Epilogue: She's Filled with Secrets
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. This part is only half-beta'd, because I always finish things waaaay before deadline. **pets betas**
She’s Filled With Secrets
Buffy stretched, enjoying the feel of black cotton and worn jeans against her skin. It kinda worried her; wearing Spike’s eighties-reject clothes shouldn’t be the highlight of her day. Heaven must have broken her brain. And her fashion sense. And her brain.
Her polyester uniform was in the trash. She would have burned it, except there really wasn’t a good place to do that in Spike’s apartment, and Buffy didn’t want to create a city-wide bonfire.
She finished toweling her hair – and it was a good thing Spike was a vampire, or she’d worry about getting a disease off his one and only towel – and stepped out of the bathroom into the so-called living area. Which, geez. What a hole! The apartment was dark and the furniture looked like it had all been pulled from dumpsters. Lesser quality dumpsters than existed in Sunnydale.
Aside from the bottles littered everywhere, Spike hadn’t bothered to put in any personal touches. Then again, he probably didn’t want to be surrounded by dessicated bones and sarcophagi, anymore. There was a T.V. and a video game console with ... Crash Bandicoot? Really? Anyway, it was pretty clear that this wasn’t Spike’s home – it was just the place where he slept, played video games and drank twice his weight in cheap beer. And whiskey. And bourbon ...
His crypt had been cozier, even before he’d redecorated. Buffy thought that Spike had been a little embarrassed to take her here, but there hadn’t been a whole lot of options.
They had woken up in a warehouse parking lot in Van Nuys without any money or ID or anything. Buffy had been carrying a cell phone when she had gone through Willow’s portal (an old one, in case it got fried), but it hadn’t been part of her waitress uniform, and it looked like her original outfit was lost forever.
Heaven owed her a comfy pair of slaying jeans. And a cute pair of boots. Which probably was not as big as the debt she owed Heaven for resurrecting her or whatever. And wasn’t that something it usually reserved for a whole different kind of Chosen One?
She should fill up the bathtub and see if she could walk on the water. Or, ooh, turning water into wine would be a fun party trick. Maybe she could even get a cult to follow her around and do what she said! Except she already had a Slayer army to run and that was enough on her plate, really. It was like the Thanksgiving dinner of plates.
And Thanksgiving made Buffy think of pie. And thinking of pie made Buffy’s tonsils float in bile.
The door creaked.
Buffy looked up.
Spike stood in the door frame. He held a plastic shopping bag in one hand. “Just popped out for a spell to get some stuff for that burn. I had the bandages, but I usually don’t bother with antibiotics. Figured you’d prefer Neosporin to whiskey.”
“Um, yeah. That’s about right. Thanks.”
Spike tossed Buffy the bag. She caught it and looked inside. He’d bought the promised Neosporin, as well as some moisturizing lotion and some of that clear, porous plastic stuff that worked better than band-aids on flex-y areas.
Buffy walked to the couch and sat down. It creaked and dipped. A spring dug into her butt, but it was still better than a red leather booth. She rolled up her sleeve, making a face at the handprint seared into her shoulder. She had tried to be careful, but the shower she’d taken had broken parts of the blister.
“What do you think? A little aloe vera and it won’t scar?”
“Uh, yeah. Let’s go with that.” Spike sat down next to her. The couch dipped again, forcing their bodies closer together. “Will you let me ...?”
Buffy bit her lip and nodded. She could bandage her shoulder herself, but the angle was awkward, and someone else would do a better job.
Spike squirted Neosporin onto his fingers, then smoothed them across the burn. The edges of the hand print really hurt, but the center was sorta numb. Which was probably a sign of deeper nerve damage.
Stupid angels. Stupid angels who were going to come back and demand stuff from her, like she didn’t have enough wars on her own hands! And how did she even know that Heaven’s side was the right one? It sounded like a no-brainer, but Thursday wasn’t really a nice guy. Buffy had gotten along better with Clem, and he was a demon!
