mrtwstedwhsprs (mrtwstedwhsprs) wrote,
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Fic: The Missing Ingredient, Giles/Buffy, R/FRM

Title: The Missing ingredient
Author:  Mr. Twisted Whispers (mrtwstedwhsprs)
Rating:  R/FRM  alcohol use, adult language, sexual activity, all the fun stuff
Pairing: Giles/Buffy
Summary: Love, fate, a sign, and a heavy desk.  That’s what it takes to find a missing ingredient.
Spoilers/Setting: Set post-chosen, and the Slayers and Watchers Society Annual Christmas Party, which as appeared before in this ficathon.
Warnings: alcohol, humor, and slight meta-fic.

Disclaimer: Characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy et. Al.  I own nothing, don’t bother suing me.  Character who you like who do not appear in this story are having a great time watching The Wizard of Oz while listening to Dark Side of the Moon.

Written for the Drunken!Giles Ficathon for antennapedia.  Who wanted: core four Scooby togetherness & affection, a fit of giggles from somebody, and a very, very complicated silly mixed drink, and didn't want: regrets, Ripper, or vampires.

Special thanks to lostgirlslair for beta-ing this fic, despite feeling that my baroque sentence structure and inordinate fondness for complex and unneeded verbiage is a “crime against nature.” :-)

Ramos Gin Fizz
•        2 ounces gin
•        3 drops orange flower water
•        1 egg whites
•        1 teaspoon bar sugar
•        1 ounce lemon juice
•        1/2 ounce lime juice
•        1 ounce cream
•        Soda water

Shake all ingredients except soda water hard with crushed ice for at least a full minute, then strain into a balloon glass ¼ full of shaved ice.  Fill with soda garnish with a flower.


An Introduction, But Read it Anyway, Because It’s Both Humorous and an Integral Part of the Story.

The heavy wood of the closed door served to block out all but the loudest of the party noise, giving the room an air of inner sanctum.  The Watcher’s hands seemed somewhat unsteady as he held the book out to the Slayer, to his Slayer.  The last time they had attempted this, her efforts had met with less than complete success.  Just a simple matter of not-quite-perfect timing.  If she didn’t succeed this time, he’d have to find someone who could.

“Buffy,” he said again, softly, “I’ll flip, you point.”

“Huh?”

“I flip.  You point.”

“Okay.”

The pages, as they slid from under his thumb, made the slightest suggestion of breeze, until the stillness was broken by a tap, the tap of Buffy’s nail against the back cover of the Deluxe Mr. Boston’s.  For the second time. 

“How did you miss?”

“I didn’t realize you had started!”

“Willow, how are your reflexes?”
 
“Huh?”

“I’ll try again.” Xander attempted to stand and make his way across the room, but he wasn't sure he was actually doing so.

“No, not after last time!”  Willow started bounced up, attempting to intercept before Xander's bad luck at random selection could risk dooming them.

“Hey, I thought my selection was pretty good, seeing as we’re dealing with randomness here.”

“But it caused a fight.”  Willow tried sounding firm, but couldn’t entirely hide a smile.

Giles felt the need to defend himself.  “Well, if they’re going to call it a chocolate martini, it should have gin in it.  If it’s going to call for vodka, it’s a chocolate vodkatini, if that.”

”Giles,” Buffy attempted seriousness, but drifted slightly to the left, and maybe somewhat counterclockwise as well.  “Giles, you flip and I’ll point.”

Summoning up all the power of the Slayer, and the determination of her training, she tried to point as quickly as possible, and true to Buffy’s prediction, Giles didn’t make it all the way to the rear cover this time.  Only as far as R.  She leaned forward, to bring the book into focus.

“Ramos gin fizz.”

Giles’ Story pt. 1

“Lemons, limes, simple syrup, gin . . .” Xander stood behind the ornate oaken desk, the entire top of which was covered in bottles of various size, quality and color.  It was an antique mahogany and brass with a mother of pearl and jade inlay on the front depicting the siege of Troy.  It had been a gift to the Council from a grateful “importer,” and it was likely only the second time that what was on top of the desk was more expensive than the furniture itself.  The large sticky Galliano stains were, however, was a minor crisis that Giles would deal with after the party.

