full 3/4 1/2   skin light dark       
Happy bunch
<<     >>
CHAPTER 6: Happy bunch

You could hear the proverbial crickets chirping. You could cut the tension with a knife. Every cliché in the book could be used to described the atmosphere in the spacious Italian flat and you still wouldn't get anywhere near the awkward truth. In one corner of the living room, the fuming vampire was slumped in a plush armchair, legs spread wide in true Spike fashion, and both hands gripping the armrests so tightly his knuckles were white with tension. In the other corner, the woman wearing Buffy's face was sitting tensely. She was glowering at him with murder in her eyes. One side of the face not belonging to her was starting to bruise. It was like watching a boxing match about to begin and Andrew was tempted to take bets.

Things had gotten ugly again when the Immortal reappeared at the door with not one scratch on his pompous ass, demanding to be let in. While Andrew was busy dealing with him and trying to get him to leave, Spike and decoy Buffy got in each others face again. A shoving match ensued, both of them regressing to twelve year-olds. Until Spike lost it and punched her in the face. Hard.

Andrew had neared another panic attack while trying to separate the two stubborn warriors, but with one harsh comment, the woman went to sit on the couch without uttering another word.

Spike didn't know what surprised him more, someone listening to the overgrown nerd, or a woman looking like Buffy actually obeying an order. If he'd had any doubts--which he didn't--now he would know for sure that this was not Buffy. His girl would never let anybody tell her what to do. No, not his girl, he amended. She wasn't his girl anymore, never had been. He stopped the train of thought in its tracks, deciding it was best to focus on the situation.

Andrew had shut the door in the Immortal's face and was now pacing the length of the living room.

Spike growled low in his throat. "Out with it before I lose the little patience I have and decide to rip your throat open and bathe in your blood."

Andrew stopped pacing and paled at Spike's words. "Geez, graphic much? Threatening me won't help, you know."

"Not a threat, you wanker. It's a description of what I WILL do if you don't talk soon and explain what this bloody mess is all about."

"OK, here's the deal. This Buffy, is a decoy."

Spike let out a bark of laughter. "You don't say!"

"Hey, if you just let me talk, maybe we'll get somewhere." Andrew pouted like a child.

As a thought occurred to him, Spike's face dropped and he sat forward. "Fucking hell... She's dead again, isn't she?"

This was deja vu. It only made sense. After all, she was wounded in the battle. If she didn't make it, it would be just like the Scoobies to come up with something to make the enemy think the original Slayer was still around. They had done it before. Images of the Buffybot invaded his mind. Although why they had to resort to that, he didn't have a clue. They had all those Slayers around the world now, and Faith, so why the charade? Andrew sat down with a dramatic sigh. "Buffy's just fine. Alive, kicking and slaying, just like the glorious warrior queen that she is. There's just two more of her now."

"What?" Spike gave the boy a disbelieving look. "Why the soddin' hell is that?"

Andrew gave himself a look of importance. "So many reasons, my friend, I don't know where to begin."

"How 'bout you start by not calling me your anything, and give me the facts?"

"Fine. The idea came to Willow when Buffy made a comment that she wished she could split herself so she could be everywhere at once. Right after Sunnydale, there was too much going on and things were getting complicated. No need to say that everyone was being delusional when they thought it was their chance to finally have normal lives. All the girls that suddenly received Slayer strength had no clue what was going on and they needed training and guidance. To make matter worst, since the balance had shifted so dramatically in favor of the good side, demons started gathering everywhere and tried to take out as many of the new, untrained Slayers at they could. And there's also the problem of Angel. Buffy didn't trust him anymore because he sided with Wolfram&Hart and she didn't want him to know where she was. She was aware that he had employees of the evil law firm following her. And last, but not least, there's this new big bad enemy who is after Buffy. We don‘t know who or what he is, but we know he‘s behind everything that‘s been happening."

Spike looked thoughtful. He drew the correct conclusion to Andrew's story. "So they came up with the idea of having more than one Buffy so they could fool everyone."

"Exactomundo." Andrew smiled brightly.

"How did they do it?"

"Easy enough. They picked two Slayers that looked as much like Buffy as possible, and with a little glamour from the very talented and powerful Willow, they were made to look exactly like Buffy. One is leading an underground operation in Germany, and one is here, pretending to live the normal life." He added air quote for effect.

Spike narrowed his eyes. "That still doesn't tell me where the real Buffy is, mate."

Andrew suddenly looked nervous. "I'm really not supposed to tell..."

"Remember you daft git... me, bathing in your blood. So if you know what's good for your health, you'll talk now."

