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The Seven

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"I'm so gonna fail math tomorrow." Buffy flipped the stake one last time, catching it without looking and scowling over at Giles.

How the girl managed to glare and pout at the same time, Giles could never quite figure out. "Yes, well, as much as I admire your devotion to your studies, I'm afraid the end of the world takes priority."

The clang of metal on metal sounded from the far wall and they both looked over.

"That's the problem with demons, today. No respect for making with the learning," Xander interrupted, voice coming from inside the weapons cage. He walked out, one arm clasped around a load of medieval weaponry, the other holding an almost finished slice of pizza. He passed them by and went to deposit the weapons on an empty table.

Giving the stake an absent practice twirl, Buffy picked up her rant. "I'd just prefer if we could pencil the apocalypse in for tomorrow. Why'd it have to choose tonight to go all Eye of Sauron times seven on me, anyway?"

Giles froze, staring at Buffy with a peculiar look.

"What?" she asked defensively. "You try to balance math and slaying and we'll see how happy you are!"

"No, no, it's not that. I just… I didn't realize you read Tolkien."

Buffy scrunched her nose. "Huh?"

He noticed Willow in the corner, nose buried in a massive tome, trying not to laugh. "Never mind."

"So remind me again," Cordelia said, sitting on one of the research tables. "Why am I spending time with you losers when I could be at the Bronze?" She flipped a hand over to examine perfectly manicured nails. "This place is so lame."

"You can always leave," Willow muttered under her breath.

"Because," replied Buffy irritably, "Mister my-seven-eyes-will-unsee-the-fabric-of-the-universe couldn't get his mojo together soon enough to have his apocalypse party on a more reasonable day. Like a Tuesday."

"Oh, what if maybe he wears glasses," said Willow with a smile. "Then we could call him mister fourteen-eyes!" She deflated a little at the lack of reaction from the group. "I thought it was funny."

"It was, Will," Buffy reassured her, reaching for the pizza box. "But somehow, I'm not thinking this guy is much for the glasses look."

"Yeah, otherwise he'd be way too embarrassed to show his face. As if." No one argued with Cordelia's logic.

Giles realized he needed to get this back on track before teenage pettiness doomed the world. He cleared his throat. "Willow, did you find anything else?"

Caught off-guard at being the center of attention again, Willow tucked a length of hair behind her ear and shook her head. "No, only what we found earlier. Destroying all the eyes will make it vulnerable and, you know, stop the end of the world."

"Sounds like my kind of plan!" said Buffy.

Unexpectedly, she startled, mouth falling open in sudden comprehension. "Oh! With the little guys and hairy feet and the creepy stalker guy with his evil wedding band." Buffy turned to face Giles head on, hands on her hips. "Just because I'm blonde doesn't mean I don't read."

"Let it go, Buff." Xander put a hand on her shoulder. "You're just digging yourself in deeper, here." He paused in thought. "You know, it would be pretty awesome if someone made a movie out of that."

"Hobbits." The low voice came from deep within the stacks.

Xander jumped, nearly knocking a pile of ancient books off the table. "Deadboy. Who invited you?"

"Shut up Xander. We need all the help we can get. And what's with the hobnob things? Aren't those the weird cookie things that Giles has at his house? All we have is pizza." She gestured to the cardboard delivery box, looking very out of place among the old books.

Angel emerged from the shadows. "The hairy feet. They're called—" he paused mid-sentence. "Never mind. You needed me?"

"Yeah. Glad you could make it." Buffy flashed him a shy smile before getting down to business, reaching for her favorite crossbow and loading a bolt. The weapon was aimed at the library doors just as they exploded inwards in a hail of splinters and noise. "Let's kick seven-eyes' ass."