I’d like to apologize for not reviewing anything yet this round. I decided to hide from the world after the election-that-shall-not-be-named because I’m entirely too sensitive. Sad. But! I told myself I would contribute this year to Seasonal Spuffy and I really didn’t want to break that promise to myself. Again. I actually wrote the first chapter of this early this month, and then tonight I decided to completely rewrite it, so I’m sorry for no-doubt numerous errors. Also, this is all I’ve got so far because I’m hitting my self-imposed deadline of Thanksgiving Day.
I should probably issue some warnings for 1) overuse of commas (maybe), 2) overuse of adverbs (definitely), 3) playing fast and loose with the supernatural rules of canon, and 4) ripping lines directly from the season 4 episode Pangs, written by Jane Espenson. All that being said, I had a lot of fun writing this and I hope y’all enjoy it!
This part rated PG-13/R for coarse language and very minor sexual situations. Approx. 2500 words.
Buffy shook her head to try and clear it. When that didn’t work, she shut her eyes tightly and tried to take even, calming breaths. She had absolutely no idea what had happened. One moment she was talking with her husband over Chinese and the next she was… Here. But she couldn’t be here because here no longer existed. Shit. So, ok, what could have happened? She remembered her husband explaining some philosophy thing where the simplest answer was usually the right one – and also remembered laughing at him because her experience had dictated the opposite – the most ridiculous, convoluted conclusion was usually the correct one, or the one you ended up with anyhow. Regardless, she had nothing to rely on at the moment other than logic, so simple was it until proven otherwise. She was in a place that she couldn’t possibly be, so, obviously, she was hallucinating. She’d had some pretty wacky ones in her time and knew that they could be indistinguishable from reality, under the right circumstances. Maybe there was something in the food they’d been eating. Demon poison or a potion or something. For now, all she could do was remain still and hope things didn’t get violent. Staring into the bowl she was holding, which was apparently filled with potatoes, she finally tuned in to the conversation flowing around her.
“It’s not that simple.”
“He’s a vengeance demon. You don’t talk to vengeance demons. You kill them.”
“I didn’t know you felt that way.”
“Anyway, he’s a spirit, not a demon.”
“Yes, and we’ve never faced this sort of spirit before. We really don’t know what will kill it.”
“Again with the killing.”
“Figuratively speaking. Or bind it or whatever. Yes, Willow, we all appreciate your perspective.”
“Sometimes vengeance is justified.”
“You know that I didn’t mean you.”
“I don’t think anyone appreciates the truth of the situation.”
“Oh, I think we do.”
“Vengeance demons…” Buffy muttered under her breath.
“What was that Buffy?” Giles turned and gave her a curious look.
Buffy jumped to her feet and exclaimed “This is no good! It needs more condensed milk!” before fleeing to the kitchen. The sound of her slamming the mixing bowl onto the counter was heard by all the occupants of the house. Giles followed her to the kitchen only to find her standing in the middle of the room with her hands over her face, muttering quietly under her breath.
“I was sitting there and we were talking about regrets, but I know I didn’t say the damn word. Unless I did… I must’ve said it. Dammit!” Buffy drew her hands down her face, looking directly at Giles and he almost gasped. She looked the same, but he could tell from her eyes that something drastic had happened. He was just about to ask what was wrong when Buffy exclaimed, waggling a finger in his direction “Years, years, I’ve gone without saying that damn word and the first time I do a fucking vengeance demon is there! I knew that chic was giving me the eye.” She began to pace. “Oh, shit. Oh, no! What am I gonna do about Spike?”
“What was that about Spike?” Giles asked, sounding perplexed. He was more than a bit shocked, having never heard that kind of language out of her mouth before. He took a step toward her. “Buffy, is everything alright? Did what Willow said get to you?”
“No, no. Giles, I’m not worried about Hus. I know what to do. We have a bigger problem to deal with.” A knock sounded at the door. Giles saw Buffy’s eyes get widen and then it was as if he blinked and she was gone.
Buffy threw the front door open to see Spike huddled beneath a smoldering blanket. Before he could get a word out she was tucked up under his right arm, taking on his weight and yanking him toward the doorway. She managed to get out “Spike! Come inside!” the moment his foot hit the threshold. She closed the door behind them, locking it with one hand as she faced a sea of perplexed faces. Giles was the first to speak up.
“Buffy, what is going on? Why would you bring him into my home!?!” Giles’ voice reflected his utter astonishment.
