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Research. That’s all they seemed to do any more. Ever since Dawn found out that she was the key, Buffy had been like a woman possessed. She hated that she couldn’t find anything to stop Glory. She tore through vamps on patrol. No one could keep up with her. Well, no one but Spike, and he knew better than to get too close. After he had admitted his crush, the Scoobies were all a little surprised that Buffy hadn’t staked him on sight. Which was probably why he was staying out of sight. Never far away, but always out of sight. He followed her on patrol, made sure she was protected when she got emotional and careless during a fight, and stayed in the shadows. Watching her. Protecting her. Loving her. Helping her the only way he could. And the rest of them helped with research, as always. They dug through book after book (or, in Willow’s case, website after website) looking for some way, any way, to defeat a God.

Giles was on his fourth cup of tea that evening, and he had cleaned his glasses twenty three times. But despite these classic Gilesian actions, there was something almost Ripperish in the desperation with which he searched through the books.

Anya was watching Xander, again. She still had trouble with the whole “humanity” thing. She couldn’t believe how much she loved him. She couldn’t believe that he loved her. She couldn’t believe that this man, her lover, teacher, only friend, was risking every thing they had to stand by his friend and fight a God. And she definitely couldn’t believe that she loved him enough to stay and help. She returned to her book (boring, alas, as they all were, not to mention completely lacking in useful information) but at the same time, she reached over and squeezed his hand.

Xander’s whole attention was divided between the book in his lap and the Twinkie he was shoving into his mouth, so he was surprised when he felt the warm pressure of Anya’s hand on his, but he turned, smiled at her, and squeezed her hand back. Maybe he really wasn’t as smart as the rest of them, or maybe he was just na´ve, but he couldn’t seem to believe that the world was about to end. Buffy would save the day. She always did. They would help. They always did. They would survive and triumph and somehow manage to resolve everything by the end of May, so they could have a relatively tame summer. They always did. For a man with no real religion, Xander Harris had enormous amounts of faith. He believed in his friends, his FAMILY, with all his heart and soul. They’d find a way. They just had to keep looking. He squeezed Anya’s hand again, and returned to his book. And his Twinkie.

Willow’s eyes were burning from hours of staring at the computer, but she refused to look away. Buffy would be finishing patrol soon. She’d come to Giles’ and ask, as she did every night, if they had found something. Every night they had had to tell her no. Every night they had watched her face fall for that brief moment as she battled tears. Willow could not bear to see that look on Buffy’s face. She would find an answer. She had to find an answer. She just needed to keep looking.

Tara was bored. She sat on the couch, hoping that she looked absorbed in the book in front of her, and hoping no one noticed that she hadn’t turned the page in the past half hour. Of course, it wasn’t likely that anyone would notice. Willow was the only one who paid any attention to her, and even that consisted mostly of an occasional smile and mouthed, “I love you” across the room. Tara wanted out of there. Out of Giles’ apartment, out of Sunnydale, out of California. She wanted to go somewhere where no one had ever heard of a hellmouth. She loved Willow and wanted to be supportive but sometimes she felt like shaking some sense into the whole lot of them. How could they not realize that there is no way to defeat a God? They should be running like hell, all of them. Well, maybe not Buffy, since she was the chosen one. Let HER fight the big bad evil. That’s what she was SUPPOSED to do. She was the warrior, the saving grace, the protector. Hero was in her job description. But Tara knew that she, herself, was no hero. All she wanted to do was grab Willow and run for the hills. Instead, she was stuck here, researching. Again. Reading the same dull, pointless books that had nothing new to say. No wonder she was bored. After all, it’s not like any of them stood any chance of finding anything in this—

“I think I might have found something.”
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The authors own nothing. Joss, UPN, WB, etc. own Buffy, the show, the characters, the places, and the backstory. The authors own any original plots.