Monosyllabic Eccentricity

Title: You're In Love With Who?!
Author: Britt
Rating: G
Spoilers: Set after ‘Helpless’, but the gang is still in high school and Amy’s not a rat.
Summary: Buffy battles the Demon of Mortification when a love spell goes horribly wrong.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Joss and UPN.


Buffy sat on the park bench with growing impatience. She had arranged to meet Angel there nearly twenty minutes ago, and he still hadn’t shown. Buffy figured he had something better to do, and frankly, what with patrolling and everything, so did she. Buffy was about to get up to leave when a familiar voice startled her.

“Hey.”

Buffy nearly jumped out of her skin. Whirling around, she caught herself just before she delivered a neat punch that would have sent her ‘attacker’ flying.

“Oz!” cried Buffy, her heart pounding. “Don’t do that! You scared me!”

Oz looked at her, concerned. “Sorry,” he said sincerely. “What are you doing here? I thought you had a date with Angel.”

“Yeah, I did,” Buffy replied with a touch of annoyance that wasn’t lost on Oz. “I guess he ran into trouble or something. Or maybe he just forgot.”

“He wouldn’t forget,” said Oz. “How could anyone forget a date with someone as wonderful as you?”

Buffy frowned. Something was definitely wrong here. She shrugged it off; Oz was a nice guy. He was just trying to make her feel better. Buffy was still trying to convince herself of this when Oz sat down next to her.

Oz looked deep into Buffy’s eyes and brought a shiver down her spine exactly like the one she got when Angel looked at her that way.

No! No, I love Angel! I would never do this to him. Or Willow! Think about Willow. Think about how hurt she’ll be if…

Buffy’s thoughts were interrupted when suddenly, in a moment of impulse, she grabbed Oz and kissed him. Hard, on the lips.

Oz started at first, as if he wanted to pull away, but soon they were both kissing passionately. Just as Buffy was about to break off, she felt a sharp, searing pain in her back.

Buffy cried out, and sat up.

She looked around, confused. Buffy realised she was in her own bed. Relieved, she lay back down. It was all a dream, she thought happily. I didn’t kiss Oz; it was all in my head. Oh no! Buffy sat up, horrified by the realisation. I had a dream about kissing my best friend’s boyfriend! My subconscious mind is in love with Oz! No!

Just as the full shock of last night’s dream was dawning on her, Buffy’s alarm clock went off. She clicked it off and got up to get ready for school.

School. Where she would see Oz. And Willow, which was even worse. How could she talk to Willow while secretly lusting for Oz? I’m going to faint.

* * *

Giles was worried about Buffy. She had done poorly on her training all morning, and was distracted while researching. He often found the need to make allowances for Buffy, but this was beyond him. He would have to ask Buffy herself what was wrong.

“Buffy?” Giles frowned as the normally observant Slayer remained oblivious to his call.

“Buffy!” She looked up, roused from her thoughts by her Watcher’s impatient tone.

“Yeah, Giles?” Buffy tried to sound casual. “What’s up?”

“I just wanted to know if you’ve found anything useful about Acathla.”

Buffy was confused. “Who? Oh, right. The demon I’m researching. No, nothing yet.”

Giles tried to be patient. “I only wondered because you’ve been studying the page on Moluch for over half an hour.”

“Oops,” said Buffy sheepishly. “Sorry. My mind was elsewhere. I’ll have the info on Alfalfa ASAP, promise.”

“Buffy,” began Giles. “is something bothering you? You seem distracted.”

Buffy reddened. “No, nothing. Sorry. I’m just tired.”

Giles was about to say something else when Willow and Oz entered the library.

“Hey, Buffy!” greeted Willow cheerfully. “What’s going on? Are we having a research party?”

“No! I mean yes. I mean, not really,” stammered Buffy, flustered. “I mean, I’m going now, because I have to go, but you guys can stay. Stay here, okay. You can help Giles with Al Franklin.” Buffy fumbled for her books and dashed out of the room quicker than you can say ‘Slayerfest’.

“What’s wrong with Buffy?” asked Willow, concerned. “Did I say something wrong?”

