To my readers: This was a one-shot deal. I just needed a little breather form writing my other stories. There is just no viable way I can justify pairing these two on big adventure. If someone else can, you're welcome to try. Hope you enjoy.
Sorry for the reposting, but I get really anal about details in my story and if I miss one, I'm like Adrian Monk.
Johnny was worried for the rest of the day. He was troubled by what he'd seen and wanted to warn Buffy before it happened. Luckily, he had her cell phone number. Unluckily, she had it turned off.
It was only a few more hours until eight o'clock and Johnny couldn't get the images out of his head. Buffy was facing something that didn't look remotely human. Its face was a mass of rough and scarred flesh, with elongated teeth. The eyes were deep red, like blood. He didn't have a clue as to why Buffy would even be in front of such a thing, but he was determined to see his vision not come to pass.
Buffy was running late. The meeting with The Watchers' Council's Italian representatives went longer than she hoped. She took a cab home, forgetting to check her cell phone for any messages. She honestly didn't even know why she was rushing for a guy she hardly knew. Then again, there was something about him that was warm and friendly. He was bold, but not pushy. He was charming, yet seemed genuine. Maybe he wasn't going to be 'boyfriend' material at this stage in her life, but she certainly thought he was at least worth a fun evening.
"Dawn, I'm home!"
"Hey, Buffy. Wow, you're in a rush," she observed.
"Yeah, I'm going out with that guy from the café."
"Aha! See, you should let me hook you up more."
"One date does not a matchmaker make," Buffy quipped as she hurried to get ready. "I don't even know why I agreed."
"I do. He was pretty cute. And he had that whole cane thing working for him."
"Yeah, it was kind of sexy," Buffy admitted.
"When is he coming?" Dawn asked.
"Eight," Buffy replied.
"Buffy, you've got twenty minutes. Plus, he's a guy. Chances are he'll be running late anyw…" She was interrupted by the buzzer to the apartment going off. Dawn went over to the intercom and spoke through it.
"Who is it?"
"It's John," he replied quickly.
Taking her finger off the button, Dawn yelled out to Buffy. "Buffy! John's downstairs."
"What! He's twenty minutes early!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah, I know. Smooth, generous, cute, and early. I sure can pick 'em." She pressed the intercom button again and spoke through. "I'll buzz you in, John."
Johnny journeyed upstairs to the apartment and knocked on the door. He only hoped that the events in his vision hadn't transpired. When the door opened, he saw the girl who was at the café with Buffy earlier. Her sister, he thought.
"Hey," he said.
"Hey, come on in. I'm Dawn," she said as she introduced herself. She stuck out her hand.
"Is Buffy in?" Johnny quickly asked, bypassing the young girl's handshake.
While Dawn thought he was a bit rude, she nevertheless said, "Yeah, she's getting ready."
Johnny was relieved. Buffy was all right, meaning that he still had a chance to avert disaster.
"I'll be ready in a few minutes!" Buffy yelled from her bedroom.
"Take your time," Johnny replied.
Suddenly, Buffy's cell phone went off. Dawn went to the table to pick it up and answered it.
"I want to speak to the Slayer," the voice said. It was gravelly and menacing. Dawn tensed up. She walked over to Buffy's room and said, "Buffy, it's for you."
Johnny waited anxiously as Dawn disappeared into the room. He saw the seriousness on Dawn's face and started to think that the phone call was the catalyst for what he saw in his vision. A few seconds later, Buffy came out of the bedroom, a resolved look on her face. She gathered up a black bag and walked toward the door.
"I'm sorry, John, but something's come up," she said as she opened the front door. "I have to get going. Maybe take a rain check on our date?"
"Sorry, John. I have to go." As Buffy closed the door, Johnny reached for it to stop her. Touching the handle at the same time she did, he received another vision. It was just like before; Buffy was hanging upside down before being struck in the head. The next thing he saw was her body in an alley, the blunt force trauma wound to her head covering her face in blood.
When he came out of his vision, Buffy was already down the steps and outside the apartment doors. He searched for a way in his mind to stop her from going to her destination.
"Sorry, John," Dawn said apologetically. "She was looking forward to this date. She'll probably call you when she gets back."
"She's going to die tonight."
"What?" Dawn asked incredulously, hoping he was making some poor attempt at humor.
"She's walking into a trap tonight. She'll be killed."
Dawn looked at Johnny in surprise, then anger. "How do you know?" she asked. "Did you set her up or something? What did you do?" In her rage, she pushed Johnny against the door. Trying to steady himself, Johnny caught her hands briefly. Another vision came.
He was swarmed in bright green glow. It was so beautiful and powerful, like nothing he'd ever seen before. He felt it run though him, the feeling ethereal. The vision then shifted to a nighttime setting upon a tall uneasy structure. He saw a younger-looking Dawn chained to end of the platform on the tower, where a deranged figure stood in front of her with a knife. The man slashed at her sides. "Shallow cuts, shallow cuts," he said as he went about his cruel task.
"Shallow cuts, shallow cuts," Johnny repeated as he came out of his vision.
It was then that Dawn recoiled in horror. She went over to the weapons chest and grabbed a sword. She pointed the end at Johnny, staying a healthy distance away from him.
"Who the hell are you?" she asked in anger.
"Look, I'm not here to hurt you or your sister."
"Oh, really?" she said skeptically.
"Look, I'm a psychic," Johnny said.
"I'm a psychic," he repeated. "I get visions when I touch people and I saw your sister getting killed tonight. I'm not a danger, I swear. I even help the police with my visions."
"Wait a minute. John, that's your name, right?" Johnny nodded. "What's your last name?"
"Smith. My name's Johnny Smith."