"Scotland!" Andrew blurted out, looking terrified.

"Andrew!" The decoy all but yelled. "You're not supposed to tell."

"But it's Spiiike!" Andrew argued in a whiny voice as if the name alone made it OK to spill the big secret.

"Yes, and he hangs out with Angelus." She spat angrily.

"I bloody well do not! Or at least... not anymore." Spike looked offended.

"Promise you won't tell Angel." Andrew begged.

"'Of course not! Do I look like a bleedin' idiot to you? If Buffy doesn't want him to know, he won't find out through me." The fact Buffy didn't want the great wanker to know where she was suited him just fine.

“So, that’s the big story.” Andrew concluded almost too enthusiastically, obviously hoping this was the end of the conversation and Spike would just leave.

But the vampire had other ideas. He narrowed his eyes dangerously at the young man. “I was right here mate, in this apartment, and you had the nerve to tell me that Buffy was happily in love and I should move on. Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you again?”

Andrew’s voice squeaked in an unmanly fashion. “Because you have a a... soul now? You still have your soul, right?”

“Would be worth the guilt, you little prat. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure there’d be that much guilt.” He smirked in a convincingly evil way.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Andrew yelled, his hands up in surrender. “I couldn’t say anything in front of Angel.”

Decoy Buffy seemed to find the exchange highly amusing. She had relaxed a little on the couch and was now watching with a smile on her face.

“And and, I wasn’t sure if you were evil too.” Andrew continued, stuttering in fear of the vampire in front of him. “You were with Angel and we had clear instructions not to trust him. And you were going to find out this Buffy was with the Immortal and I couldn’t tell you ‘don’t worry, the real Buffy is in Scotland and she’s still mourning you’ in front of him.”

Spike’s expression softened slightly at that.

“I swear Spike, I only had your best interests in mind. When we created this Buffy, I’m the one who came up with the idea of having her date the Immortal.”

The vampire’s face shifted into his demon visage, rage barely under control. “Not helping your case, mate. If you’d done your research, you’d know this wanker is my enemy.”

Looking suddenly terrified, Andrew rushed to clarify. “I know that! But you were dead. And the Immortal is also Angel’s enemy. I thought it would be funny. I thought when Angel would find out about Buffy dating this guy, he’d be pissed off and wherever you were--in hero’s heaven or whatever--you’d have a good laugh. If I had known it would backfire like that, I would have never had her date this idiot.”

Decoy Buffy rolled her eyes. “Can you stop talking about my boyfriend like that? He’s not an idiot.”

Both Spike and Andrew gave her a look.

She pouted. “Well... he’s not!”

Andrew returned his attention to Spike who had calmed down enough to return to his human face. “What do you want to do now?”

The vampire didn’t answer. He stood up and went to the phone. He pulled out a business card and dialed a number.

“’lo pet.”

On the other end of the line, the CEO of Wolfram&Hart could barely contain her enthusiasm. “Spike! Me amore... How did it go? Are you back with your Boffy? Or did you change your mind and decided you were in the mood for something a little bit more spicy... Italian maybe?”

Spike laughed. “No pet. Things turned out a little stranger than expected. Listen... How would you feel about helping a bloke get to Scotland?”

“Anything for you, darling. I’m a sucker for blonds with blue eyes.” She purred.

Spike knew it wasn’t a good idea to owe favors to the likes of Ilona Bianchi, but it’s not as if he had much of a choice. Hell would freeze over before he’d get back into a crate.


In the corner of a dark, dank room, a young woman was curled up on her side. Dark blonde hair fell in greasy strand in front of her face. She looked frail and lifeless, her clothes were dirty and her face was gaunt, showing the signs of very little sleep and food. Her hands and feet were bonded with heavy chains attached to the brick wall and she was surrounded by a soft glowing ball of energy.

Her sleep muddled brain registered footsteps coming down the wooden stairs and she managed to lift her head slightly off the floor and open one eye to look at the new comers. No surprise registered on her face when she saw the tall lanky man and his two minions. She barely spared a glance at the black young woman but her eyes narrowed in betrayal when they fell on the overly confident brunette. She dropped her head back to the cold cement floor. If only the binding spell could drop, she’d be happy to wipe the smirk off her ex lover’s face. Unfortunately, as her burned hands could testify, the binding spell was efficient.

“Aw, poor sweety! Look at you... Pretty pathetic for such a powerful witch, isn’t it? What good is magic if you can’t even use it to save yourself? Where‘s your new girlfriend anyway? You‘d think she would try to come to your rescue. Maybe Iris already moved on... You‘re not that memorable.” The brunette said mockingly.

