The Return of the Zeppo, one shot

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This is the day I have written down in my planner as my posting date. So here goes. This story is the third in a series.
#1 The Troll Hunt post in Dec 2012 for Seasonal Spuffy

#2 The Revenge of the Trolls Posted August 2013 for Seasonal Spuffy

Title: The Return of the Zeppo
Medium: fanfic
Rating and Warnings: NC-17 for language and major character death, OCs
Timeline: Season 4
Summary: Willow does her ‘Thy Will Be Done’ spell.
Notes: Like the first two stories, I took some prompts for help.
Wolfie – something silly: googly eyes attached to everything (mentioned)
Spikester – something scary: clowns (mentioned)
Bunnyfer – something you want to see but rarely do: Buffy with a good education and job
Spuffy lvr – unlikely companion: Numero Cinco (The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco, ATS5)
Fox – inventive death: crushed by a vending machine
Susan – who dies: Amy the rat

The Return of the Zeppo

Buffy slid into the chair across from Summer Blossom. The Slayer waited while her clearly amused friend looked around Pascel’s sandwich shop.

“Where’s your shadow?” Blossom asked.

“Don’t you mean my stalker?” Buffy replied. “I could ask you the same thing, you know. I don’t see Lawson anywhere nearby. Is he still hiding from your dad?”

Blossom shook her head. “No, they’re off on a manly bonding walkabout with Rain while Mama is bonding with Anyanka. I expect that Rain and Anyanka will be announcing their engagement soon.”

“Really? I could have swore last time I saw Anya that she was still introducing Rain as her fuck buddy,” Buffy replied.

“We’re surrounded by weirdos.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” the Slayer muttered. “Let’s just hope they don’t scare off my new friend.”

“New friend?”

Buffy smiled. “Yeah, her name is Tara. We have Mythology 101 together. We got to talking about some of the clubs at SunnydaleU, and she mentioned that the Wicca club is just a bunch of wannabes. Well, she didn’t say it like that, but I got the gist.”

“Ladies, here are your orders. The Grilled Cheese Supreme for Miss Summers, and the Frenchie’s Surprise for Miss Blossom.” Pascel placed plates heaped with food in front of Buffy and Blossom.

The bell above the door jingled. Pascel and Buffy turned to see who was coming into the sandwich shop.

“Tara,” Buffy said with a smile.

Pascel beamed happily at the newcomer. “Miss Maclay, my dear Tia had a feeling you would be joining us today. She even made your favorite peach flower tea.”

Tara ducked her head, and she gave the elderly man a shy smile. “I hope it wasn’t any extra work, Mr. Pascel.”

“Nonsense. Tia and I enjoy the opportunity to work our mojo.” Pascel winked at Tara before he ambled off to the sandwich making counter. “Let me get your sandwich.”

“Tara,” Buffy said again. “So glad you could make it.”

Tara slipped into the third chair at the table. “Hi, Buffy,” she replied in a shy voice.

“Tara, this is my friend, Spring Blossom.” Buffy waved her hand at the Bigfoot. “Blossom, this is Tara.”

Tara smiled at Blossom, and she held out her hand in greeting. “Hello. I’m so happy to meet you. Your fur is beautiful.”

Blossom stared at Tara’s outstretched hand, unsure what to do. Human customs confused her at times. Then, she remembered the movie she’d watched with Buffy and Joyce where the man had kissed the woman’s knuckles in greeting. Blossom wasn’t a man, but maybe that’s what Tara wanted her to do. She grabbed Tara’s hand, and she leaned over it, brushing her lips across the skin. “You are also beautiful,” she hummed.

Tara’s eyes widened with shock. She turned to Buffy. “I thought you said I wouldn’t understand her language.”

It was Blossom’s turn to be shocked. ” I’m so pleased that you do. We’re going to be such great friends.” Only those with the potential to be a Isu-subtum mate could understand without learning the language. That thought crawled across Blossom’s mind. Guess that explains Lawson too. He’ll have to step up his game. I think I really like Tara.

Buffy grinned, and she clapped her hands. “I love it when a plan comes together.”

