tennyo_elf: (BuffyHome)
[personal profile] tennyo_elf
Title: One Half, Hidden Whole
Beta: Puddin
Rating: FRT
Genre: Late Season 9, comics land
Summary: Buffy is trying to fix things. She makes one step froward in her life, but two steps back in her slaying. There is still no magic in the world, which is turning out to be a bigger problem than Buffy ever wanted. And Buffy's still doesn't want to even think about that issue about that person that has been gone for too long. Unless, of course, he has information that might be pivotal to saving the day once again.

A/N: Sorry for being MIA. I have no excuse. I suck.
---------

A sharp sting made its way up Buffy’s arm. Looking down at her hand, she saw a nasty gash on her palm. As quickly as she could, she tore her favorite shirt, flinching as she heard the hem being ripped apart, using the cloth to bandage her hand just in time to block a demons oncoming attack. She grabbed the handle of the axe that was now inches from her face, still and steady in her grip. The demon didn’t even have time to look confused as Buffy yanked the weapon from its hands, flipped it around and swung the shiny metal blade at the demon’s neck. Its burly head dropped heavily from its shoulders as its body fell to the ground.

Buffy threw the axe down and let out a relieved sigh. She stood straight up, letting her breath even out. The cold night’s air hurt, but the stars above her were comforting as they shone ever bright. Nights like these, out in the city, fighting evil, would never, ever end. Buffy had her future and the world ahead of her, she always had to fight, either with real life or with the evil lurking in the shadows. And that was okay with her...for now.

Buffy knew she couldn’t continue on as she had been. She couldn’t blame the mistakes she made along the way on her being the Slayer, and while, yeah, Slayage did get in the way at times, it was up to her to not let it take over her life...or her relationships. She had to remind herself when to reach out to others. She would no longer let herself stay disconnected from the people she loved.

“Buffy!”

Jolted from her thoughts, Buffy turned to see Robert Dowling running towards her, his breath making puff clouds that disappeared into the air.

“Robert? What’s up with the running? Is there a Slayer, zompire, they never stop coming emergency?” Buffy looked down at the fast rotting demon corpse and desperately hoped that it would be her last slay for the night.

Robert stopped in front of Buffy and slowly regained his composure, shoving his hands into his pockets. “No, nothing of the sort. Just in the area on patrol and saw you.”

Buffy gave him a relieved half smile and began to walk. “Oh, goody. I’m kinda done for the night.”

Robert stepped over the recently deceased demon and matched Buffy’s casual stride. “I actually just came from a scene. It was another Severin attack, though I don’t know who is more of a threat, Severin or the zompires.”

“Maybe both? At least he’s helping curb the zompy population. Once he goes crazy insane-o I’ll deal with him like I deal with everything else.”

Robert glanced at Buffy, his face somber. “I don’t think you should deal with Severin. Let us handle it.”

“The police? You guys can hardly handle-”

“I’m very serious Buffy. Severin is human, and I’ve come a long way in handling the supernatural side of things. I don’t think you need to take this upon your shoulders.”

Buffy wanted to argue, instead she took a deep breath and picked up her pace. “When things get out of hand, you know where to find me.”

“I don’t think it will get away from us this time. Surprisingly enough, a vampire survived Severin’s attack.”

Buffy blinked in surprise. “How? Did you guys run Severin off before he sucked the vampire dry?”

“Actually, I wasn’t the first on the scene. Another detective has gotten involved in this case so I don’t know much...But it looks like the survivor’s human again. The report mentions that the former vampire was taken to a hospital and is currently in a coma. Once the victim is conscious we can ask questions. The good news is that we have a possible witness for our case against Severin.”

Buffy stopped walking. She wasn’t sure what caused her anger to boil over to furious righteousness, but something was rumbling under her skin. A random vampire had lived through an encounter with Severin when that shouldn’t be possible. Severin had almost killed Spike, and he’d nearly drained her powers. And now this new person was going to be used against Severin. It didn’t feel right. Something was off.

Buffy rounded on Robert, incredulous. “No, you’ll have a new human that will either be crazy or...” Buffy’s arm began to flap. “Or soulless, ‘cause no magic, new rules. And then you’ll have a new problem to deal with instead of something good.” Buffy threw up her hands in defeat. “This is bad OK? I don’t know why, but it is.”

Glossing over most of what she said, Robert focused on only one small detail. “Spike mentioned about that before.” He narrowed in his eyes, trying to find a way to understand Buffy. “Are souls...really souls? What is a soul?”

