> A while back, a fic challenge on GASP was given:

>Five word wonder.
>Write an ASH based short story that uses these five words.
>Watch, Car, Cat, Water, Shatter

This was my response....

[okay, I'm cheating somewhat. This is set in the universe of "Soulmate Unwanted". All you need to know from that story is that due to a spell gone pffft, Giles has acquired a Familiar, in the shape of an owl. This is so not cannon...]

Five Words and an Obligatory Nude Scene
A challenge short story in 20 minutes or less...
by suricata

Rupert Giles lay on his stomach, in bed, not wanting to look up and see how much time he had left before the alarm went off and he had to rejoin the rest of civilization, or whatever passed for it in this particular corner of the Western Coast of the United States.

For all he knew, it could be half an hour before the time he had set his
alarm for. Summer sessions at Sunnydale were things of vague hours and even vaguer faculty, and nobody would even notice if he were to open the library a bit late.

Or even not open it at all.

He lay there with that thought for a while. Things like that had crept into his brain more frequently since the events of this past winter. Since he had lost Jenny to Angelus' obsessive cruelty, and almost lost himself as well. Thankfully, Buffy's anger had been of the cold, clear-thinking sort, to balance out his unheeding rage. Even Lochan had not been able to stop him from setting out for that warehouse, knowing damn well it would be the death of him.

Although he had done well in guding Buffy there in time to keep her Watcher from becoming a rather charred cinder. He had yet to really come to terms with how he felt about that. The Slayer slays, the Watcher... couldn't just stand around and WATCH.

As though thinking of Lochan had summoned him -- and perhaps it had -- Rupert felt the slightest tug of the sheets, and a heavy weight landing on the mattress.

"Right. Up. Getting there."

The weight crab-walked up the length of the bed, and he opened one eye to see a large golden eye staring back at him, a wickedly-hooked beak too close to his face for comfort.

The owl had arrived through the window kept open for his nocturnal jaunts. He scouted for Buffy some nights when Rupert couldn't be there, did his own thing on others. You couldn't tell an owl where to go: it went as it would, as it would. Like several others in his alleged care.

"A most unsatisfactory Familiar," Rupert said now, fondly, reaching out to stroke the pinfeathers over Lochan's eyes with a gentle finger. The owl preened and then, satisfied that his Master was not likely to return to sleep, launched himself clumsily across the bedroom to the perch set up in one shadowed corner, the perch itself being the padded leather steering wheel from his CAR, which had eneded copious repairs after one of Xander's rather more disasterous attempts at driving lessons.

Rupert swung himself out of bed, stretching in the already-warm summer air, and stumbled into the bathroom. He had moved the week after Jenny's death, after five nigts of sleeping on the sofa, not being able to climb the stairs to his bedroom, but he still wasn't quite used to his new surroundings.

He reached into the shower, turning the WATER on, and went through his morning rituals while the water temperature rose to something approaching comfortable. While he was brushing his teeth, the door edged open, and a small ginger-gold figure wended inside, crouching and jumping to the lid of the toilet. The CAT proceeded to groom itself, absolutely unconcerned by the fact that the bathroom was already occupied. Rupert cast it a sour look, then tested the shower temperature with one hand. Still cold. So much for modern American plumbing.

The cat, a stray Willow had begged him to take in the day before while she convinced her parents that she really should be allowed to have a pet despite the fish fiasco, finished one paw and started on it's hindquarters. Not to be outdone, Rupert shed his pajamas, and reached for a fresh washcloth.

At that moment, the door swung open,and Lochan entered on a slow beat of heavy wings. Typically, the barn owl preferred to be carried while indoors, but the sound of the alarm clock beeping had driven him to drastic measures in order to find his Master and convince him to shut it off so a poor owl could get some shuteye.

Owl and cat saw each other in the same instant, and took an equally hasty dislike to each other. With a yowl that could SHATTER steel, the unnamed cat leaped off the toilet tank, just in time for Lochan to launch a flying attack of his own, fierce claws outspread.

And poor Rupert, caught in the middle, turned too quickly, lost his balance, and fell bass ackward into the tub, landing flat on his backside under a hard spray of ice-cold water.

The resulting swearing singed fur and feathers alike, and the former combatants made a hasty treaty and fled, shivering, for a safer region of the apartment.


Hey. Nobody said it had to be good....