“Ah, here’s your sandwich and tea.” Pascel hustled to the table with Tara’s food and drink. He set the plate and glass down, and he wagged his finger at Tara. “You’re a hard one to pin down. I just hope you like it.”

“I’m sure it will be delicious, Pascel,” Tara replied before she popped a French fry into her mouth.

The door slammed open, causing the bell to jingle wildly. Everyone in the restaurant turned towards the noise. A blanket covered figure burst through the opening.

“Spike’s here,” Blossom informed Buffy even thought it wasn’t necessary as the Slayer had observed the newcomer for herself.

The vampire tossed off the smoking blanket, and he stomped on it a few times to put out any impending flames. When he noticed everyone staring at him, he smoothed his hair back before he straightened his duster.

Buffy rolled her eyes before she turned to Spike. “What are you doing here?”

Spike sauntered over to the table. He grabbed a nearby chair that he sat down on. He leaned forward against the back, and he sniffed the air. “I’ll take one of those,” he told Pascel while he pointed one finger at Tara’s sandwich.

“I’m not paying for your food,” Buffy grumbled.

“Now, now, luv.” Spike pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket. He threw it down on the table. “I have my own dosh.”

Tara stared, wide-eyed and curious, at the newcomer. Her new friend, Buffy, knew the most interesting people. First, there was Blossom. Now there was this vampire, who by his aura, was more alive than most humans she knew.

“Right away, sir,” Pascel said. “Anything to drink?”

“Doesn’t matter to me.” Then, Spike turned to Tara. “New friend, Slayer,” he directed towards Buffy.

Buffy refrained from rolling her eyes again. “Tara, this is Spike, the bane of my existence. Ignore him. I know I do.”

Blossom hid her grin behind her glass of tea. Buffy really didn’t ignore Spike, but the Bigfoot wasn’t going to say anything.

“Hardy, har, har.” Spike fake-laughed. “You won’t want to ignore this. Some poor sucker sewer worker found our work from last week.” He grabbed a fry from Buffy’s plate.

Buffy slapped at Spike’s hand. “Paws off my food. Besides, Riley and Parker are … you know, gone.”

Blossom let out an unhappy grunt at Spike’s news. “The troll spirits will escape.”

“All I ask for is one uninterrupted meal,” Buffy grumbled while she looked down at her full plate of food. Her stomach growled in anticipation.

“Chin up, Slayer,” Spike said. “I’m sure you have till tomorrow to figure out what to do with your pesky troll friends.”

Buffy glared at Spike. “I know you’re not supposed to kill the messenger, but in this case, I’m sure I can make an exception.”

“Bring it on, pet.” Spike gave Buffy a come-hither gesture with the hand not stealing fries from her plate.

Blossom leaned over to Tara. “They’re always like this. I wish they’d just kiss and get it over with.” She’d tell Tara about the betting pool later. Blossom was sure the human girl would want in on it.

“So, Spike is Buffy’s boyfriend?” Tara asked as innocently as she could manage.

“No,” Buffy spluttered. She pulled her plate out of Spike’s reach, and she glared at him.

“I think the lady doth protest too much,” Spike drawled.

Tara and Blossom snickered and winked at each other.

“Just for that, you are both on exorcism detail.” Buffy pointed back and forth between Tara and Blossom. Then, she turned back to Spike. “As for you, you’re helping me in the sewers again.”

“I’m not your soddin’ lap dog, Slayer,” Spike grumbled. Under the table, he eased the Gem of Amara out of his pocket and back on his finger.

Spike wasn’t stupid. He knew he couldn’t let Buffy know of his advantage over her. He continued to tell himself that he was just waiting for the opportune moment to strike. She just hadn’t been vulnerable enough for his plan to work.

“Why won’t you give me a satisfactory fight?” Spike asked.

“Last time they met to fight, they were interrupted by a couple of amorous Tomi’iktay demons,” Blossom stage whispered to Tara. Then, she winked at Tara before digging into her food.

Tara giggled as she followed suit. Spike and Buffy were definitely two of a kind.

Buffy looked at Blossom. “You are never to speak of that again?”

“Why?” Tara asked around a bite of sandwich.

“No! We don’t talk about that!” Buffy declared. “Demons should not look like killer clowns from outer space.”

