Nature VS Nurture

Yvonne Miller
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Joined: July 2nd, 2014, 3:20 pm

July 3rd, 2014, 4:27 pm #1

    The last days of summer vacation were dwindling away in a hot and sticky blur. Compared to the Appalachian summers she’d endured all of her life, early August in California was proving to be quite…humid. This was how Yvonne discovered her intense dislike of wet heat, the kind of hot that clung to your skin and dripped down your back. It was nearly suffocating at some points, and it was in a futile act of desperation that sent her mind swirling to a seemingly impossible solution: if only there was a way to banish the damn humidity. It was an odd thought, a random one brought on by only crankiness after discovering that she was still sweating like a pig after changing into a tank top and shorts.

    Nonetheless, this thought reminded her that ,according to what she had been told directly and overheard…magic was not only real, but flourishing. Of course, she’d also grasped the fact that magic could also be extremely dangerous; even if she hadn’t, using cosmic forces to change weather patterns had to have some sort of consequences, surely. That and frankly…she wasn’t that irresponsible or illogical. Thankfully, she’d had the lapse and that moment of weakness, because that trail lead her to The Magic Box.

    It was an odd little shop, but after purchasing an air conditioner, she used a small portion of the remaining funds to buy a few books - no spell books of course. She had no basic understanding of magic and was far too cautious to ever consider playing with things she had no comprehension of. Instead, she bought informational books containing great amounts of information on a variety of subjects; demons, magical artifacts, the magical theory. From her very first visit, she avoided the cursed and blessed objects and ingredients; anything to do with the act of magic itself. As long as she stayed in the books, her innate curiosity couldn’t get the better of her. She hoped.

    Yvonne had been in and out of the little shop for nearly a week, having acquainted herself intimately with it; she would browse for hours sometimes, and with permission from whoever was running the counter that day, do a little reading here and there before putting the book back on the shelf or buying it. She felt a flush of guilt as she walked into the shop with her breakfast, knowing things at home were being neglected. But really, what was more important? Cleaning out the attic or making sure she had a better understanding of the world she now knew she was going to have to live in? Her eyes had been opened, and now she felt the overpowering urge to find every bit of knowledge she could, no matter how appalling. The fact that some demons ate only babies did in fact appall her and for a moment, she could completely and wholly understand the whole aura of the group of rag tag Slayers that had adopted her. They’d seen things, horrible things and it had changed them. For things like she had read about in these books, for things she’d heard the newer girls talking about to not effect someone…that person would have to be even darker than the thing committing such atrocities. Of course, that was where her Slayer training came in, but the group had agreed to give her a few more days to get settled in before putting her into Slayer bootcamp.

    At times it was hard for her to keep reading. She would set the book away for a moment, take a deep breath and close her eyes, and only continue when she no longer felt the need to fling the text away from her in horror.

    But this morning, just like all the others, she entered with a warm smile and the anticipation of learning something new. After kindly offering the person at the counter a donut and extra cup of coffee (she’d brought extra simply because it was the least she could do – and she’d happen to overhear they enjoyed the coffee from the local café in town) Yvonne got to perusing the shelves and shelves of books. Selecting a book on demonic lore, she decided to thumb a few pages before purchasing and returned to her usual seat under the window, using the warm morning sunlight as reading light.

    She looked the picture of serenity with the sun streaming over her; dressed in the same form fitting and modest yellow sundress she arrived in, with those same wheat colored sandal wedges, she looked like she belonged teaching Kindergarten rather than in a store peddling highly dangerous and occasionally dark wares. She wore no makeup, but her honey brown eyes were bright with interest as they locked on the pages. Yvonne wasn’t really one for accessorizing, either; her throat, fingers, and ears mysteriously bare whereas any other young woman her age wouldn’t have hesitated to show off a bit of jewelry. While she wasn’t completely out of place, the aura of wholesome warmth set her apart from the traditional residents – and the cheery smile she offered anyone who met her occasionally wandering eyes marked her as excessively friendly compared to some of the more standoffish regulars.

    The overhead bell tinkled again, marking a new customer, and Yvonne slanted her head to the side. Her long chestnut hair flowed loose, falling over one shoulder as she gave the newcomer a reflexive smile – then froze. Well, she certainly hadn’t been expecting a Billy Idol impersonator. But, an expert in tact, she recovered quickly enough, strengthened the wattage of her smile, and returned to her book.
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Spike
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Spike
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Joined: May 23rd, 2014, 7:04 am

July 17th, 2014, 12:16 pm #2

(Sorry for the long wait. I kinda went on an unofficial hiatus due to lack of desire to write lol.)