As the only one with professional bartending experience, that would be mentioned, Xander had at first had the assignment of mixing the randomly chosen drinks, a responsibility he was forced to vacate when Willow blamed him, personally, for the existence of a shot called a cement mixer.  This meant Giles had to take over.

Xander got the assignment back after some concoction known as Abraham’s Mother nearly ended the entire party . . . for the hemisphere.

When he finally looked up--almost tripping over a drawer that had somehow ended up on the floor--he had the look of someone attempting to explain the scoring system in tennis.  “Okay, Giles, I give up.  Where does a fancy place like this keep the orange flower water?”

“Ummm.  We don’t.”

“’You don’t?’  Three kinds of bitters here, Giles, which I might never want to see again.”

“Orange flower water is needed for perhaps two drinks?  It wasn’t terribly likely we’d pick one.”

“Well, our luck hasn’t been running very high, whose idea was it anyway to drink at random?” Xander asked.

“Yours, I believe, Xander.”

“Well, I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.”

“Three drops.” Buffy looked up from her empty glass with a pouting expression.  “It can’t be that important.”

“Yes,” Giles replied.  “We’ll call it a Fizz-tini.”

“OK.” Xander seemed ready to mix at great speed.

“No,” Giles stood up, relaying more on his chair for balance than he'd have wanted to admit., “I think it’s time for the ranking Watcher to make a ruling here.  We have orange flower water in one of the labs.”

“There’s spells that call for it,” Willow offered hopefully, “but are you sure there’s any left?”

“I’m sure of it,” Giles replied, straightening and attempting to summon up something close to a full measure of dignity.  “We used it to distract some aphids from a minor hell dimension last week.”

“Aphids?” Buffy seemed dubious

“They were very large aphids,” Giles volunteers

“Aphids?” dubious was quickly transforming into somewhat disturbed.

“Demon aphids,” Giles nodded pseudo-solemnly.

“A do-over,” Xander offered, picking up the Mr. Boston’s.  “We don’t want to leave the headquarters defenseless against demon aphids.”

“Oh, it didn’t work,” Giles offered, attempting to be reassuring. 

“It didn’t?”  Willow crunched nervously on the ice from her glass, not terribly comfortable with the idea of difficult to distract demon aphids.

“Nope, not in the least.  So, I think it’s time for us to figure out which of those labs has our missing ingredient.  First one to get back with it wins . . .”

“Wins?”  Xander looked crestfallen, having already flipped the book in front of Buffy, who had managed to point to the copyright notice.  “Wins the find-the-flower-water competition?”

“Well, I’m sure they’ll win something,” Giles said, his hand already on the knob of the door.

Buffy’s Story pt 1

Okay, so Buffy had definitely seen this hallway before.  She recognized the office, the storage room, and the appointment desk in that old-fashioned heavy-wood style of which the new council seemed so proud. 

She was lost.  It’s not that big a deal, she told herself, after all, she was just a little turned around.  Besides, she hadn’t been in the building in a while, and she had had a bit to drink.  Not too much, she assured herself as she stumbled over a fold in the carpet. 

She tried to remember what someone had told her to do, if she ever got lost.  A surefire way to get back to a familiar landmark so she could get her bearings.  Something about only making left turns.

So she did, and did, and did again.  It certainly seemed successful when she found herself in a familiar area: a hallway with some kind of office, a storage room, and an appointment desk in that old-fashioned, heavy wood style of which the new council seemed to proud.

“Damn it.”  She turned around, glanced down to make sure her feet were cooperating, and tried to retrace her steps in order to avoid retracing her steps.  It was at that point she noticed the toe of her shoe kick something across the floor.  Whatever it was, it was shiny, at least in part, and skittered across the floor before disappearing somewhere in the vicinity of the desk. 

