"Well," said Cordelia, "Not all of us can take a new estate to avoid scandal. Some of us must maintain our reputations through fastidiousness and good training." She had quite clearly spoken only to her fair haired companions, but at a volume that ensured the rest of the gathering could hear her. The young Miss Buffy Summers colored hot and red at the loud insinuation and the titters that followed.
"You mustn’t mind Miss Chase," said a gentle voice behind her. Buffy turned to see a slight, pale girl behind her, wearing a small smile, an ill-fitting dress, and a rather absurd bonnet. Buffy looked around to see if there was anyone who might introduce them.
"Oh, I do apologize, I come entirely by myself. Willow Rosenberg."
Buffy smiled away the trnsgression. After all, how far had good manners gotten her here? “Buffy Summers. I’m most pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Rosenberg. Tell me though, why oughtn’t I mind so great an opinion as Miss Cordelia Chase’s? She does seem to have taken quite a prejudice against me. And she is well liked in this company.”
"To be sure, in this company, but this company isn’t all the good reputation of Sunnydale."
"Is it not? I was told that if one was to be introduced to society, taking the waters at the Bronze Pavillion was the only way."
"And did you attent the coronation of Her Majesty Cordelia Chase, queen of the Bronze Pavillion? She would make quite the tyrranical ruler. If we were all to acept her arbitration, there would scare be conversation to be had here at all. Come, I must introduce to the more gentle of us."
Buffy looked to her mother, who was engaged in a conversation with a rather tired looking gentleman and not looking their way.
"Please, lead the way."
A quick turn around the country had seemed just the thing, to be sure. The spring days were lengthening splendidly and Buffy wanted to enjoy her new fixture in the open countryside as best she could. She missed the excitement of town, the quick paces and the bustling noise of the city streets, but all that was lost to her now. The whole of their party agreed that they must take in the warm sun of the such a fine May afternoon. That had been a long two hours ago and the Misses Summers and Rosenberg and the Masters Harris and Osbourne were well and truly lost.
They were resting on the low stone wall surrounding an old cemetary when the sun sank finally below the trees.
"I don’t mean to alarm you," she said, "But we are fast set to lose daylight altogether. You must know where the house lies from this churchyard. Have you not lived here all your lives?"
"It’s true, we have," began Mister Harris.
"It’s only that, with the terrible winters and the wet summers we don’t always find ourselves…" Willow interjected.
"You see, with so many diversions indoors we don’t always find the time…"
"Walking," said Mister Osbourne finally, "Is not the strongest of our many suits."
Buffy understood the situation perfectly. Her new companions, while terribly gregarious and from among the best families in Sunnydale, were not always the liveliest of young people. She tried not to be put out nor to let the growing darkness worry her.
"I think," Willow began ,"that if the sun has set in that direction, then we must walk back away from it, east."
Mister Harris began to argue, but Buffy was distracted by a noise from behind her. In the half light, it seemed as if something was moving among the shadowed graves. The longer she looked, the more clear it was that someone was there, in the churchyard.
She called out and while there was no answer from that direction, from further along the road came a series of shouts.
"Mister Giles!" called out Willow, "Hello, sir! How fortunate it is that you come upon us just at this moment…"
"Fortunate, yes," he said, fumbling with a leather satchel at his shoulder, "Miss Summers, would you please hold these?"
And he handed her several wooden stakes, as those used in pitching lawn canopies. Mr. Giles was an eccentric, known well for his academic stylings and aversion to the amusements on which the people of Sunndydale prided themselves. While his family’s was old as any good country stock, he had only recently returned to the Giles’ estate, having had a long and successful career at Oxford. Why he had left was a topic of much discussion in their circles and rumours of scandal abounded.
Now he seemed positively agitated, as he stepped into the graveyard.
"Please, stay close behind me."
And though her companions made no move to follow, Buffy sunk her boots into the soft earth and walked behind him, towards whatever was skulking through the monuments.
The ball was wretched, Buffy decided, absolutely wretched. Willow and Osbourne found every opportunity to dance with each other, which was well and good, but Harris had begged off to the billiards room to share a smoke with the other gentlemen. This left Buffy alone with Mr. Giles, who went on so about her new duties as the Slayer.
"In all good judgement, you should not even be here. This is an indulgence perhaps too far, when the countryside is quite teeming with hordes of the undead, left unchecked for far too long…"
Buffy tried to listen, she did, about the Hellmouth in Sunnydale and the evil nature of vampires, but she ballroom fairly glittered with beautiful ladies and well-cut gentlemen. Her white silk was nothing to be scoffed at, certainly, but the gowns on display, the bonnets, the ribbons and feathers - it was at least good as what they wore in town. Better even, in the case of Cordelia Chase, who had found a new partner for each of the four dances that had played thusfar.
While her new friends were kind beyond measure and took their newfound knowledge of the supernatural with more good humour than Buffy herself could muster, they had not made her any better liked among the fashionable names in Sunnydale. She did not make regular calls nor did she find time to take turns around the parks in the mornings (slaying kept her out quite late, for a lady of good repute!). Thus, her dance ard remained dismally empty even when she found time to attend balls such as this.
As she was about to heave yet another (frightfully unmannerly) sigh of boredom, she heard a throat clear.
"I hope I’m not interrupting…" the interloper was a man, tall, broad, dressed unfashionably in black, but with a strikingly handsome face. He shut Giles up rather quickly, who was apparently hoping not to be caught speaking of vampires in polite company.
"Not at all," said Buffy, smiling up at their new companion whilst elbowing Giles, who came to himself and offer his hand to the stranger.
"Ah, yes, Mr. Rupert Giles, at your service. And this is Miss Buffy Summers."
"A pleasure. My name is Angel."
"Is that your family name?"
"Yes. Or no. My apologies. I have no given name or family name. It’s just Angel."
"Oh," said Buffy, frowning at Giles, who frowned back.
"Again, I must offer my apologies, but I could not let such a lovely girl stand by herself for so many dances in a row."
Giles made to interrupt such an ill-fortuned invitation, but Angel held up a hand. “I promise, good Watcher, to speak only of her duties while she is in my comany. She might find it quite enlightening. I myself know a few good tricks for slaying vampires.”
I think we should make first-world vampire problems a thing, starring Spike.
Problem the First: Trying to maintain a ghastly manicure takes time, especially when pesky Slayers always have to drop by for a fight before your nails are dry.
^Why Xena will always be my favorite: a short summary
#this show took some turns down some suspect alleys along the way but #as manifestos go the ‘shared power’ theme running through this scene TAKES SOME F*CKING BEATNG #a giant ‘screw you’ to the Batman-esque Saviour complex running though most dude-focussed superhero franchises #’it’s me and only me who must save the helpless!’ vs ‘HERE TAKE THIS - AND USE IT TO SAVE YOURSELF AND OTHERS’ #you don’t hide power and hoard power and swoop in to impose your power on others to ‘save’ them #you share it #you teach it #’are you ready to be strong?’ #[i’m not crying YOU’RE crying] (via harrietvane)
So, you’ll help me then?
I will help her.
Of course… ladies first.
It says a lot about how society treats black women that this is one of the aspects of the show that’s most groundbreaking.