“Hold up a sec.” Spike got up and went into the bathroom. Buffy heard a cabinet slam. He came out holding a sharp hunting knife and gauze.
“You keep knives in the bathroom?” Buffy asked.
Spike shrugged. “It’s hard to dig out bullets with scissors.”
Oh, yeah. Of course it was. Not that Buffy would know, since she’d only gotten shot the once, and Willow had magicked the bullet out. Not that bullets really needed to come out; she’d learned later that most doctors just left them in. It probably made going through airport security easier, though. So, she’d have to thank Willow sometime. Except that would remind them both of bad things.
Anyway, vampires probably didn’t go through airport security. Maybe they just took out the bullets because it was easier than keeping them in for all of eternity? Lead was heavy; it could interfere with a vamp’s butterfly stroke.
Spike sat back down, a little closer this time. He used the knife to cut a piece of the plastic stuff and stuck it to Buffy’s arm. He moved a roll of gauze around the her shoulder in overlapping circles, slowly covering the worst of her angel hand print. Which was totally going to go away forever in a week or two.
“I called the poof. Didn’t know anyone else’s numbers.”
Spike used the knife to shred the end of the gauze. He fished out some white medical tape from the plastic bag and secured the bandage. “He says he’ll round up the others and get them to meet us here.”
“Okay. Good. Also, don’t call him that!”
Spike snorted and worked in silence for a few seconds. Then: “Still think what you did was bloody stupid.”
“I saved you!” Buffy yanked her arm away. Couldn’t he just drop it?
“And it was a bloody stupid thing to do! Buffy, you died!” Spike jumped to his feet. He towered over her, his eyes blazing. “You think I wanted that? Knowing that you died because I couldn’t see what was in front of my nose? It would destroy me, Buffy!”
Buffy cringed, remembering what the cherry pie had said. Making Buffy’s death Spike’s fault was the best way to give him Hell. But since when was Spike’s emo man pain the only thing that counted? She didn’t want him dead! Maybe he did deserve to go to Hell. Okay, so he definitely did. But he didn’t belong there. He was a champion! He belonged on boxes of Wheaties and stuff!
“Did you really think I was going to let you rot in Hell for no reason?” Buffy rose off the couch and stepped forward, almost ready to pop Spike’s nose.
“There are reasons.” Spike ducked his head, like he suddenly couldn’t stand to look at her. “I know where I’m bound to end up, Buffy. ‘Specially since my demon mojo corrupts everything I touch.”
“Well, it’s not fair!”
What was with Spike accepting that he was doomed? He was, but that didn’t mean he should accept it! Besides, maybe he wasn’t? There were all sorts of places he could end up. The world without shrimp didn’t sound like a terrible place to spend an afterlife!
“It is fair, actually. More than.” Spike sighed. He looked like he was searching for words. “You don’t know what it means, knowing you cared enough to come after me. I’m grateful, Buffy. I’m bloody floored! But I’m not worth dying for, and I’ll break your neck you if you try something that stupid again!”
“Well, don’t get sent to Hell again, and it won’t be an issue! Besides, if someone hadn’t been so freaking stubborn, we could have left Hell right away! But nooo, you had to be a jerk-face and finish your pie, first!”
Spike blinked and looked away, his expression both furious and miserable. “I tasted your blood, Buffy.”
Was that what this was about? Because it wasn’t like he’d sucked on her neck. She’d just sorta ... splashed. On his pie. Also, he had been totally brainwashed at the time.
“You weren’t yourself.”
“I know. Doesn’t make me feel any better about it.” Spike’s fingers twitched.
Buffy got that. But what was she supposed to say?
“This is insane! Look, I’m alive. You’re undead. We made it out of Hell. So, I’m thinking we won. We should just smile and move on. And agree to call each other whenever we’re mysteriously brought back from the dead. Or better yet, we could drop in to tell each other we’re alive. And by ‘we,’ I do mean, ‘you.’ See me? Here I am, back from the dead, and I’m all chatty. It’s not that hard.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt you by not calling.” Spike studied his boots. “Just – thought we left things on a high note is all. The last you saw of me, I was dying to save the world. That’s a hard act to follow.”
