- 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 7/9
Chapter Seven: This is the Waiting Room
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.
A/N#2: I may have lied about getting it all up tonight, since I am doing a little reworking on the last chapter. I will do my best!
This is the Waiting Room
The sound slammed through Buffy’s nerves and muscles and bones.
She popped one eye open, then the other. She was sitting in Booth Eight. There was a piece of cherry pie in the middle of the table. The birthday candle jutted from its center, its flame bobbing and twisting in the non-wind. Her right hand, which looked and felt perfectly normal, cupped a mug of ink-black coffee.
Spike frowned at her from across the table. “You alright, Slayer?”
“What happened?” Her voice sounded hoarse, like she’d swallowed fire.
Spike cocked an eyebrow. “You don’t remember?”
Let’s see… Buffy remembered that the diner’s short order cook was actually a freaking angel. She remembered that this was Heaven-for-now, but that Spike was turning it into Hell. She remembered that if Spike didn’t leave of his own free will, the so-called angel of Thursday would throw his soul into perjury.
In other words, when Spike wanted to get into an impossible situation, he didn’t fool around. If Buffy ever met this Anne Pratt, they would totally have words. Even if Anne had been trying to save Spike from Hell, just the same as Buffy.
Only, rescuing Spike from Wolfram & Hart’s Polly Pocket Hell was totally different than rescuing Spike from Smote-By-An-Angel Hell. Pocket Hells were really just prison dimensions; living people were sent to them all the time. Getting someone out was pretty simple, provided the person you were rescuing wasn’t some stubborn asshole vampire.
But when an angel talked about hellfire and damnation, he probably meant real hellfire and actual damnation. Like that Borchst painting. With the butts.
Willow was willing to work her mojo these days, but she had limits. Well, self-imposed limits, but those still counted. Pulling Spike out of the afterlife would oppose all sorts of natural laws and require the murder of umpteen baby woodland creatures, and Willow had sworn off that sort of thing. She wouldn’t rip a hole into Butt Hell, not even to rescue Spike.
“Slayer! You’ve not gone brain dead on me, have you?” Spike waved one hand in front of her face.
Buffy brushed it away. His fingers felt cool and solid where they touched her hand. “Spike, you trust me, don’t you?”
“‘Course I do. Would follow you to end of the world and back.” He looked earnest, like an overgrown, undead puppy. His eyes were a warm blue-blue, his mouth a soft, smiling curve.
“Spike, you won’t even follow me out of this diner!”
Buffy wanted to believe him. Two years ago, she would have trusted what he said, no matter how cornball. He’d earned her trust. He’d earned it in spades. Not that Buffy understood that phrase, because there were thirteen spades in a deck, and thirteen wasn’t a large number. Unless the phrase meant gardening tools? How many spades did a person really need?
Anyway, Buffy didn’t think she could trust Spike anymore. He wasn’t thinking straight. He wasn’t even thinking crooked. If Spike was twisting Heaven-cum-Hell, it was twisting him right back. He had gone all shiny, happy pie-zombie, and trying to get through to him was like trying to stab an elephant with a banana.
Buffy extended her arm across the table. Spike hesitated, then took her hand.
“Spike, if you trust me, trust this: we have to leave this place. Like, yesterday.”
Spike sighed in an inhuman, shallow way. “So, we’ll leave, then.”
“I mean it, Spike! If you don’t leave with me, you’re going to –” Buffy’s heart jumped. “Did you just agree to go?”
Spike smiled, the expression suffusing his whole face with a warm glow. His eyes crinkled at the corners. The hollows beneath his cheekbones softened. Even his helmet-hair lost its hard lines as the light softened the curls around his ears and forehead. He looked younger. Boyish. Almost angelic, but in the halo-y sense. Not at all like Thursday’s alien weirdness.
“You really think I’d let you leave without me? Don’t know if you noticed, love, but I’m a hard vamp to get rid of. I’m yours, Buffy, for as long as you’ll have me. Longer.”
Buffy wasn’t even going to question that whole thing where he hadn’t called for a year, not when he’d agreed to leave. God, she was just… she was so proud of him.
Heaven could go screw itself! Spike was a good man, and a self-made one to boot. If Thursday’s god couldn’t see that, then he wasn’t much of a god. If a guy like Spike could turn this place into Hell, it must’ve been a pretty crappy Heaven to begin with.
Buffy tightened her grip on Spike’s hand.
Proud tears threatened to spill.
Then, she noticed something. “Spike, if we’re going to get out of here, shouldn’t we, y’know, be getting out of here?”
Spike’s hand slipped free. “I said I’d go, didn’t I? And I will. Just as soon as I finish my pie.”