Her curiosity piqued, Buffy had to find out what it had been.  Besides, she was the Slayer, she’d find the ingredient first, even if she did stop.

Xander’s Story

Tools and pseudo-military strategy.  That’s what was needed to find a missing ingredient.  At least, Xander hoped so.  The labs were on the other side of the building .  So he was prepared: flashlight, tool belt, blueprints, half-empty flask of crème de menthe.  No wait, he managed to get equal amounts on the top of the desk, but now he could say check at “almost-full flask of crème de menthe."  Besides, green showed up better on dark wood than yellow did anyway. 

The plan, at the time, seemed really brilliant.  He would make his way across the building through the air vents, while the others had to make their way though the hallways and mingling party guests.  That was sure to slow them down.

He also had to remember to thank Willow for suggesting he try crème de menthe.  Great drink, and one you could drink repeatedly.  Shuffle forward through the duct, push the tools ahead, check the blueprints, and take a sip from the flask.  Shuffle . . . push . . . check . . . sip.  Shuffle . . . push . . . check . . . sip.  It was a nice pattern, and Xander's teachers had always said he was good at repetitive tasks.

It became a bit difficult to keep track of the various twists and turns of the vent system, but it had to be the right way, he said it had to..  “There,” he said to himself.  He would be directly over the first lab he wanted to check.  All he had to do was loosen the grate directly to his left . . . which wasn’t there.  Glancing down through the grate ahead, which wasn’t supposed to be there, he found out he was directly over a storage room instead. 

He must have made a wrong turn.  (Sip)  He couldn’t have gotten it that wrong.  (Sip)  He could read blueprints after all.  (Sip)  Let’s see, thirteen from the right, twenty-two from the top.  (Gulp)  Apparently, Xander found out, he could also read blueprints upside down and not notice it. 

He’d have to find a way back soon.  After all, he did want to find the missing ingredient first, and besides, he was almost out of crème de menthe.  Worse, an air duct was probably a very bad place to pass out.

And that was just the kind of thing Xander was sure to think of just before passing out.

Giles’ Story pt. 2

Giles giggled softly to himself.  True, most of the labs were all the way across the building, but one of them was right next to his office.  He had only had to wait until they went off, made sure they saw him going in a different direction, and then backtrack.  It was a perfect plan. 
 
As he turned the corner, he saw Buffy crawling on the floor,  as if she had dropped something.  He estimated that it took exactly four seconds for him to stop observing her acutely, in a manner which some describe and “dreamily” or “lustful.”  Actually, it was closer to two minutes.

“Buffy,” Giles said, letting a bit a confidence leak into his voice.  “My office is right over there. . .”

“Oh,” she sounded suddenly disappointed.  “Did you find it already?”

“Umm, no, still looking. . .”

“You got lost. . .” she went over to tease him, but stumbled against him, falling, her pale hair brushing his cheek as she momentarily clung to his chest.  “You’re jrunk.  You got lost in your own office building.”

“You just said ‘jrunk.’  I think that says something about you being further off than I am.  Besides, what are you doing staring at the floor, if you’re so sober?"

Buffy looked momentarily sheepish.  “I thought I saw something shiny. . .”

Footsteps from one of the connecting corridors made them turn around.

“If that’s Willow or Xander, I hope they don’t think that we’re doing something we shouldn’t.”

“What do you mean?”  There was some sudden spark in her hazel eyes that Giles couldn’t quite place.

“Working together, cheating at the competition.” Giles notion of fair play seemed somewhat out of place.
 
“ You’re right, in here.”  She opened the door to the storage room, and practically dragged him through it.

Willow’s Story

Magic and cunning.  That was what was required to find a missing ingredient.  Oh, that and a flask of crème de menthe.  Willow wondered momentarily if it was a good idea to introduce Xander to the joys of crème de menthe.  When no one else would touch the stuff, it left more for her.

It would have been easier if they had a sample, but if they had a sample, she wouldn’t be doing the spell.  She just had to summon the Spirits of Ilsuntari and then have them take her directly to the nearest bottle of orange flower water.

