Title: Originally Normal
Beta: Science and TJBW (lots of credit goes to these two, they did a wonderful job editing this story)
Genre: Season 7 AU
Summary: It’s been a year since season 6 and things are going OK for Buffy. That is until things start going wrong and someone finally comes back into her life.
Author Note: I mentioned before that I would post the rest of the chapters today but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get all of them done in time. I can only post the next two chapters. However I’ll post the rest on my LJ, hopefully weekly or semi weekly. I have written up to chapter 8, the rest will be done very soon. Of course they need to be beta’d because without it they’d suck! Thank you all for reading!
The Bronze wasn’t exactly the place Buffy wanted to be, but after a week of being hard pressed to discover anything useful about the coin with the odd emblem and the recent apocalyptic mystery, she needed a break. It was lively at the club, a new popular band was playing, and Buffy was enjoying the music. She had gotten off work early today since it had been a slow night and Dawn was at a friend’s place. Buffy should be happy for the time off.
But of course, she wasn’t.
Willow and Xander were dancing, moving their bodies to the rhythm of the music, letting it guide them. Buffy watched them without actually looking at her friends. Her mind was filled with only two things: Spike and her growing collection of puzzling coins. She now had three all of which had dropped from various demons she had killed recently. The emblem on the coin was ancient, which was the only information she and her friends could dig up. No one mentioned it, but they were in desperate need of Giles. Eventually they would have to call him, but for now they were trying to handle this on their own.
And then there was Spike.
Spike was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t at his crypt, and he hadn’t shown up at her house or her work or even during patrol. Something was definitely up, and she only hoped that Spike had nothing to do with the coins.
The song changed, and Buffy hardly registered when Willow and Xander sat back down at the table. They both had smiles on their faces, and she tried to smile too.
“Had fun?” Buffy tried to sound cheerful.
“We haven’t done that in ages!” Willow grinned as she caught her breath.
“We mopped the dance floor with our feet!” Xander grabbed his drink and took a large gulp.
“You two were really working out there.”
“Want to try next time, Buff?” Xander’s question was soft. He knew Buffy was having a hard time finding a new boyfriend; the few dates she had gone on recently had all flopped.
“Nah, that’s okay, Xan. I think I’m good just watching for now.”
“All right. But if you ever want to be a mop, let me know, and we’ll sweep the dance floor away!”
Buffy laughed, “Too much, Xan.”
Xander looked just a little dejected, “Too much cleaning tool reference?”
“Something like that,” Buffy turned to Willow who was nursing her own drink. “How did that date go last night?”
Willow almost choked on her drink, “It went fine.”
Xander raised his eyebrows, “’Fine’?”
Willow gave them both a smile that seemed just a bit false, “Yup. Perfectly fine.”
“Okay, Will, spill,” Buffy knew something happened with Willow’s date, and this talk about other relationships and other things kept her mind off Spike and the coins.
Willow turned a bit pink and ducked her head, “Well, after our date, she invited me up to her place and …”
“You didn’t?” Buffy asked with a hint of surprise gracing her voice.
“I didn’t. We, um, actually, she wanted to have tea, and we talked. And I really, really like her. We made another date for this weekend.”
“That’s good news, Will. Why so secret?” Xander’s voice rose in pitch and Buffy cast him a glance before looking back at Willow, who was now almost as red as her hair.
“You know when you meet someone, and you feel this immediate connection? We were kind of like that, which I haven’t felt since … well, since Tara,” Willow’s voice grew smaller near the end.
“Well, there’s potential there, which is more than I can say for me,” Xander shifted in his seat, and Buffy knew what he was going to say. “Anya’s still a vengeance demon and seems very happy with making my life miserable. I’ve got no other dates going for me and while work is going smoothly, it’s depressing to go home to an empty apartment.”
Buffy knew everyone was feeling lonely, not just her. Last year, they had all lost their significant others one way or another. But they still had each other, and Buffy had Dawn. They needed a new topic before their night was ruined.
“How’s the magic going, Will?” Buffy again tried for cheerfulness.
Willow perked up immediately at the mention of magic. For all the bad she did last year, she had come a long way since her training with the coven, “Oh, that’s going great. My control is near perfect, and I’ve been juggling between using magic and technology on a daily basis.”
