”

 

 

How the hell did some homeless lard-bucket have someone keeping an eye out for him? “Sensei Brian?”

 

 

He's got a dojo over on Main Street. I was thinking I'd ask him if he could teach me. I mean, none of his students are training for Sumo, but all I need are the basics. My cousin Janet's going off to college next year and I'm hoping aunt Nancy'll let me have her room. They're in L.A. There's a real Sumo school there. Being big as I am, it's gotta be good for something, right?”

 

 

You haven't spoken to him yet?”

 

 

Well, no. I keep passing the dojo, watching classes through the window, and I keep meaning to go in, really I do, but I find myself at Doublemeat Palace instead.”

 

 

The kid was a real winner. He hadn't gone to that sensei for lessons just like he hadn't gone to his aunt for a place to stay. Bob could see why. Once he'd asked and had been turned down, that'd be it, no more hope, the end of his dreams.

 

 

You're a smart kid. You can get the basics down in less than a year.” Reaching back around for the donuts, he added, “I almost forgot. I picked us up a treat.” After picking up the donuts, he'd ground a couple of tablets and sprinkled them under carefully scraped back icing. The kid wouldn't taste it. He went for sugar bombs. “Boston Cream, your favorite.”

 

 

Thanks Dr. Weirick but I don't know. I did have those three breakfast sandwiches and home fries. I'm sort of full.”

 

 

Shit. “Nonsense,” Bob replied amiably. “If you want to be a Sumo wrestler, you have to pack in the carbs.”

 

 

The kid looked longingly at the donut but didn't take it. “Actually they eat this stuff called Chankonabe. It's a stew – veggies, tofu, fish, meat – but they do also eat a lot of rice.”

 

 

Not big on the sugar, eh? Maybe that means you should stock up on your sweets now.”

 

 

Tim wolfed down the donut in three bites, not even taking time to taste it. The drug took its sweet time taking effect. Bob glanced around, waiting for someone to stumble across them and wished he'd made up an excuse to get the kid into the basement before drugging him. After about fifteen minutes, Tim was't completely out but he wasn't moving much either. Bob pulled over a flat cart, rolled the kid onto it, and hauled him away. He'd have to move quickly. There wasn't much time to secure the kid before the rest of the staff showed up to start the workday.

 

 

* * *

 

 

Buffy, for once, was in the library only a few minutes after the final day's bell had rung. “So, this spell to check for Angel's soul, you're all ready to go with that, right? No last minute problems or anything? I mean, not that there should be because Angel totally has his soul but …”

 

 

Calm, Buffy. I'm certain everything will be fine. If you could move that table and those chairs off to one side. No, I meant out of the way. We'll need this space for the ritual.”

 

 

The design on the library floor displayed an octagon in darker tiles against a pale background. For sorcerous purposes a hexagon's association of distance and clear vision would have provided a more felicitous geometric figure, but one worked with what one had.

 

 

I don't suppose Angel's awake yet,” Buffy said as she glanced out a window. “I mean daylight and all, he's probably still asleep, not in a slugabed kind of a way 'cause, you know, vampire, and do vampires sleep during the day? I mean, I guess they'd have to what with being creatures of the night and all.”

 

 

Gods, if he had her underfoot all afternoon, he'd never finish laying out the ritual space. “Ah, Buffy, I have an address for you, a nest. Why don't you take care of them and then swing around to retrieve Angel?”

 

 

I don't have to pick up Angel. He said he'd meet me here. Nest? What nest? I thought we were gonna spar.”

 

 

Buffy, if you'd given it any thought, you'd have realized sparring would be impossible given that I'm preparing for a major ritual.”

 

 

She deflated at his words. Gods, was the Slayer honestly no more resilient than that? “Oh, uh, where is it?”

 

 

203 Richardson. There may be humans there as well so take care. Vampires that feed on willing victims tend to be more cowardly than the demons you'd normally Slay. They might even hide so search the house thoroughly.”

 

 

Willing victims? What, they go there to be killed?”

 

 

Vampires don't necessarily have to kill to feed. We can discuss it later.”

 

 

Right. Later.” She didn't turn to leave but stood there, staring at him.

 

 

The ritual will be fine, Buffy. You have nothing to worry about.”

 

 

Sure, of course, not worrying. I'll, uh, see you later then.”

 

 

Within his office, where it couldn't be seen from the library, Giles laid out an octagon in salt and sat a scrying bowl in its center. Withing that bowl he set one of a pair of magically attuned ametrine crystals. Combining amethyst, which would allow him to exsect and isolate a portion of Angelus' essence, and citrine, which would allow him to transmit that essence between the charged crystals, ametrine's association with the astrological sign of Gemini would allow Giles to twin Angelus' essence, to clone it in a sense. Part of the vampire's essence would be captured in the ametrine in the library and part in the ametrine in Giles' office. If all went well, Angelus would never suspect that Giles had trapped a piece of his essence within the second crystal.

 

 

Buffy returned with Angelus so close upon the heels of nightfall that Giles knew she hadn't spent much time searching for stray vampires in the suck-house. No matter. That had been nothing more than a distraction, a means of keeping her out of the way while he set his trap for the larger prey.

