- The Grundy Affair Chapter 1
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 2
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 3
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 4
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 5
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 6
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 7
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 8
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 9
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 10
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 11
- The Grundy Affair Chapter 12
- The Grundy Affair chapter 13
Hi everyone *waves* Today is my turn to post and since I’m one of the first, I’d like to thank enigmaticblues for all of her hard work on behalf of this community.
Summary: Buffy and Spike are recruited to protect an important gift and discover there is something more at stake. Drama and Humor.
A/N: AU-ish. Set after a chipped Spike moves to his crypt. Don’t scrutinize too closely, I’ve changed canon a bit before and a lot after. This story is complete, the first of a planned three story arc. As always, thanks to my beta enigmaticblues. I tinkered after her read through, so all errors are mine.
Disclaimer: Characters owned by Joss, ME and Fox. I lay claim only to the plot.
The story is 13 chapters and all are rated PG. 31,906 words
Current statistics reveal that approximately 41% of demon households with an average net income of $200,000 (U.S. dollars) or above throughout the world own a Grundy. 22% own more than one.
-The CompleteManual of Domestic Demon Care
Chapter 3- The Grundy
“Okay, I’m here Giles. I sure hope this is important; I’m missing out on dance time at the Bronze, not to mention happy hour and I really like happy. I try to do it as much as possible.”
The Slayer strode into the Magic Box wearing freshly applied makeup, a new ecru skirt, lacy peach blouse and strappy sandals with three inch heels. She’d been walking out the front door excited and happy, when her Watcher phoned requesting her immediate attention. Those feelings had instantly evaporated. It was never of the good when Giles called for her before patrol, especially sounding so urgent.
Please not another apocalypse. I’ll be a good Slayer and dust twice my quota of vamps, just not another apocalypse. I still haven’t gotten the last apocalypse out of my good blue dress.
Wondering if there was such a thing as a vampire slayage quota – ‘cause I mean I’ll totally fill it. Just no apocalypse– she closed the shop door while the Harry Potter bell attached to the top tinkled gaily, mocking her concern.
Buffy looked around apprehensively. The shop, although looking a bit sloppier than usual, was still in one piece. So far, so good.
“Buffy, could you turn the sign around please?”
She flipped the little closed sign and walked over to the counter where her Watcher waited, looking more disheveled than usual for such an OCD kinda guy. Tweed clothes askew, hair mussed, even his glasses were smudged. Something was up for sure. Frowning, she noticed a small puddle in front of the counter and carefully stepped around it.
“So what’s the sitch?”
Giles answered her, weariness evident in every accented syllable. “We have a bit of a situation. Anya? Buffy has arrived.”
Darn. Buffy knew that ‘situation’ was always code for ‘serious problem’ in Giles-speak. She could see her Bronze time evaporating faster than an ice cube on a California sidewalk.
“Coming.” Anya walked in from the training room carefully carrying a large, chartreuse and pink striped canvas tote bag with holes randomly punched near the top. “Before you say one word about my accessories not matching, this ugly tote is not mine. I wouldn’t buy it even on clearance.” Setting the garish tote on the counter, she slowly removed her hands. The bag flexed and wobbled slightly but remained upright.
The Slayer kept her eyes trained on the twitching bag. “I’m guessing whatever is in there is the ‘situation’.”
The tote suddenly shimmied, shifted and tipped over. Anya quickly reached across the counter and righted it. “Giles is just a little jittery.”
“So what exactly is in there?”
“This has just been so exciting. It’s a real Grundy.” Anya started unbuckling the wide straps while trying to keep the tote from falling over a second time.
Giles cleared his throat, staring pointedly at his partner. “Are you certain you should open that up again?”
Shooting him a look, Anya continued working on the straps. “You know it can’t stay in here forever. It’s already been thirty minutes.”
The Watcher wiped a bead of sweat from his brow and muttered. “Thirty minutes isn’t very long.”
“What’s a real Grundy? And is it better or worse than a fake Grundy?” Buffy watched Anya unbuckle the last strap.
The top separated and a whiskered brown muzzle popped up through the opening. The twitching, black tipped nose attached to that muzzle snorted.
Anya ignored the muzzle and the snort and reached down inside the tote. Using both hands, she carefully lifted out a wriggling, light brown short haired dog that resembled a terrier.
