Title: The Summit

Author: Valerie X

Rating: R for sexual situations and political satire.

Ships: Buffy/Spike, George W. Bush/Vladimir Putin. This is what happens when the only television you watch is BtVS and CNN.

Feedback: valerie5516@yahoo.com

Takes place after "Gone".

More fic on my site: http://www.geocities.com/webandofbuggered

PART ONE

"She doesn't even care."

Spike popped the last piece of popcorn into his mouth. "That's 'bout the tenth time you've said that, nibblet."

"Argh!" Dawn put her hands to her head and the couch seemed to vibrate with her scream. "You see how crazy she makes me?"

"I know the feeling."

Spike moved the empty bowl from where it sat between them to the coffee table. He'd come to their house hoping to catch Buffy before she went out on patrol, but he'd found Dawn sulking alone instead. The last time he'd seen her was when he took her to the hospital, so he figured some quality time with the kid was better than getting kicked in the face...or, other areas of his body.

Dawn pulled her legs up against her chest and rested her head on her knees, looking even more like a little girl than she usually did. "And then it's like, Hello to the guilt. Because she died for me." She turned to look at him. "She *died* for me Spike, and I'm whining."

Spike shrugged. "'S not like she died just to give herself ammo in future arguments," he said. "You can still complain. Besides, she hasn't been herself since she came back. Stuff's bothering her. Making her..." His eyes moved to the commercials that flickered in front of them. "Making her do stupid things."

"I guess," Dawn said sadly. "I just wish she'd talk to me. Other than to say, 'Are you okay?'" She shifted so that she was sitting curled up against the back of the couch. "The only time she even looks at me is if I'm in trouble. And then once I'm safe, she doesn't even care."

"Eleven," Spike said.

"And then," Dawn continued, "She acts like I'm just supposed to go to school and be all happy and normal. Like anything is normal! What am I gonna do? Go up to the boy I like and say, 'Hi! Remember me from Math class? The big glob of energy used for opening portals to evil dimensions?' Everyone in school thinks I'm the biggest freak on Earth."

"What you need is a better pick-up line. My personal favorite is, 'Hello, cutie.' But you have to do it with the right little seductive smile..."

"And *then* I'm supposed to feel all guilty that she's even *alive*," Dawn went on without acknowledging Spike. "Because she was happy dead. She was in heaven and at peace and...with mom."

The tone of her voice caused Spike's head to snap in her direction. As he watched, her large blue eyes filled with tears, reflecting the deep reds and oranges of the juicer on the television.

"And then I'm jealous," she whispered. "Cause she got to see mom."

One of Spike's eyebrows crept up his face slowly. "The way I figure it, you end up all haloed before your time, and the first thing your mum's gonna do is give you a good smack."

"Not gonna kill myself," Dawn muttered. She looked down at her hands. "Not that it would matter to anyone if I did."

"Bollocks," Spike replied. "Who would I watch Dawson's Creek with? 'S no fun to watch alone."

When Dawn looked up at him, though her eyes were still wet, he was relieved to see her familiar fifteen-year-old-girl-you-are-so-lame stare. "That's it? That's the *only* reason why you'd miss me?"

"Hey," Spike defended. "I'll have you know that watching Dawson's Creek is a vital part of my life."

A tiny smiled danced on Dawn's face. "My condolences."

"Bitch," Spike muttered as he turned back towards the TV.

He was jolted away from the excitement of the George Foreman grill by Dawn's lean body slamming into his. He looked down in surprise to see her hugging him tightly around the chest.

"Thank you," Dawn said softly. "You always make me feel better."

Spike patted her on the back a few times before shoving her away. "All right, enough of the cuteness. I have a reputation, you know."

"For what, bad teen dramas?"

Spike rolled his eyes. "Evil! How come everyone keeps forgetting that?"

"Oh, right," Dawn said sarcastically. "I was so horrified when you knocked on the front door and asked if I wanted to make popcorn.....What's that? The Verizon sign?"

"No," Spike sighed. "It's an obscene gesture. It means-"

"Gonna teach her how to smoke next?"

They looked up to see Buffy standing just inside the front door, holding a soda in one hand and a crossbow in the other.

"Actually, I was gonna teach her how to be a condescending bitch next," Spike said with a grin. "But then I figured that you already covered that."