Giles shook his head, a bemused look on his face. “I don’t think so, Willow. Buffy’s been acting a bit peculiar all morning.”

“Something happen with Angel?” asked Oz.

“No, not that I’m aware of,” replied Giles. “Good thinking though, Oz. That would explain Buffy’s odd behaviour.”

“I could ask her for you,” offered Willow. “I mean, if it’s vital to the Slayer-Watcher relations.”

“Thank you, Willow, but there’s no need,” said Giles. “We don’t need to pry into her personal life just yet. If this keeps up, however, I may need to take you up on that offer.”

“I just hope Buffy’s okay,” said Willow, thinking about how awful her friend must be feeling.

* * *

Buffy felt awful.

She stood in the washroom, bracing herself on the sink and looking into the eyes of her reflection.

It’s okay, Buffy, she tried to reassure herself. So you had a dream about Oz. So what? Would you be this hypo if you had dreamt about Xander? Of course not! You would be saying that you’d been working too hard, all slay all the time, and my god! What if this was a prophecy dream?!

A fresh wave of trembles washed over Buffy and she concentrated on taking deep breaths and not passing out.

“Buffy?”

Buffy spun around to face Willow.

“Are you okay, Buffy?” asked Willow, concern etched on her face. “You look a bit freaked.”

“I’m fine, Will,” Buffy tried to convince herself as well as her friend. “I just shouldn’t have had that coffee with breakfast. It made me a little jumpy.”

“Oh.” Willow looked into Buffy’s eyes, and Buffy could tell she didn’t buy her lame excuse. “Well, if you want to talk to me…”

Buffy forced a tight smile. “I know. Thanks.”

* * *

Buffy was relaxing a little. She was at the Bronze with her friends, listening to a band that wasn’t up to the Bronze’s usual standard of suckage (Dingoes excluded), and she hadn’t thought seriously about her dream in nearly two hours.

Oz and Willow were sitting opposite Buffy at their small table in a private corner of the club. Xander sat next to Buffy, and everyone was half-listening to him tell a humorous joke about a golfer with a snake-bite. Okay, maybe a quarter listening.

Willow was sipping her cappacino when she got a little bit of froth on her nose. Oz kissed the tip of her nose to get it off. Willow grinned, and Xander made a face.

Oz is so incredibly gorgeous, thought Buffy dreamily. She blinked and shook her head slightly to clear it. These can’t be my thoughts. Can they?

Xander noticed Buffy’s movement. “You okay, Buff?” he asked. “You look a little… what’s the word I’m looking for?”

“Preoccupied?” suggested Willow.

Xander nodded. “Thank you, Brainy Smurf. So, what’s on your mind, Buff?”

Buffy reddened. “Uh, nothing, really.” She tried to smile casually, but it must not have worked, because her friends still gave her concerned looks.

“Are you getting sick?” asked Willow. “’Cause if you are, we could look after patrolling for you, like we did last time you got the flu.”

Buffy shook her head. “No, I’m fine, really. Just tired. Honestly.”

Willow didn’t look convinced. “Look, I’m going to go anyway. Maybe you should, too. You could go home and have a quick nap before patrolling.”

Buffy was tempted by the thought. “Yeah, that sounds good.”

Willow beamed. “Good. Oz, can you drive Buffy home?”

“Sure,” replied Oz. “It’s on the way to Devon’s anyway. I’ve got to head over there and pick up…”

“No!”

Everyone turned to look at Buffy. She turned bright red.

“I mean, uh, that is I just remembered that Giles wanted me to stop by his place to pick up some books. Yes, I have to pick up some books. From Giles. For research.”

Willow was confused. “Oh. Okay, then. Oz can drop you off there.”

“No. No, no. I mean, no. I need the exercise. For training. For slaying, which is what I do.”

“Buffy…” began Willow, but Buffy cut her off.

“No, really. No. I think a bit of fresh air would be good for me.”

Buffy dashed out of the Bronze before anyone could object.

