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An Interesting Day

The little bell above the Magic Box door jingled as Buffy entered, just as it did every time someone came in. Anya glanced up from the table where she was filling out invoices; a plastic smile plastered on her face, until she noticed it wasn't a paying customer. A frown then creased her face. "Oh, it's just you."

"Well, a nice hello to you too, Anya." Buffy glanced around the shop but didn't see Giles anywhere. For once she was on time for training. But where was her erstwhile Watcher? "Where's Giles?"

Anya turned back to her invoices, and nodded towards the back of the shop. "He's in his office on the phone." She dismissed Buffy with a wave. Buffy stuck her tongue out at Anya's bent head, and then proceeded to the office.

His door was opened a crack, but she hesitated to knock or walk in on his conversation. She gasped as she heard his words to whoever was on the other end of the phone. A blush crept up her neck and turned her ears a bright red. Whatever was Giles talking about, and to whom?

"I did rub it, as you suggested. But it didn't pop up or harden like you said it would!" His voice was breathy, and he sounded quite agitated. "Yes, I did try pulling harder. You don't understand, I've been at it for hours now, but nothing happens!"

Buffy began to giggle. She couldn't help herself. She heard Giles take a quick intake of breath, so she pushed open the door a bit. He was sitting down in his chair, his back to her. He was bent over and his attention seemed to be focused on his lap.

"Bloody Hell. I give up. And you have been no help whatsoever!" He slammed the phone down in frustration, only then noticing Buffy at his door as he turned around in his desk chair.

"Oh, hello Buffy." He noticed her flushed face and amused expression, and he frowned. "Is there something wrong?"

Finally her burst of giggles seemed to subside. "I was about to ask you the same thing, Giles. Sounded like you are having some…uh…problems?"

For the first time she noticed he held a black box in between his knees on his lap. He looked down at the box then too, before looking at her quizzically. He didn't understand what was so funny. "Yes, well, you see, I received this box in the mail today from an exporter in Brazil. It has a secret seal on top, and I've tried following all the instructions, but I just can't seem to get it open. I finally called the factory there but they were no help whatsoever. They said when you rub and pull on the seal, it should harden and pop off, but I've tried everything and it just won't open."

Buffy's eyes got huge in her face, and she clapped her hand to her mouth to smother the laughter bubbling in her again.

"Why are you laughing?" He truly was puzzled.

She shook her head. No way was she telling him what she thought his conversation had been about. "Nothing. Nothing whatsoever." Giles looked quite perturbed at her, but she just shrugged and turned out of the room. "Are we training or what?" He sat there for a moment as she left and went into the training room. He thought back on what she could have possibly overheard him say on the phone. That is when realization struck. "Oh Bugger." He muttered and turned beet read. He threw the box on his desk and jumped to his feet. Training sounded like just the medicine he needed for his now rattled nerves.

Soon the quiet of the shop was punctuated by the sound of steel hitting steel. Anya sat back in her chair and closed her eyes, listening to the impact of the swords against each other. She loved the sound, and the image it brought forth. Don't get her wrong, she loved Xander with everything in her, but there was something about Giles with a broad sword that riled her up.

Buffy and Giles were soon glistening in sweat from the exertion of the training. Giles thought there was nothing more beautiful than Buffy in action. She countered and thrust and matched his every move. She jumped and stepped and twisted as if in a dance, and the rhythm of their sparring invigorated him as well as her. Her muscles rippled in her arms as she brought her sword in front of her horizontally to stop the forward motion of Giles's sword. He smiled at her concentration and focus. He was mesmerized by her, as he always was. She had never been in better form. She was beholden for all to see.

Giles was so lost in his thoughts that he failed to notice the flicker of a smile on her face. She kicked out, swiping his feet out from underneath him. He went down right on his butt, and she flicked his sword out of his hand as his body fell, catching it in her hand. A yell of triumph shouted out from her lips, her eyes upward as if in supplication to the heavens. She missed the evil smile on her Watcher's face as he reached out and pulled her down on top of him. She yelled out in surprise, caught off guard. She landed right on his chest. He was smiling as she looked down on his face, her eyes wide in surprise, her mouth in the small shape of an O. Their eyes held, and for a moment, the Earth stopped.

It was at that exact moment that Anya rushed in. "You have to help me! You just have to. It's what you do. Get up! Hurry, here he comes." Closely following on her heels was a man. At least, he sort of looked like a man. Buffy immediately leapt up, as did Giles.