Buffy’s ribs bore down, squeezing into her chest cavity. Air whooshed from her lungs. Everything hurt, like she’d been propelled into a wall, only the shock of impact didn’t fade. It just kept on shocking.
Spike picked up his fork and poked it through the tip of his pie slice. He lifted a gooey blob of red to his mouth, his lips closing over the tines.
Buffy watched, horrified, as a blissed-out expression smoothed over Spike’s face.
This was loss. This was losing. Spike was gone. This wasn’t even Spike. This was a Spike-shaped shell, who had been hollowed out and re-filled with pie. Nothing would get through to him. Nothing would wake him up. Not until an angel plunged him into a far scarier Hell.
Spike moaned. It was a moan that Buffy had heard him make many times before, though never around food. “I could compose an epic poem ‘bout this bloody gorgeous pie. Think I will, soon as I figure out a few more words that rhyme with ‘cherry’.”
Buffy made a choked noise.
She wasn’t going to save Spike. She couldn’t, because he wasn’t going to let her. He wasn’t even aware that he needed saving.
When, exactly, was Thursday going to pack up Spike and FedEx him to Hell? Buffy knew that she was running out of time, but she didn’t know how much she had left. One day? Two? What if this was it? What if she never saw him again?
“Yeah, love?” Spike’s eyes were all pupil, like he’d been concussed.
“Thank you. For Sunnydale. For what you did. It meant a lot. So did the whole going up against Wolfram & Hart thing, even though I wasn’t around for that one, so I don’t really know how it went down.”
Spike nodded absently, too focused on his cherry pie to pay attention.
“Anyway, you’ve done a lot of good, and I just don’t want you to forget that, no matter what. I don’t want you to think that no one cares what happens to you, because we do. I do. I’m sorry I let you down.” Buffy chewed her lip. She couldn’t bring herself to say ‘goodbye,’ but what else was there to say?
She slid out of the booth.
Spike didn’t notice. He was too busy smacking his lips and making ‘o’ faces with half-chewed pie in his half-open mouth. As Buffy watched, he used his thumb and index finger to pinch out the birthday candle.
Smoke rose from his fingers.
Buffy turned to face the display case.
Glass shards were scattered across the floor. The pies had lined up in front of the cash register, blocking the way to the kitchen door. Their shortcrust hands curled into fists as Buffy approached.
Today’s flavors were elderberry, apple, lemon meringue, chocolate cream, banana cream, Kentucky Derby, sweet potato, pecan and cherry. The apple had exchanged its cheddar cheese wig for an ala mode up-do. The lemon wore a meringue judge’s wig and mustache. The cherry winked at Buffy, then blew a kiss toward Spike.
Buffy stopped about fifteen feet from the pies. “Do we really have to do this? You know, this whole place is turning evil. My friend’s going to burn in Hell. Oh, and angels are huge, scary assholes. It’s kinda been a long day.”
“Yes, we have to! You kill and eat us!” Sweet Potato crossed her claws across her chest.
Was it just Buffy, or did the pies appear larger today? Their claws looked more formidable. The fingers were longer, and the tips were stiff and dark brown. Of course, they were still made of flour and butter, and that didn’t exactly inspire fear. There was a reason that rival street gangs didn’t pelt each other with Twinkies.
“Do you let the monsters who eat you walk free?” The chocolate cream spoke in a smooth rich timbre. “How can a Killer of Vampyres fault us for defending our species against the demons that would make us their prey?”
“I’m not a demon,” Buffy said. “If anything, you’re the demons.”
“Wonderful. She’s casting our own aspersions against us. How … mature.” Chocolate Cream spoke in a rich, sinful-sounding voice.
Nope. Buffy wasn’t getting out this.
“Besides, you were really anti-demon, you’d do something about the ‘Vampyre’ in Booth Eight. But no, you have to go after me, the one person in this whole diner that doesn’t want to eat you. When I get out of here, I’m never touching pie again! I’ll have Thanksgiving cake. Or strudel!”
Cherry preened. “What can I say? Spike gives good tongue.”
“Slut,” coughed Kentucky Derby.
Cherry narrowed her lattice eyes. “You’re just jealous because you only get ordered by an old crone.”
Buffy kinda hoped that they’d go all Dynasty and cat-fight. It would mean two less pies to worry about, anyway. “You know what? While you guys work that out, I’m just going to go into the kitchen and ask the angel to rustle up some eggs and toast…”
“Like Hell you will!” Pecan bounced forward on his toes. “You’re going down, Slayer!”
Buffy sighed. She waited until he was in kicking distance, then planted her Ked straight into his center. Pecan flew back and hit the wall, then slid to the floor. Karo syrup streamed from his mouth. He fell still.
“You killed Pecan! How could you?” shouted Sweet Potato.
