Fate knew there was something more to the way Giles was acting than simple shock over actually meeting the living embodiment of a force of nature. "You know, the way you keep staring at me, you'd think you'd seen a ghost." She was mystified at the look of pain on Giles' face.
"You could say that. You look just like the woman I loved, before she died."
Fate thought back. Hold on... was this THAT Rupert Giles? The one she'd set up with a woman named ... Calendar, that was it. And the straw that broke the camel's back in her relationship with Death, when he'd taken the woman away just as Fate's work had reached fruition.
Fate's face darkened. Death was SO going to get it when she caught up with him.
Oz was sitting patiently in a corner of the room in the Bronze, hoping Willow would be coming in soon, when an odd fellow came up to him. He was short; about 5 feet tall, wearing a brightly colored Hawaiian shirt, khaki pants, and mirrored sunglasses. He had pure white hair, with a receding hairline.
"Hi, kid. I'd like to have a talk with you. It's about some friends of yours."
Oz raised an eyebrow, and motioned the man to speak.
"Ok, see, they're going to be in a position coming up in which they have a chance to help out a couple that've recently broken up. Now, we all know you kids have enough experience with that. But, see, the thing is, if this couple doesn't work out their differences, the universe as we know it will be destroyed."
Oz's eyes widened.
"See, the couple in question are anthropomorphic personifications. Death and Fate, to be specific. Cute couple. But see, they had a bit of a messy breakup. And now Death is at odds with Fate, which basically means that people who are meant to live are dying prematurely just to spite Fate, and certain people are getting some very nasty ideas just to increase Death's workload. In other words, if these two aren't getting along, your world suffers. In about two weeks, Death is gonna take somebody to piss of Fate, just some schmoe. Except this schmoe is supposed to give birth to a kid who grows up and saves the universe from being ripped to shreds by a large, angry demon named Bill."
Oz stared at him.
"Not very talkative, are you? Anyway, I arranged for Death to come here, and Fate to follow, so that they could get fixed up. I figured if anybody has experience with insanely complex relationship troubles, it's you and your friends, see? Anyway, they don't seem to be catching on. I need you to go tell your buddies, ok?"
Oz finally opened his mouth. "Who are you?"
The odd fellow grinned. "Oh, I've got lots've names. Lots of 'em. See, you people just come up with names for me by the dozens. Then you fight all these stupid little wars over who's got the right name. Anyway, you can call me Irv. I created the universe. Pleased ta meetcha."
Oz was speechless. Of course, there was really no way to tell this from normal, but still.
Buffy and Co. were madly crisscrossing town in an attempt to find Giles. Their Badminton Game of Evil had to start within the hour, and Giles had to be on one of the teams. Angel did too, but they knew where to find him.
They only had a half hour left, and were starting to get worried, when they turned a corner and ran right into Giles. And a woman who looked just like Miss Calendar.
They stared at each other - Buffy and friends stunned by seeing a woman they thought dead, Giles by seeing a 6 foot tall walking skeleton in a Cardigan.
Fate strode right up to him. Hands on hips, she asked icily, "Just what do you think you're doing?"
NOW? PREPARING TO PLAY BADMINTON.
"What? Shirking your responsibilities again?!"
OH, GET OFF MY BACK.
This continued for several minutes, when a van came speeding up. Ordinarily, Oz jumping out, and actually looking excited, would have occasioned some shock. But they had pretty much used up their shock thresholds for the night.
Seeing the look on his face, Willow asked "What's wrong?"
"Oh, not much. You see those two there fighting? We need them to be a couple again in the next two weeks, or the universe as we know it is doomed."
NAG, NAG, NAG, THAT'S ALL YOU DO.
"Bite me, you skinless loser."
Xander nodded. "Uh-huh. This should be fun. So, who's ready for a game of Badminton?
Tell Sam how great he is
Go to Chinatown. Ask for Kain.