- Where Pies Go When They Die 1/9
- Where Pies Go When They Die 2/9
- Where Pies Go When They Die 3/9
- Where Pies Go When They Die 4/9
- Where Pies Go When They Die 5/9
- Where Pies Go When They Die 6/9
- Where Pies Go When They Die 7/9
- Where Pies Go When They Die 8/9
- Where Pies Go When They Die 9/9
- Where Pies Go When They Die 10/9
Where Pies Go When They Die 3/9
Chapter Three: My Stomach is Filled with a Team of Bumblebees
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.
My Stomach is Filled with a Team of Bumblebees
It was noon.
Buffy stomped over to Booth Eight. She slammed two mugs filled with hot, black coffee on the table. The coffee appeared extra black in Hell, like midnight on a moonless night. Or whatever.
Buffy handled the pie plate with greater care; she couldn’t risk extinguishing the birthday candle. She moved into the booth on the opposite side of Spike and looked him over. His expression was lighter than Buffy was used to, his eyes more sparkly. He wasn’t looking at her. In Hell, Spike only cared for one thing, and it wasn’t Buffy.
Spike reached for his fork.
“What the Hell is wrong with you!” Buffy burst out before Spike took his first bite of cherry goop. “I know we’re in Hell, and that messes with your head and stuff, but this is just ridiculous! I mean, what’s with the pie obsession? You like wings and blooming onions. I’ve never even seen you eat pie!”
“You never offered it before. ‘Sides, this is bloody fantastic pie!” Spike pulled the plate closer to himself, as if to protect it. The flame winked, but the fire didn’t go out. “Don’t know why you would call this place Hell, either.”
“Have you seen this outfit?”
Spike used his fork to flay the top crust from his pie, piece by piece. Flecks of floury epidermis scattered over his plate. “I almost went to Hell, you know.”
“Spike, there’s no ‘almost’ about it. You went to Hell. This! This is Hell!”
He continued dissecting his pie without eating it. “I mean when I first came back. I was a ghost. Couldn’t affect anything. Couldn’t leave L.A. I ended up haunting Wolfram & Hart. Problem was, an evil law firm like that’s bound to have other ghosties. One thought I outta take his seat in Hell.”
Buffy swallowed her gum. Angel had told her about the ghost thing. He hadn’t mentioned Spike almost going to Hell.
“I didn’t know that. I’m sorry. But Spike, some part of you has to know that this place isn’t right.”
Spike stabbed a cherry with his fork. “Hell was at my heels, Buffy. I felt it pulling at me. Saw bits of the quick reel, too. Girls with glass poking through their eyes. People with holes in their middles. You see any of that around here?”
“There are different Hells, Spike, just like there are different Heavens and different Earths. Like, the one without shrimp. You know that.”
“You telling me I was lucky enough to land in Pie Hell? What’s next? The Hell where hot chocolate overfloweth?” Spike lifted a heaping bite of syrupy cherries to his mouth. He closed his eyes and sucked in his cheeks, looking pretty darn close to blissful. “This is damn good pie.”
“It’s damned pie, if that’s what you mean.” Buffy wanted to smush the stupid pie into Spike’s stupid face. “I don’t know if I’m talking to William the Bloody or Agent Cooper.”
“When Ray Wise starts dancing in the corner, you’ll be the first to know.” Cherry juice stained Spike’s bottom lip. “Truth be told, this seems more like Heaven than Hell.”
Buffy froze, gobsmacked. It took a few tries before she was able to speak. “Heaven? Seriously?”
“Sure.” Spike had eaten all of the pie, except for the tiny part holding up the birthday candle. He eyed it with something like resentment, then pushed it away with a sigh. “For one thing, the pie’s bloody gorgeous –”
“Enough about the pie!”
Spike reached across the table, his fingers brushing against Buffy’s hand. He felt her wedding band and frowned, but didn’t withdraw. “And you’re here, aren’t you? There’s no way Buffy Summers would land her arse in Hell.”
“She would if she were trying to bust out an idiot vampire!” Buffy’s gum reappeared in her mouth. It tasted bitter from its journey through her digestive system; she wouldn’t get a fresh piece until the following morning.
“I see you everyday. Hell, you always visit me special. I never see you sit with anyone else.” Spike suddenly looked tired. Tired and sad. “You bake these pies, and I eat them, and I taste how much you care for me. Tell me again how this is Hell.”
