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SUMMARY: Giles and Ethan, the electric Kool-Aid funky Satan groove year, in the early seventies. Rated M. Spoilers to Band Candy. Acknowledgements and disclaimers.


Epilogue



122.

Giles got his old room back, on the first floor, overlooking a small lawn. The furniture was as worn and solid as he remembered. Doctor Chalmers had made the arrangements: Oxford could be more forgiving when the Council intervened. They were both old institutions, long intertwined.

It was still a week before term started, but Giles had been there a fortnight already. With the last year lost to London, he'd wanted to review and reconsider his studies so far. His ostensible work -- the degree in history -- still interested him, much as it had done before. It was his other, Watcher, studies that he found himself reinterpreting. He sifted through his old notes, seeing now which ones were of obvious immediate utility, which were theoretical underpinnings, and which were of dubious application. He was motivated for the first time by the class on spellcraft nomenclature, which now seemed to him essential for understanding the deconstruction and adaptation of spells. He saw now how demon taxonomy, with its insistence on the importance of minute variations by fingernail shape and eye colour, was a remarkably practical course of study. But his most surprising enthusiasm was for library cataloguing: how else could one research, at inevitably short notice, which particular malevolent entity one needed to control or destroy?

The calm and clarity of his last days in London, his refound purpose, was with him still. He worked long hours, into the early morning, dining in college three times a day. In the last hour of the evening, before bed, he'd allow himself a beer, a couple of cigarettes, and some time on his guitar.

As he sat there then in the lamplight, London seemed like a mirage. He'd wonder sometimes how Adrienne and Diedre were, and maybe Tom and Stan. He tried to not think too much about Randall, because that made him want to get drunk. And Ethan? Clearly just as bad as Diedre's cousin had once warned, and not nearly as intelligent as Giles had once thought. Anyone clever wouldn't have got caught.

It was autumn, and he felt autumnal. He decided to play a selection from the works of Nick Drake.






FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The Jackanory story is Tove Jansson's Moominsummer Madness. Diedre sings lyrics from The Who's "Magic Bus" and The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour." Ethan's Latin quotation is from Petronius's Satyricon and Giles's translation is that of William Arrowsmith (1959). The stories Ethan tells on the drive back from Stonehenge are very loosely based on Theosophical writings. All of the books mentioned except Love-starved Hellcat and Nurse Turner Runs Away are in my personal collection, although some of the magic tomes are not magical in this dimension. My thanks to D for answering my guitar band 101 questions, although I have no doubt I made errors there anyway. This novel was partially inspired by Doyle's short story about Ethan and Tara in the Wishverse,
The Same Rainbow's End.

FACTUAL NOTES: The magical practices are based on Buffyverse examples rather than on those used in our universe. I have played around with the timelines of the Stonehenge festivals somewhat. Folkestone is actually quite nice.
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March 2013

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