February 6, 2022

Dust to Dust

Previously: Mirror Image

A/N ~ *wince* Didn't mean to be gone this long. If it's any consolation to my Skyrim fans, I finally finished Indrathel.

"So...you really work in a magic shop?"

Deciding not to spend all her free time with the undead, Rochelle tried to spend time with Aura daily. They were trying out a breakfast routine by meeting extra early at a coffee shop before school.

"I do," Rochelle nodded, sipping her latte while Aura bit into a cheese Danish. They'd agreed to try everything on the menu at least once.

"So...with spell books and crystal balls and everything?"

"You could say that," Rochelle nodded. The weather in Sunnydale was unbelievably beautiful. The air was cleaner than LA's, and the streets so much quieter. Already the skies were a brilliant shade of blue, without a cloud in sight.

"So, like...love and spells and stuff?"

Rochelle's whole body stiffened. Oh, for fuck's sake...not this again.

Aura blushed as she shyly continued, "There's this guy at school, and I know there's no way to actually make him love me, but I'd like him to just notice me...if that makes sense."

Rochelle's eyebrow went up. So far, better than Sarah.

"Just notice?" she asked for confirmation.

Aura nodded, her dark eyes looking so innocent and vulnerable. "I know I'm not the kind of girl that Sunnydale guys go for, but it would be nice to get noticed once in a while, you know?"

Boy, do I, Rochelle blinked. "I think I might be able to help you out with that. It's something really simple, but I can't guarantee it'll work."

Now, she knew very well it was going to work, but when speaking to the supernatural equivalent of a civilian, it was best to pretend like none of this was actually real.

Predictably, Aura sat up, eyes fixed in rapt attention.

"You get a bottle, fill it with water and sugar," Rochelle patiently began. "You then take a popsicle stick, write your name on one side and his name on the other, then you put the stick in the bottle. Whenever you shake the bottle, chant: Sweet, sweet/you will think/pleasant thoughts/constantly. According to legend, every time you do that, he'll think sweet thoughts of you."

Aura smiled broadly, her whole face lighting up. "That's so easy."

Yup, Rochelle nodded, back to sipping her latte. Now, if only Sarah had tried this instead of bringing the full force of Manon down on that boy.

"You must be learning so much at the magic shop," Aura said, clearly in awe.

"Not really," Rochelle shrugged. "Like, my boss knows the basics, but not much beyond that."

"Imagine if you could find someone who knows even more," Aura told her, resuming her eating.

Rochelle found herself pausing in mid-sip again. As a matter of fact, I do believe there is someone who does know more.

A lot more.


The British librarian wasn't alone at the Sunnydale High School library this morning; he was accompanied by three students who looked like they had absolutely nothing in common. The group...squad...gang was huddled around a single computer, manned by a plain girl with long red hair.

Next to her stood tall, dark, and goofy, who eyes kept roaming to the infamous "perky" blonde on the other side.

So this is she, Rochelle mused. She observed the group closely, chatting away about exposition and strategy. The redhead was clearly in love with the goofy guy, who in turn was obviously infatuated with the Slayer.

Misfits thrown together can never be real friends, she snorted to herself, before clearing her throat to announce her presence.

"Mr. Giles," she greeted, stretching a fake grin so tightly it threatened to break her face, "could you help me find a book?"

Despite being taken aback, the Brit quickly recovered, adjusting his glasses. "Yes, of course. All of you go to class; we'll pick this up when you return."

The redhead logged off while Giles hastened to close and hide some of his more questionable-looking books.

They're probably just want I'm looking for, Rochelle mused. She patiently watched the other three leave and when she was sure they out the door, she turned back to the librarian, wasting no time.

"Your wiles, your wits
Your memories, your mind
To the mouth of hell,
our words, I bind."

There was a subtle yet distinct ripple of energy through the library. Giles was clearly affected; he briefly swayed on his feet, before taking off his glasses and polishing them.

He seemed discombobulated when he put them back on and looked at her. "I'm...I'm sorry?" he faltered.

