Killing Buffy Summers
Chapter Three: Crash
"It wasn't bloody mercy. Don't you understand pride? No good to kick the Slayer when she's down, when I wasn't even the one to put her there, you see?"
Spike drummed his fingers on the bar counter. The hairy red demon next to him inspected him, twitching all three sets of lips.
"I dunno, man," he said skeptically. "You used to do it all the time. Or so I heard."
The vampire took a drag of his smoke. What had his unlife come to? Convincing some snaggletoothed nasty that he wasn't soft on the Slayer. It was like they all thought he'd turned into some prancing ninny like Angel.
"That's right," Spike said, with fake patience. "That's what you heard about me, mate. When you heard that I massacred half of Europe. Learn to respect your elders." He exhaled the smoke.
Taylor—what a nancy androgynous name—started coughing. Spike watched him in dull amusement. "Could you not do that around me? Some of us are still alive to get lung cancer. The danger is real, man."
"Look, I just want to know what the word is on Buf—the Slayer." He lowered his voice. "How long has she been in LA, how long has she been off the job, et cetera."
Taylor shrugged his bare, spiky shoulders. "Heard she's been layin' pretty low. My buddy Johnny saw her the other day in that diner, Ellen's—"
"Helen's." Spike locked eyes with the bartender. "'nother one of these, if you please." He shook his empty glass.
"Yeah, yeah, Helen's Kitchen. Said he walked right by and she didn't even blink an eye, man. She's really off the wagon. Pretty tasty, though."
Taylor grinned. "Helen's Kitchen. I mean, it's kind of a greasy spoon, but their omelets, oh my God. It's like I died and went to demon heaven."
"I think they call it hell, mate," Spike commented.
"Yeah, there. Hey, but if you do manage to kill her, call me, okay? Always up for a good party." And with another too bright grin, the demon slid (quite literally) out of his chair.
Spike tossed down his fag and stomped it out. He eyed a lovely neck from across the room and noticed that it was attached to a drop-dead woman. Too bad he'd already dropped a century ago, and for once, he wasn't really in the mood for a drink of the bloody variety. Booze was going to about do it for him tonight.
What he needed was some gen on the Slayer. Figure out what was going on with her and how he could stop it, make her right.
"It's not your place to do so," a deep female voice said.
Spike whipped around. Why hadn't he heard her coming? She looked human, but she smelled plastic. She smiled, twisting a strand of her purple hair around a long finger. Something in her eyes…
"You're a seer," he said.
She gave a slight nod, staring into him with those freaky eyes.
Spike raised his hands. "What d'you want, then, love?"
"It would be best to ask what you want…'love'." Her voice was flat.
He finished off his glass and looked at her. Wasn't too fond of psychics and all their nonsense. As much as he'd loved—loves—Dru, the bird was like a steel trap when it came to any info worth having. All the others he'd met had been so bloody vague that he'd have been better off going in blind. But his usual methods weren't turning up much. He needed her.
"You already know what I want, pet," he murmured, eyes flicking away as if Slayer would appear any second. Real Slayer, rosy and self-righteous, not this empty bint in L.A.
The seer blinked luxuriously. "Tell me anyway."
"All right, well, I came to L.A. lookin' for a good fight—and kill—with the Slayer, but she's cracked it. Goin' around calling herself 'Anne' and…and workin' at a diner. It's not right. I followed her home and tried to finish it but I couldn't. I need to make her what she was, understand?"
Her blank expression continued. Spike waved a hand in front of her eyes; she caught and twisted it in an instant. She released it, but her eyes remained wide and frantic.
"Why do you need this?" she asked urgently.
Spike furrowed his brow in confusion. "Because…she's not right. So I'm not right. We're enemies, but she's still caught up in Angelus. I want it to be us at the end, squaring off. I don't want to win against a shell."
"You have feelings for her," the seer hissed, eyes suddenly glowing. Literally.
The vampire stumbled back. "Dammit!" he muttered. "Why do all…I'm not…we're not. I'm her worst enemy, so of course I want her to be…her. Makes sense."
The seer looked away, finally. Good. He'd seen a lot, but those eyes still gave him the willies. "Why don't you go be enemies, then?"
Spike set his jaw. "I will. I'll show you—and Dru—that I don't give a damn about the Slayer 'cept that I want to be the one to kill her. I want to sip her blood firsthand. I want to feel the life leaving her body. I…I want to watch those eyes dull and lose hold. I want that power. I want—"
The seer yawned.
"All right, I'm going."
The door clanged open. Buffy didn't look up. "Welcome to Helen's Kitchen. I'll be your server, Anne."
"Hey, Anne, you wanna go in the back with me?" one of the rowdy teenagers offered. She shook her head and shoved a menu in his face.
"What can I get you to drink?" Buffy asked dully. She knew night had fallen, and some faint mix of fear and exhilaration was creeping up on her. She didn't really feel like Buffy-Buffy, Slayer-Buffy, that is, but she wasn't Anne tonight. Weird as it was, fighting Spike the other night had felt almost right. She had been back doing what she was called to, even though she didn't dust him.
Come to think of it, why was he even here? After…back in Sunnydale, he'd said that he and Drusilla would go somewhere far away, and he'd seemed pretty enthusiastic about it. Could Buffy expect to see the other vampire next?
"Anne," a woman said, and she snapped out of her reverie. The customer gestured to her empty mug, and Buffy-Anne hurried over with the coffee.
"I'm so sorry, it's just…it's been a long night and…"
The woman smiled. She was a regular, Buffy knew, but she didn't know her name. "It's okay," she said softly. "You know, I used to work in one of these places."
Buffy raised an eyebrow as she poured the coffee. "Really? How old were you?"
"First year out of high school. I thought I was so independent…living on my own. I worked two jobs and made enough to go to school. That wasn't my plan, though. I'd wanted to be on TV." Her eyes clouded with fondness at the memory.
The woman looked back up, as if remembering that Buffy-Anne existed. "I'm Krista, by the way. I don't think I've introduced myself."
Awkwardly, Buffy shook her hand. "I'm…well, Anne, but you knew that already."
Krista gestured over Buffy-Anne's shoulder. "I think you've got a customer, Anne. I should let you go."
Buffy turned and groaned.
"Leave me alone, Spike," she hissed, knowing that his vampire hearing would pick up on it. "Don't fight me here."
"What's the fun in that?" he replied loudly. "I want to see where you work, love. I gotta say, it doesn't compare to your old job, but I guess you're more fit for pouring coffee than kicking ass."
"Is that your boyfriend?" Krista muttered, but Anne was gone.
Like a flash, Buffy crossed the room and grabbed Spike by the collar of his duster. "Get the hell out, Spike."
"Excuse me, Anne, is there a problem?"
It was like a torpedo in Buffy's chest. The manager. She swallowed and tried to smile brightly. "No, no problem at all."
End Notes: I didn't mean to write so many OCs into this chapter, they just...happened.