“Anything new on the digital front?”
“Yeah, there’s a new type of laptop coming out soon, which would be really convenient to use, with all of us fighting evil on the run sometimes. It’s supposed to be smaller and more portable.”
“Affordable?” Buffy was becoming a thrifty shopper recently, and her mind did tend to go to finances when talking about new clothes or gadgets.
Willow frowned, “Not really.”
They sat in silence after that.
The song changed again, and Buffy decided she had had enough fun for one night.
“I think I’ll go patrol before heading home. The band is running out of their good songs.”
Her friends didn’t question her, but both gave her concerned looks. She not only hadn’t mentioned Spike’s reappearance, she had refrained from discussing the changes she felt she was going through. She didn’t want to disappoint her friends or give them any more reasons to worry about her.
“Okay, have a good patrol,” Willow gave her a small hug as they all stood.
“Don’t have too much fun out there now!” Xander smiled and nodded as Buffy began to walk away from their table. She would eventually have to come clean about the changes she was feeling and about Spike being back in town. She just didn’t know when.
The graveyard was empty. Not a single vampire had risen, not a single vampire had been hanging around a crypt or had decided to take home dinner. The fact that Buffy wouldn’t be able to slay tonight left her feeling antsy and just added to her worry. The coins, Spike, the odd demon activity, the earthquakes, her changes, and now the fact that she had a vampire-free patrol, the first in months, it all added up to trouble of the sort designed to give Buffy a headache.
The concern at the forefront of her mind right now was her changes. She felt weaker and less coordinated. Maybe she was sick or maybe she was going through a phase, she really just didn’t know. Her instincts felt off too and she wondered if there really weren’t vampires around tonight. She could at least rule out any power-reducing drugs, since Giles was thousands of miles away.
Buffy would not allow herself to think she was losing her powers. She would not even consider that something like that could even happen to her. Her memories of the time she lost her powers on her eighteenth birthday left her feeling horrified. Buffy was shocked to realize how much being a slayer was now a part of who she was but also because she didn’t know how to live and cope without her powers. What would she do if she lost her powers? What would her life entail? Did she want to be normal?
Stepping into the most recent part of the graveyard, Buffy saw a group a six vampires, all of them in game face and heading towards her. She paused, unsure of herself, until she realized it was only vampires, and she had dealt with more than six before. It shouldn’t be a problem for her at all.
Buffy held her chin high and walked right up to the group, all of them stopping when they were close enough, “Hi, guys. Out for a midnight stroll?”
“Slayer,” a thin, gangly vampire growled.
“Yup, that’s me.”
“We heard you’d be weaker tonight, easy prey for the team,” a shorter, stockier vampire boasted as he stepped forward. He wore old clothes and stank of years old trash.
Buffy scrunched up her nose, “When was the last time you bathed? And where did you hear that?”
“Doesn’t matter, you’ll be filling our guts soon.”
Buffy wasn’t deterred, “I guess I’ll have to hit it out of you.” She punched Stinky and he went flying back into the tall one.
The four others charged forward, swinging and kicking. Buffy dodged their attacks and rolled forward toward Stinky. He was getting up, along with the tall one, who she quickly grabbed and threw back into Stinky. By that time the others were upon her again. Two grabbed her arms and she grabbed them back, swinging them forward so they crashed into each other. The other two she dodged while grabbing her stake from her back pocket. Twirling back, she swiftly moved in a stepping pattern to confuse one of the vampires and gracefully got into his defenses to pierce his heart.
Buffy was feeling winded. She spotted Stinky and darted through the other four vamps to nab him by the collar. Which, eww, was probably the one he’d crawled out of his grave in, “Now who was the nice demon who told you I’d be weak tonight?”
The other four vamps, though, were now on top of her. They pulled her away from her intended prey.
“I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you,” Stinky smirked. “Oh, wait, that sounds like a great plan. Except for the telling part.”
“Don’t be rude to the lady, now.”
Buffy whipped her head around at the sound of Spike’s voice. He strode forward, sword held in his hand and a dagger strapped to his belt. Buffy’s heart raced. He looked different. He wore more clothes than she had ever seen him wear before—clothes that looked like they were supposed to keep him warm.