Blossom put down her sandwich, and she turned to Tara. “So, after I was rescued from the ghost trolls, Spike and Buffy met up at Restfield cemetery. They were about to rumble.”

“Rumble? This isn’t West Side Story,” Spike grumbled.

“When two drunk, frisky demons stumbled upon them. They barely got away with virtue intact,” Blossom continued while ignoring the grumpy vampire.

“You know, Slayer, maybe we should direct those demon clowns Angel’s way,” Spike drawled. He forgot his grumpiness at the thought of Angel fighting off lovesick clown demons.

Pascel appeared at Spike’s elbow with a plate and two glasses on a tray. “Here you go. This sandwich is so spicy, I brought you glasses of blood orange juice, just in case.” He placed the sandwich and juices in front of Spike. “Bon appétit.”

Spike took a sniff. “Smell right fine, mate.”

“You’re brushing your teeth before we go spelunking.” Buffy scrunched up her nose when the waft of spiciness drifted to her. She picked up her own sandwich while she announced, “I’m thinking of changing my major to Forensics.”


Willow flipped through the spell book with self-righteous anger. Oz was gone to ‘find himself’. Willow was sure it was Buffy’s fault.

It was Buffy’s fault that Xander had gotten killed while off on some stupid mission for Giles. “Buffy the Slayer!” Willow hissed to herself. “So, what if the Mayor turned into a worm. She’s super strong. She shouldn’t have needed anything magical to help her.”

The disgruntled girl’s eyes fell on a ‘Thy Will Be Done’ spell.

“Oh, perfect,” Willow breathed out. “I can will Xander alive and Oz back to Sunnydale. Then, everything will be back to the way it is supposed to be.”

Willow gathered the magical components needed for the spell. As she prepared to recite the incantation, she envisioned what her will would bring her.


Numero Cinco leaned against the tombstone, eating his lunch and thinking about his circumstances. Once, he’d been one of the warriors helping the helpless until the Aztec warrior demon Tezcatcatl killed his brother. Heck, he’d even, at one time, been one of the most famous, well paid wrestlers in all of Mexico. Now, he was a grave digger in some Podunk California town.

Being a lowly mailroom employee would be better than this.

A scratching noise from a nearby grave caused Cinco to pause in his ponderings and his munching. The headstone read ‘Alexander Lavelle Harris, Beloved Son and Friend, He will forever be in our hearts’. His death was dated almost six months past.

Cinco knew whatever crawled from the grave couldn’t be a vampire. Vampires rose from their graves within days of being buried. He just wasn’t sure what it could be. Cinco shrugged before he returned to his burrito. There was still plenty of time to finish his lunch before having to deal with what was happening.

After awhile, a hand burst from the ground. Then, an arm, and finally, a head appeared.

Cinco wrinkled his nose as he tossed the remains of his lunch sack into the seat of the cemetery’s back hoe. “Madre de Dios,” he muttered.

“Come on, man,” the dead guy ‘Alexander’ rasped. “Help a fellow out.”

“You are dead,” Cinco informed the man. He grabbed the shovel from the back hoe.

“What? No! I’m sure this is all a mistake. The Xan-man is completely alive.”

Cinco pointed at the gravestone, and the Xan-man turned his head. The neck joints popped and crackled like a bowl of Rice Crispies. Cinco would never look at the breakfast cereal the same again.

“I’m dead! I’m too young to die. Oh my God, I’m a zombie! I need to find Buffy and Willow to help me.” The Xan-man pulled himself the rest of the way out of the ground. He ignored Cinco as he stumbled towards the cemetery gates.

Cinco let out a sigh. Should he go back to work or should he follow the zombie? On one hand, zombies weren’t covered anywhere in his employment contract. On the other, he knew how sue crazy Americans, especially Californians, were at times. If the zombie feasted on the brains of the local humans, and someone found out he did nothing to prevent it, he could be sued.

Decisions. Decisions.

Cinco slumped in defeat. He guessed his new best friend for the night was a zombie.



Willow dropped Amy’s cage when someone pounded on her dorm door. “Damn it,” she muttered when the cage broke open, and Amy skittered across the floor.


