Buddy, the Vampire Slayer

Andrew Slipped in a Trick

Warren ordered steak and lobster, with an appetizer of Spanish tapas. Andrew looked over

Le Bistro's hoity-toity menu, mainly paying attention to the prices. Springing for dinner was Warren's insistence, payment for using Garnerbot. Garnerbot sat perusing his own menu, and Andrew whispered to Warren, "Garner's not going to eat, is he?"

"I can hear you," Garner said, annoyed. "And I am eating."

Andrew looked to Warren for help.

"What? He can eat, Andrew. And, uh, don't keep the gentleman waiting."

The waiter's face betrayed no impatience, not at these prices. Andrew said, "I'll take a Nicoise salad. And more water. Are these breadsticks free?"

Garnerbot broke in. "I'll take the garden quiche and foie gras diskettes with a fig and olive tapenade. For the entrée I'll have filet mignon and a split of burgundy."

"Very good, sir," the waiter encouraged.

Andrew rolled his eyes. Quite an unexpected gourmand, this copy of an actor from Oklahoma. He could almost feel the wad of money in his pocket shrinking.

"And for dessert, I'll have the Baked Alaska," Garnerbot finished.

"Oh, that sounds good," Warren enthused. "Put me down for one of those, too."

"Instead of the Cherries Jubilee, sir?"

"Nah, in addition to it."

Andrew saw wings on his money. He sighed, "Can we talk about this now?"

"Sure," Warren agreed, sipping Madeira.

"That spell? It hasn't worked yet. The Giles guy hasn't fallen for Rockford-Garner here."

"Yeah, I meant to ask, is this guy gay or what?"

"What the hell are you two gumdrops talking about?" Garnerbot demanded.

"Butt out, Jimbo," Warren advised, "we're not talking about you."

"He isn't gay, he's been turned into a woman. By the guy I'm working for."

Warren leaned toward him, "You didn't say you were working for anyone. No one's supposed to know about my 'bots!"

"He doesn't. I sold Garner as a real dude. The guy's from England, he doesn't know TV."

"Do you two fruits know how many movies I've starred in? I've been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, and-"

Warren interrupted. "We all know about your uncanny ability to move successfully between TV and movies, Jim. But we're not fruits and this isn't your business. Just sit there, enjoy your meal, and shut up."

Jim threw his chair back. An attendant hurried to assist him. "I'm leaving," he snapped, tossing his napkin on the table. "I'm going back to the basement. See you later."

Andrew said, "What about your expensive dinner?"

"Have them wrap it up for me," Garnerbot said, "it'll make a … nice snack."

As he walked away Andrew and Warren exchanged knowing glances. Warren grinned. "Rockford Files."

"The Funny Box episode."

"With Chuck McCann," Warren added. He asked the attendant, "You watch The Rockford Files?"

"Mmm? No, sir," he replied, retreating without concluding, I have a life.

The appetizers came, and Andrew noshed Garnerbot's quiche. Warren asked, "Why did you want to use the 'bot for a love spell, anyway?"

Andrew picked up his napkin from the table and wiped his mouth, then threw the napkin back among the many glasses and forks that bewildered him in their number. "Because, man, this dude's a real nutcake. He's talking about domination, conquering, control. Taking over, Hitler stuff like that."

"Don't get Hitler into this. If there's no genocide, there's no comparison."

"This guy wants genocide too. I can see it in his eyes."

"Okay." Warren took champagne from its bucket and filled his water glass. "You don't want him to succeed."

"Right, I don't. I figured if Giles fell in love with a 'bot, when the deal was sealed with them, it might make the flake think he's won."

Warren swallowed a mouthful of champagne and stifled a belch. "What'll happen if Giles sleeps with a 'bot?"

Andrew folded his hands. "I'll look that up in the ancient texts, see what the Druids thought about android fornication."

"Okay, undiscovered country." They leaned back as the entrees were served. "Eat up," Warren said, "there are Garners in the world going to bed hungry."

Between bites of filet mignon Andrew asked, "What's with the 'bot being able to eat? What happens to all the food?"

Warren steepled his fingers smugly. "It all channels down his right leg. Open the bottom of his foot and Voila!"

"That would be a great place for all this expensive dinner to wind up."

"So it's good you only ordered a nicotine salad."

"Nicoise salad, you dork."

Warren leaned over confidentially. "How can you afford this, really?"

"Oh. The weirdo gave me some money."

"Give me some."

"I won't have any left over."

"Let me see."

"See what?" Andrew asked suspiciously.

Warren got up, waving away the attendant. He rounded the table to Andrew and demanded, "Turn out your pockets."

"You're making a scene."

Warren pulled Andrew from his chair, grabbing for his pocket. Andrew wrestled, but resistance was futile. Within seconds Warren had him pinned facedown on the table, knocking over a couple of glasses.

"Sir," the waiter hissed, "gentlemen! Is there a problem?"

"No," Warren assured him, flensing Andrew's pocket of cash. "No prob, Garcon. He's my bitch-I mean, my friend. He just forgot he's paying for dinner. Thinks we should wash dishes instead."

"In that case sir, proceed."

The waiter withdrew.

Joyce Summers was a concerned mother. She was concerned about her two daughters, both of them, as a mother tends to be. She worried a lot more than usual lately about her tall, bearded daughter with Johnny Depp's face.. She worried, and was nosey. She opened her daughter's bedroom door abruptly without knocking, and surprised Buddy as he undressed Spike.