There was once a time when he had actually wanted to Shanshu (what kind of laundry detergent sounding name is that, anyway?) -- so much so that he had beaten Angel to a bloody pulp for a mystical cup of Mountain Dew over it. But there was no prophetic reward for his efforts or even Dale Earnhardt Jr. to give him a pat on the back. Spike received nothing but unnecessary bruises and cuts for his sheer desire to live again as human, and he remembered at the time feeling appropriately disappointed at the knowledge that it had all been for naught. Then there was that Doyle idiot -- or rather, Lindsey McDonald -- who had convinced the rogue vampire anti-hero that he was to be the Powers That Be's new champion, and that at the end of it he would indeed Shanshu. But that too had been a well orchestrated lie, conceived for the sole purpose of sticking it to Angel in the worst way (everything always went back to Angel, didn't it?), and Spike was alas yet again left to accept that there was no destiny for him; that he would remain a vampire-with-a-soul for as long as he managed to not get killed. He would remain in the shadows, eliminate any evil he happened upon simply because it was the right thing to do without asking for any recognition, he would watch any person or persons he loved turn old and die while he remained the same, and if he was crafty enough to not get staked he would do it all over again for eternity... or until the world ended.

So you could imagine the immediate gratification he took after a chance encounter with the God of Mischief that had seemingly earned him this long sought after gift of mortality. And relish in it he did, basking in the non-fatal glow of the sun; even in the coldest days Sunnydale had experienced in centuries, Spike felt that brilliant burning ball in the sky shine upon him more exquisitely and gratefully than any other human could have. Then there was food, which strangely enough he already seemed to enjoy as a vampire, and that past-time was heightened ten fold once his tastebuds were actually meant to enjoy greasy, meaty, gluten-infested goodness. He was confident that he had gained a pound or two in the past couple days, but that didn't matter. If anything, the knowledge that he may in fact have to at some point "work out" to maintain that ripped physique was another reminder that he was real. A real boy.

He could do anything from this point. Be anything. Be with... anyone. Maybe someone he already had in mind but was still too much of a pussy to ask. Whatever the case, he was once again a part of the world, rather than the dead thing that took from it.

It was peculiar, then, that he stormed into the Magic Box in a profoundly bad mood. Not just a regular variety bad mood, but an intentionally showy "look at me, everyone, I'm in a bad mood" type of bad mood. Any unfortunate inhabitant of the store would be subject to his scowls and not-at-all concealed profanity-laced mutters.

"Stupid teenage cows. Like I'm supposed to take brass from anyone whose favorite band is Paramore..."

All it had taken was one comment from one of the many slayers under Buffy's watch. One comment inferring that maybe Spike was too weak to accompany them on patrol that abruptly ended his honeymoon with himself and sent him crashing down into an unfiltered tidal wave of insecurity and rage. Even as the former vampire clad in blue jeans and a plain red T-shirt disappeared into one of the shelves, everyone would likely hear him droning on and on to himself.

"Kids today have no bleeding respect. 'Not tough enough to go on patrol.' I've probably shagged half of their moms back in the day and don't even know it..."

"Mommy, what's 'shagged'?" asked a little boy, whose mother promptly took her son and vacated the establishment after a severe "hmph!".

"They don't know who they're dealing with. Even like this I could find a way to horribly kill the lot of them. Most of those half-witted bitches are too busy taking selfies to even learn how to pick up a crossbow without offing themselves, do my bloody job for me... Women of this generation are just completely out of sort, that's the problem. Too much Ellen telling them to run their mouths about everything, and they all think that being a slut is the new way to be a feminist."

On and on this went for five odd minutes until finally there was silence, save for the sound of pages turning.

".. Why the bleeding hell are all the English spellbooks written in complicated nerd-babble? Need to find someone who speaks Loser..."

Spike wandered back out to the general area, whistling jauntily as though he hadn't just had a psychotic breakdown while looking for god knows what. Surveying the area for a whole ten seconds before he decided on Yvonne (possibly because any other present customers had been effectively scared away), pointing at the poor girl and speaking to her as though he was inherently in charge of her.