Robert’s honest yet confused face deflated her anger. The last thing Buffy wanted to think about right now was Spike. She turned abruptly and resumed walking. The night was cold enough to crack her skin and she wanted to go home. Work was only a few hours away and the once calming stars were becoming blinding, rough edges to her already soured mood.

“It’s complicated.” Buffy tried to hide the annoyed smirk that was slowly forming. “And why did you just tell me about things you probably shouldn’t?”

Robert bobbed his head a bit, his expression a tad off from being a shy school boy, “I wanted to let you know. One less worry for you since I know things aren’t still...”

Buffy didn’t need him to finish. “Thanks. Though I won’t have one less worry until...between Severin and zompires, Wolfram and Hart and the whole no magic means hell on Earth thing, everything is a mess and I won’t sleep well until everything is figured out. And I’m the one that has to set things right.” Buffy paused for a moment. “I appreciate what you are trying to do though.”

The sad smile that slowly took over Robert’s face tugged at Buffy’s heart. She hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings. Their friendship was something she didn’t want to screw up. She didn’t want to hurt him like she had hurt the other people in her life. “Robert...”

He held up a hand. “It’s okay Buffy. Just know there are people here to help you and you’ve been a great help to the SFPD. Once I have more good news in the form of a witness against Severin, I’m sure you’ll feel better. And we’ll be one more step closer to setting things right.”

Buffy tried to smile again, but she knew it came out more like a grimace. “I hope so. Unless whoever this newly human person is has no soul and is a total pain in the ass, no good liar, we might be closer to something...I guess?”

----

“Please tell me you have good news?” Buffy sat tensely on the edge of the window sill of her bedroom.

“I fear I do not.” Koh stood rigidly on the balcony looking directly at Buffy. The night sky was again clear and crisp. Her eyes went from Koh to scanning the sky and back to Koh. She wasn’t going to acknowledge that she still hoped to find something floating up there, in front of the stars.

“Then why are you here?” Buffy was exasperated and wanted nothing but sleep. After another week of working hard in trying to make things right and then making no progress, she just wanted to escape to the oblivion of slumber. Koh’s surprise visit was anything but wanted.

Koh looked at Buffy as if he had x-ray vision and it left Buffy feeling even more uncomfortable. His silence didn’t help either. She watched as he took in a deep breath and answered her. “I have news of Spike.”

Once the words were out of his mouth Buffy went numb. Not good news plus information about Spike...that usually led to heart wrenching information that would just punch yet another hole through her. He’d been gone too long, much longer than before, after Sunnydale. Even if it had only been months and not years this time around.

Buffy tried so hard not to think about Spike, she didn’t want to examine her heart when it came to him. She didn’t want to hear this. She didn’t want to hear that she could no longer tell him her feelings, or her goodbyes, or complain to him when he was being an ass. “Wh-What about him?”

“His ship has been located in the land far south from here. Demons have been talking. The south gathers magic. The rat demons have begun marching towards it.”

Buffy wasn’t going to show her relief that Spike wasn’t dead...or well, more dead, or dead dead. She stared at Koh, her eyes wide, not sure how to react.

“Breathe. If you do not I will have to breathe for you.” Koh’s stalwart command resonated through Buffy.

Gushing out the air from her lungs, Buffy blinked and then got right to the point. “That means we’ll have time to figure out how to stop all this before things go kablooey. At least this isn’t a world ending kind of thing, just a society collapsing on itself kind of thing.”

“I would not view that as a positive.”

“Well, I’m looking on the bright side here mister, so that’s just on you if you can’t see it.”

“I will go and gather more information...but I will not assist you in bringing back magic. It is the bane of existence.”

“And I’ve heard this before from you.”

“After this I will consider my debt to you fulfilled.”

“You didn’t owe me anything from the start anyway.” Buffy despised Koh’s relentless servitude over a debt that was based on her destroying magic. She didn’t need reminders of that awful day. She didn’t want to say it, but she would be eternally grateful when he finally let go of that silly notion.

----

Overtime was the bane of Robert Dowling’s existence. Before Cheung's death he’d welcomed it. But after being convinced not to quit the force, he resented every second of extra work. The late nights only reinforced his bitterness. He’d overhear reports on zompire attacks, he’d see victims limping into the office, all vivid reminders of Cheung.

Worst of all, Robert had no good news to give Buffy. He wanted so desperately to give her some kind of hope that things would improve. He’d been using her as a crutch, he knew. If she could improve things for herself that would mean he could too. Latching onto that was all that kept him going.

