Where Pies Go When They Die 4/9
Chapter Four: The Man From Another Place
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.
Buffy watched as Thursday lowered his bib apron over his head, then tied the strap around his waist. His wrinkled trench coat made the apron bulge out in odd places. His hair stuck out at all angles, like ruffled feathers.
“Hiya, Thursday.” Buffy had cut two pieces of pie and set them on the counter by her work station. She had chosen chocolate cream and Maine black and blue, which contained both blueberries and blackberries.
It didn’t matter what kind of pies Buffy made. She’d get different pies to battle at the end of the day, but the fight would play out exactly the same way.
“Hello, Anne,” Thursday said. “I hope this morning finds you well?”
“I’d do better if I had some company.” Buffy removed the birthday candle from her apron pocket and lit it on the gas burner. She shoved it into the chocolate cream pie. The heat flickered against her fingers, turning them rosy.
She held out the plate. “Come on, Thursday. I hear it’s your birthday.”
“You are mistaken. I don’t have a birthday.” Thursday took the plate from Buffy. He held it with both hands, scrutinizing the pie like it held the secrets to the universe. “I see you’ve found a prayer candle.”
“Prayer? This isn’t a prayer candle! It’s – it’s pink! And twisty!” Buffy clenched her jaw. She probably would have broken a tooth, except for the wad of bubble gum providing cushion. “You don’t expect me to pray, do you? Because I don’t think anyone’s listening.”
“I will listen.”
“ Uh ... I wasn’t talking about praying out loud.”
“Neither was I.” Thursday’s gaze was blue. Super blue. Also, completely serious.
Come again? Was Thursday saying that he could read her mind? That couldn’t be it, or he wouldn’t have listened to all that crap about Mort. Unless he was only pretending that he didn’t understand her real meaning? Thursday was part of Hell. Did he want her to pray <i>to</i> him? Demons loved recruiting worshippers, but they tended to like the kind of sycophants who donned goat skins and danced the Human Blood Hokey Pokey.
“No offense or anything, but I don’t really feel like worshipping you.”
“You misunderstand. I hear the prayers directed to my Father, but I am not to be worshipped. I am not God.”
Buffy wrinkled her nose. “You’re trying to tell me that you’re the Son of God? Please. I’ve seen you make toast. We totally would have heard about it if Jesus burned the Last Supper.”
She supposed that some Jesus freaks went to Hell. Caleb, for example. Though Caleb hadn’t absorbed any of that turn the other cheek stuff, and Buffy didn’t think there was too much to his personal theology besides “Women are Satan.” She hadn’t expected Jesus freaks to run Hell, but this was probably the weirdest Hell in the cosmos. She shouldn’t be surprised if Thursday said he was the Great Pumpkin.
“I am His Creation, not His Son.”
“Fine. Your God’s very special science project. I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me who – make that what – you are?”
“I am the Angel of Thursday.”
Buffy knew about days of the week underwear, but since when did days of the week have angels? What was next? The angel of 1985? No way was Heaven responsible for leg warmers and hair bands. Besides, there wasn’t a God. Just gods, who acted like demons on steroids, only bitchier. Oh, and the Powers That Be, who were just a bunch of balance-loving assholes.
“You are so not an angel!”
Thursday’s voice deepened. “I am.”
“Yeah, and I yam what I yam. Aren’t you supposed to have a halo and a harp or something?”
“You are not a tuber, and I am not a cherub.” The birthday candle lit the underside of Thursday’s face, giving his lower lids, nostrils and chin an orange glow.”I am a Warrior of God created to convey the wrath of Heaven.”
“Oooh. I’m quivering in my affordable-yet-affordable shoes.” God, Buffy really hated Keds. “Word of advice? Try this angel crap on someone who doesn’t know better. I’ve been to Heaven. And really? It’s less with the Heavenly choirs and more with formless warm fuzzies.”
“Humans experience Heaven as their best memories on Earth.”
“Again, with the knowing better. In my Heaven, I didn’t have a body. I was warm and surrounded by love. Since when do people experience that on Earth?”
Thursday looked at her.
“No! No way! I was not in womb Heaven!”
That put a new, disturbing spin on Paradise. Plus, it was obviously untrue. People couldn’t remember things from before they formed brains. It was impossible!
Thursday must have sensed her objection. “What you do not remember still leaves an impression. You are not the only one who wishes to return to their mother’s uterus. Many humans share similar Heavens.”
Thursday was evil. Super evil. He had to be a demon. A big, evil demon who tried to convince people he was an angel, because he was just that sick.
“Just stop it!” Buffy said. “I’m not interested in your crap. I just want to know how to bust Spike out of this place. And if that involves killing you? Let’s just call it a bonus.”
Buffy leapt forward.
Except, she didn’t. Her feet stuck to the floor. “Hey! That’s cheating! You’re a cheater, Cheater!”
And this guy said he was an angel. Puh-leese.
Thursday lowered his right hand. Buffy hadn’t even seen him lift it. “Attacking me would be unwise.”
Okay. So, whatever he was, Thursday was powerful. Like, Willow-on-a-rampage powerful. Was he a witch? A demonic man-witch? If so, Buffy was screwed. Somehow, she doubted Thursday had a Xander in the wings, ready to tell heartwarming tales from kindergarten. Besides, Thursday wouldn’t recognize crayons if he had them shoved up each nostril.
“Right, no attacking. Because you serve the Lord of the Dance or whatever.” Buffy grabbed her pie plate off the counter, ready to fling it like a frisbee. She’d love to see berries dripping off Thursday’s face. Also, blood.
“I have served Heaven since before Creation. Our Father has not once commanded me to dance.”
The birthday candle’s flame leapt long and high. Pink wax pooled in the pie’s center. There wasn’t much wick left.
Buffy was running out of time.
“Well, if you’re an angel, what are you doing in Hell?”
Thursday’s expression intensified. “We are not in Hell. Your vampire was correct to call this Heaven.”
Yeah. Right. Pull the other one. “You’re telling me that Heaven’s a crappy diner where the toast is always burnt and the waitress is a wage-slave married to a bum named Mort?”
“You would be surprised how many people cannot know Paradise without pie.”
Buffy knew that Hells were tricky places and that a Hell designed by Wolfram & Hart was bound to be extra twisted. But what kind of deranged Hell tried to convince its inhabitants that they were in Heaven? That couldn’t last forever. What happened to the souls trapped here? Was everything good slowly stripped away? Did the pies rebel and eat the humans? Nothing was impossible in Pie Hell. Nothing.
“No way does polyester belong in Heaven. Besides, those pies are evil. They try to kill me!”
Shadows deepened around Thursday, making his bib apron appear whiter in contrast. “Something is wrong with this place.”
“Way to state the obvious. You have anything actually informative to share with the rest of the class?”
But the candle had gone out, so Buffy’s question was lost to some story about Mort’s back hurting him too bad to get a job.
Thursday set his plate on the nearest counter. He walked to the window and took a ticket from the carousel. “Booth Eight requires a slice of cherry pie.”
Buffy’s temples throbbed. “Yeah. I just bet he does.”
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