Buffy estimated it weighed in at around twelve or thirteen pounds. At least the Slayer thought it was a terrier at first glance, but when Anya placed it on the floor she noticed subtle differences that screamed demon. The creature’s little round belly had overlapping beige scales and its paws sported tiny curved claws on each fat little toe.
She wrinkled her nose. “So that’s a Real Grundy?”
Anya released the animal and they all watched as it ran in tight circles chasing its bushy tail. Bored almost instantly, the little demon abandoned the circles to sniff every thing within close proximity.
Anya grinned at Buffy. “It’s just called a ‘Grundy’ and isn’t it absolutely adorable?” She watched fondly as the little animal shook itself and started running laps across the floor.
The Grundy stopped to sniff Buffy’s shoes and growled low in its throat, displaying a complete set of little serrated teeth. Tilting its furry head up to stare at her, the Slayer caught a pinpoint flash of red within the liquid brown eyes.
Backing away from the Slayer, the Grundy turned and ran full tilt, skidding on the slick floor and landing in a furry heap by the door. Immediately bounding back to its feet, the little demon zoomed around the shop, haphazardly careening into tables and displays, followed everywhere by the sound of things rattling or falling.
“What is it exactly and how much sugar has it eaten?” Buffy watched the little demon stop long enough to explore the exotic herb case.
“As you can see, a Grundy is actually a small demon quite similar to a dog.” Giles winced when it rammed head first into a sturdy display case of crystal orbs. Shaking its head briefly, the Grundy zipped off in the opposite direction.
Watching Giles mop his forehead, Buffy figured at this rate her Watcher would need at least two more handkerchiefs just to get through the next ten minutes.
Stuffing the sodden handkerchief back in his breast pocket, Giles continued his explanation. “Although in this case, it is much more like an extremely active young puppy. Quite rare, they’re bred only on a Hellmouth. The gestation period is somewhat like an elephant; the mother is pregnant for two years and produces just the one offspring, although I understand they grow rather quickly. This particular Grundy is about three weeks old.”
Wiping moist nose prints from the orb’s display case, Anya added, “A Grundy is good natured and extremely valuable. They’re highly coveted as pets and even act as guard dogs within the wealthiest demon families and even among a few humans.”
The trio flinched when the Grundy knocked over a stand holding several small wooden fertility Goddesses. Watching them roll across the floor with the little demon in hot pursuit, Buffy raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure someone didn’t slip you a caffeinated Tasmanian Devil by mistake?”
Plopping down among the statues, the little demon licked one experimentally. Buffy grimaced when the Grundy easily bit the rotund Goddess in half and started chewing.
“I can see why only the wealthy own them. Replacement costs would bankrupt anyone else in a heartbeat.”
Is that thing swallowing those statues? Even counting the Goddess the Grundy was currently crunching into wood pulp, it certainly looked to Buffy like there were several missing among the rubble.
She rubbed her eyes as the Grundy sunk its teeth into another statue. There’s no way it would be safe to eat those things. They must have rolled under that table and I am so not going under there after them. I’d rather face an entire nest of Androk demons.
“Okay, so it’s a hyper demon show puppy. Why is it here?” Buffy narrowed her eyes at her Watcher while he pulled his handkerchief out again. “You aren’t planning on entering it in some demonic dog show are you?”
She watched the Grundy grab the edge of a linen table cloth in its teeth. Shaking its head from side to side, it attempted to wrest the draped cloth from the small table filled with scented pillar candles. Stumbling, it tangled all four paws in the material, causing the table to rock violently. The display crashed to the floor. The Watcher muttered something under his breath as Anya ran over to free it.
“Because I gotta say I just don’t see it holding still long enough for the judging,” Buffy smirked. “Maybe Willow could place some sort of temporary freezing spell on it. It would certainly be an improvement.”
Giles threw his Slayer a long suffering look before replying. “The Grundy was dropped off by the breeder earlier this afternoon, although it seems so much longer ago. We’ll be taking care of it for the next week, until someone from the Watcher’s Council arrives to pick it up. It’s a gift for a very important ambassador who’s been helping the Council mediate a war.”
The small animal grabbed one of the fallen candles and started voraciously chewing. Mesmerized, Giles watched wax fly everywhere. “It’s a birthday gift for the ambassador’s daughter.”
