Chapter Nine: These Kind of Fires Are Very Difficult to Put Out
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: Thanks (I think) to diamondtook862 and ever_neutral for helping me through a bajillion drafts of the end of this pie monster.
These Kinds of Fires Are Very Difficult to Put Out
Wait. What!? Buffy couldn’t be dead. That hadn’t been part of the plan. She’d been rescuing Spike, not trading her life for his. Besides, she’d been in Heaven, before. There hadn’t been harps. Or Doublemeat Medleys. In fact, Buffy was pretty sure that Doublemeat Medleys had no place in any Heaven ever. Had she landed with Spike in another Hell?
“You have been seen eating many of these ... Medleys ... on Earth. It was thought that you might require enjoyable sustainance.” Thursday gestured toward the table. “I believe the term is ‘comfortable food.’”
“You mean ‘comfort food?’ As in, ‘Sorry you died. Here, have some grease on a bun?’” Buffy shook her head. “And what do you mean you couldn’t prevent it? What kind of angel can’t smush a few pies?”
“The pie demons used your blood to create an Enochian sigil that banishes angels. You were dead by the time I was able to return.”
Spike made a choked noise.
“I didn’t die! No way did I die!” Buffy was not accepting this!
She had a Slayer army to run and a baby sister to protect and a couple of ex-boyfriend vampires to knock upside the head. She wasn’t ready to go back to Heaven. Plus, no way was she going to go down in history as the first Slayer to be killed by a cherry pie!
“You know what?” Buffy said. “I refuse to be dead right now. You thought Spike was turning Heaven into Hell? Let’s just say he has nothing on a pissed-off Slayer. I’ll bring on the negativity. I’ll be a negativity machine! I’ll make the place so miserable, people will start coveting their neighbors’ butts just so they won’t have to go!”
“Hold up a mo.” Spike raised one hand. “I was turning Heaven into Hell?”
“Um, only a little?” Buffy patted the slump of his shoulder.
Spike moved out of her reach.“You’re telling me I’m the one who created the killer pies? What would I do that for? If I were going to make myself an army of minions, I’d get Fyarl demons or giant bugs, not sodding pastries! And I wouldn’t let so much as an evil cream puff lay a finger on Buffy!”
Thursday’s face looked pinched. “Your desires had nothing to do with it. By its very nature, Heaven cannot support the presence of a demon. If a demon enters Heaven, it ceases to be Heaven and becomes Hell.”
“Well, that’s just shoddy construction! Isn’t God supposed to be infallible? Now, you’re telling me He can’t keep Heaven up to sodding code?”
“Yeah!” Buffy said. “I mean, does Hell become Heaven if an angel goes there?”
Spike and Thursday exchanged a look.
Geez. If someone had told Buffy she’d have to deal with asshole angels, maybe she’d have bothered with the whole Bible thing. Or, maybe not. It was a big book with big words, and Buffy hadn’t even made it through the fourth Harry Potter. Okay, she hadn’t made it to the fourth Harry Potter. She wasn’t a book learner!
“What? It’s a valid question!”
“Hell was built to cage the angel Lucifer.” Thursday spoke slowly. “Without angels, there would be no Hell.”
“That means, ‘no.’” Spike told Buffy, as if she needed the extra clarification. He stilled, his face tightening into a collision of sharp angles. “Fuck, Buffy. I killed you, didn’t I?”
“No! An evil pie killed me! Only it didn’t, because Thursday’s lying, and I’m not even mostly dead!”
“I’m not lying,” Thursday huffed, “And there aren’t degrees of death.”
“What am I, then? Because most dead men don’t walk.” Spike cracked into game face before Thursday could answer. “You’re saying I created whatever it was that killed Buffy? And you, what? Sat back and watched the Slayer die trying to get my worthless arse out of Hell? I’m already damned! She’s the sodding Chosen One! When push comes to shove, you choose to save her, you hear me? You always choose her!”
Spike punctuated his statement with a sob that became a snarl. A sob-snarl.
“She chose you.” Thursday spoke matter-of-factly. “And I did not sit back and watch the Slayer die. The pie demons forced me from the area.”
Buffy really didn’t care what the angel had to say. She was too hung up on Spike’s idiocy. He didn’t get to make her decisions! If she wanted to save him, she would, and he’d just have to unlive with that!
“Excuse me?” Buffy walked up to Spike and grabbed his arm. She spun him to face her. “Are you saying I should have let you go to Hell? Fine! Leave! Go to Hell! I’ll just rescue you again. I don’t know what you were thinking the whole year you didn’t call, but if it went through your undead pea brain that you weren’t good enough to show up on my door? Let me tell you something, Buster: you can just give up on me giving up on you, because it’s not happening.”
Spike gaped at her. Hopefully, because he was all awed and stuff, not because Buffy hadn’t made any sense.
“But you did give up on William Pratt.” Thursday lifted his chin. “You didn’t believe he would follow you, yet you still gave your life for the vampire. A soul corrupted beyond hope.”
