Look Who’s Stalking
A/N From here on in, I was too lame to get these beta’d before posting day, so feel free to point out any glitches. Just don’t blame my more-than-fabulous beta denny_dc
Back in her room, Buffy stripped the top layer of sweatsuit from her body and folded herself into the chair, turning toward the window to watch for Spike’s return.
Her hope was, that he’d know something, someone, had been there, but not who or what. She went over her precautions in her mind again, trying to think if there were any bodily trace, scent, or sound she’d left unaltered. She couldn’t think of one.
What am I waiting for? I didn’t even do anything. What if he doesn’t notice?
He had to. Vampire senses. If she’d learned one thing since being called, not much got past them—not even citrus.
It wasn’t the most sinister of smells, but that was her point. Sinister was familiar. He knew what to do with sinister.
He should sense someone, but not her. But maybe something, somewhere would feel familiar. And maybe, just a little, something would ache inside him, and he wouldn’t know why.
“And he’ll say, god, the pain, the pain of the fake blueberry smell on my pillow, it’s too much,” said the undervoice. Yeah, well, he might. It could be . . . highly toxic to vampires. Or, cause allergies. And you shut up already.
“Yes, death was no match for the blond vampire, but the cornucopia of fresh scents proved too much for William the Bloody. The Scourge of Europe was on his knees at last.”
I thought I told you to—“You know, I have got to get out more,” she said out loud.
A sudden explosion several feet from her elbow forced Buffy to postpone her internal dialogue to investigate. The smoke in her eyes made this difficult at first, but as the foul-smelling vapors cleared she made out the lines of a familiar robed figure.
“Now, I’m dying to know. Is it your winning combo of smoke and ugly that gives you your trademark smug look, D’Hoffryn, or is there product involved? Oh, and one other thing. What the hell are you doing in my room?”
“Slayer.” The vengeance demon rubbed his grey hands together in an unmistakably smug gesture of anticipation. “Your own trademark bravado is holding up . . . fairly well under the strain. I didn’t expect to see you again after . . . Anyanka’s sad passing.”
“Yeah, I know you guys were close, especially after you tricked her into sacrificing her best friend.” Buffy crossed her arms in front of her and shifted her weight to one side, cocking her head in mock-sympathy. “I’m sorry for your loss, but I didn’t expect to see you either—in my bedroom. Don’t you demons have any sense of boundaries?”
“I understand your natural horror of anyone invading your personal . . .” D’Hoffryn looked around pointedly at the beige-orange squalor of her quarters, “. . . sanctuary. I understand how—unseemly any kind of snooping must seem to someone of your moral stature.” The demon stared unflinchingly at Buffy and feigned repressing a small smile.
Buffy narrowed her eyes and fought the urge to look down. She hoped she wasn’t blushing and compensated by tapping her foot in impatience. “And you would be here trespassing on my moral stature why, exactly?”
D’Hoffryn drew himself up to his full height and his gaze grew suddenly serious. “As it happens, Ms Summers, I’m here on official business, and thus my visit is fully sanctioned by all the rules of Demonic Ettiquette.” He looked at her curiously, giving her an opening.
“And this official business would be . . . selling Girlscout Cookies to pay for the robes? Because I didn’t make any wish. Not one. I don’t need help with vengeance. Remember? Slayer here. I kill my own demons. Maybe starting with Miss Demonic Manners, if she can’t get her act together—even hellspawn should call first.”
“Ah, Slayer. Always so . . . peppy under pressure. And indeed I must commend you on your recent—departures from your typical modus operandi. I agree that merely dusting the vampire who scorned you would be lacking in imagination, given your calling. Not to mention repetitive, since he’s already died twice to little ultimate effect. Your current methods, though crude, show a flair for subtlety that I have every faith could be honed into a real appreciation for the most exquisite torture.”
Now Buffy could feel her cheeks burning. “I’m . . . not interested in exquisite . . . any of that. If you’re here about Spike that’s, that’s just, um . . . complicated, but not in any kind of vengeancy way. Again,” she shook her head, trying to recover her usual sense of moral superiority while squashing any thoughts of exquisite torture and Spike at the same time, “Slayer. Not torturer.”
D’Hoffryn smiled slightly. “If you say so. Although there’s evidence to the contrary.” He looked around pointedly again at the various drugstore detritus that littered the small room. He picked up a small tube lying on the floor and turned it over in his mottled grey palm. “Blueberry soufflé?” He grimaced. “Considering your victim has a particularly sensitive olfactory, an inspired choice.”
“Hey. It may not be your demon cup of tea, but Spike might think it’s—berrylicious. See? No vengeance. More like . . . potpourri.” Buffy tossed her hair as D’Hoffryn snorted.
“Of course. A world of difference. Perhaps you’re right . . . or perhaps the torture is more . . . self-directed. Is that a Summer’s Eve box—“
“D’Hoffryn! Boundaries!! Do you mind?–”
In the corner of her eye, Buffy caught a slight movement outside the window and suddenly her entire focus shifted, her body poised and tense. Her eyes firmly fixed on the window, she gestured toward the door. “Ok. Nice chatting. Gotta go now. And I promise, if I have any vengeance needs? You’ll be the first one I call. If you leave now.”
D’Hoffryn beamed—in a grey, scowly, demon-like way. “My talisman will be on the bed next to the . . .” he looked at the tube. “Lemon Parfait Mousse. I’ll look forward to hearing from you, Ms Summers, when you decide more clearly just what it is you’re after. It’s been a pleasure, as always.”
“All mine I’m sure,” muttered Buffy. Her eyes remained frozen at the window as another small explosion and brief wave of noxious fumes alerted her to her guest’s exit. And D’Hoffryn? Don’t let the smoke hit you on the way out.
The movement she thought she’d seen had apparently been a false alarm. The apartment across the way was still dark with no signs of unlife that she could detect.
Buffy sighed and flopped back into the chair. She ran her hands through her now stickily-matted hair. Maybe D’Hoffryn has a point. What am I after? Do I even know?
Another sudden movement outside his door caught her eye. She stiffened and turned, putting the binoculars to her eyes. She watched transfixed as the streetlights dimly silhouetted his form against the building as he dug around for his keys.
That’s Spike, fumbling for his keys.
The door across the street open and the dark form pushed its way through it, pausing briefly before slamming it shut behind him.
That’s Spike, sensing something’s different. That’s Spike, already feeling uncomfortable.
This is me, watching him.
The edge of light came on around the edge of the curtains, and she could see the familiar silhouette moving restlessly behind them. Buffy settled into her chair.
That’s Spike, trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. And this is me, still watching him. And he doesn’t know I’m here.
Yep. There’s the fun, alright. She grabbed her phone. I think I’ll order a pizza.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/69454.html