The air around her crackled with a disk of energy, a disk of energy that seemed a bit lopsided, but never mind.  She intoned the final words of the incantation.  “Eldeen ruoy pu ssem dluoc uoy!  Sdrawkcab cif eht gnidear er’ouy yeh!” 

“Wait a minute.  That didn’t sound right,” Willow said.  Of course, she said it just as she disappeared.

When she re-appeared, it was not in a lab in Council Headquarters.  She looked around quickly to figure out where she was.  It was a liquor store.  It was closed.  And in Australia. 

“Okay.”  She said to herself, taking a long swig of crème de menthe.  "I can figure this out.  Ilsuntari is a very particular language.  But how did I end up here?  I can be forgiven for a little mispronunciation.  After all, the word for “nearest” and the word for “southernmost” are almost identical.  And it could have been worse; it’s also close to 'radioactive.'  Wait, this isn’t a radioactive Australian liquor store, is it?”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Okay, so it was closed, but there was a night watchman.  A night watchman who looked very confused. 

“Okay, panic time.”  Willow tried to remember the exact incantation to get back to her starting point, but couldn’t quite do it.  She just needed a sample of something to teleport back to.  If anything, the sight of her suddenly emptying her pockets confused the night watchman further.  Fortunately, she found a pen she had borrowed from Xander the day before. 

“Look, I’m going to call the police.”

“Here, take this.”  Willow quickly handed him her flask as she silently drew the energy around her.

“What?”

“It’s crème de menthe.  If you drink it, they won’t believe you when you say what you saw.”  At that, she disappeared

As she floated through the ether back to wherever Xander was, she wondered why she was slowly rotating counterclockwise.  That wouldn’t happen if she didn’t have room to appear standing where ever she was.

She didn’t.  With a muffled thump, she landed directly atop Xander's unconscious form, apparently in an air duct of some sort.

“I’m awake!” Xander immediately sat bolt upright, knocking his head against the roof of the vent with enough force to almost make his previous statement incorrect.

“Xander, answer a question for me,” Willow was both panicked, and trying not to laugh, “If I told you that a young woman appeared out of nowhere, wondered out loud if the place was radioactive, and then disappeared, would you believe me?”

Xander laughed, triggering a vicious cycle of giggles between the two of them.  When he finally caught his breath enough to respond, he made the mistake of responding with a question.  “Why are you asking?”

“I might be in trouble with the Australian police.”

That was it; they were going to be laughing for quite some time.

Buffy’s . . . Well, I guess Buffy and Giles Story . . . pt. 2, or is that 3?  Well, part 2,

One of the first things Giles noticed in the storage room was a large stack of boxes.  He noticed it first, because he fell against it, knocking the top one off.  Buffy tried to catch it, but knocked over a mop, which clattered loudly against the door.  Giles turned around with surprising quickness, raised his finger to his lips, and with surprising slowness, realized that he was shhh-ing a mop.

“If we’re quiet no one will think we’re in here doing anything below the board.” Giles attempted to straighten the tie he had taken off two hours earlier.

“Did you ever think about doing something below the board?”  There seemed to be a strange curl in Buffy’s voice.

Giles gave he a wry smile.  “I think the cat of my past has been out of the bag . . . of my past . . . for quite some time.”

“I didn’t mean that.” Buffy sounded somewhat crestfallen.

“What do you mean, then?” Giles hoped his voice showed caution, rather than cautious optimism.

“Well, you said you didn’t want them to think that we were doing anything we weren’t supposed to, and trying to find the orange firewater first,” she sat down, and Giles sat next to her, knocking down the second box from the leaning tower of office supply boxes in the process.

They waited for the noise to die down, and then Giles remembered they were talking.  “What were you saying?”

“Well, what about the other things we shouldn’t do that we could do?” The curl was back in her voice.

Giles started when he realized her hand was on his leg.  He stood, sending box #3 crashing to the ground.

