By Estepheia and Marcee
Part 6 - Brave New World
"Xander, we have to buy one!" Anya exclaimed as she trotted through the door. "It felt so...so liberating!"
Xander, Willow and Tara were waiting in the living room. During the car ride, Willow had been able to re-shape the orange material so it only bound the girl's hands and feet. She now sat completely still on the couch with her hands folded neatly in her lap. She was staring down at them in silence.
Anya's giddiness faded as she joined the others in the living room.
"So? What happened?" she asked the group.
"We're not sure, she hasn't said a word," Tara answered.
Willow knelt in front of the bound girl. "Buffy?" she started quietly, "I mean, no, not Buffy. You're not Buffy." She was a bit flustered. Tara stepped forward and placed a calming hand on her lover's shoulder. Maeve was somewhat taken aback by their show of closeness. She shifted uncomfortably. Willow continued, "Can you tell us who you are?"
The girl looked up at Willow, but didn't answer.
"We're your friends. All of us. We won't hurt you, we promise."
"I don't believe you," the girl answered, almost inaudibly.
Tara noticed how rigid the girl's posture was and saw how her eyes occasionally darted around the room, as if she'd never seen a house like this before. She wanted to comfort the girl, tell her that everything would be alright - but she wasn't really sure if that was the truth. Behind the orange restraints, Tara saw that the girl's hands were clasped so tightly on her lap that her knuckles were beginning to turn white.
"What? No. No, it's the truth," Willow wasn't sure how to proceed. "Why should we lie to you?"
"You can not deceive me," the girl whispered to Willow. "I know you are not being truthful because you're protecting a demon."
"What?" Willow said, startled. "No, no, we're not protecting a demon. We don't protect demons, we fight them."
"At least the evil ones, not the not-so-evil ones" Anya amended. "We've saved the world several times," she added proudly.
Willow continued, "We, uh, we help people. That's what we do."
The girl dropped her gaze again.
Willow stood and turned toward the rest of the group hoping for some kind of assistance.
"So have you figured out who she is yet?" Spike asked as he opened the front door and flicked his cigarette out into the night.
At the sound of his voice, the girl on the couch flinched and momentarily struggled with her confines. Her eyes narrowed and she flattened her palms against her thighs. Her muscles clenched tighter still (if that was even possible); she looked like a spring about to uncoil. She watched Spike with such intensity, one might guess everything else in the room faded to blackness.
"No, she won't talk," Willow said. "She thinks we're protecting a demon," she laughed. "Right."
"Imagine that," Spike said sarcastically.
"What?" Willow asked, somewhat hurt by his cynicism.
"Are you daft, Will? She thinks you're protecting ME."
Willow's eyes grew wide. How could she not have realized that! "Oh!" she exclaimed. "But wait! How did she know? I mean, how did she know that you're a vampire."
"Because she's a Slayer," Spike answered.
"Who's a Slayer?" a British voice questioned from the top of the stairs.
"Giles!" Willow blurted out.
"Though I've slayed a vampire or two in my day, I wouldn't hasten to call myself a Slayer, no," he answered as he made his way down the stairs - he was drying his hair with a fluffy white towel.
"No, um, I mean..." Willow stuttered.
"Dear God! Buffy!" Giles exclaimed when he saw her bound on the couch. He dropped the towel and ran the rest of the way into the living room.
"No, Giles, she's uh...she's not Buffy," Willow said as Giles reached for the girl's hand.
The girl shrunk from his touch, her gaze still locked on the blond vampire only a few steps away. Spike was nonchalantly leaning against the wall watching the exchange.
"What? What happened?" he asked incredulously.
"We're not sure," Tara said.
"She fainted at the club and when she woke up, she attacked Spike," Willow added.
"Yeah, we were hoping she had finally come to her senses," Xander teased.
"Har dee har har," Spike mumbled.
"Yes, and she injured Xander!" Anya appended, glaring accusingly at the girl on the couch.
"The girl's a Slayer," Spike said, "Pretty good, too. But we can be certain, she's not Buffy."
Giles pulled an armchair across the living room and sat down in front of the petite Slayer.
"You're a Slayer?" he asked the girl.
She turned her attention to the Watcher in front of her. "I am."
"What is your name?"
"Extraordinary," Giles whispered.
"Can you tell us what happened? How you came to be here?"
The girl shook her head.
"Well, my name is Giles," he told her, "It seems you now inhabit the body of my Slayer, Buffy Summers."
"You are a Watcher?" Maeve asked, surprised. She spoke slightly louder this time, loud enough for Xander to hear her.
"Wow, she sounds like Giles!" Xander exclaimed. "She must be from England."
"Someone give Harris a cookie," Spike grumbled.
"Yes, I'm Buffy's Watcher," Giles answered.
The girl visibly relaxed.
"B-but, then, why is HE here?" She looked worriedly at Spike.
Giles followed her glance, "He's, uh...he's a friend."
The girl nodded slowly. She was taught to accept what she was told, without question, but, still, she remained wary.
"Willow, unbind her." Giles ordered.
Willow closed her eyes and murmured something in Latin and the orange constraints dissipated into the air.
"She's a witch?" Maeve asked, her question tinged with something like awe.
"Yes," Giles answered. He stood. "I'm sure you have many questions, Maeve, as do I." He turned to the group, "Let's get her comfortable so we can find out exactly who she is and how she ended up...here."
There was bustle in the Summers' household as people rushed to the kitchen to get food and drink, and brought chairs in from the dining room. Maeve took that opportunity to inspect her red leather pants. Tara watched as the Slayer carefully leaned in to inspect the material more closely, pinching a piece between her finger and thumb. Maeve glanced up and noticed Tara's quiet observation. "I've never seen any cloth quite like this," she smiled sheepishly. "I-I have never worn trousers before." She shifted in her seat.
Tara smiled comfortingly. "Stay right there, Maeve. I'll be right back."
Tara left the living room, and in a moment, returned with the large mirror that hung in the hallway. She set it down on front of Maeve. "Maeve, meet Buffy Summers," she said.
Maeve touched the reflection uncertainly, then touched her own face. She touched the blond hair that rested on her shoulder and cocked her head. "Hello Buffy," she said, mesmerized by her reflection.
Maeve looked at Tara questioningly. "Was Buffy a...a harlot?"
Tara laughed out loud and shook her head. "No, of course not."
Willow came back into the living room with mug of tea and a plate of Twinkies. "I thought you might be hungry or something," she said uncertainly.
When Maeve didn't reach for the plate, Willow set it and the mug down on the end table next to her. The gang was in the process of taking their seats around the room. Giles returned with a journal and pencil, and sat back down in the armchair.
Willow leaned over him and whispered, "Should I call Dawn and tell her what's going on?"
"No, I think we'd better wait `til she returns from Janice's," he answered. Then he turned his attention to the girl waiting patiently on the couch.
"Okay," he said, "Let's get started. It is important that we find out exactly who you are, where you came from and why you're here."
"And while you're at it, Rupert," Spike added, "there's somethin' else you might like to find out...where the hell is Buffy?"
Continued in Part 7 - High Stakes