“I was just about to tell you. For now, I need you to trust me. Something has happened to Spike that is bigger than the Hus thing, and I need to question him right away. Alone.” She started tugging an oddly silent Spike across the room, heading for the hallway.
“Buffy, this is a Master Vampire that you are leaving your neck open to as we speak! I demand an explanation NOW!”
Buffy turned herself and Spike to face Giles directly. “Spike had a trip to the vet and now he can’t chase the other puppies anymore. He can’t bite. He can’t even hit people.”
For the first time since Buffy opened the door, Spike spoke up. “What do you know about it, Slayer?” He sneered. Buffy looked him solemnly in the eye and said evenly “I know enough.” Apparently, that was good enough for him because he didn’t respond, instead breaking her gaze and looking toward the floor. Buffy looked over at Willow. “He tried to bite you, right? And couldn’t?”
“It’s true. He had trouble performing.”
“See? So, I’m safe. Look, I said before – something big is going on. Spike has information I need, so I’m going to take him to the bathroom and question him. But he’s in pretty bad shape, so can someone please go get some blood from the butchers?”
“Oh, god.” Xander groaned from his position on the couch. “I’m having hallucinations. I’m going to die.”
“You and me both, Xander. With the hallucinations, I mean. Not with the… dying. You’re going to be fine. But really, someone go get some blood.” Buffy turned back onto her intended path with Spike and wondered why he was being so quiet. Had she really been such a bitch to him in the past that he would be struck dumb by her showing concern? When they reached the hallway, she pushed him lightly in front of her toward the bathroom door. He walked in and turned to look at her. She could see trepidation and slight fear in his eyes and she shut the door quietly behind her.
“What are you on about, Slayer?”
“You should sit.” She gestured toward the closed toilet bowl. “I’m not going to hurt you. You’re not the only one something’s happened to.” Spike lowered himself to the seat and watched Buffy quietly. She ran her hands over her face and then raked them back through her hair several times, all the while taking exaggerated deep breaths. Her anxiety looked like it was about to break when she let out a great, heaving sigh and slid down to the floor, leaning against the back wall with her wrists draped over her bent knees. She stared blankly in front of her. Silence hung heavy between them for a few moments until she finally spoke so softly that only a vampire would hear.
“At least you’re here and you’re safe. Stupid vengeance demons!” The last bit was said less quietly and somewhat angrily as she clenched her fist and glared at the ceiling.
“Buffy?” Spike’s voice sounded wary but strangely hopeful. She met his eye and responded, “Yes, Spike?”
“No – my Buffy? Fuck! Oh, thank god! You’re MY Buffy!” Spike went to reach for her but survival instinct stayed his hand halfway out. Buffy’s breath caught in her chest as she stared at Spike, frozen while hope warred with practicality. Hope won out. She rose to her knees and inched toward him.
“What were we eating?” she asked. Willow, who was eavesdropping outside the door, considered that perhaps Buffy had actually gone off the deep end in her Thanksgiving frenzy. That is, until she heard Spike’s response.
“Chinese! We were eating Chinese food at Hao Hao and then we realized it was Thanksgiving and started talking about untraditional Thanksgivings and the next thing I know I’m fucking starved and practically gutted and about to get fried by the bloody sun and I’m in sodding SUNNYDALE! Oh, god, Buffy, I’m so glad you’re here.” Spike’s voice cracked at the end as he hit his knees on the floor, pulling Buffy into his arms. She started crying and clutched him to her in relief. His sudden intake of breath reminded her that he was injured. She’d never asked him exactly how bad the Initiative’s abuse had been but she was about to find out.
“OK, first things first. We need to get you cleaned up. How badly are you hurt?”
“I’ll heal. Buffy, what the hell happened?”
“I don’t really know. I suspect we’re about to be attacked by vengeful spirits, but we’ve got some time. Let me patch you up so you can at least defend yourself.” While she spoke, she had taken the First Aid kit from beneath the sink and started inspecting its contents.
“You said demons earlier. You think this is the work of a vengeance demon?”
Buffy sighed as she pulled Spike’s shirt over his head and laid it on the sink. “Maybe. I think I said the W word.”
“You said a W word, but not the one you’re thinking. You just said you wondered -” Spike was cut off by Buffy’s gasp when she turned back around to face him. He was so emaciated she could count his ribs, and there was a bright red, inverted Y shaped scar running the length of his torso. “Oh, Spike. What did they do to you?” She dropped to her knees once again. Her eyes filled with tears as she ghosted her fingers over the scar.