* * *

That was close, thought Buffy as she headed home. I was almost stuck in the van with Oz. Alone. I probably would have said or done something to give it away… But give what away, exactly? Do I really like Oz? Buffy thought her head was going to explode by the time she reached her front porch. Instead, she went inside and flopped down onto the sofa and watched “Judge Judy” to get her mind off her problems.

It worked, too. Until the commercials came on.

“Fly to Australia,” the voice-over announced, “for only $1999! This month, take advantage of our deal which…”

Australia, thought Buffy idly. Down Under. Great Southern Land. Oz. Oz. Dammit!!

Buffy decided it was time for bed. She couldn’t deal with this any more. At least while she was asleep… Oh, crap. What if I have another dream about him?

Buffy moaned and figured that sleep was out. She sighed. Patrolling it is, then. Buffy went to the bathroom to comb her hair back. As she ran the brush through her freshly dyed locks, Buffy frowned. Her hair was uneven. She examined the left side of her hair closely. There was definitely a lock that was a few inches shorter than the others.

Buffy shrugged. I guess my hairdresser isn’t as careful as I thought. Oh well. I have bigger things to worry about right now.

* * *

Willow was really worried about Buffy. The Slayer hadn’t been in most of her classes, and it seemed to Willow like Buffy was actually avoiding her. This upset Willow. She thought that she was Buffy’s best friend, and now Buffy was using every excuse in the book to not be around the hacker.

She was trying to find an excuse for Buffy’s actions, but it was getting increasingly difficult. Willow respected people’s privacy, but Buffy usually told her everything. This cold-shoulder attitude was hurting Willow’s feelings, and she wondered if she should confront Buffy about it.

No, thought Willow. If I’m wrong, and it’s not me that’s bothering Buffy, she might get offended. I think I’ll talk to Giles about if first and see if he’s noticed anything else about Buffy’s behaviour.

Willow gathered her books and walked out of Study Hall, heading for the library. On the way, she saw Xander.

“Hey, Xander!” called Willow.

Her friend turned around. “Hi, Will. You going to the library, too?”

Willow nodded. “I want to talk to Giles about how Buffy’s been acting.”

“Yeah, me too,” Xander looked worried. “Something’s definitely up with her.”

The two walked to the library together.

When Willow and Xander reached the library, they were surprised to find Buffy there, talking to Giles quietly. The librarian and Slayer looked up sharply when they heard the others enter.

“I was just going,” said Buffy quickly as she jumped off her chair.

Giles put a hand on her shoulder to stop Buffy from bolting out of the room. “Maybe you should tell them, Buffy.”

Buffy looked aghast. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Watcher-man.”

Willow cleared her throat. “Uh, guys? Is there something you want to tell us, or should we go?”

Buffy shook her head. “Really, it’s fine. I was leaving, anyway.” She gave Giles a pointed glare, but he didn’t relent.

“Buffy,” he said quietly, so Willow and Xander couldn’t hear. “I strongly suggest you reconsider. I’m sure your friends would understand.”

Buffy shook her head again. “No, Giles. I don’t think you understand.”

Buffy continued to talk to Giles in a whisper while Willow and Xander watched uncomfortably.

“Do you think we should leave?” Xander whispered to Willow.

She furrowed her brow. “I don’t know,” she whispered back. “I mean, it sounds like Buffy has something to tell us. Maybe it’ll explain her weird behaviour.”

“So we stay.”

“We stay.”

Just then, Buffy looked up at her friends, a look of defeat on her face. “Fine,” she hissed to Giles. “But don’t expect me to be pleased with you when I no longer have any friends.”

Giles didn’t reply, but he gave Buffy a gentle shove towards Willow.

“Do you have something you want to say to me?” asked Willow.

Buffy looked around, as though wishing for an interruption. “Yeah, I do,” she said finally. “Um, Willow…” She trailed off.

“Buffy?” Willow was worried. Whatever Buffy was about to tell her, it must be important. Willow didn’t know if she had ever seen her friend looking so agitated. “What is it?”

Buffy took a step towards Willow. “Look, Will. I, uh… Oh, look, I may as well just say it, right? I mean, get it over and done with. Like a band-aid.”

