Part 2 — Still PG-13
The Taste Of Truth 2
Buffy woke up late the next morning, too late to make her psych class and way too late for her poetry appreciation class. She stretched, feeling sore all over and still somewhat exhausted, but a glance at the clock propelled her out of bed and into the shower. The hot water beat some of the fatigue from her muscles, but she had no idea why she felt as bad as she did. After all, there hadn’t been any massive slayage last night that she remembered, just the usual with a side dish of big and shaggy.
Funny, she couldn’t remember much after that one demon. She didn’t even remember if she had slaughtered him or if he’d got away. She dressed quickly and decided arbitrarily to head to the Magic Box to confer with Giles. Maybe this shagrug demon needed to be looked into, especially if he was causing her to have memory loss.
She headed downtown and into the shop to find a research party already in progress. Confusion creased her brow when she saw Spike there with them, books stacked in front of him and his head bent over a book in Tara’s lap. “Hey, what’s the what?” she asked as she approached the war table.
Giles approached her, worry creasing his face in familiar, well-worn lines. “Buffy, are you doing well today?”
“I’m fine, Giles. Why? And what is Spike doing here?” She pulled a chair over to the table and sat down with her arms across the back.
“He’s assisting us with researching the demon that you battled last night. Do you remember anything?” Giles cleaned his glasses while he spoke and Buffy began to giggle.
“Giles, as much as you clean those things you should see clear to England. I remember fighting this great big shag rug with tusks—and then nothing. Not whether I won or killed it or anything.”
“Could you describe the demon?” Willow said, pencil poised over a piece of paper for notes.
“Sure. Tall, black, hairy, with tusks out to here,” Buffy said, spreading her arms wide. “Only they hung down, not out. Smelled to high heaven, like a wet dog. Blew some kind of pink mist in my face—I think. Does that help?”
“Somewhat. Narrows the possibilities down between your description and the one that Spike gave us.” Willow picked up another book as Anya finished up with her customer and walked over to the table.
“And that brings up another question, or actually my first one. What is Spike doing here?” Buffy asked, slightly annoyed.
“Found you in the cemetery and took you home, Slayer. You don’t remember?” Spike put his book on the table and settled back in his chair. “Helped your mum get you upstairs? ‘S when you told me what the thing looked like, at least partly.”
Buffy gave him an incredulous look. “My mom would never let you into my room, much less my house, Spike.”
“Well she did, Slayer. Kind of hard not to, with you unconscious and all in my arms. Had to carry you from the boneyard all the way home.” Spike stood and grabbed his duster. “I’m stepping out into the alley for a smoke.”
Buffy waited until he was gone then turned to her friends. “What the hell is he talking about? He so did not carry me home.”
“I’m afraid he did, Buffy. I spoke with your mother earlier.” Giles watched her closely for reaction and saw none.
“Well, whatever. I don’t remember anything like that.” She frowned. “In fact, I don’t remember anything after that thing spit the pink stuff at me.”
Anya said, “Pink stuff? Sounds like a Vertusigina demon.”
Xander laughed. “Sounds like a effeminate demon to me. Was it a little limp-wristed, Buffster?”
“Feeling a little insecure, Xander?” Buffy snapped. Xander stared at her open-mouthed. Buffy glanced down, then back at her friend. “Sorry, Xander, I didn’t mean to bite your head off.”
Xander shrugged and went back to looking in his book as Willow let out a whoop of exultation. “I think I found a picture, Buffy. Is this it?”
Spike came back in through the training room as Buffy leaned over the table to look at the picture. “Yeah, that’s it. Vertusigina, huh? Well, it’s ugly, no matter what you call it.”
Willow frowned as she read the demon’s descriptive characteristics. “Oh my.”
“Oh my what, Will? Oh my, Buffy’s going to die? Oh my, Buffy’s going to grow another head?” Xander leaned forward on his chair, his eyes drilling into Willow’s forehead as she looked more and more upset. Her eyes flew open wide and she looked fearfully up at Buffy, who had finally had enough.
“What is it Willow? Spill it.”
“Well, the memory loss is normal. You—you’ll keep having memory lapses…even forgetting what the demon looked like. It will keep getting worse…until you may even forget who you are. The book says that one of the side effects of the demon’s mist is…you’ll tell the truth—always. If you don’t, you’ll get a bad taste in your mouth and the memory loss will increase at a rapid rate. Oh, Buffy, I’m so sorry.” Willow’s eyes filled with tears as she looked across the table at her friend.
Buffy looked around, her eyes wide. “Well, there’s a cure, right? Something that you can do about it?”
Giles hurried to Willow’s side and grabbed the book out of her hands. After reading for a few minutes, he placed the book carefully on the table and removed his glasses, pinching the bridge of his nose between his fingers. “There is very little we can do, I’m afraid. There may be a spell that will deflect the worse of the results, but we’ll have to do more research. My only suggestion, Buffy, would be not to lie.”
“I don’t lie!” Buffy said hotly, and then grimaced as the taste of something foul filled her mouth. Tears welled up in her eyes as she spluttered at the horrible taste and began streaming down her face as she stared at the group around the table. “Start researching. I’m heading home.”
She whirled and left the Magic Box, their horrified and sympathetic looks overwhelming her. If she wasn’t around people, then she couldn’t lie, right?
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/79246.html