The glares they automatically exchanged were cut short by Dawn's hysterical laughter.

"What's so funny?" Buffy snapped.

"Nothing," Dawn said through giggles. "It's just...I feel like I'm living with mom and dad again."

"Ew!" Buffy jumped as if a spider had just landed on her shoulder. "Ew, ew, and ew, Dawn!"

Dawn shrugged. "Arguing, sarcasm, and threats of violence." She grinned as she stretched her arms back. "Makes me feel like a kid again."

"Or rather, a kid now," Buffy said sternly. "A kid who should be in bed."

Dawn rolled her eyes as she stood up. "You are so no fun." She moved towards the stairs but lingered on the bottom one, out of Buffy's line of sight.

"You noticed that too?" Spike said.

"Spike, feel free to get out of my house." She said, swinging the crossbow in her hand pointedly.

"I'm here on business, not pleasure," Spike said. His tongue flickered outside his mouth momentarily and he noticed Buffy flinch at the sight. "Saw some nasties earlier tonight."

"So you run to me?" Buffy smirked teasingly. "Poor Spike. Did the big demons scare you?"

"No, the big demons were human," Spike said. "Two guys, standing around the cemetery, talking about how they were going to take over the world."

"Just what I need," Buffy groaned. "More lame villains."

"They mentioned something about meeting later at a tomb, so I figure we still got time to catch up to them."

"*We* have nothing to do. *I* will go find the bad humans myself." Buffy spun around and started moving towards the door.

"Uh-huh," Spike said. "And how do you suppose you'll do that, love? Just walk around and punch everything you see in the graveyard?"

"Sounds like a good plan."

"Buffy!" Dawn whined.

Buffy turned back and sighed, frustrated. "I told you to go to bed."

"You shouldn't go out alone," Dawn said, her face bent into a frown. "Not if there's some new big bad in town."

"And what's Spike gonna do?" Buffy argued. "Deafen them with his screams of pain?"

"If you go alone I'll be worried," Dawn said. "I won't be able to sleep. I'll be up all night and then I won't go to school and then-"

"Fine!" Buffy shouted. "Just go to bed already!" She turned to Spike. "You can show me where you last saw them, but then, I swear -"

"I know, I know," Spike took his jacket from where he had discarded it on a chair and put it on. "Stay away from me, stay away from my family, stay out of my life, get out of this town, or I'll stake you through the heart, and I swear I'm not bluffing, just go ahead and test me, you disgusting, annoying, evil, undead pig." Spike opened the front door and smirked. "See? Don't even need you for our conversations anymore."

*

The cemetery was oddly quiet, Buffy having done away with the more outgoing vampires earlier that evening. As they walked, she fiddled with her weapon absentmindedly and yawned.

"I'm bored," she said. "Can I stake you?"

One corner of Spike's mouth shot up in amusement. "Depends on your meaning of that, pet."

"Argh!" Buffy groaned. "Do you have to turn *everything* in some sort of come-on?"

"I don't know," Spike said suggestively, moving closer to Buffy and brushing his chest against her arm. "Do I?"

Buffy easily moved him away with a solid punch to his ribs. "So where are these stupid apocalypsos you were talking about? Or are these imaginary waste-Buffy's-time, get-into-Buffy's-pants demons?"

Spike fished a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it. "Told you, they're not demons. And like you need an excuse to take your pants off."

"That's it," Buffy said firmly, "I'm dusting you."

As the continued walking, the only sound was a twig cracking underneath Spike's boot.

"Trembling in fear, love," he muttered.

Buffy sighed and brushed a stray bit of hair from her face. She was tired. Not just tired of patrolling, since she'd already been at it for hours that night, but tired of everything. Tired of worrying over Dawn, being supportive for Willow, being happy for Xander and Anya, being a loving parent for the new social services lady, being a firm parent for the teachers at Dawn's school, and on top of that, on top of everything, tired of having to be the one to get the bad guys and save the world.

Buffy always thought it was funny that she'd ended up going to high school right over the mouth of hell. Not ha-ha-funny, since not much in her life was, but metaphory-funny, since, as a teenager, she'd imagined high school to be hell itself. But now, as she trod through her incredibly busy and yet oddly empty life, she realized that if high school was hellish, then being a grown-up was pure, unadulterated, fire-and-brimstone, depths-of-despair, lord-of-darkness, forced-to-watch-Full-House-for-all-of-eternity hell.