"Wait, you're that guy who came out of a coma and started seeing stuff, aren't you? I came across an article on you a year ago. I thought you were a fake."
"Believe me, I wish I were. But I'm not, and we need to get to your sister. Where's she going?" Johnny asked.
"Some warehouse," Dawn said. "A girl named Sofia is being held there and the guy wants Buffy." Dawn grabbed another sword from the chest and a black holding case to put them in. "We better move out."
They quickly hailed a cab and paid the cabbie more money to speed toward the destination, telling him it wasan emergency. They caught up to the building just in time to see Buffy enter in. Paying the cabbie, Dawn and Johnny exited the cab with the weapons bag. As soon as the cabbie left, she brought out the swords and handed one to Johnny.
"You're not serious," he said.
"Oh, you bet I am," she replied. "Come on."
Walking as fast as he could with his cane toward the small warehouse, they entered in only to see Buffy get literally swept off her feet by the chain rope and Sofia bound and gagged. They saw a figure emerge from the shadows with a metal pipe behind Buffy.
"Buffy, behind you!" Dawn yelled.
Buffy turned around quickly to see the metal pipe coming toward her. She reached out and intercepted it. She pushed the demon back, but the push had little power as she was hanging upside down. Dawn ran toward the demon, lifting up her sword to deliver a killing blow, but it was parried and Dawn was pushed to the side.
Johnny saw what happened and yelled out, "Hey!" Standing a few feet from the beast he dropped his cane and held his sword up defensively. He started to back up and the demon swung the pipe at him. Unfortunately, since Johnny had no sword training and wasn't prepared for the strength of the blow, he dropped his weapon. The demon moved in close and grabbed with one hand, saying, "Weak human." He then proceeded to throw Johnny through the air and onto the floor. Turning back around toward Buffy and Dawn, the fiend stomped over to them. Dawn, seeing no other alternative, yelled at Buffy.
Dawn had thrown the sword to Buffy, who caught it. Using her well-developed abdominal muscles, she lifted herself up and twisted in the air, swiping at the demon's head. The thing fell down to his knees, his head separated from his neck. Johnny had gotten up and walked over to Dawn and Buffy. He helped get Sofia out of her bonds and made sure Dawn was okay.
"Is everyone alright?" he asked.
"Yeah," both Sofia and Dawn replied.
"Um, guys," Buffy said. "Can you get me down? I think I'm going to throw up."
Dawn had seen to it that both she and Sofia would be walking to Buffy's apartment together. Buffy had thought it best if the girl recuperated at her place after her brush with death. As they were standing outside on the sidewalk, Buffy and Johnny talked.
"Listen, Johnny, I'm sorry about tonight. I certainly didn't plan on this."
"Neither did I."
"I understand if you don't want to see me again," Buffy said sadly.
"On the contrary," Johnny replied. "I believe we still have a date to finish."
"Hey, I was promised one evening with a beautiful woman."
"Really? So what am I going to do for the night?' she joked.
Chuckling, Johnny said, "Come on. You can show me around Rome."
Buffy smiled at that. At the same time, she was stunned. After an experience that would have normally scared just about anyone off, Johnny had no problem continuing the planned outing. She knew most guys would have avoided her like the plague.
"Look, about tonight…" Buffy started to explain as they were walking.
"Buffy…" Johnny interrupted. "I don't understand everything I saw tonight and I'm not sure I really want to right now. I got a lot of it from the visions I saw and I'm comfortable leaving it at that."
"Fair enough," Buffy replied. Searching for another topic, she said, "So, psychic detective, huh?"
"Yeah, my 'consulting' job."
"How did that happen?" she asked.
"I was in a car accident; it left me in a coma for six years. Some part of my brain got activated and now I see things when I touch people. I've only had my visions for two years, ever since I came out of the coma."
"Wow, six years. You missed out on some stuff. Well, maybe not the 'Macarena'."
"Yeah. The way I hear it, plenty of people would've liked to have been in a coma for that."
"My sister wanted me to start seeing some normal guys."
"I'm normal?" Johnny asked incredulously.
"Compared to a lot of the guys I've dated, you really are," she replied.
"Wow," Johnny said. "That's really, really sad."
"Tell me about it. So, why did you go by John?" she asked.
"Well, when three women kidnap you, one of whom wants to bear your children, you tend to try and downplay yourself."
"Wow. That's just disturbing," Buffy remarked.
"More disturbing was having one of them actually be a male killer masquerading as a female reporter."
Buffy just looked at him quizzically.
"Believe me, you had to be there," he said.
"And thankfully I wasn't." Shifting again from the disturbing talk, she set out to relax the mood. "So, Mr. Smith, tell me something to prove you're psychic," she challenged playfully.
"Aside from saving your life?"
"Ah, that's child's play. I want to know something really juicy, like… how this date is going to end."
Johnny laughed at the notion… until he saw her face. Buffy smiled and raised eyebrows, seeing if he would follow through. "You're serious," he replied
"Go for it, Johnny."
Seeing he wasn't getting out of this one, he said, "Alright." Looking at Buffy, he reached out and touched her hand. The vision came to him. They were both standing at the door to her apartment, kissing each other. The kiss they shared was friendly, yet tender, lasting a few seconds. Coming out of the vision, Johnny just smiled.
"What?" Buffy asked. "What did you see?"
Johnny still smiled.
"Come on, you're smiling. Tell me," Buffy pleaded.
Johnny just smiled some more and turned to continue their walk.
"You're not going to tell me, are you?"
"Ugh! Psychics…" Buffy remarked. "Come on, Johnny, tell me."
And the two walked on through the romantic streets of Rome, laughing with each other and casting the cares of their lives away for the night.