Willow nodded, but she was very confused. ‘Get it over with’? What had Buffy done?

“Okay. Here goes,” said Buffy, mostly to herself. “Willow, I had a dream the other night.”

“Oh,” Willow was relieved, in a way. “A prophecy dream?”

“Not exactly.”

Buffy told Willow and Xander about her dream, her daydreams, everything. She told them about how she had made a slip of the tongue that let Giles know how she felt, and how he had told her that this sort of sudden infatuation was usually caused by witchcraft. She recalled how she had then remembered about her hair being cut, and how Giles said that using hair clippings to curse someone was classic.

“So now we think that someone did this to distract me while something big goes down,” finished Buffy. She looked at Willow who hadn’t said anything the whole time Buffy had been talking. “Willow? Are you okay? I’d understand if you were mad at me…”

She was cut off when Willow stepped forward and gave Buffy a big hug. “Why didn’t you tell me before, Buffy?” asked Willow when they had broken from their embrace. “I would have been cool with it. I mean, not so much if I didn’t know it was a curse, but yeah. You should have said something.”

Buffy thought she was going to cry. “I know, Will. I know that now. I just didn’t want to hurt you. And I didn’t want to wreck things between you and Oz. I hope I haven’t done that anyway.”

Willow frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I mean, you can’t tell him about this, because, y’know, weirdness. But now you have a secret you can’t tell him. I know how much you hate that.”

Willow was about to reply when Giles spoke up. “I think we have to tell him, anyway, Buffy,” he said.

Buffy paled. “No. No, no, no. That way leads to major embarrassment, and awkwardness. So, no!”

But Giles was firm. “I know this will be difficult for you, Buffy. And Willow. Oz, too, obviously. But to fully be sure when the spell has worn off, or when we’ve found the proper antidote, we’ll need to run you through some tests, which we’ll need Oz for.”

“Why?” asked Willow, who looked slightly less that comfortable with this idea. “I mean, can’t she just look at a photo, or something?”

Giles shook his head. “I’m afraid not. If Buffy can look into Oz’s eyes and honestly say that she feels nothing for him, we will know the curse is gone.”

Buffy looked ill. “Oh, god. I don’t think I can do this.”

“It is really weird,” agreed Willow.

“That’s the understatement of the year,” said Xander.

“I guess I can do this,” reasoned Buffy, trying to muster up some courage. “I mean, it’s not that bad. I fight demons all the time. This is just the Demon of Mortification. Plus, Oz is cool, right? He’ll be fine with this. He was fine with the whole rat thing.”

“What rat thing?” asked a confused Willow. Xander looked equally puzzled.

“He didn’t tell you?” Buffy looked surprised. “Oh. More awkwardness. Goody.” She paused. “Well, uh, when I was turned into a rat, you know, when Amy cast that spell on Xander?” The pair nodded. “Well, I was turned back into me in the storeroom. When Oz found me, I was… well… suffering a slight case of nudity.”

“Oh.” Willow took this in. “Um… Oh.”

Buffy cringed. “I’m sorry, Will. I thought he had told you.”

“No,” Willow said quietly. “But, it’s not like it matters. So, Oz has seen you naked. Okay.” She looked at Buffy and smiled. “It’s fine. I just wish you had told me.”

“Like I said, sorry.” Buffy looked at Giles. “I guess we’d better find Oz. Get this whole thing over with.”

“Yes, good idea,” agreed Giles. “The sooner we tell him, the sooner we can start to find a cure.”

“And we can try to find who did this,” added Xander.

The group left the library in search of Oz.

* * *

Oz was plucking at his guitar strings, trying to come up with the perfect ending chord for the Dingo’s latest song, “Pain”. He was waiting at a picnic table for Devon, who promised he’d show to help, but Oz couldn’t see any sign of the self-involved singer. He was probably chatting up some girl, or he’d forgotten about it altogether.

Oz was just about to get up and leave when he heard someone call his name.

“Oz!”

The guitarist turned to see Willow, Buffy, Xander, and Giles headed his way.