 

 

Giles, Angel. Angel, Giles.”

 

 

Angelus' demeanor lived up to every description that Giles had read. None of the vampire's menace came through. His almost sincere facade confirmed what those few who'd survived the creature had documented, that Angelus had the patience to play a long game.

 

 

There was no need to waste time with pleasantries. “I'll need you in the center of the octagon.”

 

 

In the octagon?” The vampire looked surprised. “You're not performing the Revelation of Anubis?”

 

 

Damn. Giles hadn't realized Angelus knew that much about magic. “You can't expect me to trust a spell that is clearly little more than a folk-charm, not with something as serious as whether one of the most vicious vampires in history has a soul. Obviously I'll need to resort to the higher magics.”

 

 

The vampire played at guilt quite convincingly. His performance as a souled penitent was certainly outstanding. After a hurt glance toward Buffy, Angelus stepped into the ritual space.

 

 

Where do you want me?” Buffy asked.

 

 

Outside of the sacred circle or, in this case, sacred octagon. Never cross into or out of the circle during a magical ritual or you risk unleashing dangerous forces.”

 

 

Okay.” Buffy didn't sound convinced but Giles wasn't concerned. In this case, the sacred circle was more supplementary than essential. It would help focus Angelus' essence but wasn't necessary to contain it.

 

 

Knowing Angelus had an understanding of the occult arts, Giles added in three spells meant mainly to distract the vampire from the true purpose of his ritual. Because Angelus had expressed an awareness of the Revelation of Anubis, Giles used an older and more obscure spell, not Egyptian but Sumerian, a spell only a scholar would recognize.

 

 

Peta mudutu shi.” The ametrine glowed, a spark shining against the darker wood of the floor. Interesting. The vampire hadn't been lying about the soul.

 

 

With a part of Angelus' soul trapped in the one crystal, Giles chanted the spell to double it and to transfer a portion into the crystal in his office. “Maharu abanyaruahhu abnu melammu libbu qamu ina etuti absu zeru babu.” Giles could only trust that the final spell had worked. He made a show of dispersing energies, hoping the distraction would keep Angelus from focusing on the pertinent part of the ritual.

 

 

Buffy, surprisingly, waited until he'd finished before speaking. “Did it work? The stone's glowing. Does that mean he has a soul?”

 

 

It does.” Angelus' glare suggested the crystal, or more likely the soul, bothered him. “That glow, that's part of my soul. If I didn't have one …”

 

 

Giles finished the thought. “If he had no soul, the crystal wouldn't be glowing.”

 

 

Told ya.” The girl, bouncing on her feet, appeared unexpectedly relieved. She obviously felt far more for the vampire than he'd imagined. Ah, well, the vampire's death would resolve that little problem.

 

 

Angelus grabbed the crystal. The vampire brought the crystal close to his face, stared for a moment, and smashed it down to the floor. Yellow-gold shards, darker without the spark, scattered out from the dent where the crystal had struck.

 

 

Angel? What the hell?”

 

 

Giles spoke before the vampire could. “The crystal held part of his soul. If it hadn't been destroyed, it could have been used against him.”

 

 

Sorry about the floor.” The vampire did appear contrite. Whom did the beast think we was fooling?

 

 

Once Buffy's returned the table to its original position, the damage won't be visible.”

 

 

So, you trust him now, right?”

 

 

Over my dead body. “Yes, the evidence of the soul is convincing.”

 

 

For a moment he thought Buffy might hug the vampire, but then she stepped away and Angelus stared at the ground. Why the awkwardness? Did Buffy feel uncomfortable because he was watching them? She'd never seemed to be concerned with his disapproval before. Ah, no, there was that Owen lad that Buffy was dating. Good, at least that should keep her out of the vampire's arms long enough for him to kill Angelus.

 

 

Perhaps you could leave me to clean up the remnants of the ritual? Uh, Buffy, since you didn't get a chance to patrol earlier …”

 

 

Yeah, yeah, go kill monsters. On it.”

 

 

Giles kept watch until Buffy and Angelus had left the school grounds behind. Anxious, concerned his spell hadn't worked he ducked into his office and breathed a sigh of relief. The second crystal was glowing with Angelus' soul.

 

 

Giles spoke the words of the final spell. “Ati me peta babka. Talamu gug sibum ina ahisa masku manzazu abanyarahhu zeru sa akhkharu.” The scrying bowl darkened. Chanted directions drew his viewpoint upward, as if through the air, until he was looking down at the California coastline. He changed the chant, moving down and focusing in until he faced a wall. He saw a tree, a depiction of a tree to be precise, laid out in tiles against pale green marble. Giles had started chanting again to move away from the tree and gain a clearer idea of where this mosaic might be, when he felt Eyghon's interest. The demon's power rose within him. “No! Don't!” The crystal cracked into three chunks, losing its spark. Giles swore as he fell against his office door. With the crystal shattered, Eyghon had lost interest but the demon's power had destroyed the spell, had lost him Angelus' essence. Giles knew the Amulet of Dominion was hidden somewhere in California but other than that he had only an image of a tree laid out in tile against marble to lead him to the amulet that would allow him to destroy Angelus.



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