Buffy shook some dabs of Pecan off her Ked. “He attacked me. Do you guys even notice how you always attack me first? What am I supposed to do?”
“Really, Buffy. Let’s not quibble about who attacked who.” Cherry brushed a crumb of her arm, then raised her claw, as if examining a manicure for damage.
“You could try letting us kill you.” Apple bounced on her toes. “That would be swell! Maybe we could even grind you up and bake you into a pie. You could be one of us! Wouldn’t you like to be one of us?”
Buffy blinked. “You’re recruiting, now? I think I’ll pass.”
“Oh, darling. Don’t you think you should reconsider? You’d look delightful wrapped in pastry. Your boyfriend might even look at you again.” Cherry snickered behind a dainty claw.
Sweet Potato guffawed.
Buffy saw red. Or, you know, orange-ish, since Sweet Potato was blocking her way to Cherry. She lunged forward, scooped up Sweet Potato, and slammed its soft, custardy body on top of Apple. Vanilla ice cream and globs of spiced sweet potato puree flew through the air, splattering Buffy’s face and arms.
“We must avenge Sweet Potato!” Elderberry pointed at Buffy. “Get her!”
“I’ll aim for her eyes!” Lemon Meringue jumped into the air, spitting arcs of lemon juice.
Buffy blocked the liquid with one arm and grabbed for the pie’s shell with her free hand. When her fingers sunk into fluffy meringue, she rotated the pie sideways and flung it like a frisbee. Lemon Meringue bowled over Kentucky Derby, Elderberry and Chocolate Cream. They crashed into the wall, their fillings spewing all over the floor.
“You won’t get away with this, Slayer!” Banana Cream picked up a piece of glass. “You’re not leaving this diner alive!”
Great. They had gotten to the stabby part of today’s program.
Pain erupted in Buffy’s mid-section.
Buffy looked down. A shard of glass poked out from her stomach. Blood gushed red and hot from the wound. It streamed down her front, obliterating the cherries printed on her apron.
That wasn’t… that wasn’t how it went. Ever.
She looked up. Banana Cream had picked up another piece of glass. The pie held it like a throwing dart, a smile creasing its jiggly filling. “What? You think we don’t learn stuff?”
Buffy gasped and fell to her knees, forcing more glass into her kneecaps. The floor was slick with blood. It flowed around and under the glass, making the floor sparkle like rubies.
Banana Cream threw the second piece of glass. It pierced Buffy’s shoulder. She doubled over, instinctively grabbing for the glass sticking out from her skin.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Cherry said. “You’ll just bleed out faster, and I think we ought to chat a bit, don’t you?”
“Go to Hell,” Buffy said.
“Oh, hold your horsemen. We’re not quite there, but it’s only a matter of time.” Cherry put her hands on her sides, arms akimbo. “Banana! Knock that off!”
“What? No way!” Banana Cream pouted. It held glass in both hands. “I was hoping to hit her neck next. Or maybe an eyeball.”
Buffy searched the floor with shaking fingers. They closed around a seven-inch, jagged shard. It cut her hand as she lifted it, but what did she care? She was freaking dying. Or maybe not. Who knew, now that Hell had finally changed the rules?
She almost dropped the glass, but then she tightened her grip. Buffy drew back her arm, then extended it for the throw. The momentum made Buffy fall forward. She put out one hand to stop her fall. Glass dust splintered her palm and fingers.
The glass shard hit banana cream smack in the mouth. It gurgled around the shard, then toppled forward. Banana pudding pooled on the floor.
“Alone at last.” Cherry smiled. “Now, how do you think I ought to serve you up? Ground up and mixed with peas and carrots? Should I top you with mashed potatoes? Spike’s English, right? They put shepherds in pie all the time. Or is that the Irish? Anyway, I think Slayer meat will give it a little extra punch, don’t you think?”
Buffy groaned. “Geez, whatever happened to good, old-fashioned hellfire?”
Cherry waved her hand. “Oh that. It’s so last millennium, don’t you think? Besides, that would only put Spike in excruciating pain forever and ever. I’m a bigger picture sort of girl.”
Buffy coughed, spraying blood. Couldn’t she just bleed out, already? “Meaning?”
“If Spike went to Hell right now he’d suffer, sure. But our resident hottie went out a hero, fighting for what’s right. That would sustain him, don’t you think? Make him feel like some super special martyr. Sure, he’d be in Hell screaming himself hoarse for all eternity. But you’d be just peachy, and he’d know it.”
“So, what? This whole thing is about making me die right in front of him?”
“Please. I could have killed you any old time. No, this is about defying expectations. We only held Spike in his booth the first day you were here. He can come out and help you any old time. But he won’t. You know why?”