“Hold on a second. Sheesh.” Willow glanced at the remnants of the failed ‘Thy Will Be Done’ spell. Then, she shrugged. Who the hell would care anyway? Xander was still dead, Oz was still gone, and Buffy wasn’t her friend anymore.


Willow lurched to the door, and she flung it open. Her words died on her tongue when she saw who was on the other side. “Xander,” she whispered, “You’re …”

“A zombie, Will! A zombie! How the hell am I a zombie?” Xander rasped. “A demon-brain eating zombie at that. We need to get Buffy on this before anyone else is zombified.”

“It’s Buffy’s fault you’re like this,” Willow hissed. “She took you out and you got sucked dry by a giant spider. I hate her.” She stomped one foot.

With all her attention on Xander, Willow didn’t notice Amy the rat scamper past their feet into the hallway. Amy’s distant human thoughts crowed at the thought of the freedom to find help to transform back to human form. However, her rat brain smelled food. The rat brain won out, and Amy darted towards the enticing odors.

Xander lurched at Willow, and he grabbed her shoulders. “I ate demon brains!” he screamed in her face.

Behind his wrestling mask, Cinco wrestled not to wrinkle his nose in disgust. The zombie feeding on demon brains was one of the most disgusting things he had ever seen.

Cinco had seen some disgusting things before in his long life. After all he had four older brothers, and five younger brothers who never became helpers of the helpless.

No sisters. Just brothers.

Cinco knew disgusting! Thoughts of his long lost siblings caused his heart to ache, but there was nothing he could do about that. Instead, he thought about how he’d considered turning back to the cemetery and his boring job when he realized the zombie Alexander — no, the red haired girl called him Xander — wasn’t a threat to human life. Something had compelled him to stay with the strange creature.

“Buffy’s the reason you died,” Willow screeched at Xander. “All of it is her fault. The stupid bitch.”

Xander stepped back in surprise. He was unused to such venom in his best friend’s voice. “I went with Buffy willingly because she was my friend and because it was the right thing to do. I thought that’s why you helped too.” His raspy voice gave out at the end of his words. Death hadn’t been good to his body.

There was a crash down the hallway. Xander and Cinco turned to see what had happened. A young man stood next to a tipped over vending machine. When he saw his audience, he flailed his hands a bit. Finally he twirled away and sauntered down the hallway, whistling in his attempt to be nonchalant.

“Well, if you think Buffy is all that and a side of fries, go get her to help you!” Willow screamed. She slammed the door, and she fell against it. That wasn’t how she expected her reunion with her best friend to go. After a few seconds, she scrubbed her face with her hands. “Oh, what have I done?”

Willow flung the door back open. “Xander!” she yelled. “Come back. I’m sorry.” She watched the back of Xander’s companion disappear around a corner. “Crap,” she muttered.

Willow sprinted down the hall in an effort to catch up with Xander and his friend. Just when it seemed like she was about to catch up with them, they would pull further ahead. There was a loud popping sound and a poof of smoke. Willow found herself in a place that clearly wasn’t Sunnydale.


“Oh, quit your bitching, Spike” Buffy growled.

“I stepped in a chewed on demon brain, Slayer. I’ll bitch just as much as I soddin’ feel like.”

“My Jimmy Choo’s and I thank you.”

Spike took a moment away from scraping his boots clean to look at Buffy’s shoes. “You’re not wearing Jimmy Choo’s, pet. Those are clearly a Payless special.”

“Oh, the vampire knows about shoes.” Buffy wiggled her fingers in Spike’s direction. “I’m so impressed.”

“Shut up!” Spike went back scraping the bottoms of his boots on a stray concrete brick.

Buffy wrinkled her nose at the brain. “So, any ideas where to stash our troll-human dude where nobody will find them till we’re done with them?”

“Why are you askin’ me, Slayer? You’re the brains of this operation.”

Buffy gave an unhappy sigh. “Fine. There’s that crypt at Restfield we can put them in. You know the one I mean. Provided we can get them there without anyone seeing us”

“Shouldn’t be too hard.” Graham stepped out of the shadows. “I’ve noticed a distinct lack of awareness on the part of the locals here. My boss has even conducted a study on the water.”

