I’m sorry! My internet crapped out on my today and I couldn’t access my saved entry! So here I am, an hour past my date, and I’m horning in on contance_b‘s day. Pllleeeassse don’t be mad?
Without further ado:
title: For Good 6
summary: Andrew never was good at keeping secrets. When he lets slip of Spike’s little resurrection, Buffy decides she’s had enough of the running away, insecure, vampire-with-a-soul crap. She’s bound and determined to go to L.A and shake things up just a bit. [Post-Damage, spoilers through You’re Welcome, AU AtS S5]
Immediately there is furor all around them.
“You saw me as a big blue thing? And you’re sure I was evil?”
“Okay, maybe you weren’t explicitly evil. But you were definitely standoffish. You had that badass prowl thing that Connor–” Cordelia stops, glancing at Angel. “This guy I once knew, had.” Her eyes are far-away, remembering. “Then you picked up Spike by the throat, slab he was attached to and all, and threw him across the room. Called him the shell’s intimate.”
“I am not intimate with shells, nor have I ever been,” Spike says indignantly. “I may be a deviant, but I draw the line at inanimate objects. Most inanimate objects,” he adds as an afterthought.
“We believe you,” Buffy soothes. “I think it just means that whatever takes over my body does just that: takes over my body. Nothing left of me in there, and that’s definitely dangerous. Slayer body with a demon inside it? Of the bad, no good, horrible variety. But look, guys. This vision doesn’t necessarily have to come true. You get them so we you can prevent what you see from happening, right, Cordelia? So all we have to do is prevent a few key things from coming to pass, and yay–apocalypse averted.” She straightens, squares her shoulders. “We can do this, easy-peasy, and hey. What does that mean anyway?”
“Buffy, you can’t be so casual about this,” Angel interrupts. “Things in LA are different than they were in Sunnydale. The evil isn’t so overt–it’s gonna take a lot of digging. Cordy, how long do we have?”
Cordelia sighs. “I think the people in the club were celebrating something. A birthday. There was balloons… confetti. People yukking it up. There was…God. A banner? Something…” Cordelia closes her eyes, thinks. “Yeah, a banner… it said Happy Twentieth Birthday! in all those tacky shiny letter thingies. Yuck–would it kill to use a little class when it comes to party planning?” She shrugs. “No name though.”
Angel frowns. “What about the guy in the vision? Did you get his name? The girlfriend was Jane, or Jen, you said. But what about the guy?”
Cordelia squints. “I think she was saying a name as she was, well… bleeding to death,” she confirms. “Maybe it was the guy’s name? Or the demon’s? Pike, so I’m inclined to think: demon, but then, parents are pretty progressive these days.”
Buffy and Dawn both stop short. “Pike?” they say in unison.
“Well, it’s either that or Ike. Maybe Spice? I don’t know, I’m not some kind of a private detective!” She cocks her head. “Anymore.”
“Cordelia, come on. Was it Pike, are you sure?” Buffy asks urgently. How much would it figure that this big evil involves one of her exes? Throw Riley in the batch, and it’d be the funnest party ever! Although she probably wouldn’t mind sacrificing Parker to a bunch of demons, but she doesn’t make that well-known.
“It’s Pike. It was so unusual, I guess it’s sticking with me. Oh, you would know, wouldn’t you, Buffy?” Cordelia gives a pointed look.
“Of course, Cordelia, especially since I know him.” Buffy sighs. “Dammit. Just please let him not be a demon-worshipper.”
“Buffy?” Spike asks. “Who’s this Pike fellow?” His eyes are narrowed and he looks a bit put out, which would be charming if it weren’t so dumb.
Buffy arches a brow. “Down, bleached-with-envy. It’s the guy you were so charmingly accusing me of flirting with earlier.”
“Soul patch?” Spike asks incredulously. “He’s our big link to defeating this evil?”
“Pike was here?” Dawn questions, her eyes scanning the room. Buffy remembers that Dawn had a rager of a crush on Pike once upon a ten year old dream, and she stifles a sigh. Prepubescent, whiny Dawn was so much easier than seventeen year old, having of the teenage body parts Dawn.
“Who’s Pike?” Angel asks piteously, his expression a little grumpy. Buffy has to hide a smile, even though she’s groaning on the inside. Look at all the jealous guys, she thinks bemusedly, except that he’s the one who dumped me, and the other one died and came back without letting me know. Stupid jealous guys!
Buffy passes a hand over her face. “An ex, of course,” she mumbles. “Shoot. He was here!” She looks around and prays he still is. “Okay, listen. Dawn, Spike, you two know what Pike looks like. You guys comb the crowd and outside the bar, see if you can find him.”
“I was like, ten, when I last saw him, Buffy.” Dawn protests, but the tell-tale gleam is in her eyes as she rakes a hand through her long hair. Gunn looks a little ticked.
“He still looks the same, Dawnie. ‘Cept he grew a soul patch and he’s wearing an updated thrasher tee-shirt. Spike? Look after her.” Spike looks at her for a moment, clearly not liking being sent on an errand looking for Buffy’s ex. “Please.”
