*Crack!* Cordelia's hand against his cheek sounded worse than it felt, but it wasn't the pain that made Greg furious. It was the insult. She had dared to hit him!
"Stupid dumb bitch, I only asked--"
"I beg your pardon?" Her stare could have frozen helium, but he was too angry to care.
"You heard me. Or are you deaf as well as frigid?"
"Oh, that is IT. I am out of here and you are out of my life."
She turned to stalk away, but he couldn't let her get the last word.
"Fuck off then! I knew you couldn't handle a real man. Christ, what is it with this town? Every chick here is a fucking dyke!"
Cordelia rolled her eyes and shook her head angrily. "God, I wish that were true. It would certainly teach you a lesson." With that, she pushed past the crowd of incoming Bronze-goers and stepped out into the street, and into freedom.
"For the love of God, you've got to find a way to stop this!"
Giles pushed his glasses back up his nose as he looked up from the book he was reading. His tone was mild. "As apocalypses go, I must say this one does not appear to be all that serious."
From the stacks at the back of the library came the muted sound of feminine giggling. Xander winced and buried his head in his hands.
"Giles, at your advanced age maybe it doesn't bother you, but I'm staring at the tattered shreds of any hope of a decent love life."
As he spoke, Buffy came bouncing over from behind the bookshelves. "You don't want a decent love life. An indecent one is much better."
Her voice was husky, her eyes bright, and her hair totally mussed. Behind her, Willow emerged rather more slowly, her face flushed and pink. She was also still buttoning up her blouse, and Giles cleared his throat and hastily lowered his gaze back to his book.
"Yes, well. This is clearly a spell of some description, so all we need to do is find a way to reverse it."
"A-are you sure it's a spell?" Willow looked dubious. "I don't feel any different to normal."
"I like the way you feel. You're all soft and squidgy and just like me."
Without looking up, Giles observed in a dry tone, "Will you two please stop doing that?"
"Yes, please God, stop doing it!"
Buffy looked up and tilted her head as she observed where Xander was standing. "What are you doing hiding behind the table like that?"
He looked down, then blushed as he looked up again. "Nothing. I just find the presence of this table reassuring."
Now Giles did look up. "Xander, we're wasting time here. If you're not going to help with the research, perhaps you could go and find Cordelia, get her to lend a hand. Where is she anyway?"
Willow turned her face to one side so she could see Giles. "I think she's with Ms Calendar? She cancelled her last class and asked Cordy to come and help her, uh, inventory the supply cupboard with her." She giggled, then buried her face back in Buffy's cleavage and so missed the expression on Giles's face.
"Oh dear Lord." Without another word, he got up and walked rapidly over to the locked cupboard of heavy-duty black magic books. Things were getting serious.
"By Jove, I think I've got it!"
"I hope you're right this time". Xander sighed heavily, and pushed the book he'd finally agreed to struggle through to one side. It caught on something, and he gingerly unhooked the flimsy scrap of white cotton and dropped the bra back onto an open area of the table.
He rather thought it was Buffy's - though he'd been doing his best not to watch, and it could be Amy's instead. She'd come in to check out some books about an hour ago, and Willow had promptly pounced on her... leaving a disconsolate Buffy to go wandering off in search of more sophomore co-eds. None of the girls had spoken to him or even noticed him in four hours. Xander was rapidly learning that most fantasies don't translate well into real life.
So when he saw Giles's pleased expression fade to disappointment and resignation as he read further down the page he was studying, Xander was not a happy bunny.
"What's wrong? Why won't it work?"
"Actually, it would work perfectly. It's just not a counter-spell I'd feel comfortable casting."
"What? I don't care! Giles, we're at Defcon One here; the entire female population of Sunnydale has turned into rampant lesbian nymphomaniacs and you're worried about your comfort? What does this spell involve that's so bad?"
"It's, er, it's a rather traditional remedy actually. A classic, one might say."
"But I couldn't cast it on myself, being, as you so helpfully pointed out earlier, of an advanced age. A young virile man like yourself would be needed."
"Giles, are you sure this spell only affects the women?" A suspicious expression in his eyes, Xander stood and craned his neck to read over Giles's shoulder without actually touching him.
He blinked in astonishment as he read the title at the top of the page.
"'The Magic Penis of Re-Orientation'? Giles, that spell sounds perfect!"
From the various pink wriggling heaps on the library floor, there was a muffled chorus of disagreement.
"No it doesn't."
"Look, I'm sorry, ladies, but even you must admit there's something out of the ordinary going on here!"
"I-it still feels perfectly normal to me."
"You just can't appreciate the beautiful love between two women. Or, uh, three-four-five - oh hi Cordy - six women!"
"It may be beautiful, but it shouldn't be taking place quite so publicly! Or so often!"
Buffy looked up from her position between Harmony's thighs and her brows drew together in a frown. "Maybe... you know, there does seem to be something a little weird about all this."
"A little-? Buff, that's the understatement of the millennium! You can't tell me you'd be doing - doing that on a normal day?"
Harmony scowled. "If she did, maybe she'd be better at it. More practice."
"Hey! If you don't want this from me there's plenty here who do."
"Ooh, yes please."
"Giles, please tell me about this spell before I kill myself. Magic Penis of Re-orientation? And you need a virile young man to cast it on, you say?"
"Yes, exactly. The counter-spell is cast upon the young man's penis. Contact with it changes the sexual orientation of the, ah, recipient to become androphile. Attracted to men. Plus I believe there's a fascination element involved in the spell, such that the organ in question becomes irresistible to anyone seeing it."
"So you're saying one touch from my magic dong would turn them all straight again?"
"Exactly. *ahem* It would have the opposite effect on any male touching it, of course."
"That's really not going to be a problem. So what are we waiting for? Cast the spell on me already!"
"You're sure? I didn't think you'd be willing to make such a sacrifice."
"Giles, this is one sacrifice I'll be happy to make for my country and my friends."
"Very well then. I'll need some camphor, a spring of rosemary, two candles and a very sharp knife."
"Uh... a knife? Why do you need the knife?"
"You've read the spell, haven't you? Now hurry up; the faster this is done the better for my nerves."
"Uh, I may have only read the first line or two and please tell me why you need a knife?"
"Simple. The severed penis is dried out and enchanted into a kind of wand, which- oh my. He appears to have fainted."
But before he could go to revive the collapsed Xander, a kind of ripple ran through the library from one side to the other - and there was a sudden chorus of shrieks as five mortified young women sprang apart and tried to cover themselves with their hands. The sixth looked around, blinked, then hastily copied them.
Giles removed his glasses and began polishing them.
Halfrek dusted herself off with a fastidious gesture and made a little "Hmph" noise as her best friend lowered her arms again.
"That's better. Really, Anyanka, that was one of your less well-thought out wishes."
"You'll get me into trouble with D'Hoffryn. You know he doesn't like us cancelling our own vengeance spells."
"You should have thought of that before you granted a wish affecting "everybody in town" when you're in town yourself. Honestly, dear, didn't you learn anything from that little affair in Venice in '94?"
Anyanka pouted. "I don't remember you turning me down that time."
"That's because back then you got me caught in the same wish too, remember? Now, I don't mean to criticise, but maybe you could keep an eye on this Cordelia girl and perhaps do better next time?"
"Maybe you're right. She does seem to have a knack of wishing for some interesting things..."