“Really? Find anything?” Buffy asked.

“It’s not the water, mate. It’s the Hellmouth,” Spike scoffed. “Mystical forces and all that rot.”

Graham looked confused. “The Hellmouth? What is that?”

“Exactly what it sounds like,” Spike said. “A deep, dark hole in the ground that leads straight to Hell. It’s why all the demons congregate in Sunnyhell.”

Buffy ambled over to the dead, brainless demon, and she studied the remains. “You know these bite marks look really familiar.”

Spike came to stand by Buffy. “You’re right,” he said after a bit. “It reminds me of whose two blood wankers we’re about to go move, but I know for a fact that they’re still making like really ugly cathedral ornaments.”

“They ate people,” Buffy replied while she scanned the surroundings. “Like live ones, not demons. We have something different on the loose this time.”

“Better alert the troops,” Spike said. “Get your little band of intrepid Scoobies on it.”

Buffy gave Spike a look of complete and utter disdain. “You are the little band of intrepid Scoobies, pet.”

“I am not one of your lap dogs,” Spike growled in an indignant voice. He bent his fingers into claws. He stepped towards Buffy with teeth bared. “I’m the Big Bad, your mortal enemy.”

“Yeah, right. Spike, the Big Bad lap dog.” Buffy shrieked with laughter when Spike leapt at her, and he tickled her ribcage. “You even growl like a lap dog,” she squealed between gales of laughter.

“Oh my God, quit with the flirting,” Graham muttered. “There’s a time and a place for that shit.”

The laughter came to an abrupt halt.

“We’re not flirting,” Spike and Buffy said in stereo. They glared at each other.

“You just keep telling yourselves that.” Graham shook his head. “We need to get those bodies to a secure location where Dr. Walsh won’t find them. She’s still mad about Riley, and I’m really worried about what she’ll do to his body.”

“Okay, let’s deal with Riley and the trolls first,” Buffy said. “Then, we’ll deal with the demon-brain-eating human.”

Spike, Buffy, and Graham made their way to the sewer entrance. The three followed their previous path until they got to the section of tunnel with the troll and concrete blockage.

“Now what?” Spike asked.

“We haul them out and get them to Restfield. You know, if we had a map of the sewer, I bet we could just move them underground instead of up top.” Buffy looked around at the tunnel offshoots.

Graham pulled out a fancy piece of equipment. “Give me a minute. I have the plans in my pad here. I’ll just overlay them with the city grid.” After a few moments, he showed the results to Buffy.

“Okay, up that tunnel and to the left a few hundred yards. Easy peasy.” The Slayer snapped her fingers.

“Let’s get this done.” Spike started to kick the concrete with the heel of his boot.

Buffy helped Spike while Graham stood guard. It wouldn’t do to have any overeager sewer workers or wandering demons to sneak up on them.

Even with their combined supernatural power it took the pair quite a bit of time to kick Riley and Parker’s bodies free from their hardened grave.

“Revenge! Revenge at last!” Picknose hissed at Buffy. He hated being trapped in the meat sack he had inhabited before now that it was dead, drowned by concrete. His ghostly face pushed forward to glare at his enemies.

“You look like those ghosts in that movie Casper,” Buffy replied. “Can you make those bulging, googly eyes? Those were always so funny. Dawn and I used to laugh over that so much when we watched it. ”

“How is the Nibblet?” Spike asked.

“Fine. She punched R.J. Brooks in the nose last week,” Buffy grumbled. She and Spike hauled Riley’s body out of the trough. Water started to trickle through the gravel now that the obstacle was removed. “I have a bone to pick with you, William. Don’t you be teaching my little sister to fight.”

“She didn’t need much help from me, pet.” Spike grabbed Parker’s body around the neck. He ignored Wadsack’s taunts and threats against him. “I got this one. Can you handle the other?”

“I got it.”

“What are we doing with them after we get them to the crypt,” Graham asked.

“Blossom and Tara will exorcise the troll ghosts,” Buffy replied. “Then, I suppose we’ll either hide them or leave them someplace for the cops to find. I feel bad for their families.”