“Just your standard vivisection. Or dissection, depending upon your worldview.”
“It’s all my fault! You have to go through this again because I couldn’t keep my stupid mouth shut.”
“Buffy, look at me.” She looked up into her lover’s eyes and saw her entire world. “I’m going to be ok. The worst is already over and this time you’re with me, yeah? There’s nothing we can’t face together.” Buffy nodded meekly as he lowered his mouth to hers. Buffy took his face in her hands and met his lips with gentle fierceness. It was going to be ok. Spike was with her. No matter what happened he would always be with her. She pulled away from the kiss minutely. As often happened with them, she had somehow wound up straddling his lap while they kissed. She snuggled her face against his neck and kissed his throat lightly.
“You know what we have to do right now, right?”
“I know what I wanna do right now.” He said with a growl as he bucked his hips against her.
“Well, want and you shall have, buster. Because we need to claim each other. Now.”
“Now that is one memory I look forward to re-living. I never imagined if I did that it would be on your Watcher’s bathroom floor, though.” He said with a grimace.
“Ugh, you’re right. Not here.” Buffy sat up and looked around, her gaze landing distastefully on the toilet right next to them. “Definitely not here. Shower.”
“And how exactly do you plan to pull that off with Scoobies bangin’ down the door and vengeful Indian spirits crashing through the windows?”
“Hey! For your information, I have a good enough memory to know that we have plenty of time before the vengeful spirits arrive, and we both know that at this point in the timeline the Scoobies minds aren’t going to go there unless we give them a really good reason to.”
“Famous last words, Slayer.”
Buffy frowned. “Good point. I better go check on everybody and make sure Giles has left to get your blood.”
Buffy extricated herself from Spike’s lap. Opening the bathroom door, she was immediately greeted by Willow’s Resolve Face™ and crossed arms. In time-honored Buffy tradition, she promptly stepped back into the bathroom and slammed the door closed on that face. Leaning her head against the doorway, she silently began berating herself for moving back in time and right back into being a coward when it came to her friends. She ignored Spike’s pointed throat-clearing until an airy, lilting voice spoke from directly behind her.
“If wishes were fishes we’d all be drunk.”
Buffy slowly spun on her heal until she faced Drusilla, draped across the bathroom counter as if it were an elegant chaise lounge.
“Well, if it isn’t our very own demented fairy godmother.” Buffy shot a glare at Spike, who held his hands up in innocence.
“Don’t look at me. I still can’t believe she came to her senses long enough to take vengeance on Angel and get herself elevated.”
Buffy looked back to Dru and her Cheshire grin. Grinding her teeth and holding up a finger, Buffy spoke with barely leashed impatience.
“Dru. Hi. First – that’s definitely not how that saying goes. Actually, I’m not even sure what you were aiming for, but whatever it is was wrong.” Another finger went up. “Second – neither Spike nor I made any wishes. I CLEARLY said I WONDER what would happen if we could go back to this Thanksgiving. That cannot in any way, shape, or form be interpreted as A WISH!”
Drusilla’s smile turned beatific as she glided off of the countertop with an incredibly unfair amount of grace. Her musical voice scraped against Buffy’s very last nerve.
“A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep.”
“NO! NO, IT ISN’T! There were no dreams! And you can’t just appropriate all words that begin with a W!” Buffy realized how loud she was being and reined it in with a deep, slow breath. “Listen, Drusilla, please. Neither of us wants to be here. This was a horrible time in both of our lives and we have no desire to relive it. I mean, come on! How could you want to put Spike back in a time that he has that chip in his head?”
That finally seemed to get through to Dru. Her eyes widened dramatically and her guilty look moved between Buffy and Spike. But almost as soon as the guilt presented itself it was replaced with a knowing smile.
“I know you don’t want Spike to have that nasty chip.” And with a snap of her fingers and a pop of ozone a piece of silicone and wire fell to the floor.
“What? Why did you? Dammit, Drusilla! I WANT to go home! I WISH you’d never sent us here to begin with! Do you hear me?’ Buffy clenched her fists so tightly that her finger nails began to draw blood from her palms. Looking to Spike she was infuriated to see him holding back laughter.
“I swear to Gods, Dru, if I had a weapon I’d lop your head off right now!” That finally wiped the smirk off Drusilla’s face, and she pouted.
“Well, if you’re going to be ungrateful about it…” And with an elaborate swing of her arm and annoying spray of very fine glitter, Drusilla was gone.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/577110.html