"You. Judging entirely on the fact that you brought your own food, I'm guessing you spend a lot of time here and know a lot about magical rubbish. Where would a bloke find something in this place to give him just enough super-powered juice to shut some mouthy slayerette's right the hell up?"

He sighed deeply, as if finally he had heard himself out loud and realized the absolute absurdity of it.

"I'm sorry, love," he said more calmly. "I'm a rude man and obviously you wouldn't even know what a Slayer is; lucky you. Carry on about your business."
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Yvonne Miller
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Joined: July 2nd, 2014, 3:20 pm

July 24th, 2014, 1:10 pm #3

It seemed there was a never ending supply of mouthy Brits in Sunnydale; considering Yvonne’s own feminine appreciation of the dulcet tones of the male English accent, however, she could hardly complain. She heard the unamused and frustrated rumblings of the ex-vampire only halfway, the majority of her formidable concentration still locked on deciphering the text before her. The crow of a rooster can actually kill Basilisks? Basilisks exist? Cheese and crackers!

The old adage of ‘cheese and crackers!’ had been a frequent one in the Miller household as her mother had never cursed; one of the many habits that Yvonne had made sure to pick up from her beloved mother, who was now retired comfortably back in Nelsonville, Ohio. An accented oath after another hadn’t escaped her attention, but seeing as this was a public place and she had no authority, she saw no reason for her to get involved – despite the presence of a small child. What a child so young was doing in a magic shop was lost on Yvonne, and she felt a twinge of discomfort. Even with the presence of an adult, was having a young child with a healthy sense of curiosity in a store full of mystical and occasionally unpredictable and deadly items such a good idea? Thankfully that issue took care of itself as, with a huff, the mother disappeared from the shop in a flurry of skirts and good old fashioned female agitation. Yvonne had a feeling that despite his good looks, the Billy Idol impersonator had experienced his fair share of female agitation.

Especially when he made casual and very British references to copulation in the presence of small children.

Yvonne’s interest was only peaked again when she was able to hear more mutterings of crossbows and selfies – was she able to hear him because her physical senses were heightened as well? Or did she just naturally have particularly good hearing? Yvonne honestly couldn’t remember ever hearing so well, and she had also noticed very slight changes in her night vision, sense of smell – everything about her seemed to have changed. It was unnerving, but also quite curious. If the state of her kitchen cabinets bore any witness, it would take some time to get used to her enhanced strength. She was just glad she hadn’t managed to break anything with casual gestures outside of her own home. Yvonne felt like someone had melted and poured her essence into a completely different body. She was still herself of course, but she moved with the clumsy efforts of a toddler as she went about her day to day life, unused to the sheer power flowing through her veins. It had been nearly a month since she was called; she’d noticed that she was slowly but surely becoming more toned and lithe. She had been willowy before (after working so hard to lose the baby fat that seemed to stick with her through high school and college )but now she felt far less delicate.

"You. Judging entirely on the fact that you brought your own food, I'm guessing you spend a lot of time here and know a lot about magical rubbish. Where would a bloke find something in this place to give him just enough super-powered juice to shut some mouthy slayerette's right the hell up?"
Yvonne blinked owlishly at him for several seconds, head tilted to the side in an inquisitive manner.
"I'm sorry, love," he said more calmly. "I'm a rude man and obviously you wouldn't even know what a Slayer is; lucky you. Carry on about your business."

This caused the brunette to emit a girlish giggle. Now that she had a better idea of what was agitating the man, she figured she could at least attempt to help. Especially if it would save herself and the proprietor of the establishment headache in the future.

“Actually, I have something of an idea,” she smiled secretively, “though I can’t help but wonder why the slayerette’s need shutting up. I find them quite charming,” she didn’t know why she was teasing him, but her smile broke out into a full grin as she stood and motioned for him to follow her into a particular row of books. “But that’s none of my business, I guess. So, let’s see…are you looking for a potion or spell to increase your physical attributes or are you content with something that will ail your opponent instead?”

She ran her fingers down the spines of the books on the middle row, skipping over the ones that weren’t in English. “Unless you can read Ancient Sumerian, these three look to be your best bet.” Pulling the equally thick texts from the shelf, she handed them to him. “My recommendation, however, is to use your words.” She said with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, well aware that it was exactly what any good teacher would say to an errant five year old.
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