Where Pies Go When They Die 2/9

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Where Pies Go When They Die
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Where Pies Go When They Die 2/9

Chapter Two: Damn Fine Coffee, and Hot!

Author: ghostyouknow27
Rating: R. Warnings for cartoon violence, bloody violence and naughty words.
Summary: Hell, as it turns out, serves a great cherry pie.
Words: ~ 17,500 for the story
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Joss Whedon and Eric Kripke. Sadly, I can’t blame the “plot” on “anyone” “else.”
A/N: This is crack. Pure crack. Crack with pie. Please, please don’t think about it too hard. YOU WILL HURT YOURSELF. Thanks (I think) to diamondtook862  and ever_neutral  for all of their help and encouragement. This was written faster than I’ve written anything ever. Any remaining mistakes are from my post-beta panicked fiddling.

Damn Fine Coffee, and Hot!

Buffy watched as Thursday loosened his already loose blue tie before tying his bib apron over his trench coat. He looked a bit more rumpled than usual, with extra wrinkles in his coat. His five o’clock shadow had stayed up until seven. Maybe eight.

“Hello, Thursday.” Buffy pushed away a white plate covered with purple streaks and crumbs. She hadn’t turned the oven on, but today’s blackberry pie had baked into flaky, fruity perfection anyway. Buffy didn’t need to eat in Hell, but there was more than one way to kill a pie.

“Hello, Anne,” Thursday said. “I hope this morning finds you well?”

Huh. Thursday wasn’t following the script; he hadn’t given her enough time to ask about Amelia. Had he ever asked her about Mort and the kids? Most people did, but she couldn’t remember Thursday caring about her fake family life. Which, rude.

“I’m super really.” By which Buffy meant that she wasn’t super at all. Her yellow polyester dress itched against her skin. Its tag poked her neck. Her Keds hurt her feet. Plus, they were Keds.

Oh, and on top of all that, she couldn’t convince Spike to leave Hell.

Whatever. So, Thursday had said something a little differently. It probably wasn’t a big deal. Little things could change in Hell. It was the big things that never did.

Thursday fixed Buffy with a steady blue gaze.  His expression was intense and uncomfortable. “But you have not completed your task.”

Um, what? What did Thursday know about her task? He’d never mentioned anything about tasks before!

Buffy crossed her arms over her chest. “You have something to share, Thursday?”

Thursday seemed perplexed by her sudden hostility. He motioned toward the dining area. “You are taking too long. You must awaken and smell the coffee.”

Coffee. Thursday wanted her to make the coffee? He didn’t even drink the stuff! In fact, Buffy hadn’t seen him eat or drink anything, ever. “Geez. Fine. Whatever. I’ll make coffee.”

Buffy grabbed two pies – maple and chess – and headed for the display case. She set them inside, closed the door and headed for the coffee station.

There was a small nook near the kitchen door, placed just far enough away that no one could trip into when they carried food to customers. On the nook’s wall, there was a map of Tibet, because Hell seemed to make a point of making no sense. Beneath the map, there was a small, square table laden with a carafe filled with water, three coffee pots and two bags of ground beans. The coffee pots weren’t plugged into anything, but that never seemed to make a difference.

Buffy scooped out the grounds and measured them into the white paper filters. Two regular, one decaf. She filled the pots with water and hit their “Brew” buttons. The machines spat and gurgled. Coffee dripped.

Today. She really had to get Spike out of here today.

Hell was just so… monotonous. Seriously. It was worse than high school. Even when people said different stuff or Buffy baked gooseberry instead of shoofly, her days played out the same way:

4:00-6:00 a.m.: Attempt to bake terrible pies. Fail miserably. Eat pie to console self.
6:00-6:30 a.m.: Prepare front of house.
6:30-11:55 a.m.:Wait tables. Talk about Mort and the kids, even though they don’t exist.
12:00-12:15 p.m.: Feed Spike pie. Try to convince Spike to give not being in Hell a try. Fail miserably.
12:15-12:45: Kill enraged anthropomorphic pies to console self.

Every day, at what should have been 12:46, Hell pulled a Murray, and Buffy would be back in the kitchen, baking pies at four a.m. At least Hell didn’t play Sonny and Cher every morning.

Hold up.

Buffy knew that she could make slight variations in the script. When Thursday asked her if she was well, she could say that she was “peachy keen” or “great” or “feeling fine.” If she said anything else, it was all Mort blah kids double blah.

But what if there was some kind of loophole? Like, Buffy could say what she wanted as long as it fit the general idea of the scene? What if she only sounded like she were talking about pies and coffee, but was really talking about something else? Would Hell still control her speech?

Buffy looked up. The booths were occupied. The bird hat lady was waiting in Booth Three. She would order a fried egg and two slices of buttered toast, to be followed by a cup of coffee and a slice of Kentucky Derby pie. After Buffy served Three, Six would want his usual: hard eggs and two cups of black coffee. Nine – the tall man in the yellow hat – always ordered banana cream pie, then joked that it counted as fruit, and was therefore a healthy breakfast. The lady in Booth Twenty hugged a wooden log and only wanted coffee. The two-year-old in Booth Thirteen always gurgled until Buffy provided blueberry pie, which was not eaten, but used to improve the aesthetics of the surrounding area.