“They might want to reconsider candles on her cake.” Buffy watched the Miniature Menace out of the corner of her eye as it dropped the obliterated candle and darted toward her again. “What’s all this got to do with me?”
Sliding to a stop in front of Buffy, the Grundy sat down on its haunches and stared. She reached down to pet it and it growled again. Dancing away, the Grundy flew around the Slayer, trailing a strong scent of Sandalwood in its wake.
It stopped abruptly in front of Anya and she leaned over, affectionately scratching the little creature behind its pointed ears. “Giles needs someone to watch it. It’s much too valuable to let it roam around and besides it’s just a baby.”
“I would like that someone to be you, Buffy.”
Buffy inspected sandalwood laced Little Destructo Beast again. The demon’s tail thumped wildly against the floor while it panted like a real dog. She noticed it had a forked tongue. Ugh.
“Sorry, it’s not in my job description. I’m the Slayer. I kill demons, not baby sit them. Besides, that thing would trash our house in milliseconds or quicker. We have breakable stuff in there too, including wood and lots and lots of candles. Not to mention my mom wouldn’t be happy with a demon access installed in the bottom of our kitchen door.” The door’s made of wood; it would probably just eat its way outside anyway.
She watched the excited Grundy carve a figure eight pattern on the wooden floor, skidding slightly during crossovers. “Besides, I don’t think it likes me.” And the feeling is becoming mutual.
Giles looked thoughtfully at the Grundy, ears perked, tail streaming, running crooked figure eights. “It does seem uncomfortable around you. However that isn’t the issue; we need to guard it closely. The person that dropped it off said she’d received death threats and last night someone attempted to break into her breeding facility. Luckily she’d taken the demon home with her.” He crossed his arms and urged her closer. “Try again, it seems to have calmed down a bit.”
“Calmed down? That thing could give pointers to a marathon runner.”
At her Watcher’s steely look, Buffy held up her hands. “Okay, fine, here we go.” Sighing, she knelt down and coaxed. “Come here, little guy.”
She looked between Giles and Anya for confirmation. “Is it a guy? Does it have an actual name?” Warily she held her hand out very slowly, palm up. “That’s a good little demon. See, I won’t hurt you.” At least not much.
“It’s a female, although as yet unnamed.” Giles watched the Grundy back away from his Slayer. Perplexed, he watched Buffy scoot forward again. She got within touching distance and the Grundy moved, baring its teeth.
“How remarkable. Although it has that very unfortunate tendency toward extreme exuberance, it’s been exceedingly friendly since it arrived and yet it has taken an immediate dislike to you.”
Frustrated, Buffy pulled her outstretched hand back before the demon bit her. Slayer healing or not, those serrated teeth would cause serious markage. Standing up, she watched Anya call the little demon back to her. It happily ran over and tilted its head to be scratched again, tail thumping.
Observing the Grundy affectionately leaning against Anya, comprehension dawned. “Of course, I should have realized. It doesn’t care for you because it must sense that you’re the Slayer. It is, after all a demon, so it stands to reason it would be a bit uncomfortable around you.”
“So how am I supposed to watch it?” The Slayer brightened. “I think this lets Buffy off the demon sitting hook. You’d better keep it, Giles, or maybe Anya should take it home with her. Xander could let it watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, including the behind the scenes stuff. That’ll send it into a catatonic state and it’ll be way easier to take care of for hours and hours.”
Anya shook her head. “Xander loaned those movies to someone at work and our lease specifies no animals, demonic or otherwise. Besides I have to work during the day and it just doesn’t seem very happy in here.”
Buffy watched the Grundy shred another candle. “That all depends on your definition of ‘ happy’.” She blinked. Where’d the rest of that candle go?
Forked tongue hanging out of its mouth sideways, the Grundy tripped over to Giles and sat on his shoe. Absentmindedly, the Watcher stroked the little demon’s head. “Unfortunately I have the same situation. My apartment is not set up for an animal, and it can’t remain there alone, especially since this problem of thieves has cropped up. I really believe it would be safest with you and definitely in a more secluded location than a public shop. We’re obviously going to need someone, preferably another demon, to help you with it.”
“How about Clem?” Buffy asked helpfully. They might even be distant relatives, there’s a slight resemblance.