“Kennedy, Rona... Leave us please.”

Kennedy flipped her hair over her shoulder and pouted. “But you need us here.”

“No. I do not. I think it is safe to say she is rather helpless.” The man smirked smugly.

Rona sighed and shrugged her shoulders with disinterest. Kennedy stomped her foot like an irate child, but turned around and followed Rona up the stairs.

“What the hell do you want?” Her voice was hoarse from lack of use and dehydration.

“Why, hello to you too, Willow. Hope everything is to your liking. It’s not the Hilton, but then again... you are not in a position to complain so there’s no need for a customer service survey.”

Willow carefully sat up. She felt awkward in this body. After Warren, she promised herself she would never kill again, but if she ever got her hands on Amy, she might break that promise. Or maybe she’d just turn her back into the rat that she really was. Yes, that would be satisfying. That girl was really her mother’s daughter, no doubt about it.

“Are you here to bore me to death?” She asked.

“As much fun as that would be, not quite. I’m here for answers.”

The laugh that escaped Willow’s lips had no humor to it. It ended in a coughing fit. “I see. Amy didn’t manage to find Buffy. She’s not me, she can’t control my powers.”

“Oh we’ll find her.” He stated with more confidence than he felt. “Miss Summers can’t hide forever. She’ll have to come up for air eventually.”

“So why are you here then if you’re so confident? Why don't you just kill me? You obviously don’t need me.”

The pout on his face was anything but manly. “I’d love to. But unfortunately, I’m not sure what would happen if I did. Amy is... useful. For now at least. But you will tell me how to break that protection spell of yours.”

She snorted. “Yeah right.”

He took a few steps forward and raised his hands. The energy crackled, then shot to where Willow was sitting. With a yell of pain, she was lifted off the floor. Her back arched and her head was thrown back in agony.

“Now, where were we?” He asked in a casual tone. “Oh yes, the spell.”

Tears ran down Willow’s cheek, but she didn’t say a word.


Brussells, 4am

The moon was bathing the Grand Place - Grote Markt - in eerie silver light. The three hundred year-old buildings surrounded the deserted place like silent giants. It was hard to believe that only a few hours ago, the place was buzzing with people. Tourists taking picture after picture of historical monuments, devouring sugary waffles, buying knick-knacks from vendors, or sitting at the outside tables of cafes to sip on Belgian beer and enjoy the animated night. But at this time, tourists and locals alike were safely tucked into bed, leaving the place empty and silent.

A short walk from there, a tall blond man sat on the fountain of the Mannekin Pis. The well cut luxurious hair, designer clothes and shoes and well manicured hands might have made him look like a wealthy gentleman if it wasn't for the look of danger on his face. Next to him, a stunning woman with shoulder length dark hair and eyes as limpid as the sky pouted full lips reddened by blood. Behind them, the body of a young girl had been tossed carelessly in the fountain. At their feet, another one lay abandoned. They were watching three other vampires fighting with four Slayers who were rapidly losing.

"Je m'ennuie." The woman said in a whiny voice. When he didn't react, she shoved him lightly. "Daniel, did you hear what I just said? I'm bored!"

He looked at his nails, then sighed. "I'm boring you, Juliette?"

"Yes. I mean, no. You're not boring me, these girls are. Elles sont trop facile."

"Of course they are easy, mon amour. That's the whole point. To kill them before they have a chance to learn to fight."

"And I'm still hungry." She crossed and uncrossed legs clad in skinny black jeans that made them look impossibly long. Every movement made her sequined silver tank top send sparkles of light.

He chuckled. "Bored and hungry, that's a deadly combination."

She kicked the body on the ground with her Christian Laboutin clad foot. "This one had almost nothing to give. Do these girls even eat? Merde alors!"

"Tell you what, why don't you tell me what you're in the mood for?"

A slow smile stretched her luscious lips. "Anything?"

"Anything, darling. Your wish is my command."

She thought about it for a while. "Italian maybe? No, too fattening. Maybe some Greek. I haven't seen Greece for a while. Or, what about Scottish? We haven't been in the UK since 1930 I think."

He rolled his eyes. "There's a reason for that, mon amour. Their fashion sense nearly gave me a rash."

"But think of all the plump girls. And they do have some amazing Scotch."

He gave it some thought, then slowly nodded. "Yes, I do love a good Scotch. All right."

She clapped her hands enthusiastically. "Merveilleux! And we can stop in Paris after. I have some shopping to do."

"Oui ma belle, everything you want."

Their spirits lifted, they watched as the four Slayers dropped to the cobble stoned ground, one after another, their glassy eyes staring up into the night sky.

<<     >>