Well, so what if the regulars were filling their booths? They would get the same old crappy food whether she took their orders or not. That was just the way Hell worked.

Nothing forced Buffy to bake pies and wait tables, but she still did it every day. But why? How was Hell coercing Buffy into doing this?

Buffy spun on heel and strode into the kitchen, slamming the door behind her. She looked at the window. Sure enough, there were tickets on the carousel, even though Buffy hadn’t put them there.

Thursday held an order in one hand. He was doing that weird thing he did with the eggs, but with unusual intensity. “I don’t understand what the ticket wants.”

“Um, come again?”

“I have examined the eggs from every angle, and I cannot find their sunny sides.”

Buffy popped her gum, trying to decide if Thursday had suddenly developed a sense of humor. It seemed doubtful. “Don’t they have eggs on your home planet?”

Thursday didn’t answer. He looked frustrated. Buffy wasn’t entirely sure how he looked frustrated – his expression had barely changed – but he did.

Buffy raised her eyes to the ceiling, like that would make any difference. “Have you even seen eggs? Before this place, I mean?”

“My brothers and I do not eat eggs.”

Brothers? Thursday said it like he was talking about something more than siblings. Maybe Thursday had belonged to some weirdo, Satanic, egg-hating cult? It would certainly explain a lot. Including his name. What kind of weirdo parents named a kid Thursday?

“You know what? It doesn’t matter. Just make toast or something.” Buffy set her plate in the sink. One thing she could say about Hell: you could eat all the pie you wanted and never have to clean the dishes.

“My orders are not for toast.” Thursday’s voice sounded deeper. More rumble-y.

Okay, so this was one weird conversation. But it was Buffy speaking, here. Not Anne the Waitress, Wife of Mort.

Buffy could say what she wanted, as long as she was talking about pie and eggs. Hell didn’t bother to control everything she said. It just stopped her from deviating from the script. Of course, Buffy had no idea how she was going to use this new-found know-how to her advantage. It just kinda gave her… hope. Which shouldn’t exist in Hell, but whatever.

And hey! This was the first time Buffy had experienced something new – really new – in Hell.

She’d never returned to the kitchen directly after making coffee. She’d never seen Thursday glower at the eggs because he couldn’t find their sunny sides.

Come to think of it, Buffy’d never seen anybody glower at anything in Hell. Well, maybe Log Lady. But glowering seemed to make her happy. Everybody seemed happy in Hell. Even Buffy seemed happy.

Something about Thursday was off. Not just has-spent-too-much-time-in-Hell off. He was getting frustrated, and that just didn’t happen, here. And his clothes! For one thing, he wasn’t wearing a uniform. Second, his clothes had gotten progressively more wrinkled. His stubble had gotten more stubbly, too.

Buffy’s uniform looked the same every morning.

Buffy could’ve kicked herself for not figuring it out sooner. Thursday wasn’t sticking to Hell’s Groundhog Day schedule, ergo Thursday wasn’t stuck in Hell. He was part of it! He’d been brainwashing Spike with the power of pie, and Buffy was going to kick his stupid trench-coated ass!

Buffy’s hands fisted at her sides. “So, I’m guessing you’re the guy I have to kill to get out of here?”

Only it came out like she was saying that her kids were growing like weeds and she couldn’t believe how much food her youngest could pack away; he must have a hollow leg.

Thursday paused, like he was seriously considering her statement. “That isn’t possible.”

What was this crazy game? Why would a demon pretend to be a short order cook in a freaking diner? Just to mess with her?

Buffy curled her lip. She hated Thursday. She hated Hell. She hated that Spike was in Hell. She really, really hated that she couldn’t talk about anything but stupid Mort and his stupid kids and fifteen stupid varieties of stupid goddamn pie. She couldn’t even threaten Thursday!

Well, maybe she could. She just had to phrase it in terms of pie. “Just wait. I’m going to put marzipan in your pie plate, Bingo.”

A line formed between Thursday’s eyes. “My name is not Bingo.”

Buffy could’ve chucked a rolling pin at his head. Actually, that wasn’t a bad idea. She grabbed one off the counter.

Thursday had been more intimidated by the eggs. He turned his back to Buffy and took another ticket off the carousel. “Booth Eight requires coffee and cherry pie..”

“I just bet it does.”

Buffy glanced at the clock. It was five minutes to noon. How did Hell keep doing that?

Great. Now, Buffy had to choose. She could either kick Thursday’s ass and hope that it would un-mind-whammy Spike, or she could try to convince Spike to leave with her again. If she chose Thursday, she wouldn’t see Spike today. If she chose Spike… okay, Thursday would still be there tomorrow. Unless Hell changed big time. For the first time, Buffy hoped that it wouldn’t.

“This isn’t over,” Buffy said. It sounded like she was talking about taking some leftover pie to Mort. She tried again. “Pie this pie isn’t over!” Success! Well, nonsensical success. Buffy would have to work on that.

Buffy opened the fridge and took out a cherry pie. She grabbed a knife and hacked off a slice. Then, she lit her birthday candle on the gas stove and drove it into the middle of the pie. She walked out of the kitchen and made a bee-line to the coffee station.

Buffy had never poured coffee so quickly in her life. Some splashed on her hand. It burned.

***

WILL BUFFY GET A BAND-AID FOR THAT BURN? FIND OUT HERE…

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/426839.html

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