Oz smiled as the large group neared him. “What’s up, guys?”

Willow gave him a brief smile and laced her fingers through his. “We have something to tell you, Oz, but not here. Come with us to the library.”

Oz was a little concerned. It wasn’t like Willow to be this pushy. “Is everything okay?”

The troop exchanged a brief glance. “It will be,” answered Buffy finally.

* * *

Buffy was alive. She was embarrassed beyond all human reasoning, and her heart was still pounding away in her ears, but she was still alive. Maybe that’s not such a good thing, she thought. I don’t think anyone’s going to forget this any time soon.

Buffy looked over at Oz, who was handling this really well, considering. Of course, Oz never showed any emotions, so who knew what he was feeling right now.

Willow looked a little shaky, but she was doing fine. It was painfully obvious that Xander hoped that Willow would be so upset by this whole thing that she would break up with Oz, but that hadn’t happened yet, and Buffy thought he looked a little disappointed.

It was Giles who broke the uncomfortable silence. “I think it’s best that we run some simple tests, just to make sure that we’re dealing with a curse.”

“You think it’s not?” blurted Buffy. “You think I’m actually falling for Oz?” Her voice rose slightly. “That’s beyond crazy, Giles. That’s… that’s… Oh.”

Buffy looked over at Oz and Willow. “Sorry, guys. I didn’t mean…” her voice trailed off. “Why don’t I just shut up?”

Oz smiled slightly at her, and it made Buffy feel a little bit better. She took a deep breath. “Okay, Giles. What sort of tests?” “Psychological tests,” replied Giles. “Tests to determine how strong the curse is, or whether we’re dealing with another form of mind control, such as voodoo.”

“Voodoo?” asked Buffy weakly. “Oh, god.”

“Don’t go jumping to conclusions,” warned Giles. “Let’s just start with some basic tests, okay?”

Buffy recognised how gentle Giles was being with the whole situation, and she was grateful. “Okay. Tests. I’m ready.”

Giles looked at Willow and Xander. “I’m afraid that, for these to work, Buffy will need to be in an area where there are no distractions.”

Willow nodded. “We’re gone.”

Xander looked upset. “Hey, how come Oz gets to…”

Willow yanked her friend’s arm. “Let’s go, Xander.” They left the library.

Buffy flashed Oz a brief smile.

Oz offered her a small grin of his own. “Ready?”

“Ready.”

Giles, meanwhile, had been rummaging about the shelves in his office.

“Found it!” His muffled voice drifted out from the room, and Giles emerged carrying a large, dusty book.

He opened it, and began to ask Buffy several simple questions, such as when she first noticed these feelings, how frequent the daydreams were, etc. Things that weren’t too embarrassing, because she had already told Oz most of this.

Then came word association. Giles asked Buffy to say the first word that came into her mind when he said something. That way, he would learn how obsessed this spell/curse had made Buffy. He would learn how powerful it was.

Giles started out with some simple words the book recommended.

“Up.”

“Down.”

“Left.”

“Right.”

He then moved on to slightly more detailed, specific ones.

Giles looked at Buffy. “Food.”

“Animal crackers,” replied Buffy, naming Oz’s snack food of choice. Oz raised an eyebrow.

“Colour.”

“Black.” Oz’s favourite.

“Shoe.”

“Doc Martins.” You guessed it; Oz’s brand.

“Instrument.”

“Guitar.”

“Animal.”

“Wolf.”

“Hobby.”

“Band.”

“Clothes.”

“Grunge.”

Giles continued to fire off words, until he decided to hit Buffy with the big guns. (So to speak!)

“Hurt.”

“Shot.”

“Hand.”

“Nail polish.” (At that, Oz grinned.)

“Hair.”

“Red.”

“Oz.”

“Sexy.”

Shit! Did I just say that? SHIT! Buffy moaned and buried her head in her hands.

There were a few moments of silence.

Giles cleared his throat. “Ah, thank you Buffy. That helped a great deal.”

“Helped?” repeated Buffy wearily, raising her head. “How did that help anything, other than increasing the flow of blood to my face?”

