Listening to the radio

The sounds of silence

Author: Norgco <norgco[at]>

Rating: pg at most

Summary: Xander attempts to reason with the group. How do outsiders see Sunydale anyway?

Disclaimer: I own none of them.

Feedback: Please.

Faith and Xander's place, a while after Buffy's Birthday.

"Ok, so you do realise this is nuts, right?" Xander said hopefully.

"Xander it's the perfect solution." Willow responded.

"Ok, look, so Buffy's got that Post Trauma thing, since when was being made some kind of sex slave the recommended therapy for that?" There were times when it was hard for him to appreciate that ALL the Scooby gang had been diagnosed with varying degrees of Combat Fatigue. And then there were days like today when it was blindingly obvious.

"She needs someone to be responsible for her, for her life so she can focus on being the slayer." His oldest friend said in an upbeat tone. "And see, me, new Responsible Willow with added Wicca features."

And certainly the red head had levelled out and become much more her old pre-black magic self. Becoming Mistress Willow was doing Ms Rosenburg the world of good, being responsible for the blonde slayer meant creating and living up to an image as someone the slave would feel secure in handing power to, Joyce and Tara had explained. She was still working on the details of course.

"Red, you've known boytoy since he was five, and you haven't figured out he doesn't handle the dependent and defenceless woman routine well?" Faith was watching from the doorway leading into the hall. Actually she was leaning on the doorway with a sardonic smile on her face, clearly amused by the whole thing. "You have noticed his taste in women, right?"

The wealthiest of the Scooby's went back to his spreadsheet, pondering alternatives of costing vs. quality of different vendors he was using. The simple fact was that seeing Buffy being led around on a lead made him cringe. He knew why, he had the same government appointed shrink as the rest of the gang, who had told him 'you have a deep seated obsession with not ever becoming your father.' His father who attacked any weakness, who treated his mother like a slave, who drank and bullied anyone weaker than himself. Which was most people.

"Xander believe me I appreciate your hesitation at these somewhat unorthadox living arrangements." Giles leaned over him quietly while the others continued the conversation while walking into the kitchen. The former librarian was clearly uncomfortable with the situation but supporting Buffy in her choices, as he usually did. "However I think we both agree Willow and Tara are a huge improvement over Angel and Spike, and I do know that you have been made aware of her other, ah…"

"Tendency to want to be staked by the vamps rather than the other way around?"

"I was hoping for a more delicate way of putting it but yes." The Englishman had done his best to be supportive and understanding but the Watchers Council would take action if a slayer became too unstable, action of the 'terminate with extreme prejudice' kind. Slayers weren't bullet-proof, after all.

"Got me there gman." Was the response. "And you have got the British Understatement thing down to an art, haven't you?"

Because 'somewhat unorthodox' was an understatement of epic proportions, even in this state. UC Sunnydale was a liberal institution; witness the lack of complaint that Professor Walsh was not only habitually wearing a dog collar and answering to Slave when her female lover visited, she also had a tattoo on her right breast where it was often visible when she wore low cut clothing. The tattoo read 'property of Joyce Summers' in large blue letters on a red background.

Buffy herself was noticeable for the number of times she had saved people on campus from 'gangs on PCP'. When your first introduction to someone is watching them kill in front of you they are remembered. That she and her friends were often seen walking the streets with crossbows, axes, and swords, did not make them any less noticeable. And then there were the loud Latin incantations before the weird looking things they were fighting disappearedexplodedwere incinerated etc.

In the space of two years University of California, Sunnydale had gathered an impressive collection of reasons for out of state students to think California was the oddball capital of the universe. The Lesbian Collective being so open was a shock to some first year students from small towns. Prof. Walsh's occasional homilies on the joy of submissiveness did not help. The battles between soldiers in unmarked uniforms with ray guns and what looked like aliens that had occurred before Walsh took to wearing the collar had not totally reassured nervous students of the safety and normality of life here.

Then there was the werewolf chasing that girl Tara through the halls, the guys ripping peoples hearts out while the whole town developed laryngitis, the warty looking little blokes in robes and the men in medieval clothes and swords running around last year, all somehow connected to Buffy and 'unconventional' seemed inadequate. The fact that Buffy's female friends had a habit of picking up girls before, after, sometime DURING battles to the death was also cause for talk.

Indeed it was the cause of the Sunnydale Heterosexual Pride group, as the female students who were not interested in sleeping with Faith, Tara, Willow, etc. started feeling like an oppressed minority. Or at least an endangered species. That Xander, the outwardly most normal of the elders Summers girl's friends had scary non-human things scared of him, military types saluting him even in civilian clothes, and Faith as a wife was less than reassuring.

"So, gman, what the latest big bad?"

"Nothing has become noticeable and don't call me gman."

"So, nothing strange is happening on the hellmouth?" The dark haired businessman/demon hunter said curiously. Buffy, who had re-entered the room with the other females, spoke up in answer to this.

"Dawn's dating."

"Really B, so, who is she?"

"It's a guy named Howard."

"Dawn's dating a GUY?" Tara asked, not sure if she had heard right.

"Yes, a normal, human male with no interest in magic or demons or anything except getting into her pants."

There was silence in the room for a few seconds.

"Dawn's dating a guy?" Willow asked.

"Yes." Buffy answered.

"With a pulse?" Willow questioned.

"Yes." Buffy responded.

"Not a wizard or a demon?" Giles inquired.

"None of that stuff, no."

"Looks like we have a long research session in front of us at the magic box, doesn't it?"