Buffy’s eyes couldn’t focus. Her knees kept slipping in her blood. “Not all that interested, actually.”
“Liar.” Cherry smirked. “He doesn’t think he can move. He doesn’t think you’re real. He does think you’re always going to get better. I want him to know that he could have helped you – the real you. I want him to know that he sat back and watched you die. And then I want him to realize he ate your remains. Once that realization hits him, this place can’t be anything but a Hell.”
Buffy coughed again. It was weaker this time. She couldn’t get air in her lungs. “One, that’s disgusting. Like, I don’t have words. Just vomit in my mouth. Two, the angels won’t let you.”
Cherry sashayed forward. She stopped directly in front of Buffy. “Honey, if the Heavenly Host sends him to another Hell, I still win. Don’t you get it? His suffering will be complete, because you’ll be dead because of him. Because he’ll see his so-called “redemption” for the farce that it is. There won’t be one drop of hope in tawdry little soul of his. And that, my dear, makes for a better Hell than all the brimstone in the cosmos.”
Buffy reached out.
Cherry stepped back with a laugh. “Please. You think it’ll be that easy?”
“Actually… yeah.” Buffy flung her body forward, tackling Cherry to the floor. The glass in her stomach stabbed deeper. Buffy smelled bile and rot mix with her blood. “You might want to work on waterproofing, Hellbitch.”
Cherry tried to kick her, but Buffy’s blood soaked into her shortcrust, dissolving it. “Hey! That’s not fair!”
“I’m weeping for you, I really am.” Buffy rolled off of the pie. She hooked her fingers into Cherry’s filling, then used the rubber soles of her Keds to push them along the floor. Glass ground into her stomach and elbows and everywhere.
Cherry grumbled. “Not that it matters, but we’ll both be dead before you reach Spike’s booth.”
“This would be a really good time for the pie to shut its pie hole.” Buffy squirmed along the floor, coasting in her own blood. This had to be the world’s most horrifying Slip ‘n’ Slide, but Buffy was sorta beyond aesthetics. Except for the polyester. That still sucked.
It felt like days before she made it to Spike’s booth, but suddenly she was there. Using strength Buffy didn’t know she had – and who knew, maybe Heaven had suddenly decided to give her a boost – she grabbed the lip of the table and pulled her upper body forward.
She slammed Cherry on the table. The pie landed upside down, it’s innards splattering. Buffy slid into the booth opposite Spike, then slumped into the seat. Blood made the seat all squishy. How Buffy even had any blood left to bleed, she didn’t know.
“What did you go and ruin the pie for?” Spike flipped Cherry over with a growl. “Know you’ve been a bit crazy as of late, but don’t go taking it out on the pie.”
Buffy couldn’t see him anymore, but she didn’t remember closing her eyes. “Sorry. I would get the manager, but I think he might smite you.” Her breath had gone all wheezy and rattle-y.
She heard chewing and swallowing noises. “At least it still tastes… wait, there’s blood in this. Slayer blood.”
Buffy gurgled. What had he expected? Gerbil?
“Buffy? Buffy!? It’s really you? Bloody hell! You’re bleeding all over! Fuck, it’s bad. Where are you hurt? I can’t see. There’s too much blood. ”
Buffy giggled. Of course Spike figured it out when she bled all over his pie. Wasn’t it always about the blood with him? She was gonna be so pissed if she died right now and the cherry pie won. No! The pie couldn’t win! No way! Buffy wasn’t going to let it!
If she died – and she wasn’t going to, because she had Dawn and her friends and a life yet to live – she wasn’t going to take it laying down. She’d march straight out of womb Heaven and get Spike out of whatever Hell he wound up in. If a little bitty prayer from one Anne Pratt could grant Spike a Heavenly detour, then the cosmos didn’t stand a chance against the will of the Buffster.
Buffy was done playing by these stupid rules. She tugged at her wedding ring. It slipped right off. Apparently, blood made excellent lubricant. She flung the ring on the table.
Buffy felt something cool and solid encase her hand. It held tight, but Buffy was all floaty, and the touch barely registered.
It felt a whole, whole lot like she was dying. But she wasn’t. Because who the Hell died in Heaven? Unless it was officially Hell, now? Maybe it was. Still, people weren’t supposed to die in Hell, either. They went there after they died. Buffy refused to die! She just … she just needed a nap. One little nap, and then she’d be fine. She just wished it wasn’t so cold in the diner. Who had turned on the AC, anyway?
“I’m sleepy.” Buffy slurred her words.
“You’re not sleeping! You hear me, Buffy!?” Spike sounded frantic. “Damn it, Slayer. You shouldn’t be here. Why the Hell are you here?”
“Why else?” Buffy whispered. “I came to rescue you from the pie.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/428127.html