Stinky furrowed his brows and looked at Spike, “Who are you?”
“No one, mate. Just passing through. Now answer the lady’s question.”
Stinky looked disgusted and outraged, “I’m not listening to you or her.”
Spike shrugged, “Oh, well, if that’s the case.” He charged forward with his sword, in a move Buffy had never seen him make before, and cleaved the smelly vampire’s head right off.
Buffy used that moment to free herself and now she faced two vampires while the other two charged at Spike. They circled her, and she had her stake raised, ready to strike, but she was distracted by watching Spike. He was using the sword fencing-style to fight the two vampires who looked to be just a bit faster and stronger.
Her distraction was enough for the two surrounding her to surge forward. One grabbed her by the waist, the other went for her stake and plunged it into her shoulder. She cried out in pain and doubled over in the arms of the vampire at her back.
“Buffy!” She heard Spike, but she wasn’t paying any more attention to him. She pulled the stake from her shoulder and thrust it under her arm. It lodged in the chest of the vampire holding her. His dust still hung in the air when Buffy turned to face her other foe. She didn’t move fast enough; the other vampire punched her in the shoulder, and she fell to the ground.
“Buffy, get out of here. I’ll take these three wankers on myself,” Spike’s ragged voice was loud in her ears. Buffy nodded numbly before standing as fast as she could.
The vampire in front of her grinned, but Buffy punched him in the stomach. When he doubled over in pain, she brought her elbow down on the back of his head. The vampire collapsed to the ground, and Buffy glanced up at Spike. He was still fighting the two vampires, but this time only with his dagger.
Buffy swallowed. She was injured badly, and she knew Spike could handle the rest even if he was fighting a bit oddly. The vampire at her feet stirred but Buffy staked it before it could rise. Buffy grabbed her injured shoulder and looked back to Spike once more before racing home.
Buffy flung her front door open. The house was still and dark, and she was grateful for the solitude. It gave her the opportunity to give in to her panic.
Buffy took the stairs two at a time to the bathroom and her first aid kit. She tried not to think of what happened, or how it could have happened. It should have been easy to kill those six vampires alone. The fact that she had needed to be rescued frustrated her. That it had again been Spike who did the rescuing angered her and that Spike had dusted the vampire that could have given her more information infuriated her. She couldn’t deny she had been in danger tonight, but really, did he have to dust her first lead in a week? Looking at herself in the mirror, she saw that she was on the verge of tears and she gave herself a mental shake. She wouldn’t cry. She wasn’t going to give in to the desperate and terrifying feelings that were gushing within her.
Instead, she cleaned and bandaged her wound, raced downstairs, closed the front door, and began to pace around the living room. She didn’t want to call Willow or Xander. She didn’t want them to know what could be happening to her.
If she was losing her power, wouldn’t she be losing herself? What would she be if she wasn’t the Slayer? This couldn’t be happening to her. This wasn’t real. It had to be some hellish dream.
Shaking her head, Buffy realized that the only one who could help her with this and who could help her figure out the meaning behind the coins was Giles.
She grabbed the phone with shaking hands and dialed Giles’ number slowly. She hoped he would answer, hoped she was calling him at the right time. Each ring became louder and louder in Buffy’s ear.
“Rupert Giles speaking,” the sound of his voice didn’t completely release the knot of tension in her stomach, but she could already feel the panic receding.
“Giles, it’s me, Buffy,” she hoped her voice was steady.
“Buffy, why are you calling at this early hour? Is everything alright?”
“Giles … I think … I think I’m losing my powers,” she waited for this information to sink in before continuing, “and something big, I mean really big, is coming our way.”
Giles was silent for a few heavy beats of Buffy’s heart, “Are you sure you’re losing your powers? Could you simply be poisoned?”
“I’m … I’m not sure, but Giles, I feel it. Something is changing inside me. I … I need your help.”
Buffy again waited anxiously for Giles to reply. She was beyond panic and fear now. She could hear Giles moving, either walking or shifting in his seat, and she hoped that he would say something soon.
In a whispered voice Giles finally answered, “I’ll be right there.”
Buffy felt herself breathe again, but while Giles coming back to Sunnydale sparked hope inside her, she felt far from safe.
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/331432.html