That was… Buffy didn’t know what that was. Spike thought this was Heaven, just because she spoke to him for fifteen minutes a day? They had spoken way more often than that their last year in Sunnydale. She had been one phone call away for the past year, and he hadn’t left so much as a text! One long-distance phone call, and Spike could have known freaking Heaven on Earth.
“I do care for you, Spike. I cared for you in Sunnydale. I cared for you the whole year you let me think you were dead. You don’t need pie to know that.”
Spike withdrew his hand. Buffy’s heart sank, because Hell loved a good cliche. Also, because Spike wasn’t listening to her.
“I know none of it’s real. I’m not an idiot. It’s all in my head, yeah? But, Buffy, love, if this isn’t Heaven, it’s still the closest thing I’ll ever see.”
So, what? Spike was sticking around this Hell because he was afraid to get stuck in one that was worse? And somehow, that made this Heaven? Sure, the pie was good. But Spike was stuck in a booth all day. He had to see her with another man’s ring on her finger. There wasn’t a T.V. on which to watch afternoon soaps. No way was he happy.
“Spike, you don’t have to be in Hell. Any Hell. You can come home with me.”
At least, that’s what Buffy tried to say. The candle had burnt out, so she ended up talking about catching the kids on the shed roof, ready to jump off and break their necks playing Superman. Anne the Waitress, Wife of Mort had just about had a heart attack.
“Crap,” Buffy said. That came out clear enough.
She jumped out of the booth and faced the display case. Glass littered the floor. It caught the line and angled it toward the walls, creating patterns of refracted light.
Pies were huddled around the display case and register. They had grown pastry claws and feet, which were clad in shortcrust motorcycle boots, complete with whipped cream rivets and laces. The blueberry wore a dripping cowboy hat and mustache made out of vanilla ice cream. A cheddar wig sat on the apple pie’s head, where it had gone gooze-y around the edges. There were ten pies altogether: blueberry, apple, key lime, banana cream, blackberry, shoofly, chess, Kentucky Derby, maple and cherry.
Buffy especially hated the cherry, with its big lattice eyes and shiny red mouth. Not that she was in any way jealous of a pie.
The pies saw Buffy and shuffled into a line, blocking the door that led to the kitchen.
A crumpled up napkin rolled across the floor.
“You best be on your way, Slayer.” The blueberry wiped melting ice cream from his diamond-shaped eyes. “We don’t take kindly to your kind in these here parts.”
The two-year-old in Thirteen giggled. Buffy was glad that someone was having a good time. Only not. What was with a two-year old being in Hell anyway?
Buffy rolled her eyes. “You do realize that I baked all of you this morning, right? As in, I made you. As in, you only exist because of me?”
That probably wasn’t true; the pies got made no matter what Buffy did. Still, she had made them this morning. That had to count for something. She was like their mother or something… and ugh. No way was Buffy following that line of thought.
“You also cut off a piece of my head and ate me!” Blackberry put her hands on the pie equivalent of hips.
Buffy shifted her weight forward, tensing her calves. “You’re food! Deal with it!”
“That’s racist!” Key Lime yelled. He was a shrill little thing, like a ten-year old on helium.
“Yeah,” said Shoofly. “Stop oppressing us!”
“Okay. Sure. Fine. Whatever.” Buffy smacked her gum. “I promise I’ll stop calling you food, and we’ll all sit down for a nice game of Jenga, and it will be rainbows and puppies forever.”
“Oh, I dislike puppies.” Apple adjusted her wig, which had started to slump to the left. “They always go after my cheese.”
“Besides,” Blackberry said. “I think it’s time us pies stood up for ourselves! Let see how she likes being eaten!” She sprang forward, her claws outstretched.
Great. This again.
Buffy punched straight through Blackberry’s middle. Blackberry’s pie plate flew off, taking pieces of lower crust with it. Berry guts streamed over Buffy’s hand. She withdrew her fist with a wet sucking sound. Purple clumps stuck to her fingers.
Blackberry’s body crumbled apart and fell to the floor.
“You guys are really going to wish you had gone for the Jenga.” Buffy shook her hand, propelling glops of blackberry into the air.
A blackberry landed on Apple’s top. “Hey! Watch the cheese!”
“Screw your cheese!” Key Lime squeaked in fury. “She just killed Blackberry!”
“We must avenge Blackberry!” Blueberry pointed at Buffy. “Get her!”