She allowed a glance to the vampire walking beside her. She was even too tired for whatever the hell was going on with Spike.

A different, earlier version of Buffy would have been able to handle it. She could have fought him, screwed him, hated him, liked him, and revealed in the angst of it all, sighing heavily, tossing her deep-conditioned hair, and shedding a single tear without smudging her perfect eye makeup. She could've played the tragic heroine well. In fact, she already had. She'd played it right to its tragic end.

And yet.

And yet, here she was, still going on, when her story was over. The final scene, the big battle, the rising sun, the brave words, and her friends sobbing as her lifeless (and yet still very pretty) body slammed into the ground. The perfect ending.

And yet.

"It's just-" she began.

It's just that I can't stand everything that used to make me happy. It's just that I try to be who I was and it makes me feel all itchy and weird, like I don't belong in my skin. It's just that I used to be the strong one, and now when I wake up in the morning and realize that I have to put shoes on it makes me want to cry. It's just that I always feel like crying but I can't. It's just that I need to tell this all to someone who it won't hurt, who won't look at me with stupid pitying eyes, who won't make me feel bad about feeling bad, and the only person who can do that is you, but you're too busy pissing me off to realize...

"It's just..." Buffy looked up to see that he was staring, waiting, and they'd stopped walking a long time ago. "It's just that I'm tired," she said, and she turned away.

"Well, power-up, slayer," he replied, nodding in the direction of a nearby tomb. "There they are."

They sat on the ground outside one of the broken windows, leaning close to the cold building to avoid being seen, and listened to the two men talk. One spoke in an even and robust Southern drawl, the other with a gentle Eastern European accent.

Great, Buffy thought, Slayerfest 2002.

"Do you have the sacred stone?" the Southern man asked.

"I have a lot of stones, my love," the foreign man said suggestively.

There was a moment of silence, and the dull sound of wet smacking.

Buffy looked over at Spike in disbelief. He was trying not to laugh. "Poofters," he mouthed.

"So you have it?" the Southern man asked again.

"Yes. Now all we need is the Sword of Akdov and we will be able to open the Hellmouth."

"But remember, we have to do it together."

"Of course," the European man said. "Do you forget that we are friends now? At long last, after so many years of being bitter enemies, we are friends."

"Friends...and so much more."

The sounds of kissing returned, and Buffy put her head into her hands. She glanced over at Spike, who looked like he was trying hard not to laugh out loud.

"And we can't open it until after the summit," the Southern man said when the kiss had finally ended. "It's vital that the ABM Treaty is inactive when the demons are free."

"The only anti-ballistic missile I want," the European man said, his breaths becoming heavy, "Is the one between your legs."

There was the sound of rustling clothing and low moans. Buffy mouthed, "What are they doing?" to Spike.

"What do you think?" Spike whispered back.

"They could be killing someone," she said, struggling to keep her voice low. She gestured to the window. "Look and see if they are."

Spike snorted and stood up, brushing the leaves off his pants and making it clear that he would not be looking. With an annoyed grumble, Buffy leaned over and glanced briefly inside the tomb. Then she grimaced, lept to her feet, and walked away, leaving Spike to scramble to catch up with her.

"Well, aren't you going to rush in their and get with the killing part?" he asked.

"Ew," Buffy said. "I have nothing against the whole gay thing, but guys that old should just *never* be naked. That was beyond gross. And how did that one guy get his legs back so far? You'd think his spine -"

Buffy suddenly stopped walking. "Wait," she said. "I knew those guys."

Spike's eyebrows raised in amusement. "Have a secret yen for buggery, do you?"

"They're like...famous or something," she said. "I'm sure I saw on TV once -" Her eyes widened. "Oh my god!"

"What?"

She gestured back to the tomb. "Do you know who that was?"

Spike shrugged. "If they're not on the soaps, I'm not much interested."

"No, you idiot," she said. "That was George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin!"

Spike's forehead wrinkled as he considered this. Then he looked at Buffy, who was staring off open-mouthed, and he realized what they had just witnessed.

"Ew."

TBC