Rochelle smirked. Even when disoriented, the man still looked and sounded impeccable.

"You probably don't remember me, and let's be honest, why would you?" she shrugged.

"You're new to Sunnydale," he replied, still seemingly lost. "You, er, needed books for your first day."

She raised an impressed eyebrow. "Indeed, and while I was here, it was brought to my attention that you're the Watcher for our new Vampire Slayer."

Confusion gave way to tension. The very timbre of his voice changed as his brow furrowed. "Who are you? What do you know about the Slayer?"

"I'm a witch from another dimension," Rochelle said, stepping forward and raising her hands, as though in surrender. "And I've got no beef with Buffy Summers. My interest is solely in you, more specifically what you know about the supernatural. You will remember me when I'm gone, but not our conversations. I can't run the risk of you telling anyone about me."

"Is that what the spell was?"

She nodded. "My boss at the Dragon's Cove warned me not to get involved in the Slayer's battles. I intend to listen to him."

Tension transitioned into curiosity. "Then why are you here?" Giles asked, his low voice ever so airy. The accent didn't hurt either.

"Because my first night in Sunnydale, I crossed paths with a vampire," she chuckled. "Yeah, it turns out your little city is crawling with them."

"I assume the vampire is dead?" Giles blinked. He said it so casually, so calmly.

"No, he's my roommate," she shrugged. "Along with three others...for now."

Giles eyes widened in alarm as he quickly rounded the table. "Listen to me, Miss...?"

"Zimms. Rochelle Zimms."

"Miss Zimms," he nodded. "You have to get out of there. Vampires are an exceedingly dangerous breed of demon."

Rochelle frowned slightly. "Well, not really. Chris and the others are actually pretty chill. They gave me the best room at the loft. It's like when they died, they just continued on with being who they were in life."

"You don't understand," Giles shook his head. "When a person is sired, they die, their soul leaves, and a demon takes over their body. So when you're with your flatmates, you're not talking to the same people they were in life. You're talking to the thing that killed them."

Rochelle blinked, struggling to digest this new piece of intel.



It was awkward after that, coming home from work and sitting down at the dinner table with three of her roommates who, incidentally, were going out to dine. On people.

How has this not bothered me before? Rochelle asked herself, as Chris, Kyle, and Josh all proudly grinned at her.

"Our den goes live tonight," Kyle cheerfully announced.

"About that," Josh turned to him, "Sam still isn't okay with the fetishy-ness of it all, so I'm thinking, whatever's our take from the den, we can cut her in."

"Fuck that."

Rochelle's eyes widened slightly. She'd heard Chris sound clipped before but now, after chatting with Giles, it felt different.

"Rule Numero Uno of the den," he went on, "you don't feed, you don't get paid. Sam can get fucked."

"Dude, I'm just saying--"

"Dude, you've been into her since I've known you," Chris interrupted Josh. "Get a clue already. She doesn't even hunt with you anymore. Let's face it: she's just not that into you."

There was flash of anger in Josh's eyes, followed by a tightening of his jaw.

Rochelle was disturbed. Josh is into Sam?

How had she missed that? True, she didn't spend too much time with her roommates, but she figured she would've figured that out sooner. And a part of her was disappointed; Josh was the best-looking of all her roommates. If she ever thought about taking that leap with a vampire, he was her first choice.

Now she was sullen. Of course he's into Sam. Then she remembered. I mean, the guy whose body he took over was so in love with Samantha it carried over into the afterlife.

Now she was thinking...was it possible to make a vampire get over the human memories they inherited? Was there a way to make a vampire like Josh remember that he was a free and independent demon who--

Okay, I need to stop. Rochelle sank a little into her chair, embarrassed now. This was getting tacky. Already, Aura was starting to dabble in the Arts just to get a boy's attention, and here she was thinking about dabbling in the undead.

I'm not pathetic anymore, she reminded herself. I left "poor, pathetic Rochelle" back in that other dimension with its poor pathetic excuse for a god.

"What about you, Rochelle?" Kyle suddenly, pulling her from her thoughts. "What are you getting into tonight?"