The possible witness, the vampire that had survived Severin’s attack and turned human, woke two weeks ago to a complete memory loss. This new human had no memory of being a vampire. Robert hadn’t even been able to question the victim. His new “partner” had gotten there first.

Weary of the lack of progress in the Severin case, Robert just wanted to go home. Sitting at his desk, he yanked open the file of the latest Severin attack and tried to piece together the clues that were obviously staring him in the face. He was probably too blind to see it though, or too wired from the caffeine.

When his cell phone rang, Robert jumped. The incoming call was from Saint Mary’s - the hospital that was caring for the vampire survivor. Clutching his phone, he answered.

“Robert Dowling.”

“Hello Detective Dowling, I’m Marge from Saint Mary’s Hospital.”

“Has there been a change?”

“Oh, yes. Yes the patient has begun to show signs of some memory recovery. But I was calling you on the patient’s behalf. He is going to need paperwork. It’s probably best you come and see him before they place him.”

“Place him?”

“He hasn’t shown to be an immediate threat to himself or others and he can function on his own. Knowing his origins the staff here have found him government housing and job placement. He needs to be put back into society as soon as possible for the best possible mental recovery.”

“That means he will recover more of his memory?”

“I can’t say. His memory loss was not caused by brain trauma. It has more to do with the psychological trauma of being a vampire. The memory loss is a self preservation reaction to what he has gone through. As I said before, you should probably come and see him before placement.”

“Thank you for your call...why didn’t you contact George, I mean Detective Sterling?”

“Detective Sterling has been refusing my calls, unfortunately. For the patient’s best interest I have been trying to receive assistance from the police, but as soon as I told your partner about the memory loss, he lost all interest in the patient.” Robert could hear the thick disapproval in Marge’s voice. Whoever she was, she seemed like a caring nurse, going above and beyond for her patient.

Robert wasn’t surprised that his partner had left the patient high and dry, either. George was very single minded in wanting to figure out this case and if the witness was a dead end, George didn’t want to have to clean it up or deal with it. Sighing, Robert knew he’d have to take care of the tedious paperwork involving reintegrating a however old ex-vampire back into society.

“We’ll need someone from the department to sign release papers before we discharge the patient.” Marge’s harsh tone came as a bit of a shock to Robert, but then he remembered he just sighed into the phone.

“Uh, oh, right. Yes, I’ll come in right away.”

----

Cops were familiar with the brightly lit ER. The psych unit felt like another world - dim, dank and hopeless. Robert followed the nurse to the witness room and tried hard to not build up resentment for the patient. He tried not to think that he could have saved Cheung. He just couldn’t let this become personal, even though he already knew that it was too late. All of this was personal. How his bosses didn’t recognize that astounded him.

The nurse stopped in front of an open door to a brightly lit room. He nodded his thanks and stepped in.

Robert wondered what he should expect from an ex-vampire. Someone from the eighties, seventies? An afro, mohawk? Someone tall or short? But what he saw was the very last thing he expected.

Spike.

The vampire had been gone for months now, off on what Buffy called a bug infested space adventure, unheard of or thought of by Robert since he last saw the leather wearing, smoking, bleached haired vampire.

But here was Spike, standing straight and stiff before the room’s window, looking at Robert with kind eyes and a hard half smile. He wasn’t wearing leather; he was wearing hospital scrubs. And there was no one else in the room.

Spike was the witness, Spike was the ex-vampire. Spike was human.

And he had no memory.

----

Dawn plopped down hard on the couch next to Buffy. The bounce shifted the comfortable slayer from her seat but Buffy could only smile. Dawn stuffed a handful of popcorn in her mouth and changed the channel on the TV. The comfortable silence that ensued was soothing. Buffy needed this, relaxing with her sister while Xander worked overtime, letting the crisis of the moment fade away. It was a break, a moment to take in the small joys of “normal” life.

“So, did you see Spike?”

Dawn’s question, casual and unassuming, left Buffy momentarily off balance. “Wh-What?”

“I asked, ‘Did you see Spike?’ It’s a yes or no answer.” Dawn gave Buffy a very sisterly, “Are you dumb?” expression before setting her eyes back on the TV.

“Why would you ask me that?” Buffy hadn’t been in contact with Spike since he left. Why would Dawn ask a question that she had to know Buffy wouldn’t want to talk about...or think about....or dream about.