The thing that followed Anya into the training room was dressed in an oversized dark brown suit, a Fedora on his head. His nose was elongated, and it appeared as if he had whiskers. Anya, terrified by the man's presence, ran behind Giles, propelling the Watcher forward as if to protect her.

The man looked at Giles, licked his lips, and removed the hat off of his head. Two long horse-like ears popped up from the sides of his head. The man thing bowed, and looked at Giles as he said, "Adfectio postmeridianus."

Buffy stepped up to stand beside Giles. "What did he say?"

"I think he said 'Good afternoon' in some form of Latin. It's not quite right, but close." He smiled at the man and bowed. Then, without taking his eyes off of the man, he questioned Anya. "Anya, who or what is this?"

The man thing set the Fedora down on the training matt, and then removed his suit jacket. Only then did Buffy and Giles notice that his hands were only partly human, and part hooves. When his jacket was removed, they could clearly see a tail flickering from behind the man's back.

"Anya?" Giles hissed at her silence.

"I'm afraid it's Jack."

"Jack?" Buffy giggled again, and Giles elbowed her in the side. "Jack" stood before them, licking his lips and whiskers, but not moving towards them. He didn't look threatening, at least not at the moment.

"Yes, Jack. I took vengeance on him about ten years ago, when I was still a demon."

"What kind of vengeance was that?" Buffy was still amused, but cautious. After all, Anya did seem afraid, and "Jack" could attack at any moment. She handed Giles his sword. Better for them both to be armed, just in case.

"Well, his wife found him with his secretary. She said he was always being a smart ass anyway, so I turned him into one. An ass, anyway. He was supposed to be a donkey that spoke in Latin, but I'm afraid I got the language part a bit wrong, and the donkey part. He sort of became a mixed breed. His wife was happy with the results, however, and of course his secretary went screaming into the night. So, it was deemed a successful vengeance spell. He must be back to hurt me. You have to protect me."

The "Jack" thing began to chew its cud. It twisted its head this way and that way as Anya spoke. His tail and ears continued to twitch and swish. As Anya finished her answer and Buffy and Giles continued to look on in silent wonder, "Jack" opened his mouth to emit more strange language. "Esurio." He again licked his whiskers and looked at the trio expectantly.

"What'd the smart ass say?" Buffy asked. Giles gave her a quick sideways look of consternation. "I think he's hungry."

"Well, tell him we are a magic shop, not a feed store!" Anya stamped her foot down, anger taking over the fear she possessed earlier.

"What is it that you want from us?" Giles asked the thing in Latin. The donkey just looked at him expectantly.

"He doesn't understand you, Giles. He can only speak Latin, but not understand it." Anya smiled. She was actually quite proud of herself. She was the best vengeance demon in her day. D'hoffryn had been so proud.

"Areo." Jack neighed again.

"What do you want me to do, Giles? Slay it, or feed it?" Buffy was perplexed, but was fairly sure she wouldn't need her sword after all.

"Bugger all, there you are!" Spike sauntered into the training room, and attached an orange leash to the collar of Jack's shirt.

"Spike? What the?" Buffy was stonewalled by this new twist.

Spike ignored her for the moment, intent on his prey. "I told you not to wander out of the crypt. You could get yourself killed!" He picked up the thing's hat and pushed it down on his head, and threw the suit coat over Jack's shoulders in an attempt to cover his tail.

Anya stepped out from behind the Watcher and Slayer, and angrily stuck her finger into Spike's chest. "What are you doing with him? What's going on?"

Spike shrugged. "I'm sorry that he disturbed you, pet."

"Spike, you better start explaining. Now!" Buffy was getting upset by the second. Spike quirked his eyebrow at her and smiled, but sobered immediately as he saw the Ripper like glare emanating from Giles. "It's like this. I won him in a poker game last night. They said he was really smart, but he's mostly just an ass. So I'm giving him back tonight. He got loose from his leash while I was sleeping." Spike shrugged. "Sorry." He turned and tugged on the leash. "Come on, ass. Let's find your real owner."

"Spike?" Giles called out to the bleached vampire.


"Feed and water him. He was probably out hunting. He said he was hungry and thirsty."

"He said that, did he? I can't understand a bloody word he speaks. All right then, we'll stop at Willy's on the way." Spike again tugged on Jack's leash, and they left the shop under the evening sky.

"Well, that's a relief." Anya started out of the training room, but said over her shoulder, "And you two were no help whatsoever."

Buffy turned and looked up at Giles. He smiled as their eyes met. "Well, Watcher mine, this has been quite an interesting day."


The End
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