"Homework, then the Bronze," she lied, rising from the table. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go kill one of you.


"Mirrors to windows
Windows to souls
Show me where
Samantha goes."

Rochelle had been vaguely aware that Samantha didn't hunt with the others, but never cared why. Now she was curious.

The surface of her bathroom mirror rippled and then reflected a vision of the beach back to her. Samantha was apparently roaming alone, not speaking to anyone, not even looking up. It's like she wasn't even hunting (again, not that Rochelle cared).

One locator spell and thirty minutes later, and Rochelle was out on that beach herself, tracking her roommate. It was a mild evening in Sunnydale; the evening winds were lukewarm, the stars were already out, and there were less and less people on the beach as night settled in.

Great thing about the 'Dale, Rochelle mused, it's a town with a bedtime. She wondered if it was just a small town thing, or more of a people-were-subconsciously-aware-of-all-the-vampires thing. She figured it was likely a bit of both. There was no way people had been living in this town for this long without developing some sort of extra instinct.

She found Samantha alone, which she thought was odd, seeing as she was supposed to be feeding, but instead the blond demon was forlornly staring out over the ocean, as though she was seriously considering throwing herself in.

"Now is the end," Rochelle murmured, slowly approaching from behind and pulling a stake from her purse, "let her go in peace."

"Rochelle?" The tall vampire suddenly turned, reminding Rochelle of her superior hearing and sense of smell. The witch slightly winced as Samantha glimpsed her stake. "What the hell?"

Rochelle laughed, suddenly, strangely at ease. She waved her left hand, casting the same enchantment she did the first night she met Chris. Immobilized, Samantha struggled in vain to raise her arms.

"Please don't think this is personal," Rochelle assured her. "It's not. I wanted to kill you the first day we met because as soon as I saw you, I just knew we weren't gonna get along." She shrugged.

"I wanted to kill you as soon as you cast the wards on my loft," Samantha growled.

Rochelle beamed a brilliant smile, possibly the brightest in a very long time. "See? Twinsies!"

The vampire was clearly not in the mood. "Get it over with, bitch."

"Not just yet," Rochelle snickered. "My magic mirror tells me this is where you come when you're not hunting. What gives?"

"Your magic mirror?" Samantha sneered. "You trying to be the Evil Queen now?"

"You know, she really was misunderstood," Rochelle nodded. "But seriously...what gives?"

Samantha seemed to hesitate, then apparently figured she was about to die anyway so it wouldn't hurt. "When I was alive, I had this boyfriend who brought me here all the time. Kevin was his name. We had plans." She rolled her eyes. "We were gonna graduate high school, go to UC Sunnydale, get good jobs, get married, buy a nice house--all of that shit." She paused, green eyes dimming as her voice became more solemn. "But then I died. And he was sad, but for the living, life goes on. So he went to college. He got a good job." She paused again, voice even lower now. "And today he married someone else."

Ouch, Rochelle cringed.

Samantha looked at the stake once more. "To be honest, you'll just be doing me a favor."

"Gladly," Rochelle cheerily replied, her resolve every bit as strong as before. This is why I'm fine with this, she realized. I am this.

"So any last words? Requests? Dirty looks?"

There was a sudden darkness in Samantha's eyes. "Be careful of Josh," she warned.

Now that got Rochelle's attention. "Why Josh?"

"I've always said I couldn't remember who sired me," Samantha told her. "And at first I couldn't. But after a while, I began to remember Josh getting me high and talking about how we were gonna be together for all eternity. I remember him biting me, drinking my blood, giving me his...Chris and Kyle are cool, but if you ever feel like staking Josh, you have my blessing."

The vampire seemed to relax, closing her eyes and bracing for the inevitable. For first time, Rochelle staked a vampire, feeling the wood push through flesh, then give way to a cloudburst of dust. It was both bizarre and magnificent to behold.

So Josh likes to drug girls, Rochelle pondered to herself as she headed to the Bronze. That's good to know.

Next: Orpheus

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