“Let’s get this show on the road.” Spike shook his head. “The things I do for you.”

“Don’t worry, Spike. We’ll have that fight you want soon.” Buffy patted Spike on the shoulder.

“Not soon enough.”

Graham let out a groan. “What did I say about the flirting?”


Peirce Burrows, vending machine maintenance specialist for the Sunnydale Vending Company, turned away from the squashed rat. He covered his mouth with one hand while he fought to keep his lunch down. What a disgusting mess! Blood, guts, and fur streaked the glass of vending machine he had been called to set right.

Pierce pulled out his work phone, and he dialed a number.

“Polk ’em Exterminators, Ward Polk at your service.”

“Hey Ward, it’s Peirce. I’m over at the Sunnydale U’s dorms. I think they might have a rat infestation problem. I just found one squashed under the tipped over vending machine I’m working on.”

“Hey Ma,” Ward shouted. “Peirce says he found a rat at Sunnydale U. Think we can squeeze some money out of those tight asses?”

Peirce heard Mrs. Polk’s muffled response. He was pretty sure she was delighted with the suggestion. “So, see you in a few?”

“You betcha.”


Willow concentrated hard on gathering her magic. She had no idea how she got to where she was or who had transported her. She wasn’t going to stick around to find out. Willow quietly started to chant in ancient Sumerian. Her voice rose louder and louder until she was screaming the words.

There was a loud pop followed by a gust of wind. Then, there was a poof of smoke and a sizzling sound.

Willow let out a scream of pain and terror when she was zapped by static electricity and squeezed through a worm hole. Her skin felt like it was covered with a billion little ants, all biting at the same time. Willow found herself flung to the ground as all the strange sensations left her body.

After a few moments to right her senses and thoughts, Willow struggled to her feet. She looked around, and to her delight, she found herself in Restfield cemetery in Sunnydale. She let out a sigh of relief.

She was home.

“Willow, how did you beat us here?” Xander rasped. He and Cinco ambled in the front gate of the cemetery.

Willow whirled around. “Oh, thank God, Xander. I just had the weirdest experience.” She rushed over to her friend where she flung her arms around him.

Xander reached up to pat Willow on the back. Then, the urge to eat her brain took over. He was unable to stop himself from biting her skull.

Cinco launched himself at his new companion. He dragged Xander away from his friend. “No,” he said. “Amiga human, not demon.”

“No, she’s a demon. I bet she’s a shapeshifting demon.” Xander struggled against Cinco’s grip. “Let me eat her brains. Brains. Send more brains. I’m so hungry.”

“I’m not a shapeshifter.” Willow let out a shriek when Xander lunged at her. She turned to flee, but he had broken away from Cinco and was upon her before she got more than a few feet.

Willow’s last thoughts were on Amy and who would take care of her. Then, she remembered that Amy had escaped. She hoped that Amy had a great little rat life, never knowing Amy’s true demise.


Blossom and Tara opened the cemetery gate. Blossom carried a backpack with their supplies and books, and they knew right where Spike and Buffy were taking Riley and Parker’s bodies. They only travelled into Restfield a few feet when they stopped in their tracks.

“Don’t give me that look, dude. This is clearly a shapeshifter demon or I wouldn’t have done that.”

“Not a dude. Numero Cinco.”

Blossom recognized one of the men – a pale, gaunt young man wearing his Sunday best – but, she wasn’t sure where she’d seen him. His voice had an unpleasant raspy tone. The other man was unfamiliar. Not that she could identify him anyway. He was wearing a wrestling mask.

“Okay fine. Your name is Cinco. I’m sure when we saw the other Willow earlier, you heard her call me Xander.”

“The tombstone said Alexander Harris.”


Either Blossom or Tara must have made a noise because they were suddenly the main focus of the two men. At last, Blossom remembered where she knew the one man from.

“You’re dead,” Blossom growled. “Those blasted spiders got you.”

Tara grabbed Blossom’s arm, and she pulled the Bigfoot away. “If he’s dead, how is he up and about. Is he a vampire?”

Xander let out an indignant shriek. “No, I’m not a vampire!”

