Where Pies Go When They Die 6/9
Chapter Six: I Am the Arm
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.
I Am the Arm
“Hello, Anne,” Thursday said. “I hope this morning finds you well?”
Buffy shoved a pie plate into his hands. She had cut a wedge of shoofly pie and stuck the birthday candle in the middle. If there were such a thing as shoo-angel pie, she’d have gone for that. “It’s <i>Buffy</i>, and I’ve been better.”
Thursday looked at the birthday candle. “You wish to speak with me.”
“You could say that.” Buffy punched his jaw.
Pain boomed up Buffy’s hand and arm. Her knuckles burst into white hot agony. Her wrist felt like all its bones had blasted into dust. Hell, her toes stung from that punch!
It hadn’t hurt that much to hit Glory, and Glory had been a god! What was Thursday? He said he was an angel, but angel’s were servants, and he was way too powerful to be anyone’s lackey. Also, there were no such things as angels. Just Angel. Who was really a demon. Much like this Thursday guy. Unless Thursday was a demon-god-manwitch? That was way too many hyphens for one baddie.
“I warned you that attacking me would not be wise.” Thursday still held the pie plate. The birthday candle still burned. Buffy hadn’t so much as ruffled a hair on his head. Granted, they were already pretty ruffled. Did angels not have stylists?
“Who are you?” Buffy gasped, feeling her hand for broken bones. Her fingers looked blue and swollen, but she could move them, and she didn’t detect any broken bones. That had to be a miracle. Not the Holy kind. The lucky kind.
“I told you once, and that was more than was required of me.” Thursday poked his chin out, his blue eyes staring through Buffy and into the ether. “I do not answer to you, Buffy Summers. I do not serve you.”
“I know. You serve eggs and toast.” Buffy shook her hand, hoping that it would stop hurting sometime this century. “Fine. I’ll bite. Let’s say you really are an angel. What the Hell are you doing in a diner? Did you get sick of shooting love arrows at horny teenagers and decide to try a new career path? Because I gotta say, you better not quit your day job.”
“Perhaps, if you knew what angels were, you would have an easier time believing that I am one.”
Buffy rolled that sentence around in her mind. She was pretty sure there was an insult in there somewhere. “So, I flunked Sunday school. Or, you know, never attended. So what? If you’re an angel like you say you are, why don’t you help me? Isn’t that what angels do? Help people?”
“Angels carry out God’s will.” Thursday spoke like that explained everything. His voice was as deep and groaning as ever, but the cadence of his words increased. “I aided you in allowing you to remain here. I gave you a prayer candle so that you could speak freely before the corruption. Yet you say that you have not been given enough? You are arrogant, Buffy Summers.”
“Arrogant? Look who’s whining because I’m not singing your praises or whatever. Also, keeping me stuck here? Not so much with the helpful. You haven’t given me anything. I found the birthday candle in the second smallest mixing bowl!”
“Because I placed it there for you to find. God provides in Heaven as He does on Earth.”
“You’re telling me that God provides killer pies? What the Hell kind of God do you worship, anyway? No – don’t answer that.” Buffy held up her right hand, partly to motion for Thursday to keep his mouth shut, partly to reassure herself that the appendage could still move. “Hold up. If you’re an angel, then you’re following Heaven’s orders, right?”
Thursday cocked his head. “Correct.”
“You don’t do anything without God telling you to?”
“Angels do not know free will. Only obedience.”
“They used to say the same thing about Slayers.” Buffy smiled a hard smile. “So, if you are helping me, it’s because God said you had to. Ergo, you have to.”
Thursday stepped forward, carrying the pie plate before him. “You presume too much, Buffy Summers. My orders are to remove a threat. I thought you were a means to that end. I am ... reconsidering.”
Dread twisted in Buffy’s stomach. “A threat?”
“This Heaven has been corrupted by a demon’s presence.” Thursday eyes flickered with a white so hot it hurt. “Each Heaven is shaped through memory and desire. If the demon remains, its nature will consume this Heaven like a cancer. If the infection is not stopped, all of Heaven will be threatened. That, I cannot allow.”
“Spike. Spike’s the one turning Heaven psycho.”
How could that be? Why would Spike’s brain shove Buffy into polyester and mess up the eggs and create evil talking pies? He’d always been a little nutty – hello, Passions obsession – but this was too weird, even for him.
Thursday didn’t seem to think so. He nodded.
“But Spike has a soul!”
Electricity crackled through the light fixtures. The shadows around Thursday waved in strange shapes. “His soul does not negate what he is.”
Did this mean that Spike wouldn’t ever get to go to Heaven? No matter how long he fought? What about Angel? The thought that they’d both suffer forever made Buffy’s heart hurt.
No. Buffy couldn’t accept that. What was the point of doing anything, if there was no such thing as forgiveness? Besides, even if Thursday served a god, that didn’t mean he knew everything about the Powers That Be. And how had Spike arrived in Heaven in the first place? Buffy hadn’t read the Bible, much less studied it, but she was pretty sure God wasn’t supposed to make mistakes. Like, ever.
“If Spike’s so doomed to Hell or bust, how’d he end up in Heaven in the first place? And what about the whole Heaven is made up of memories thing? Did Spike spend a whole lot of time hitting up the diner scene with Dru? That would explain the evil Looney Tunes vibe.”
Thursday shook his head. “The prayer carried him to Heaven, but couldn’t take him further. He fell into a nexus. This is a place where several people’s Heaven’s meet. Many people loved this diner as it appeared on Earth. As for your first question ...
“At the moment of her death, a righteous woman prayed for the demon’s forgiveness. Her soul was pure and full of love, and her prayer was powerful. When Wolfram & Hart flung William Pratt’s body between dimensions, the prayer interfered. It diverted his course, bringing him to this Heaven instead of Hell.”
William ... Pratt? Spike’s last name was Pratt? How had Angel failed to tell Buffy <i>that</i> one?
“Another person’s prayer cannot earn God’s forgiveness, only his leniency. Any other demon would have been cast out immediately. But Heaven, in answering Anne Pratt’s prayer, has decreed that William Pratt be allowed to leave of his own free will. He can return to Earth, if he so chooses.”
Anne Pratt? So, Spike’s relative? A mother? A sister? Had he killed her? He must have. Why else would she have prayed for Spike’s forgiveness? Why else would he have needed it?
Buffy’s tongue lay heavy and dry in her mouth. “And if he doesn’t choose? To go, I mean?”
The room went dark.
The birthday candle exploded.
Thursday’s pie slice burst into a fiery pyramid.
The fire cast shadows on the walls. Great. More shadow puppets? Well, no. The shadows didn’t turn into illustrative panoramas, just long, black, angled expanses. They extended across the room, following the contours of floor and ceiling, and met behind Thursday’s back.
Holy shit. Holy shit. They were the shadows of wings! Honest-to-Powers wings!
The floor groaned as it erupted with stress fractures. Pots fell. Glass broke. The avocado fridge tipped to one side and slammed into the floor, its door flying open. Pies skidded across the floor and smacked into the counters and walls.
Thursday’s voice rumbled through the room.
“If William Pratt does not leave of his own volition, then I will cast him into perdition, and his soul will burn until the end of time.”
HOW WILL BUFFY GET SPIKE OUT OF THIS ONE?