“Giles, do you have something against,” Buffy turned her head sideways to read the fallen box, “Copy toner cartridges, eight.”

“That’s how many are in the box.”

“I know that . . . you’re the jrunk one.  But no, really, what I said.  I mean, about what I said?”

Giles set his glasses on the now much shorter stack of boxes and rubbed his eyes, “Well . . . there were always reasons why I didn’t think . . .”

“But if the reasons aren’t there anymore?”

Giles said nothing.  He tried to remove his glasses to clean them, but since they were already sitting next to him, he only managed to poke himself in the nose.

“Giles,” Buffy continued, sliding around to face him.  “If I asked you one question, and made you promise to tell me the truth, would you do it?  I mean . . . Answer the question?”

Giles nodded, even though he was sure what the question would be, his pulse quickening with the familiar instinct of importance.

“Did you ever think about me . . . like that?”

“Well, of course, I always thought you were we very attractive y. . .”

“Well, I’ve thought about you like that.  Maybe not at first, not all at once, but I still do.”

“But if we’re going to . . . be together . . . wouldn't you want us to be prepared for it . . . to be in a nicer place than a storage room . . . to be sober?” Giles wasn’t sure exactly how to keep himself form talking.

“Can we save that for the second time?”  She moved towards him, her breath was hot in his face as she spoke.  Their lips touched, and then parted, the tips of their tongues meeting.  As she kissed him, Giles felt as if he was falling backwards through a portal that led to a world where he had never doubted.  Where he hadn’t spent hours thinking of her, and hours upbraiding himself for the hundreds of times which he wanted to say something but never did.  A world where all of the differences he worried about were as meaningless as a single drop of rain. 

It was as if her kiss were the final thing he needed to make it all worthwhile.  To make sure that everything that had transpired, to them, and around them would end on a high note.  A perfect note.  It was the missing ingredient.  And that was it.  But it did have to be the perfect note.  The storage room might be perfect for him now, but he didn’t want her to look back on it, and think what it could have been.

It was the only reason while he pulled back.

“Are you sure this is what you want?”  Giles was beginning to wish whatever part of him made him hesitate would settle down for a long winter’s nap.

“Are you waiting for a sign or something?” 

“A sign?”

“Okay how about this?” Buffy walked over to the door, and gripped the mop that leaned against it.  “Oh, it’s an enchanted mop.  With all my Slayer strength, I can’t seem to move it.  Looks like we’re going to be here a while.  Whatever will we do to pass the time?  How’s that for a sign?”


She put her hands on her , and turned to look at him, keeping her eyes locked with his as she put her fingers against the bottom of her tank top and pulled it over her had.  “How’s this for a sign?”

“I think that will do quite well indeed,” Giles said, standing, and trying his best to walk over to her slowly.  “Perfectly, in fact, I’d say.”

They were just about to touch again, when they heard a loud thump and a clatter above them, like something in the air vent.  Giles inability to shrug off a strange sound was entirely defeated by a second kiss.

Faith’s Cameo

Yes, it was just a necklace.  It wasn’t even a necklace she liked all that much.  An ugly cameo on an 11kt gold chain that she had . . . ummm, acquired . . . after an assignment to investigate an occult smuggling operation disguised as an antique shop.  She wasn’t even the sort to really like necklaces.  Add to that the fact that if she'd lost it while fighting it would have been acceptable.  If she'd left it behind while traveling, she probably wouldn’t have remembered it.  But losing track of it somewhere in a hallway while doing body shots at a Christmas party was just fucking careless. 

It had to be somewhere.  No one was cleaning up yet, and if someone stole it . . . well, let’s just say bells would be ringing.  She set three-quarters of a Tequila Sunrise on a desk, then moved it to the floor when she noticed a glint of very poor quality gold around the desk’s rear leg.

Faith wasn't the sort of person who'd have normally wondered how wide the desk was, but now she knew.  It was two inches wider than the length of her arm with her fingers outstretched, because that’s how far away the cameo was from her fingertips.  The figure, looking somewhat like a woman in profile and somewhat like chewed gum, was mocking her. 