“Hey, no hate from us.” Tara tilted her head towards Blossom, while she tried to get a read on Xander’s aura. “One of our friends is dating a vampire.”

“Of course, they don’t call it dating,” Blossom grunted.

Tara giggled. “No, Spike and Buffy clearly think they’re fooling the rest of us.”

“Buffy? You know Buffy?” Xander surged towards Tara and Blossom. “I need her help. While I’m not a vamp, I am a demon-brain eating zombie. A shapeshifter demon was pretending to be our friend Willow. We need to search for Willow.”

Blossom looked at the body. “Maybe that’s why Willow no longer considered Buffy her friend.”

“What did she say?” Xander asked. “I don’t understand whatever that language is.”

Tara turned to Blossom. “I don’t understand.”

“Ever since Xander over there died, Willow blamed Buffy for his death and anything else that went wrong in her life. Not a good friend at all.” Blossom shook her head.

Tara turned back to Xander while she relayed what Blossom said. Then, she added, “Are you going to eat our brains, too?”

Xander slowly shook his head. “No, not really. I don’t know what your friend there is, but she’s not a demon. You’re as human as they come. I don’t have any urges to attack you ladies.”

Tara hid her confusion. She was a demon. Her daddy told her so ever since she could remember. Why wasn’t Xander trying to eat her brain. Tara let a little flicker of hope ignite in her heart.

“We need to get to the crypt for the exorcism,” Blossom said to Tara. She knew they were running late.

“Should we invite them along?” Tara asked. “I’m sure Buffy will know what to do about the whole brain eating thing.”

Xander nodded. “Yes, you should invite us. Buffy will definitely know what to do. It’s her thing. Being the Slayer and all.”

Blossom and Tara led Xander and Cinco towards the crypt where they were to meet up with Buffy. Blossom kept glancing back at Xander. She had concerns about his apparent undead status. Most undead creatures were not to be trusted, except for a few exceptions like Spike and Lawson.

When the four arrived at the crypt, Blossom knocked in a prearranged code. She wasn’t surprised when Graham Miller answered the door. The soldier had a way of showing up when it was least expected.

Graham pointed over his shoulder with one thumb. “So, anyone in the Spuffy betting pool have those two skip dating all together and go right to engagement?”

“What?” Blossom pushed past Graham into the crypt.

“Who are they?” Graham asked when he caught sight of Blossom and Tara’s companions.

“The guy with the mask is Cinco. The other is Xander,” Tara replied.

Graham shrugged. “Okay. Everyone inside.” Once Tara, Xander, and Cinco entered the crypt, Graham looked around outside before he locked and barred the door behind them.

“Buffy!” Xander shrieked. “What are you doing?” Anything else he might have said was muffled behind Cinco’s hand which covered his mouth.

“Silencio,” Cinco grunted.

Buffy turned to Xander. Her eyes widened with shock, and her mouth dropped open. “You’re dead.”

“Apparently not so much. Just another demon-brain eating zombie,” Blossom informed Buffy. She and Tara started to set up for the exorcism.

Buffy narrowed her eyes at Xander. “You better not try to eat my fiancé’s brain.”

Xander looked over at Spike and wrinkled his nose in disgust. “No, he smells all musty and dusty. Vampires are gross. Or maybe it’s just because it’s Spike.”

“Oi, at least I don’t stink like desiccated spider bait,” Spike snarked.

“How are you back from the dead, anyway?” Buffy asked.

“I don’t know.” Xander shrugged. “Why are you engaged to blood breath?”

“I don’t know either. Just seemed like the thing to do.” Buffy grinned at Spike. “He makes me happy.”

“Let’s figure that out later,” Graham replied. “The trolls are getting restless.”

Sure enough, when the group looked at Picknose and Wadsack, the trolls struggled against the confinement of their dead human bodies. It bordered between hilarious and creepy when the trolls’ ugly features pushed forward to be superimposed over Riley and Parker’s faces.

“We’re ready,” Tara informed Buffy.

“Let’s get the show on the road,” Spike said.


“I feel bad just leaving Riley and Parker out in the open like that,” Buffy said. “Did you guys really have to post them like that?”

“The dark haired one kept staring at your arse, Slayer,” Spike protested.