"Buffy," Joyce gasped, the door banging against the floor spring that jutted from the molding. Spike stood before Buddy, who sat on the bed and had been taking Spike's jeans down.

"Mother!" Buddy hauled the jeans up so fast she lifted Spike right off her feet.

"Ooh, Luv," Spike complained. "You're tearing me nethers."

Joyce backed against the door, feeling lightjeaded. Buddy hastily gathered up Spike's shirt and coat and pressed them on her body as if they should stick there.

"Now Joyce, we're all adults here," Spike said.

"I-I have a v-very impressionable daughter living in-in this house," Joyce stammered, "and-"

"And she's right there," Spike finished, pointing. "Hallo, Little Bit."

"Hi, slutwad," Dawn answered crisply.

Spike cocked her head in shock.

Buddy wrapped her clothes tightly over her breasts. He half-pushed, half-carried Spike to the window. "It wasn't me, Mom," Buddy spilled out desperately. "She sneaked in. She had a rash. She wouldn't take no for an answer." He pushed Spike, struggling and protesting, out the window headfirst. They heard a high-pitched scream followed by a thud and thrashing in the shrubbery below.

"Dawn, go back to bed," Joyce commanded.

"Aw Mom," Dawn griped.

"Go!"

"Hey now," Spike called from outside. "Don't bother about me. Certainly don't look out to see if I'm paralyzed, or need anything. I'll survive. Breathe easy."

Buddy looked out and hissed something at her.

"I'm sorry, Spike," Joyce called out. "Buffy! Why would you do something like that? She's just-just …"

"Just a woman? I know, it's confusing, isn't it? Look Mom, I'm sorry I brought her in here-"

"Him, Buffy, don't forget, Spike's a man, and you're a woman." She closed the door and leaned against the wall. "You can't lose sight of the facts."

"I can't, Mom." Buddy sat on the bed. "I don't want to act like a man, but the facts are I am one. The facts stare me straight in the face every minute. I can't, um, I can't really relate to people right now, that's another fact."

"Except for him."

"Spike's in the same boat I'm in, Mom."

Joyce shuffled over and slumped onto the bed next to him. "I don't know what we're going to do. You're supposed to start college in a month."

"This'll all be over by then."

"Will it," Joyce said doubtfully. "How?"

Buddy shrugged. "Giles. Mom. he's working on it."

"Maybe you two should be working on it, too."

"Do you know where we were, me and Spike, up until ten minutes ago? We were fighting six vampires who crawled from graves to kill, and they would have killed us if we didn't … kick their asses with everything we had."

"Language, Buffy."

"Sorry Mom. My point is," he got up and paced the floor, "is that my life is a mess, a weird, unique, total swirl of craziness. I think Spike right now, is an anchor."

Joyce looked at her son in anguish. "I know it is, sweetheart. We should never have come here."

Buddy leaned over and kissed her forehead. "Wouldn't have mattered. A slayer's a slayer no matter where he happens to be."

Joyce tried to formulate her thoughts, and Buddy gave her time, sitting next to her again.

"I want to understand. You need Spike right now, okay, I get that. Maybe you can … can go …"

"To her place?"

Joyce nodded glumly.

"Thanks, Mom. We will. It's, um, a little cold, but, okay.

"And Mom?"

"Mm-hmm?"

Giles suggested we go by our fake names during this curse period, make it easier if we're stopped by the Gestapo. Can you start calling me Buddy? Just until this thing reverses."

Joyce hung her head. "You hear of this thing happening, but you never think it'll be your own child."

Xander, now Kendra, hummed to herself as she shaved her legs, a tune that came to her without conscious thought, until she began to sing softly.

Girls, they want to have fu-un, oh girls, they want to have fun.

She finished shaving and ran her hands along her smooth, glabrous gams. I'm beautiful, she thought, and this is my prime, my time to shine.

Her closet yielded only those few things cobbled together from her mother's overstuffed closet, along with some handouts from Willow. The thought of her friend filled Kendra with guilt, so he shook off the thought of her.

Kendra looked at her checkbook, somewhat anemic since she stopped working at construction. She decided that a couple hundred could go for some new outfits. Gotta find my debit card, she remembered. No writing checks under this name.

She picked up the phone and started calling Willow, to see if she wanted to shop along. Then, the Willowy image in his mind melted into the manly visage that was Alex Fimple. She disconnected and called Tara instead.

Giles, now Hermione Down, surveyed her toiletries, finding no perfume. She half-shrugged, figuring Jim should find her natural scent attractive. Of course, her wardrobe could stand a bit of a tweak, what with all these tweeds and sweaters, slacks and leggings. All her clothes were so dowdy, she resolved to drive that very morning to the mall. She would purchase some softer, more feminine fashions. Maybe some underclothes less supportive and more evocative. The idea made her blush.

She got her keys and drove for The Magic Box. As she parked a strange feeling hit her, a thought that persisted like an alarm.

"Oh my God," he said, "I'm losing myself."

Giles unlocked the front door and hurried to the register, snatching up a pen and some paper. Writing feverishly, he wrote spell mks u blv ur a wmn- rmbmbr u r rupert giles - counter spell

The bell jangled, and Garnerbot breezed in. ""Good morning, Hermione."

Hermione Down looked up and smiled coquettishly. "Oh, good morning, Jim," she said, adjusting her flowing hair with her fingers.

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