“Well,” continued Giles, “it told me that this ‘attraction’ you feel for Oz is physical, not emotional. That narrows down the list of curses drastically.”

“How?” Buffy still had yet to see a good side to her mortification.

“For one thing, voodoo is ruled out.”

“Which is good,” reasoned Oz.

Buffy couldn’t look at him. She knew that she would never be able to be around Oz ever again without feeling humiliated.

“Are we done?” Buffy said loudly. “Because I have… some school-related things to do.”

Giles nodded. “Yes, you can go.”

Buffy got up to leave.

“Oh, Buffy.” She turned to face her Watcher. “Whatever you said while taking those tests was confidential. It doesn’t leave this room.”

Buffy looked at Giles and Oz, who nodded sagely. “Thanks.”

* * *

“Willow!” Xander called his friend over to his table in the Bronze.

“Hey, Xander,” greeted Willow, joining him. “Where’s Buffy? Is she coming?”

“I dunno,” replied Xander. “I think she’s still working with Giles or something. I haven’t seen her since this morning.”

“This is weird, isn’t it?” remarked Willow. “I mean, how would we feel if suddenly, you fell for Buffy? Or Larry fell for you?”

Xander shuddered. “That’s beyond gross, Will. Anyway, that’s not going to happen. Thousands of demons don’t have grudges against us.”

“Good point,” Willow grinned. “I’ll bet a few do, though.”

“Yeah, like Moluch.”

“Or Baltazor.”

“What about…”

“Hey, guys!”

Xander and Willow turned to see Buffy walking towards them.

“Hi, Buff,” said Xander.

“Are you okay?” asked Willow as Buffy sat down next to her. “It was a pretty… unusual day for you. You must be a little drained.”

Buffy smiled at her friend’s compassion. “Actually, I’m okay. Not brilliant,” she admitted, “but not terrible. What about you guys? How’ve you been?”

Xander noticed the sudden change in subject. “Well, I’m continuing to impress the female population of Sunnydale High with my suave maturity.”

Buffy raised an eyebrow, and Willow giggled. “He drank a whole litre of Gatorade without taking a breath at lunch.”

Buffy gave Xander a disbelieving grin. “I’m sorry I missed it,” she said. “It must have been one of the finer moments of this school’s history.”

“Yeah, right up there with Mr Flootie’s sex talks,” added Willow.

“Ooh, I forgot about that!” exclaimed Buffy. “’Mr Harris, that was a rhetorical question, not a poll,’” she mimicked.

“Hey!” said Xander, blushing. “Just because you aren’t comfortable with your body and sexual…ness, doesn’t mean that…”

The girls burst into laughter, and the three chatted away for another two hours before Willow realised that her curfew had come and gone. Xander have her a lift home in his uncle’s Cadillac, and Buffy walked so that she could swing by the cemetery on her way home.

* * *

Buffy spun around and delivered a crippling kick to the hardy vamp. She had found this one hanging around the back exit of the Bronze, probably hoping to make a meal of some drunken teenager.

The vampire snarled as Buffy reached into her bag and withdrew her stake and crucifix. She thrust the cross in the vampire’s face, and it recoiled, hissing. Buffy took its moment of distraction as an opportunity to plunge the stake into the vamp’s unbeating heart. It exploded into dust before it had a chance to cry out.

Buffy was about to leave the alley when she spotted something shiny in the pile of ashes that the vampire had become. Curious, she knelt down and picked up the object. It was a ring, with an interesting symbol, like a pyramid, on the face.

Buffy tucked the ring into her pocket. She would tell Giles about it tomorrow. The last time a vampire had been wearing any identifying jewellery, it had been a messenger for the Master. This might provide some clue about who was casting the spell on Buffy.

* * *

“I see. Where was the vampire when you disposed of it?”

“Outside the Bronze,” replied Buffy.

Her Watcher frowned. “That’s odd. If this were a vampire on a mission, I don’t see why he would be there. That’s mostly feeding ground for them.”

