I turn on the bed --awakened by the strangeness of it-- and then I remember where I am, barely in time to keep myself from landing on top of Sandburg who has been relegated to a sleeping bag in his own room. I know it is an emergency and I try to tell myself that it's only for a few days but that only works until I remember that the last time I took someone in for 'just one week' was over eight years ago and he's still here... not that I'm complaining about that.
It was less than a week ago that Giles turned up on our doorstep with literally a busload of slayers and we heard the story of the destruction of Sunnydale... after that I couldn't say 'no' and we've been living barrack-style ever since. I'm rooming with Sandburg, and at least we have the benefit of some privacy, a definite advantage in a situation in which a door is an almost unheard of luxury. My room has been taken over by Giles, Xander, Robin and Andrew while the living area has been claimed by the main invading force: the girls. Tara and Willow claimed the tiny space in the kitchen as their own, there's barely enough room there for a single sleeping bag but that's obviously not a problem and it affords them at least the illusion of privacy. Buffy and Faith pulled rank and claimed the two couches --a solution that's more comfortable for Buffy than for Faith-- Dawn took the easy chair and sleeps folded up like a Swiss army knife. The rest of the girls were relegated to sleeping bags on the floor so at night the living space is an obstacle course I wouldn't dream of navigating without heightened senses... which reminds me that the next time I'm considering investing in some stock a sleeping bags manufacturer would probably be a good idea.
Of course, sleeping arrangements are just the tip of the iceberg. We have over two dozen bottomless pits to feed. I used to believe there was nothing worse than a hungry teenaged boy, well it turns out that hungry teenaged slayers who still haven't gotten used to their metabolisms are far more devastating. Andrew has taken over kitchen duty and the good news is that --given what we've been eating lately-- Sandburg has finally gotten it through his head that there are far less healthy choices than Wonderburgers... it's gotten to the point where I think I'm starting to get a craving for an algae shake.
To make matters even worse there's also the problem that the new slayers still haven't quite gotten the hang of how to control their newfound strength so the loft is being demolished one item at a time. Xander has already had to fix the door twice as a result of one of the girls trying to pull it open without realizing that the thing is locked, which usually leads to the door being pulled off its hinges instead... and in addition to that the bathroom has been turned into the stuff of nightmares.
I used to complain about finding Blair's hair all over the place, now I realize how hard he tried to prevent that from happening... it's like these girls are perpetually shedding but that's not even the main problem. Right now I have to pray to a higher deity for about fifteen minutes before being granted the miracle of the use of my own bathroom for a minute or two, hot water is nothing but a distant memory (luckily Sandburg and I at least get a chance to shower at the PD), and the stench of the place is almost unbearable. Used female sanitary products are driving me insane, but even I know I can't say anything about that one... it wouldn't help matters. I know Sandburg has noticed how much that bothers me --I've seen him emptying the bathroom's wastebasket whenever he manages to get in-- but with over two dozen girls living in the loft that doesn't really make much of a difference.
That's one thing I'm still amazed at: how Blair manages to keep things as close to bearable for me as he possibly can while making everybody feel welcome and maintaining the peace. When our temporary guests first arrived he asked me to help them get settled and left. I admit that my first thought was that he was running away and I wondered if I could possibly emulate him. When he came back I realized what he had done. He had not only gone grocery shopping but he had also gotten most of the things the girls were likely to need. Not just those blasted sanitary products but also tooth brushes, deodorants, shampoos and hair conditioners. I thought it was odd that he would take it upon himself to purchase those items until I discovered that all his choices were sentinel-friendly whenever possible... he had realized what could happen if the girls purchased those things themselves and set out to prevent it. He also realized that there had been important losses... hard to miss with the absences of Spike and Anya, so he dove into yet another aspect of his role as the tribe's shaman, that of a spiritual leader and a spiritual healer.
He has been doing his best to comfort them all, especially those who have been hit the hardest: Buffy, Xander and oddly enough Andrew. Even after all these years I'm still amazed by the depth of his empathy and his compassion. He gives everything he has gladly if he thinks it can help someone else. He even gave Willow and Dawn full access to his laptop.
I have to admit that was kind of funny. At first Willow was torn between thanking him and screaming in despair. Blair's laptop is not exactly a dinosaur, but it's not top of the line either and from what we saw whenever we visited Sunnydale I can tell that Willow likes her computers fast. I think that was the closest I've seen Blair to losing it since the invasion began... when we came home and he found his computer gutted because Willow had decided that it was nowhere near fast enough and took it upon herself to solve the problem. On her behalf I have to say that she delivered and as soon as he gets it back Blair is going to find himself the happy owner of a top notch piece of equipment.
Of course, knowing Willow I'm not sure whether or not I want to know what that computer is being used for now. I have my theories and that's about all I can handle. I do know that when I tried to tell our guests that, being a detective, I was somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of harboring a wanted fugitive --a convicted murderer none the less-- Willow told me not to worry, that that particular situation wouldn't really be an issue for much longer. The way in which she said it, combined with the fact that I could see that she had managed to break into some law enforcement agency's system leads me to believe that she wasn't exactly referring to the fact that she expects Faith to be turning herself in to the proper authorities any time soon.
My life is in turmoil as a result of the invasion, my carefully organized world has been shattered and the worst part is that right now nature is calling and I really need to use the bathroom, so I start praying that this time around the wait won't be too long as I make my way through the ever-changing obstacle course of sleeping bags and I try to convince myself that it is only for a few days.
Author's Note: I have received some comments pointing out that Tara died in season six. I am aware of this, however this universe went AU after Out of Heaven, when Blair talked Giles into staying after the events in Once More, With Feeling. Because of that the events in season six did not happen quite as in canon and that accounts for why Tara is still alive here. As to the events in season seven, there are some minor discrepancies but for the most part those were set in motion by the spell in Bargaining and were not really affected by Giles presence in season six. To answer these and other questions I have created a FAQ file for this universe, you can find it here.