“I’m afraid he wouldn’t be of help if someone attempted to take the Grundy by force.”
Anya snapped her fingers. “I’ve got it. What about Spike? If you pay him, I bet he’d do it.”
Groaning, Buffy appealed to her Watcher. “Does it have to be Spike?”
“Actually, that’s a very good idea. He’s strong enough to keep the animal safe.”
“And he can be bought cheap.” Anya added.
Spike was drinking his breakfast when he heard the door of his crypt swing open. He only knew one person that ignored common courtesy and pushed her way in like that. Watching the blonde in the short skirt stride across the floor, he waved his hand at Her Royal Pushiness. “Hello Slayer. To what do I owe this afternoon’s forcible entry?”
“Stow it, Spike. Giles wants to see you right now.” Buffy watched the vampire slowly drain the rest of his mug and snapped, “Did you miss the part where I said right now?”
The vampire stood up and leisurely stretched, working sleep kinks out of his shoulder muscles. “Fine. Always up for a visit with another ex pat. Just let me grab my shirt.”
She nodded slightly, realizing the bleached vamp was standing in front of her wearing only a pair of those black jeans he loved so much. Barefoot and bare-chested, he set the chipped mug down and reached for the tee shirt draped across his faded easy chair while the Slayer impatiently crossed her arms.
Pulling the shirt over his head, Spike wondered what the Watcher wanted so badly that he’d sent Miss Congeniality in such a bloody hurry. Reaching for his boots, he lifted a scarred eyebrow. “What does Rupes want with me?”
“I’ll let him tell you.” Buffy tapped a sandaled foot. “Hurry up.”
“So you see, Spike, I need someone who can help Buffy care for the Grundy and keep it safe.” Giles looked over at the vampire slouched in the chair with the small demon perched on his lap.
The Grundy had immediately run to Spike when he’d entered the shop, tail wagging madly. Enamored, she stared up at him adoringly and made a low crooning noise no one had heard before.
“You are obviously well suited for the job.”
Spike nodded toward Buffy leaning against the counter, frowning at the Grundy. “I still don’t see why you need me when you’ve got the Slayer. She’s more than capable of taking care of one little baby demon.” He smirked. “As long as she doesn’t have to cook for it or do anything else that requires actual talent or skills.”
”I have skills.” Still leaning against the counter, Buffy crossed her arms and glared at the mocking vampire. “So Spike, do they ever shut up on your planet?”
“What can I say? If you can’t laugh at yourself Slayer, You know I’m always glad to do it for you.”
Buffy rolled her eyes in response. “Hear that silence? That’s the sound of nobody caring.”
Giles loudly cleared his throat to tamp down the squabbling and regain their attention. “Actually Spike, it seems that you’re the most uniquely qualified to take care of the Grundy.” He watched the creature wriggle, butting her head lovingly against the vampire’s chest. “It seems to like you a great deal.”
From behind the counter, Anya watched the little demon. “And she absolutely hates Buffy.”
Amusement crossed the vampire’s face. “Is that so?” He turned to the embarrassed blonde and drawled. “So you frighten baby animals now, ‘ey Slayer? What’s next, little children and the elderly?”
Buffy scowled. “It’s not like that. It’s a demon, I’m a Slayer. We’re naturally not of the compatible.” Just like us, you smart ass vamp.
Watching the two bicker, Giles sighed and tried to pull the conversation back on track again. If Spike hadn’t been perfect for this job, he would have thrown his hands up and kicked them all out. He was just that exhausted. Instead he used a universal language. “Spike, I’ll pay you to help take care of the Grundy.”
Abandoning the Slayer in mid rebuke, Spike’s eyes swiveled back to the Watcher’s face and remained there.
Now that he had the vampire’s rapt attention, Giles continued. “The Grundy must be fed and walked. You and Buffy will take turns with security. It’s imperative that nothing happen to it before the Council’s men arrive.”
“Oh God, what does it eat? I’m so not feeding it anything slimy.” Buffy looked wide eyed at her Watcher. “Please tell me it doesn’t need blood or strangely cooked guts or raw pieces of slime demon. All that gross stuff can seriously impair a new spring wardrobe, not to mention what it does to a manicure.”
Sighing again, Giles shook his head. “The breeder said we could feed it any good quality puppy chow enhanced with a few drops of these special vitamins she left with us.” Giles indicated a screw top jar sitting on the counter. “It drinks regular tap water.”