“Guess he got hungry,” said Buffy. “Can you remember anything in your books about that sort of symbol?”

“It’s hard to say,” answered Giles. “There are records of certain clans of vampires which wear rings or necklaces as part of a tradition in which they don’t allow an outsider to join their tribe. In a few cases, however, some vampires have been known to make a replica of the original jewellery to infiltrate the clan, and thereby bringing their outside ways to the pack without being detected. It’s the sort of thing that went on in the vampire sub-culture from 1750 to around the era of…”

“Giles!”

The librarian looked up, his ramble process interrupted.

“While I still attend this school?” Buffy’s patience was wearing thin.

“Oh. Yes, of course. Sorry,” Giles forced himself to stay on track. “Well, basically, what I think this is, is a ring used for identification in an exclusive vampire clan. No more, no less. Certainly, it’s helpful. It tells us that these sorts of packs still exist in the area, but really it’s not beneficial to the discovery of the witch who has been casting on you.”

“Wait.” The wheels in Buffy’s head were spinning. “Something you just said there… Giles, what if this isn’t a curse at all?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Well, what if this is just a spell gone wrong?” Buffy knew she was taking a big leap, but she had to see if Giles thought her theory was worth investigating. “Who’s a witch we know who has a history of backfiring love spells?”

Giles was confused. “Willow?”

“No, Giles,” said Buffy patiently. “Think harder.”

“Of course!” Giles snapped his fingers. “Amy!”

Buffy nodded in confirmation. “Amy.”

* * *

Amy Madison was at her locker, sifting through the pouches of herbs and magickal texts cluttering the space, looking for her Biology notes. A hand tapped her on the shoulder.

Any turned to see Buffy and Giles. “Hi, guys!” Amy was surprised. “I haven’t seen you two in a while. What’s up?”

“Amy,” said Buffy in a serious tone. “Have you been casting any love spells recently?”

“Of course.” Amy was confused. “Why?”

“We think that one of them may have affected the wrong person,” explained Giles. “What kind of spell was it, and on whom did you cast it?”

The girls stared at him.

“That was a bit British, wasn’t it?” asked Giles sheepishly.

Buffy nodded. “Very. Welcome to America, the land of poor grammar.”

Amy decided to get back on topic, because she was very puzzled and wanted the whole thing sorted out.

“Well, Brent Hascome came to me and asked me to cast a spell on Deborah Fisher. The spell was supposed to make Deborah obsessed with Brent, so that she would think she was falling in love with him. He’s been wanting to ask her out for years,” explained Amy.

“I see,” said Giles, as he and Buffy exchanged glances. “How was this spell to be carried out?”

“I needed something from each person,” replied Amy. “Deborah didn’t know about the spell, so Brent made a little doll that he thought looked like her. I think I have it here, actually.” Amy rummaged around in her locker, and finally produced a small wooden figure. It was about six inches tall, with blonde hair, green eyes, and it was wearing a tiny model leather jacket over a white t-shirt and black pants. It looked like Deborah, but it also bore a striking resemblance to Buffy.

“I needed something from Brent, too,” continued Amy, “so I got him to bring his basketball jersey. The team means the world to Brent, and it had to be something very special, very distinctly part of who he was. That’s in here too, somewhere.” A moment of fossicking and Amy produced the jersey.

Buffy took one look at it and knew that had found their sorceress. The jersey read “Sunnydale Wolves”.

“Why do you guys need to know all this, anyway? Who’s been affected?” Amy was still bewildered.

“Amy,” said Buffy, “We need to have a talk.”

* * *

“Oh, wow.” Amy was stunned. “I’m so sorry, Buffy. I mean, none of my spells ever backfired this badly before. Oh, okay, there was that time I got turned into a rat for a few months, but other than that… I’m really, really sorry.”

Buffy sighed. “It’s okay, Amy. I know you didn’t mean to do anything wrong. Just undo the spell, and all will be forgiven, okay?”

Amy thought for a moment. “Yeah, I can do that. I just have to find the spell. I think I’ll need something from you and Oz.”

“You didn’t need anything of ours to make the spell work in the first place,” Buffy pointed out.

