title: Hare Raising
author: Casix Thistlebane

disclaimer: Half of this is owned by Joss and co. Half is owned by RtSH. You guess which is which.... neither is technically used with anyone's permission, but I hope Robyn at least will forgive me... ;D

summary: the Magic Shop is visited by a little fluffy bunny.

Hare Raising
by Casix Thistlebane

It wasn't until he crossed the threshold into his own apartment (so gleefully free of random teenaged invaders since they'd moved the impromptu Scooby meetings to the magic shop) that Rupert Giles realized that he'd been followed. A small white shape darted in as he was closing the door, and no amount of encouragement with a foot and a broom could get it to leave. Finally, he promised himself he'd put up signs advertising a lost rabbit the next day, put down a plate of veggies for it in the kitchen, and went to bed.

He dreamt that night that he was a king with Cordelia as his princess, being chased all over the Sunnydale township by Spike carrying a garden gnome and Drusilla demanding to know "how high he flew". He didn't think upon waking that he could ever find a more disturbing image than Death in a leisure suit, but received quite a shock nonetheless when he opened his eyes to find a white rabbit staring down at him from its position on his chest.

The veggies were left untouched, but someone had drunk all the milk and taken the prizes out of his cereal.

He made himself a pot o tea to calm his nerves before going in to the magic shop, and tried to ignore the dignified way the rabbit hopped up on his table and sipped tea from his saucer.

"And I suppose now," he said to it, "you expect me to think of you as the March Hare instead of the White Rabbit?"

The rabbit blinked at him , then glanced expressionlessly at the clock by the door. He followed its gaze and cursed himself, as he was indeed quite late, and Anya would not let him hear the end of it.

He wondered fancifully for a moment if Anya might perhaps call in sick that day, but then reminded himself that Anya had not been sick once in her entire existence as a human, and that she wasn't likely to start now.

The rabbit spent the entire drive to the magic shop nibbling on his trousers, and he wished to himself that he had bought a stick-shift instead of an automatic, as it would have given him an excuse to "accidently" squash the bloody thing with his left foot. He tried shooing it down the street before going into the store, but somehow it managed to be waiting for him when he opened the magic shop door and was cheerfully sticking its nose, ears twitching, into a jar of iocane powder. Giles wondered if he ought to rescue it from the poison, but before he could weigh the pros of being rid of it against the cons of feeling partially responsible for the death of an innocent rabbit, a scream sent the rabbit skidding off the table. Anya had arrived.

Giles vacillated for a long moment from the rabbit, hiding behind packages of chicken feet, and Anya, hiding behind the counter, then finally ignored both and set about opening the store.

Xander, who had of course followed Anya in (his job had perfect hours that allowed him to somehow never leave Anya's side), finally extracted the rabbit from the shelves and dusted the fine, beige powder from its nose. He stared at the powder, sniffed it, and finally licked it carefully from his fingers. Giles was just barely too late to stop him from performing this foolish test.

"Xander! That was iocane powder! It's one of the most deadly poisons known to man!"

Xander looked stricken for a moment, then met eyes with the rabbit in his arms. The rabbit twitched its nose, and Xander got his color back.

"Relax, Giles. I've spent the last five years building up a resistance to iocane powder."

Giles frowned. "You have?"

"That and Machida drool." Xander blinked and glanced at the rabbit. "Which is strange, considering that I didn't know what Machida drool was."

"Xander," Anya was peering Kilroy-like over the edge of the counter. "Put the bunny down and back slowly away."

"Anya, relax. It's just a harmless rabbit."

"Oh sure, you say that now. But just wait until it goes psycho and bites Giles's head off, just like in that movie with the knights you made me watch."

Xander scoffed. "That's silly, Anya. Monty Python is not reality. And I never made you watch ‘Holy Grail'. It would have been too scary for you."

The rabbit's nose twitched again, and Xander put it down carefully and backed away.

"Giles, isn't there something for me and Anya to do? In the back room or something?"