Buffy watched as Dawn’s face fell, her relaxed and happy demeanor slipped. Dawn lifted the remote and turned off the TV before shifting slowly to face Buffy.

“So he didn’t see you?” Dawn’s seriousness somehow unhinged Buffy’s stomach and she felt it drop to her toes.

“Dawn, tell me, what’s going on with seeing Spike or me seeing him?”

“I ran into him a few weeks ago...he seemed to be in a hurry. He said he was back in town for some personal business and I thought he meant you. Just to make sure, I ordered him to go see you and he said he would think about it. I thought he was trying to play cool.”

“Weeks ago? Why am I only hearing about this now?”

“I didn’t want to pry. I know you and Spike have this ultra weird privacy thing going on. I wanted to give you room but I hoped you’d come to me if you needed. I got too curious since you haven’t said anything...but I guess he really didn’t stop by and see you?”

Nope, Buffy was not going to think what that meant. She was not going to ponder why Spike had been in the city but hadn’t bothered to visit her. She was not going to cry. “No, he didn’t.”

“I’m sorry Buffy...I really thought he would.” Dawn looked awkwardly at her lap and the silence in the room began to crush Buffy. When Dawn spoke again, her throat sounded a bit raspy. “He’s just being a jerk. You know how he gets. Just give him a call and chew him out for being so rude.”

“No, he...it’s okay Dawn. Things are different now, he has every right to want to stay away.”

“But Buffy, I know how you love him, so why are--”

Buffy quickly stood and stretched, “I think I’ll go home for tonight. Thanks for the munchies and tell Xander that I miss him.”

“Sure, I guess we can call it a night.” Dawn walked Buffy to the door and Buffy may have missed Dawn rolling her eyes, or maybe she just imagined it, but the faster she was away from this conversation the better.

Buffy turned to Dawn after she stepped out into the hallway. “Goodnight Dawn.”

“‘Night Buffy.”

The depressing look on Dawn’s face wasn’t something Buffy wanted to see, so as soon as the words died in the hallway, Buffy set off in a rush.

Buffy began to think of all the possible ways to detach herself from all thought or emotion. She could get drunk, but that left her feeling sick and icky. She didn’t want to go there. She could go slay something, which might help or just be a painful reminder of things she completely and utterly didn’t want to even mention subconsciously in her mind...not that she could help what her mind did behind closed doors.

Instead, she slammed the door to her apartment as soon as she got home. This was her new sanctuary, her new shiny accomplishment...her own place. It was a good reminder of what she could do if she just worked hard enough for it.

And all she saw was a dark, lonely room.

Sliding down to the floor, Buffy weighed her options. She could cry herself to sleep, she could turn on the lights and pretend what happened...never happened...or she could unlock which was never supposed to be unlocked. Deal with it, move on, get over it...no matter how painful.

It took a moment to realize that her phone was ringing. Buffy stood up, turned on the lights, and standing very still, pulled out her cell phone and answered.

She didn’t even have to say anything before Dawn’s voice filtered through the receiver in a cascade of hurried reassurances. “I thought about it. I kinda replayed what I said to Spike and what Spike said to me. He was acting weird Buffy. I think he told me like, ‘goodbye’ goodbye, as in he’s never coming back. Maybe just...move on Buffy. It’s not worth it to pine away for someone...look what happened with...I mean, if it’s over for him, it should be over for you too.”

The one thing that stuck out through Dawn’s whole wall of words was “He was acting weird”. Koh had mentioned Spike’s ship was spotted in the South, where magic and zompires were congregating. Spike was onto something - that had to be what the trip here was about. Spike was still on the mission and he could be in danger.

“Buffy?”

“I gotta go, Dawn.”

“Wait, Buffy--”

With a quick twist of her wrist, Buffy flipped the phone shut and slapped the wall to turn off the lights. She marched towards the door, determined to find Spike. She felt guilty for cutting Dawn off, but she would explain later. Finding Spike was imperative. Lives could be in danger.

Swinging the front door open Buffy was stopped by the unexpected and disheveled appearance of Robert at her doorstep.

____

No idea where I am heading with this...well sorta I do, but after issue 10 I had to write something or I'd have gone insane.

Date: 2012-07-05 03:39 am (UTC)
fangfaceandrea: I thnk this is AWMP's (Default)
From: [personal profile] fangfaceandrea
Ahh Dawn feeling bad for prying and then trying to sort out her conversación with Spike was nice. It's also cool to see Koh around too.

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July 2012

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