Faith Lehane was not the sort of person to crawl around under a desk to retrieve a near-worthless piece of costume jewelry that she didn’t really like.  No, Faith Lehane was the sort of person to use the full strength of an intoxicated Slayer to shove the desk one-handed across the narrow hallway, where it just happened to come to rest blocking the door to some storage closet.

“What are you doing here?”  Wesley’s voice startled her as she retrieved the necklace.

“I was invited.  You know, Slayer, part of the company?” Faith turned, attempting to fall seamlessly into a defensive stance, and instead almost falling.

“No, I know that, I just wondered why you were in this hallway.  Most of the party sounds like it moved somewhere that way.”

“Oh, I’m just here for my cameo.” She held it up to the light.

“Your cameo?”

“Yeah,”  she jumped up to sit on the desk and lean back on the door of some storage closet.

“Oh a necklace, is that. . .”

“Hey!”  A sudden thud against the door she was leaning on brought an immediate interruption.  “So what are you doing in the hallway . . . you’re going to hide in an office and do paperwork?”

“No, no, not this year.  I’m just passing through.  Unless you’d like to engage in some sort of holiday conversation.”

There was an even louder thud against the door.

“What the fuck?!”  Faith jumped down from the desk, and took a few steps back.

“Sounds like someone’s in there.” Wesley offered, receiving a semi-withering look in return.

“Yeah, and they don’t sound alone.”  Faith fixed her eyes on the door like a movie screen, a smile spreading across the left side of her face.

“Umm, I think we should. . .” Wesley tried to lead her away.
 
“No,” Faith sat down against the far wall and checked the level of her drink, “I’ve gotta see how this turns out."  Especially since the door seemed to be moaning as well.

Moaning and creaking, actually, with steady and increasing rhythm, volume, and intensity.  It’s not easy to recognize a voice from a moan, but she was certainly going to try.  At least she wasn’t leaving until her drink ran out.

Giles’ And Buffy’s . . . ”story” pt . . . 3? 3,5? Pt. X (where X is equal to G+B, where. . .actually just G+B

“Do you hear laughing?” Giles  said somewhat seriously. 

“I don’t hear anything,” Buffy’s answer was a bit too quick to be accurate.

“No, no,” Giles backed up a bit and knocked a fourth box off of the stack, the nemesis of which he had been since they stepped into the storeroom. “It’s coming from up there.”  His eyebrows motioned towards the ceiling. 

“Yes, Giles, the ceiling is laughing at us.  Maybe that’s the sign, a cheerful ceiling.” Buffy responded quickly.

“No, no,” Giles moved the mop away from the door.  “Apparently at least one person has found us humorous.  We'd probably better go . . . at least for now . . . before anyone realizes something more. . .inappropriate.” 

He tried the door.  It wouldn’t budge, as if something were blocking it.  Apparently he had tried to open rather briskly due to lack of balance since a rather annoyed “Hey!” emanated from the other side of the wood.

“Umm something seems to be bl. . .”

He never finished the word.  Buffy stopped his speech by pressing her lips to his, her body to his and his back against the door, causing it to shake.  And, apparently, to say, “What the fuck?” in a strangely familiar female voice.

Giles and Buffy’s Story pt.  Oh, hell with it.

Even if they knew that Faith was just outside, even if they knew that Faith was actually willing to wait quite some time to refill her glass, if it meant she would find out who was in the storage room, they still would have lingered, Buffy resting her head against Giles’ chest as if listening to his heartbeat, Giles absent-mindedly ran his hand through her hair, behind her ear.

There was one last thing he had to do, however, before they could think about getting up.  He had to make sure he remembered.  He reached to the tangle of clothes in the corner and found his jacket.  Retrieving something from the interior pocket, he slid the narrow, white bottle into her hand.

“Buffy.”

She opened her eyes, and read the label, “Lanman and Kemp: Orange Flower Water.”

He responded to her questioning look.  “You win.”
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