“Always do, pet,” Spike finally sighs, then, his hand at Dawn’s elbow, he guides her through the crowd as they begin to look for Pike.
“Okay,” Buffy says, turning back to the group. “From what I remember, Pike’s birthday is…what’s today? The…oh my god. His birthday is in three days! Three days. Okay, alright, that’s longer than I’ve gotten for some apocalypses, I can do this…wait, what if it isn’t his birthday they’re celebrating anyway? He’s not twenty. Why didn’t you listen when he was talking to you, Buffy? Stupid Slayer attention span!”
“Buffy.” Fred’s hand is on Buffy’s shoulder. “Hey, there. You don’t have to stress out, okay? Having an embolism would be really bad, although I suppose it would get you out of bein’ the host to some parasitic demon, but–the point is. You don’t have to do it alone.”
“Yeah, girl. We got your back,” Gunn confirms, giving her a smile that doesn’t nervously twitch for once.
“He’s right, Buffy,” Angel says quietly. “We’re gonna make sure this vision doesn’t come into fruition.”
“I’m okay,” Buffy protests. “I’m not worried–” Just a little hyperactive, but there are medicines for that. Like Valium. Ooh, Slaying on Valium. That’s an acid trip waiting to happen. Buffy probably should be worried at the way her thoughts tend to derail, but she’s too busy derailing to care.
“Puh-lease,” Cordelia scoffs, breaking through Buffy’s momentary distraction. “You’re not worried that I saw you as the empty shell being taken over by an ancient demon?”
“She fought the very First Evil, sweetlips,” Lorne chimes in. “I’m betting our Buffy isn’t too rattled by something she’s determined not to let happen. Good for you, kiddo–you’re starting to understand destiny is what you make of it.”
“I stopped worrying about dying a long time ago,” Buffy says quietly. It’s true. After The First Evil, everything else feels small potatoes. Buffy isn’t just unafraid of dying though–more like, she’s afraid of not living while she’s alive. “It doesn’t mean I don’t take this seriously. I know if that thing takes over a Slayer’s body, then we’re all in deep doodoo. And I don’t want Pike dead, or any of those clubgoers dead, either. But we have to think rationally and positively, okay? It doesn’t have to be the end of the world.”
Fred smiles. “Truer words never spoken,” she says. “I like your positivity.”
“Thanks,” Buffy smiles. “I like it, too, keeps me saner than–well, not sane. Now, listen.” She sighs, thinking hard. “Okay, we have three days to figure out things. First things first, we need to track down both the sarcophagus and the location of the bar.” Buffy stops. “Angel, Wolfram & Hart has a lot resources, right?”
“The best,” Angel affirms. “We’re at your disposal.”
“Oh.” Buffy’s eyes are wide. “No, I didn’t think–Angel, this is your thing, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean–”
“No, don’t worry,” Angel says. “You’re…doing a good job. Maybe it’s time I let someone else take the reigns for a bit. Might keep people alive for once.” His eyes burn with past recriminations, and maybe Buffy doesn’t want to kiss him anymore, but she does want to hug him and tell him she understands. She settles for a small, shadowed smile.
“Doubt it.” she says. “I have the same unfortunate tendency to get people killed as you.”
“Well, that’s encouraging,” Wesley interjects dryly. “Believe us, Buffy. If we were to listen to anyone else’s unorthodox methods besides Angel’s, we’re glad it’s a Slayer’s. The Slayer’s.” His smile is almost proud, and Buffy feels a little bit of regret that she doesn’t know what Wes is like anymore, not as a colleague or a Watcher. She thinks they may one day have been friendly, even, given the chance. Would like the chance, after this all. With all of them.
“Well…good.” Buffy says, touched. “Unorthodox method one: I need someone at Wolfram & Hart to dig up as much info on Pike as possible. Including his girlfriends. Uh, excepting me, of course. Illegal is your middle name up there, right? So don’t worry about anything untoward.”
“I can do that,” Fred volunteers. “Although, my middle name is actually Millie. I’m good with the computer hacking if there’s nothing scientific around to concoct, and my moral compass mysteriously breaks down when I enter that building. Or at least, it will for this.”
Buffy nods. “Good going, Millie. In fact, we should probably set up base at Wolfram & Hart. I’m gonna need Gunn to follow up leads on that sarcophagus. Find out everything you can about it. That is one of the most important pieces to this entire puzzle.”
Gunn assents, looking sheepish. “I got it,” he said. “And I, uh, promise not to sign anything without thinkin’ again.”
“Beneficial thoughts, lawyer boy,” Buffy says. “Wes? I need you to find out what you can about the Well thingy, and–hey. Does Wolfram & Hart have private jets?”
Angel answers. “Better believe it.”
Cordelia gapes. “Really? When this mess is over, it’s so Paris for us, buster!”
Buffy gives a weak grin. “Great. Well, why don’t the two of you take a mini-vacation to the Well’s location when Wes finds it, and hit up this graveskeeper for any info about the Old One who may have been stolen. Mention blueness, ask for things like names, origins, followers, weaknesses. Yeah, weaknessess are a plus. Okay?”