“I’ve already been to the market and picked up some food.” Anya volunteered.
Giles watched the vampire think over the proposition while he gently placed the Grundy back on the floor and got to his feet. “Alright, I’ll do it,” he said, trying to sound reluctant.
Before Giles could reply, Spike held up a hand. “But there are two conditions. I’ve got a couple of debts I need to take care of right away, so I want half the dosh now and I’ll need some time without the beastie later tonight so I can repay them.”
“No problem at all. Anything else?”
“We watch it in my crypt.” He cut his eyes to the blonde still leaning against the counter and watched her mouth drop. This ought to be good.
“Now wait just a darn minute.” Buffy sputtered.
Right on cue. She’s gorgeous, but oh so predictable. He tried to control his chuckle.
Buffy looked frantically at her Watcher. “Giles, no way am I going to spend the next week hanging out in Spike’s crypt. There is so much wrong in that sentence I don’t even know where to begin.”
Ignoring the blonde for once, Spike blew off any rebuttal and lifted his chin. “Rupert, it’s easier for me to watch the fuzz ball in my own place, especially durin’ the day. Besides no one would ever guess I’ve got it with me, so it’s a safe place to stash it.”
Having read the quiet desperation in the Watcher’s eyes, Spike already knew which way the wind would blow. The Slayer better batten down the hatches, the perfect storm is on the horizon and its name is Grundy.
Buffy’s face fell and her shoulders slumped when Giles agreed immediately. “That’s a very good idea.” His eyes flickered around the trashed shop. “It can’t do any harm in the cemetery.”
Reaching into the register, the Watcher handed Spike a fistful of bills. “Here’s half the money. I’ll give you the rest when the Grundy leaves next week.”
Spike counted the money and nonchalantly shoved it in his duster. It was twice the amount he’d expected. He carefully lifted the wriggling Grundy into the tote while she stretched, struggling to lick his face. “I’ll head back to the crypt through the sewers so no one sees me with her.”
“Now what?” I am so very, very screwed. I’ve got to spend an entire week with the world’s most annoying vampire and his new hyper sidekick.
In her mind’s eye, Buffy saw The Hundred Greatest Punk Hits as howled by Sid Vicious being played at maximum volume while Spike and the Grundy pogo danced wildly around the crypt together. Her left eyelid twitched. Pressing her index finger against it, she tried to focus on her Watcher’s final instructions.
Giles blithely ignored his Slayer’s slumped shoulders, odd twitching and sullen voice. “Go with Spike to his crypt. See that the Grundy is settled before your evening patrol, and then when you’ve finished patrolling, go back and stay with it so Spike can complete his errands. Most importantly, keep it inside with you and hidden as much as possible. Oh, and you’ll need to work out a schedule for tomorrow and the remainder of the week with Spike.”
While Giles finished issuing instructions, Anya piled a twenty-five pound bag of Purina Premium Puppy Chow in Buffy’s arms and balanced a large brown grocery bag on top of it. “Since you can’t actually carry the Grundy, you can make yourself useful and cart the food and the rest of her supplies.” She set the jar of vitamins in the grocery bag. “You’ve chosen to wear high heels tonight, so please be extremely careful not to trip; this is all the vitamins the breeder left with us. We don’t have extra.”
Stepping back, she inspected the supplies balanced in the Slayer’s arms and added cheerfully, “Don’t worry, I’m sure at some point this week, the Grundy will allow you to actually touch her.”
Oh joy, then my life will be complete. “Uh huh.” Gnashing her teeth, Buffy followed Spike and Freakish Fleabag down the stairs to the basement and out through the sewer entrance.
I missed going to the Bronze and I’m walking through the sewers in my favorite sandals and to make the evening complete, I’ve pulled Hound of the Baskervilles duty with Spike.
Carefully shifting the supplies Buffy glanced down. Even in dim sewer lighting she could see strands of silky brown fur clinging to her new skirt.
I would have been better off with the apocalypse.
Once the couple closed the door behind them, Anya frowned at her partner. “Spike practically jumped at the chance, he must be in debt to someone powerful. You could have gotten him for a lot less.”
Giles surveyed the wreckage. “Actually, I was willing to pay him twice as much.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/240330.html