That wasn’t quite right. Buffy hadn’t intended to die. She’d thought that the day would end and that she’d find herself elbow-deep in pie dough. Jumping off a scaffold into a Hell god’s portal was self-sacrifice. Refusing to give up on Spike? That was just refusing to give up on Spike.
Sure, she’d doubted him. But Thursday was wrong to say she’s given up on him ... she wouldn’t have gone back to his booth if she had. Besides, Spike had figured it out, so Buffy had been right to have faith in him. She’d been right to try and drag his dumb vampire butt out of Hell. Just like she’d been right to trust him that last year in Sunnydale.
He’d earned it.
“Spike defied everything that he is to become a better man. You’re nothing but a big, feathery ball of obedience. So, tell me again how he’s beyond hope. Because from this end? Let’s just say that I’d take Spike over three dozen snow-white angel souls.”
Spike drew in a sharp breath. The air whistled past his fangs, and then his game face slipped away. A soft, wondering light shone in his eyes. “You really are my hero. You know that, Slayer?”
Spike narrowed his eyes. “Doesn’t mean I’m not mad at you.”
“This is a scene better suited for a cupid. I am not meant to reunite lovers. I am a soldier of God.” The shadows in the room drew toward Thursday, deepening around him. “You died, but my orders are not to send you to Hell, nor to Heaven. God still has work for you.”
Buffy waved her hand. “Please. Enough of this dramatic ‘I’m the voice of the Lord blah blah’ crap.”
“That’s Metatron.” Spike looked a bit shell-shocked. “Dru said she spoke to him sometimes.”
“Drusilla is insane,” Thursday said.
From the mouths of angels ...
“I don’t care if the voice of God’s a burning bonsai tree!” Buffy snapped. “You don’t need to tell me I have work to do. I’m the Slayer.I always have work to do! Now, why don’t you tell me what this is all about. I mean, I’m dead, but I can’t go to Heaven or Hell? Where are you sending me, then? Mars?”
“We are not on Mars.” Thursday moved his shoulders. Buffy guessed that he had just made a weirdo angel version of a shrug. “We are on Earth; this room is located in Van Nuys.”
“Bloody hell! We’re in L.A?” Spike straightened his shoulders. “Buffy’s not dead, then?”
Oh, so Thursday and Buffy were first-name buddies, now. Good to know. Also, Van Nuys? As in Van Nuys Van Nuys?
“Yeah, seriously? We’re in L.A.?”
Thursday frowned. “We are not in L.A. as a joke.”
Of course he was serious. Thursday was always serious. Buffy wondered if all angels were this humorless, or if she’d managed to meet the only Precious Moments without a funny bone.
“There’s a bigger picture, here, Buffy Summers.”
“You mean like on a chapel ceiling? Because you church-y types seem to like that sort of thing.”
“The bigger picture is not at all like a chapel ceiling.” Thursday’s voice rolled like thunder. The flames in the candelabra trembled. “A war is coming.”
Spike lifted an eyebrow. “A war? You mean like the one Angel just started against the Circle of the Black Thorn?”
“Or, like the one I’ve been fighting since I was fifteen?” Buffy asked. “Is there a real reason you’re telling me this, or are you just trying to give me the willies?”
Seriously. Was the ‘w’ word supposed to impress her? The war wasn’t coming. It was here. It had always been here. Hearing that a whole bunch of asshole angels were getting involved didn’t thrill her, exactly, but it didn’t change anything, either.
Buffy turned her back to Thursday and Spike and walked to the fireplace. If this was Los Angeles, then she was dealing with a normal building, right? A heavy gold fire poker could put a nice Slayer-sized hole in the wall.
She picked up another poker and tossed it to Spike.
“Buffy, God commanded that I restore you to life. You have not yet fulfilled Heaven’s purpose for you.”
“And what’s that, exactly? Because no way am I knocking on people’s doors and asking them if they want to meet Jesus.” Buffy lifted the poker. The weight felt good in her hands.
“You could not introduce Him if they did.”
Suddenly, Thursday was standing directly in front of Buffy, his nose only two inches from her own.
“Get away from her!” Spike yelped. Buffy heard heavy footsteps, followed by a snarl. “Hey! That’s cheating! What kind of wanker glues a bloke to the floor? Come back here! I’ll bite your feathers off!”
Thursday’s breath puffed hotly against her ear. “I gripped you tight and raised you from the ether. You might want to remember to whom you owe your life when I return.”
He set his hand on her burnt shoulder.
Oh, God! The taffy thing! With the curtains!
“You’re the Chrysler building thing!?” Buffy’s blood turned cold.
Her hands shook.
She dropped the poker. It banged against the floor.
She’d really died? Thursday had brought her back to life? Why? Was this whole thing an elaborate way to get Buffy in Heaven’s debt?
“No, but we are not unduly saddened by that outcome.” Thursday raised two fingers to Buffy’s forehead. “Have faith, Buffy Summers. We will meet again.”
His skin brushed against hers.
And then ...
NO WORRIES, PEEPS. EPILOGUE TO COME!