Angel nods. “Sounds good.” His eyes look admiring, Cordy’s too (albeit grudgingly), and Buffy blooms a little under their impressed gazes. She’s not some sixteen year old moron anymore–she’s a big girl now. ‘Bout time they all realized it. Her voice gets more authoratative.
“Lorne, I need you working the underground demon info train. Find out all you can about anything big that’s supposed to go down in a club setting. And I don’t mean a gig-big. I mean end-of-the-world big. Mention Pike’s name, see if it rings a couple of bells. Damn, if only I could remember his club’s name–”
Lorne nods. “Easy, sugar. Not a problem. What about you? What are your well-manicured fists of fury gonna be doing?”
Buffy frowns in thought. “Well, while we wait for the apocalypse, someone’s gotta patrol. Right? And I’ve been jonesin’ for some vampiric smackdowns for a long time. I guess, point me to choice vamp spots, and I’ll be on my way.”
“I’ll join,” Spike chimes in. Buffy turns and her eyes dim as she sees Pike is not with Dawn or him. “He left ten minutes ago,” Spike explains at Buffy’s downcast look. “Little bit asked the bouncer.” He gives Dawn a reproving eye. “Chatted the meathead up, more like.”
Dawn shrugs. “If you had boobs, you’d use ’em, too.”
Buffy can’t disagree, and from the look on Spike’s face, neither can he. They both shake their heads to rid themselves of the disturbing thoughts, and Buffy speaks.
“He’s gone?” she asks, despaired. “Well. Nevermind. Fred’s gonna track him down, and I have faith in her abilities.” She tries to smile brightly, racking her mind for anything she knows of her elusive ex.
Spike smiles fondly. “So do I, have faith in her abilities. Brought me back, didn’t she?” Fred smiles shyly back, and Buffy is struck by all she doesn’t know about Spike’s bond with Team Angel. She sighs; now’s not the time to think about it–she should just be glad there’s no more testosterone shows bandying about.
Then something clicks.
“Wait! I know Pike said he spends time in New York. In fact–” Buffy slaps her forehead. “I remember now! Lorne, the club’s called Chosen, in New York City. I of all people should’ve remembered that. Find out what you can about it, and any parties happening there in the next few days. I’m almost positive that’s what we’re looking for.” She shakes her head. “I’m so dumb. He laid it all out in front of me. He wanted me to come. What if he’s in trouble with the cult and that was his cry for help? I ignored it!”
“You’re not dumb and you didn’t ignore anything, love. How did you know your ex was gonna end up being vital to an evil plot?” Spike tries to comfort her, his voice cajoling.
“Uh, because it’s me and this stuff always seems to happen?” Buffy says. “I killed one,” she says, pointing to Angel, “And come to think about it, I killed another, too.” Spike grimaces. “And hey, I ran off quite a few, too! This is keeping with tradition–not only did I run Pike off, I also am getting him killed.” Buffy shakes her head and whines slightly. “All I wanted was a nice vacation. The only stressful thing was gonna be whomping you about the whole lying-about-your-resurrection thing. But nooo. Some stupid demon clan’s gotta make a ritualistic sacrifice.” Her pout intensifies. “Someone is going to pay so bad.”
Dawn wraps and arm around Buffy’s shoulders. “You bet. I can scream at the loser when we find them, if you want.”
Buffy, having been on the recieving end of Dawn’s sonic blare of a voice, gives a weak smile. “Yeah, that’d be nice retribution,” she agrees. “Okay.”
Spike grins. “Don’t be in a strop, pet. I have an idea that will make everything better.” His eyes shine with that gleam he always used to get when he got particularly devilish ideas. “Let’s go to New York.”
Immediately again, there is furor. Of the non-furor-ish sort. In fact, it’s a flurry of appalled voices and shocked tones. Like Spike has had a good idea for once.
“That’s not a bad idea,” Wesley says carefully. Buffy rolls her eyes and prepares to say that yes, yes it is a bad idea, because Scooby road trips? Never good.
“See? I had a not bad idea,” Spike smirks. “I’m telling you lot, drop Wolfram & Hart. All the action’s in the city that never sleeps. I miss the place, to be honest. All those starving artists and their bloody creative impulses–felt really at home. Before I ate them, of course.”
Buffy squints. “Of course,” she scowls. “And I veto the idea. It’s a stinky idea, and that’s not a fun pun about New York subways and sewage and ew. We can’t all go to New York. We’ve got things to do! Research and prep and slayage–”
“Put a pipe in it, blonde and brawn.” Cordelia interrupts. “You and your bleached boyfriend can take a plan to New York, do your slayage there. Meanwhile, go undercover and look up a little of Pike or Pice or whatever’s club scene. Do some sleuthing. Not that hard.”
She looks at Buffy like she’s the crazy. Spike’s hand reaches to Buffy’s and his fingers lace through her own.
And maybe she is, ’cause road-trip with Spike? Suddenly seems like a great idea. Smoochies, Buffy thinks vaguely. Lots of ’em.
And so it’s decided. “A New Yorkin’ we will go,” Buffy finally decides wearily. “But no subways!”
Not a large offering, but it’s all I could do today! Forgive me… *whimpers* and spuffy love to all!
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/128972.html