“He’s dead, Spike. He couldn’t stare at my butt.” Buffy shook her head. “Blasted jealous vampires.”

“The caretaker should find them on his next round,” Graham replied. “Especially if he gets a random anonymous call about vandals.”

“At least Picknose and Wadsack are taken care of.” Blossom shivered. She always hated the trolls when they’d been neighbors out in the wilderness. Death wasn’t an improvement on troll looks or personalities.

“Now, we just need to figure out how Xander came back.” Buffy laced her fingers through Spike’s.

“We’ll probably never know,” Tara replied. “It may even have been that shapeshifter demon that Xander ate. You know the one that looked like that girl Willow.”

“You mean like a diversion?”

Tara nodded. “Something like that.”

Cinco pointed towards where Willow’s body still lay just inside the cemetery gates. “We can go check the body.”

“Might as well.” Buffy pulled Spike towards the body.

“When we saw Willow at the dorm, I thought she was human. I didn’t have the urge to eat her brain like I did here.” Xander looked ill. His skin took on an even paler hue. “I was kinda mad at her though when she tried to say it was your fault I was dead. Maybe I just didn’t notice.”

“The room smelled like magic,” Cinco replied. He found himself more talkative the longer he was around the group of people. He thought he might have found himself people worthy enough to help him regain his honor. “I think she was the one behind the rise from the grave.”

Blossom leaned into Tara’s space, and she whispered, “Probably behind the sudden engagement too.”

“Think it’ll wear off?” Tara whispered in return.

“Hope not. I was tired of all the UST.” Blossom hit her shoulder against Tara’s. “When we get back to campus, we should check out this Willow’s room. See if we can figure anything out.”

“We can do that.”

Buffy studied the body for a few minutes. Finally, she sighed. “Looks like the first business tomorrow is looking for the real Willow. Well, second thing. First, we need to tell my mom that Spike and I are engaged. She’ll be so happy.”

Graham gave everyone a dubious look. “Well, I need to get back to patrol. See you around.” He hurried away.

Spike hard the soldier mutter ‘weirdos’ under his breath. There was no way he was going to let that lay. “Takes one to know one,” he called out to the man’s retreating back. “Pillock,” he muttered to himself.

“Do I even want to know?” Buffy asked.

Spike shrugged. “Nothing to worry your pretty little head about, Slayer. Soldier boy is just being a wanker.”

“You’re really going to marry him?” Xander asked the question like he could no longer contain the words.

“Yes. Yes, I am.” Buffy leaned into Spike’s side. “Maybe after the next apocalypse or the one after that.”

“But …” Xander’s mouth was covered with Cinco’s hand again.

“You are a demon-brain eating zombie. You have no right to hurt your friends feelings just because she’s in love of someone you don’t like.” Cinco shook a finger in Xander’s face. “I think you need a keeper to keep you out of trouble.” He dropped his hands.

Buffy and her friends laughed at the indignant look on Xander’s face. “He’s got your number, Xander.”

“So, are we going to the Bronze,” Blossom asked. “Exorcism celebration?”

“No, I thought we’d go to Wal-mart and stick googly eyes on everything,” Buffy replied.

“Sounds like a plan,” Blossom reached over to take Tara’s hand.

“I so am not holding your hand.” Xander stepped out of Cinco’s reach.



Buffy looked out over the crowd. Today was her graduation day from Sunnydale U. She already had a job with the Sunnydale Police Department in the Forensics, and all her family and friends were present.

The only ones missing were Xander and Cinco who were off on a quest to Africa to get his humanity back. It wouldn’t do to have one of her friends attack her new boss who turned out to be a demon. Her mother, sister, Giles, and Spike sat behind Blossom, Tara, Lawson, and Blossom’s family. Even Oz had made it in from Tibet for the ceremony.

Buffy was surprised to see Angel and his crew in the audience. They hadn’t parted in the best of terms when Angel tried to dictate to Buffy about her engagement to Spike. Thank God for Cordelia being on Buffy’s side.

Willow was still missing. There were no clues as to what had happened to her. The gang had searched for months, before finally giving up. Buffy supposed Willow would show up someday. Maybe.

The End


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