Chess and Maple advanced. Chess jumped into the air, motorcycle boots poised for a kung fu kick. Buffy grabbed one of its boots, twisted its leg and swung. The chess pie rolled and bounced along the floor, saying “ow!” with every rotation. It knocked into Blueberry and Kentucky Derby, whose sprawling forms careened into Key Lime and Shoofly. They tangled and slammed into the bottom of the display case. An arterial spray of fillings rose into the air, splattering across the floor and cash register.
Buffy didn’t have time to gloat about her pie bowling skills. Maple had picked up a piece of glass from the floor and was brandishing it like a knife.
“You’re going down, Slayer,” Maple said.
“I’ve defeated vampires, politicians and – oh hey! – a god. An actual god.You’re a pastry. You really think this is going to end well for you?”
“I think you’ll find that I’m no cream puff.” Maple lunged forward, sinking jagged glass into Buffy’s left calf. Buffy gasped and stumbled. Blood streamed toward her foot. It soaked into her white ankle sock and Ked.
Buffy bent it like Beckham. Her left leg screamed as the kick forced it to take Buffy’s weight, but her right foot smushed Maple’s creamy insides into oblivion, so it was totally worth it.
Seven down; three to go. Buffy dashed toward Banana Cream. She picked up its flailing body. It dug its claws into Buffy’s arms and chest, slashing her polyester dress and ripping her skin. Buffy tightened her grip and jumped into the air. When she was over Apple, she thrust her arms forward, slamming Banana Cream onto Apple’s cheddar cheese target.
Banana Cream exploded.
Buffy tucked her chin and finished her flip, landing hard on the other side of the display case. Fire screamed up her leg. Her calf muscle quivered. Gray sparks flashed behind her eyes. She swayed, dizzy from pain and blood loss.
God, she hated this part.
Cherry hopped on top of the cash register and crouched, peering straight into Buffy’s face. Her lattice-rimmed eyes narrowed. Her mouth curled into a smirk. “I think you’ve got some red on you.”
“Look who’s talking.” Buffy scooped a shard from the ground. It cut her palm. “You’re not going to win this. I hope you know that.”
“Darling, I already have. Every day since you’ve been here.” Cherry smirked, running her claws across her missing slice. The slice Spike had eaten. “We both know how this goes. You’re going to kill me. You’re always going to kill me. But I’m always going to win. You know why?”
Buffy had gone through this speech like a bagillion times. It never got less annoying. “Because life is like a bowl of cherries, all full of pits?”
Cherry lowered her voice to a husky whisper. “Because a man’s heart is through his stomach, and I satisfy him like you never will. He’ll never leave this place, no matter what you do. Every day, he watches you fight. He sees you bleed, and he doesn’t lift a finger. He doesn’t care about you, Buffy. That’s why he never called. That’s why he let you think he was dead. Because he’d rather be in Hell than be with you.”
Buffy’s hand tightened around the shard of glass. Blood welled around its edges and dripped onto the floor. “You’re wrong.”
“Maybe I am. Maybe tomorrow will be different. Except it never is, is it?”
“Spike will surprise you. He always surprised me.” Buffy drove the glass forward.
Cherry moved fast for a demonic pastry. She straightened her legs, pushing herself into the air with both arms extended, like Trinity in The Matrix. She twisted mid-flight and landed on Buffy’s shoulders. Her motorcycle boots locked under Buffy’s throat. She grabbed blonde hair and pulled, making the would-be Pie Slayer stumble backward.
Cherry had forgotten one key thing: she was made out of pie.
Buffy reached back and plunged her fingers into Cherry’s middle, tearing out handfuls of cherry filling. Some dripped into Buffy’s face. It stung her eyes.
Buffy flung sticky cherry goo onto the floor and walls. Her fingers scored through cherries and syrup, scraping all the way to Cherry’s pie shell.
Cherry’s grip loosened. She fell.
Buffy stumbled forward, breathing hard. She made it to the coffee station, where she braced her hands on either side of the table and stared, unseeing, at the map of Tibet. What if Cherry were right? What if Buffy had lost Spike forever?
No! Spike said this place was Heaven because Buffy was here. That had to mean something. That had to mean that he still cared. That he could be convinced to save himself.
Buffy closed her eyes.
When she opened them again, she was standing in the kitchen, adding a tablespoon of ice water to a bowl of flour cut with Crisco and butter. Her leg didn’t hurt. Her uniform was intact.
It was four a.m. And for the first time in a long time, Buffy had a plan.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/427221.html