Chapter Three

 

Buffy arrived in school the next day on pair of crutches, her ankle taped up efficiently. Giles isn’t going to be pleased when he sees this she sighed wearily. At least Xander, Cordy, Willow and Oz could hopefully manage the slaying for a while until she built up her strength in her ankle again; Giles would probably have a hand in it, too.

Huh, Xander and Cordelia…

The simple thought of the two together had never really bothered her before. In fact, she’d always found their whole relationship sort of funny, but for some unknown reason it bothered the hell out of her now. Last night, while lying in her room alone, wishing Xander had stayed to keep her company a little while longer, she’d even been a little jealous of Cordy.

Jealous? Of Cordelia?

What was wrong with her? Maybe I should consider adding head trauma to my list of injuries! Xander was her friend, and so was Cordelia; at least, she believed that’s what Cordelia was. Buffy had never harbored any feelings for Xander before. It hadn’t been Xander she’d been crying about night after night; his face wasn’t the one that haunted her dreams; and he most certainly wasn’t the guy that was on her mind all of the time. That was Angel. It always had been, huh, probably always would be, right?

She quickly hopped off of her train of thought when she noticed the doors of the library looming in front of her. Buffy placed a steady hand on the door and pushed it gently inward. The sights and smells of old, musty books and the silence that accompanies most libraries instantly greeted her. “Giles?” Buffy called out, her voice reverberating off of the surrounding mountains of novels. Mere silence answered. “Giles?” More silence.

She remained completely motionless, and her body went rigid so that she could hear any sounds made by the old British watcher, i.e., the shuffle of feet on the floor or the mumbling of a voice. Buffy remained standing that way until the jarring sound of the homeroom bell shook her from her trance.

Turning to the doors, she was about to leave when she heard the familiar scraping of worn leather shoes on the ground—the trademark sound of her favorite librarian. Giles emerged from his office into the main reading area, brushing back his gray hair from his face and smoothing down his tweed jacket with the same hand.

Giles was only vaguely aware of Buffy’s presence within the room, his nose buried in a book (nothing new). He was so immersed in his fascinating tome he hadn’t even heard her call his name.

“Earth to Giles!”

“Yes, what, huh?” asked a confused Rupert Giles in his quaint British accent. He managed to tear his eyes away from the current page he was reading long enough to look around for the source of the beckoning voice.

Standing right in front of him, with a cross look on her face, was the vampire slayer on crutches. He had a stunned countenance on as he queried, “My word, what happened to you?”

Buffy gave him a brief synopsis of the previous night’s occurrences, then said, “So, it looks like the slayerettes are going to have their hands full with vamps cause there’s no way I can fight in this shape.”

“Why, Buffy, I do believe that’s one of the more intelligent things I’ve heard you say. Did you think of that on you’re own? What caused this, uh, what I mean to say is, why did you make such a sensible decision?”

“Are you implying that I never make a sensible decision?” Giles suddenly became a little embarrassed—she loved putting him on the spot like that.

“Why, uh, no, of course not. It’s just that, some of your past choices were, um, well…less than sagacious.”

“Sagacious, uh huh. Such as…” she urged. Whenever he was backed into a corner like he was at that moment, he always managed to amuse her by saying something else that would only give her more of a reason to attack him and would only result in more embarrassment.

“Well, um, there was that time you went hunting for vampires in the cemetery while you had that virus, the that had affected nearly everyone in the whole school. Remember that? You got there, and Angelus then challenged you, knowing very well that you were not fighting your best. All of us knew it, and we even warned you, yet you went ahead and did it anyway. Does that time ring a bell?”

“Well I guess—” she started, but was abruptly cut off. The librarian was on roll now, and she could see the difference in this aggressive behavior as opposed to the fatherly manner of a few minutes ago.

“And then you ended up in the hospital, but that hardly mattered. You went right ahead and fought that invisible monster, uh, der Kinderstod, with an incredibly high fever and weakened immune system—”

It was her turn to interject, “Hey, wait a minute! I beat that thing with the weird eye thingies.”

“Oh, excellent description, Buffy.”

“Well, I saved those kids and who knows how may others. Even with the fever and the weakened immune system!”

“I’m not disagreeing with you about that. All I’m saying is that we could have ‘attacked’ that monster from another angle, a safer one.”

Buffy sighed. Giles was going to start lecturing soon, so she decided it was time to leave. “Giles, I’d love to stay and hear you ramble on and on about how I should be more cautious, but I’ve got to get to class. I have a delightful Trig test to take. If I’m late, I’ll never get one of those—how’d Snyder put it—‘glowing recommendations.’ Lecture me later. I’m gonna hit the trail, so to speak.” She remembered Xander saying the exact same line to her, and she touched her left side unconsciously in remembrance, just as she had last night.

Giles sighed and bid the slayer good day in his proper English manner.

Buffy left the library and headed to the first period. Ugh, Trig class. They had been told they were to be treated to a wonderful test that day—a delightful romp through the magical world of trigonometry—the exact same one for which Buffy hadn’t studied.

She reached the room right before the bell rang again, slipping in and quickly hopping into her seat in one fluid movement.

As the class waited tensely for the test to be passed out, Buffy surveyed the room with her keen eyes. There’s Will, Cordy, Scott, but where’s that Xander? She glanced at the empty seat that Alexander Harris normally occupied.

Buffy was suddenly thrown back into the previous night’s events, particularly the moment in which Xander had first caught her as she tried to walk to him. He’d been at least eight whole feet from her when she’d tripped, but somehow he’d managed to close that gap within a few microseconds and lift her to safety with his sturdy arms. Buffy recalled the warm, secure feeling she’d experienced as he encompassed her thin person and held her close as if attempting to shield her from harm’s way. It was more like an embrace than anything else, with his hands hooked together behind her back, exhibiting no signs of letting her go.

From out of nowhere, a flurry of white test papers landed with a whispered rustle on her desk and forced her from continuing along that line of thought known as Xander Harris.

The slayer picked up her pencil and began to chew nervously on the eraser, mostly because of the way she was now thinking of her Xander, not because of the impossible test she already knew she would fail. That had been practically the eighth time since Xander had left her house the prior evening that her thoughts had reverted back to that exact moment in yesterday’s drama, and the blonde was starting to ponder what was so special about it that her mind wouldn’t let her forget it. It was beginning to worry her.

Buffy sighed, momentarily wondering why Xander wasn’t in school anyway. He had promised he would be there to arrange another date for that rain check he’d taken. She stopped nibbling on her pencil so she could start the test before her.

1.) What is the length of side A if angle O is 45° and the hypotenuse is 58 cm? SHOW YOUR WORK!

Yawn. This was going to be a very long day.