Buffy's having a really strange day.
Chapter five. What happens when Buffy dares to leave the house in her new shape? Characters, in order of appearance: Buffy and Anya. Rating 12. 1390 words. Chapter One is here.
Ch.5 - In which Buffy goes shopping
Buffy was feeling more happy in herself now. She was properly dressed. She'd shaved; the idea of touching her face with the same razor she used on her legs and, um, other bits didn't really appeal, so she raided Dawn's supply for a new one. Her sister wouldn't mind. (And her female houseguest had apparently given up shaving her legs after almost ending the world then joining a coven last year. Buffy hadn't liked to press the matter with her to find out exactly why, but it meant she couldn't borrow her supplies.) After checking in with the said houseguest on her progress, she'd even dared to go out.
With her hair up in a ponytail and a cap pulled down over it to shield her face, she made her way to the local mall for some new jeans. Hardly anyone noticed her; if anything, people paid her even less attention than they used to when she was a woman. She wasn't sure whether to be pleased or insulted at that.
Being taller was great, though. She could actually reach the higher shelves without stretching! And as she made her way through the crowd of Saturday-morning shoppers clustering around the main aisle, she realised that she could see right to the other side of the crowd. Seriously! She could actually see over many of the people's heads! This could be so useful and convenient. And so as she was staring about her, a grin on her face, she found herself staring straight across into a familiar pair of eyes.
Anya. It was Anya doing her own shopping, and Buffy fought the sudden urge to crouch down and hide. Not that she didn't like Anya, honestly; it was just... how could she begin to explain what had happened? This was so embarrassing; going out in public like this was a huge mistake...
Except that Anya wasn't rushing over to make one of her clangingly obvious comments about the situation - in fact, she just gazed blankly at Buffy for a moment then her eyes passed over her onto someone else in the crowd. She hadn't recognised her in her new man-like form! Buffy felt a wave of relief, mixed with a tiny bit of indignation at being ignored... and then a bubble of glee formed in her heart and brought a wicked grin to her face. Deliberately, she walked over towards Anya, casting her a glance as she passed, and began looking at a display of caps and sunglasses on the rack next to her.
Anya looked at her again, frowning slightly, but still didn't say anything. Still oblivious. So for the next ten minutes, Buffy walked from display to display in the store, pretending not to pay any attention to the other woman but deliberately crossing in front of her and sneaking covert glances in her direction. She did her best to hide her grin, wondering how long she could keep this going until the ex-demon realised who she was.
Anya likewise started sneaking looks at her, confusion in her expression, clearly wondering where she'd seen Buffy before... But then she suddenly started preening herself, obviously deciding that the handsome young man hanging around was checking her out. Buffy panicked. She was sure Anya's chat-up technique would be a little more...direct than she could really cope with at the moment, and made a hasty dash towards the changing rooms before Anya could make up her mind to come over and talk to her.
Buffy was also confused by the fact that she'd found Anya really rather sexy herself, and part of her had wanted her to come over. No! Bad Buffy! That would have been way too weird and awkward, and unfair to Anya, and possibly unfair to Xander too (Buffy was still a bit hazy on that part). So clutching the jeans she'd picked out she dashed into the changing room...
...And was met by a barrage of shocked gasps and mutters and frowns of disapproval. Blushing and stammering an apology, she backed out and headed into the men's changing room instead.
Once safely in a cubicle she examined her armful of jeans. Not really knowing her new size she'd just grabbed a whole bunch of pairs that looked in the right ballpark. Now she studied the labels... and the colour drained from her face. 28? 30? 32? She couldn't wear a size 32! This was horrible, a nightmare! No human should ever have to wear clothing whose size started with the number 3! She trembled so hard she dropped the jeans and sat down on the bench with a thump, tears blinding her. It was too much. She wanted to crawl into a hole and pull the world in over her. It was too much.
She didn't know how long she sat there sobbing, but at last she forced herself to straighten out. She was Buffy, goddamn it. She'd fought things that would make normal people flee in terror. She'd faced death and come out the other side. She was not going to let a stupid size label on a stupid pair of jeans defeat her! She picked up the pair that seemed the best fit, gripped the material firmly in one hand then ripped the label clean off with the other. Then stomped it underfoot for good measure. There.
Her face looked a bit of a mess in the mirror, but she wiped her eyes with her hanky and thought that not having any make-up on to get smudged was one bright spot in this mess. Then gathering up the scattered clothes and fixing a smile on her face she walked out of the cubicle - and only someone who knew her extremely well would ever have suspected there'd been anything the matter with her.
"Hello there! Would you like to come and have a coffee with me after you've completed your purchases?"
Oh God. Ambushed. "Hi, An."
"Do I know you? Have we... Buffy?! Why are you a man?"
"Long story. It doesn't have anything to do with you, does it?"
"Pfft. You know I don't have my vengeance powers any more. And turning you into a man doesn't seem like much of a punishment anyway. You're very nicely shaped and extremely sexy."
Buffy thought she ought to protest at that, but in fact right now she welcomed the affirmation. She smiled at Anya and thanked her.
"It's only the truth. So are you gonna stay like that now?"
"What?! No way! Never way! A complete absence of way!"
"Why not? You're much better-looking like this. And as a man surely you're now much stronger and better at fighting?"
"Uh... I don't know. I don't feel any stronger." Buffy gave it careful thought; the idea hadn't even crossed her mind before. Surreptitiously, she looked both ways up and down the aisle, made sure nobody was looking. Then grasped one of the heavy metal and wood display racks weighed down with clothing - and lifted it up one-handed. It came up easily, but surely no more easily than it would have done yesterday. She turned to Anya and shrugged.
Then squeaked in horror as the rack tilted in her hand and all the clothing slid slowly and gracefully out onto the floor. Sweaters and hats and sunglasses went everywhere. Frantically she dashed around picking things up and shoving them back on the shelves, heedless of the correct order or folding. Anya just stood there watching her until Buffy coughed meaningfully, when she knelt down, picked up a pair of sunglasses in each hand and put them carefully back on top of the rack.
"You should be more careful with the merchandise. If this were my shop I would make you pay for anything you damaged."
"You're all heart. Look, I should really get back. Willow's researching how to change me back."
"Already? Don't you want to test out your new body first?"
Buffy eyed her warily. "Test it how?"
"Have sex with someone as a man, of course. It's certainly the first thing I'd do. If there was a suitable partner available, of course..."
Buffy looked at her in sheer horror for a second then bolted for the exit. Anya watched her go, shaking her head in despair. "Waste of an golden opportunity if you ask me. Oh well..."
On to Chapter Six.