“Yeah, but I don’t want this sort of thing happening again,” replied Amy. “I don’t want another couple to break up.”

“Good point,” agreed Buffy. “Do you have the spellbook here?”

“No, I think it’s at home,” said Amy. “I can get it after school, then I can meet you and Oz in the library, and we can perform the ritual. Okay?”

“Yeah, that sounds good,” answered Buffy, relieved that this whole thing would be over with in a few short hours. “I’ll go find Oz and tell him now.”

* * *

As soon as the final bell rang, Buffy bolted for the library. She knew that Amy wouldn’t be there yet, but Buffy didn’t want to be late. The sooner this could be dealt with, the better.

There was no one in the library, as usual. Buffy had told Giles and the others about the spell, so they had all gone home. The other students of Sunnydale High rarely visited the library unless picking up books for teachers, or sorting the shelves as a punishment.

Buffy had just sat down when Amy and Oz entered. Amy was carrying a thick book, two packets of dried herbs, and a drink bottle. Oz was hauling a brass pot and a small, foldout table.

Amy and Oz greeted Buffy, and the three got to work. The pot was placed on the table, and the water in the drink bottle was poured inside.

Amy then produced a small pair of scissors from the pocket of her jacket. “I’m going to have to cut a little of your hair,” she explained.

Buffy leaned over, Amy snipped off a small lock of her hair, before doing the same with Oz. She put the hair into the pot and swirled the water around with her finger.

“Diana, goddess of love, be gone!” said Amy loudly, opening one of the packets of herbs and mixing them into the water.

“Hear no more your siren’s song!”

The water began to churn slightly, and Amy quickly added the remaining pouch of herbs.

“By the power of the divine, by the essence of the word, I command you!” Amy’s voice grew louder, and the water began to bubble.

“By the power of the Circle of Hecate, I command you! Goddess, depart!” The boiling water stilled, and Amy swiftly grabbed Buffy and Oz’s hands and put them into the pot.

Buffy braced herself, and she saw Oz do the same, as the water had been steaming only moments before, but to her surprise, her hand slipped through cool water. Buffy noticed the slight surprise on Oz’s face, and knew that he felt it too.

Amy took her friends’ hands and withdrew them from the cauldron. “That’s it,” she said breathlessly. “I hope it worked, because otherwise I don’t know what else to do.”

Oz looked at Buffy. “Did it work?”

Buffy furrowed her brow. “I-I think so. Everything’s a little hazy right now.” She looked from Oz to Amy, then back to Oz. “Yeah, yeah, it worked. Yeah.”

Amy looked relieved. “Oh, good!” She turned to Buffy. “I’m really sorry about all this, Buff. You too, Oz. I just feel so guilty…”

“Forget it, Amy,” said Buffy. “It’s no big deal. Right, Oz?” Please agree! Please agree!

Oz gave Amy a shadow of a smile. “That’s right, Amy. It’s fine.”

Amy exhaled. “Great. Thank you so much, guys.”

“No problem,” said Buffy. “Thank you, Amy, for breaking the spell.”

“I think I’ll wait a little while before I try any more love spells,” decided Amy. “I don’t want anything like this to happen again.”

“Good idea,” agreed Buffy.

* * *

“There was a time when I would go walking backwards ‘round the world if you said you might.

“And I’d run blindfold down the Kingsroad, Monday morning, if you’d just for once arrive on time.”

Amy turned up the volume of her stereo. I love this song, she thought happily. I’m really tired. I guess doing an anti-love spell must take it out of a person. Amy looked at her clock Ten fifteen. I may as well go to bed now.

Amy climbed into bed and was asleep almost instantly. She drifted into a strange dream, where she was playing backgammon on a remote desert island. Suddenly, she was aware of another person standing next to her.

When Amy realised who it was, she abandoned her game and grabbed the person and kissed them. Then, she took them down to the shore, where they frolicked and danced in the tide, stopping every few seconds to engage in brief yet passionate kisses.

“Amy,” he whispered tenderly.

She sighed happily. “Oz.”