Buffy grabbed Spike’s hands and held them tight. “You are the biggest moron that ever moroned.”
Spike glared at her. “You do know that’s not even a bloody verb?”
First the Bible, then the dictionary? What was with it with supernatural beings trying to make her read?
“Well, I’m making it a verb! You decided to stay dead because – what? – you thought our next interaction would be a let down? Are you sure you didn’t come back as a vampire-shaped zombie? You just saw me die trying to save you! Were you really disappointed when I didn’t stay that way?”
“No! God no!” Spike’s mouth went all slack with horror. “Seeing you alive and well after getting stabbed was enough to convince me that Hell was Heaven! Doesn’t that tell you anything?”
“Well, yes. That’s kinda my entire point. I like you, y’know, in existence. Sometimes. When you’re not being a complete idiot. Which is almost never.”
Spike looked pleased. Glow-y, even. Then, a shadow passed over his face and a tic worked in his jaw.“You’re off your nut if you think rescuing me from Hell’s the same thing as saving the world.”
“Fine, then! I’m off my nut! Who would want to be on a nut, anyway? They’re only really good in brownies. Are you saying that I’m off my brownies? Because that sounds like you’re talking about drugs.”
“Let’s not bring up baked goods.” Spike growled deep in his throat.
God, why’d Spike have to be so stubborn? Granted, if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have stuck around long enough to fall in love with her, and he wouldn’t have pursued her after she’d rejected him. And sure, a lot of pain had come from that, but so had the Whole Lotta Good that was the Spike she had gotten to know that last year in Sunnydale. He’d been the only one stubborn enough to believe in her the whole time.
The least she could do was return the favor.
Buffy took a deep breath. “Spike, I went to Hell for you. You really think I’d do that for just anybody?”
Spike frowned. “Angel.”
Buffy jumped. “Thursday? What? Where?”
“No, Angel. He of the oversized forehead? Answers to ‘poncey bastard?’ I hear him on the stairs. Red, too.”
“Oh.” Buffy released Spike’s hands.
“What do you want to tell them?” Spike asked. There was something pleading in his gaze.
“About what? Us?”
Spike lifted his eyebrows. “No. I meant about Hell and the angel’s war and whatnot.”
Buffy chewed her bottom lip. Honesty was always the best policy, wasn’t it? But how could Buffy explain about evil pies, and Mort and the kids, and the angel who was a short-order cook and also a day of the week? How could she talk about an angel without revealing the whole thing about being in Heaven and dying and being brought back by some asshole angel’s asshole god?
Angel wouldn’t want to hear about being doomed to Hell no matter what, and what was the point of telling him he was? Plus, Buffy didn’t want to see Willow’s face when she revealed that she’d died yet again. She’d get all pouty and sad, and she’d tell Xander, and Xander would tell Dawn, and word would get around. Buffy really didn’t want her slayers to learn that their leader had been killed by a pie, even if it was a demon cherry pie from Hell.
Buffy looked deep into Spike’s eyes. “I don’t think there’s anything to tell them. I mean, my memory’s all blurry and stuff. I barely remember anything.”
Relief – and something else, something warm – shown in Spike’s eyes. His lip quirked. “Afraid it’s the same for me.”
They faced the door together, waiting. Buffy heard footsteps in the hall. The heavy thudding of Angel’s shoes, followed by the lighter tread of Willow’s sneakers.
Buffy made a face, remembering that she’d eventually have to walk out of Spike’s apartment in Keds.
“I do remember one thing.”
Spike’s brow creased. “What’s that, then?”
Buffy sought out his hand again. It felt cool and solid and squeezable, so she squeezed it. Spike squeezed back.
Something nice and tingly curled in Buffy’s stomach.
“I really, really hate pie.”