And so Xander and Anya fled from the rabbit, who blinked at their passing and hopped off to explore the charms box. Giles went about his business, only remembering the rabbit for a brief moment when the creature harassed a customer looking to buy a rabbit's foot. Anya refused to come out all day until Buffy and Willow arrived from classes, and decided to name it.

"Let's name it ‘Meat'. That way we won't feel bad when we feed it to Spike!"

"Anya," Xander put a comforting arm over her shoulder, causing her to jump. "It's time you faced your fear. That's just a bunny."

"Hare, actually." Willow was holding it now, scratching its nose gently. "Snowshoe Hare."

"How about Harvey?" Buffy was looking at it with her head cocked. It was giving her weird vibes and she had the uncomfortable thought that it was staring at her.

"Yes. Let's name it after a six-foot-invisible-thing-that-nightmares-are-made-of." Anya shuddered.

"Actually I was thinking more of the Wonder Hamster."

"We could name it Hunter," Both Xander and Buffy got all googy-eyed at the thought. The rabbit blinked, and they snapped out of fantasies sharply cut off and left forever unfinished.

"I think its a she." Willow commented. If rabbit's could purr, this one would have.

"How about Robyn?" Tara put in, and the others noticed for the first time that she was there. "That way it could work for a boy or a girl."

The rabbit jumped into Tara's arms, causing Anya to squeak and run.

"Robyn it is then."

Anya shrieked from the back room.

"I better go talk to her." Xander turned but was stopped by Buffy's hand on his shoulder.

"First I have a question." Buffy looked uncomfortable for a moment, then seemed determined. "Do you have any brothers? ‘Cause last night I found headstones for Aaron, Andrew, and Anthony Harris. I could swear they weren't there before...."

Xander seemed to deflate. "Yeah, they were my brothers. That's why my parents are--"

"Xander, I've known you your entire life, and I don't remember any brothers." Willow stared at him, looking extremely distressed. Xander's jaw worked for a moment in confusion, but before he could answer, Anya came charging out of the backroom with an axe, screaming for blood.

Several things happened at once as Xander and Buffy grabbed Anya's arms and Robyn leaped behind a slew of spontaneously recreated characters, including Jenny Calender, and Riley holding a handful of tinsel. Once everyone had been calmed down and the spell Willow and Tara had automatically started had been aborted, they got Anya to explain.

"It's a demon! Sort of." Anya glared at Robyn, who was innocently munching lettuce. "It distorts the universe to serve its own twisted whims! You can't trust it! It'll do whatever it has to to get its way!"

"Anya," Giles leaned against the counter tiredly. "While you are usually dependable in cases like these, please understand where we would be inclined to doubt you. We all know of your bunny- fear--"

"Why do you think I'm afraid of them in the first place?" Anya fingered her axe. "Robyn delights in wreaking havoc with absurdity, angst, and bad spelling!"

Robyn turned up her nose at Anya.

"There's no record in any of my books of a universe altering hare."

"Of course there's not record! They mask themselves behind disclaimers! There's only one book to use." Anya plucked a book labeled "Fanfiktione A-Z" from the shelves and opened it to the ‘R's. "There!"

Giles glanced from the ancient wood cut of a rabbit in sunglasses to the rabbit on his counter, who blinked up at him. "Good lord. How do we get rid of it?"

"Well," Anya looked at her axe disgruntledly. "Since you won't let me kill it, we have to wait for it to get distracted by something in an alternate dimension."

"Right then," Giles closed the book and replaced it on the shelf. "In the meantime, I think we'd best all get back to work."

By dust they'd experienced everything from Xander in tights, to a phone call from a panicked Cordelia stating that Angel had turned into a vampiric cow. They were beginning to wonder if they'd have to deal with an anthropomorphic representation coming to dance with Buffy when the rabbit threw its ears up and hopped out the door.

"That," Giles said, once it had vanished into the sunset, "is the last time I let a bunny follow me home."

Everyone laughed and got back to their daily routines. Well, except for Willow, who came running out of a storage room at closing, screaming that there was a large frog on the wall.

Anya grabbed her axe and smiled. "Can we kill this one?"

The end

Casix Thistlebane
Cheese Guy Fan #1
Exhalted Archivist of all things Ficapaloozian