Title: The Fruit of Her Hand
Author: Krisztina, or sita:) if you know me at all
Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize is mine. Zero cashola is changing hands as a result of this whimsical little foray into the Buffy / Supernatural ‘verses.
Rating: FR18... maybe... I think...
Pairings: Buffy/Dean & Dawn/Sam
Spoilers/Setting: A blending of both 'verses. This story takes place 3 ½ years after the end of Buffy season 7 and directly after SPN’s “Simon Said” episode. Everything up to that epi is fair game.
Summary: Buffy and Dawn return to the US from Rome to investigate disappearing Slayers, while, unbeknownst to them, Andrew has created www.chosenpassion.net, an encrypted Slayer fan site for the exclusive use of other “elite” demonologists and Slayer admirers like himself. At the onset of this story, Ash and the Hunters have gained access to Andrew’s site.
AN1: This is not a new story. It's been up as a WIP in a few other places for a while. Finally, after much thought, I decided to try it out here.
AN2: The possibility exists that I may kill off a main character at some point in the journey of this story. However, it is extremely unlikely that I would kill them off without first having a plan to bring them back. So if someone dies later, please don't freak out.
1: No Cipher
New Headquarters of the Watchers Council
October 30, 2006
3 o’clock in the morning
Nudging the floor with one dangling, pink cashmere slipper, Willow Rosenburg slid lower in her chair. Her eyes fluttered closed.
It didn’t do any good.
She had spent so much time at her desk during the last 12 hours that from behind her closed lids she could still see the piles of paper littering her furniture. She so wanted to shove it all off the tables and chairs and have a big roaring bonfire, for all the good the data did her.
She smirked and restrained herself. A fire would never do. She liked the glossy mahogany floors exactly as they were, thank you very much.
Willow glanced around the room. This place was usually a safe haven for her. Aside from a few antique pieces, her space was a combination of incense-drenched, warm Italian leather; modern glass and chrome, and funky, pack rat archaeologist bric-a-brac. However, not even her beautiful, much-loved office could cheer her tonight. Dropping her head back against the cushion, she stared at the ceiling and turned her chair slowly in a circle. Once. Twice.
Something was wrong. She knew it in her gut. She could feel it. But none of the usual emergency lights in her psychic dashboard were flashing. The typical apocalypse indicators, like freak storms, volcanoes, earthquakes, rivers of blood, plagues, and sudden astronomical shifts, were all off doing something else just now.
Even the Slayers’ dreams were quiet.
Still, she had this feeling. A prickling, ticking ache was teasing along the edge of her aura. Something bad was about to happen. All hell was about to break loose.
But when? Where?
Across the hall, Buffy’s ‘Battle Logistics for Hellmouths in Developing Countries’ meeting was about to wrap up.
This week, Willow had opted out at the last minute, bribing Buffy hastily with an ounce of really good Toblerone and a handful of embarrassingly bad excuses. Instead, she researched. Pulling together the latest commissioned NASA photos, geological reports, global weather reports, and news sound bites from the web, she studied them intently for hours, looking for a pattern, for a way to connect the metaphysical dots.
Hence, the desk was covered in papers filled with worthless, impotent information.
Absentmindedly, she reached for her tea. Her fingers skimmed the rim of her cup, but at the last minute Willow recoiled.
It was already cold.
Taking a deep breath, she made her way over to the Chinese tea table. The cashmere and silk of her long robe and pajamas tangled sensuously around her ankles, whispered against the Persian rugs, and dragged along behind her like an ardent, lovelorn admirer. She slid her palm across the warm tea pot. It felt good, comforting against her cold skin. Passively, she noted her distorted reflection on the teapot’s silver surface.
Suddenly she stiffened. A screeching alarm went off in her head. Willow raced back to her desk.
Her hand was on the phone before the first ring.
Seconds later, Willow was nodding distractedly, leaning over her desk, flipping through colorful meteorological printouts. Fear and anger knotted inside her.
Frickity, frackity hell! Where was it?
At last, she found a pen and a map of the US. Collapsing into her chair with an undignified ‘smack’, she began to take notes. “When?” she demanded. “No. Not today. You said that already. What time?”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Buffy passing by the door. Willow waved her friend inside.
Crossing the deep, wood-paneled expanse to Willow’s desk, Buffy paused only long enough to hop up on the edge, her feet dangling next to Willow’s chair.
“What’s up?” Buffy mouthed.
Willow shook her head, staving off Buffy’s questions. “Ok, well, check back in with us,” she said determinedly into the phone. “We’ll be expecting a call in 12 hours.”
As soon as Willow pulled the phone away from her ear, her eyes sought Buffy’s. “Two young slayers stationed in the Midwestern US, Lisa Taylor and Janine Rivers, have gone missing in central Wisconsin. They haven’t reported in for a week. Rona’s flying up there from Miami right now.”
Nervously, Buffy moistened her lips. “What are we dealing with, Will?”
“I don’t know. All I know is that it feels like it might be connected to something big.”
Buffy frowned. “Big, as in apocalyptic?”
“The signs say ‘no’,” Willow replied cautiously.
“But your gut says…”
Willow paled. “It says, hell’s a-popping out all over. But Buffy, you know as well as I do, the signs don’t lie.”
Numbly, Buffy nodded and turned to leave. Half-way to the door, she stopped. “It's probably nothing Rona can’t handle. Still, I want to be sure. Tell Xander for me?”
“Sure. Who do you want on this one with you? Faith and Robin?”
“No,” Buffy said slowly, as if she were torn by conflicting emotions. “I’m not pulling them off their honeymoon for this.”
Wrinkling her forehead and returning to Willow’s side one languid step at a time, as if weighing a tough decision, Buffy hesitated for almost a full minute. Finally, she relented, “I’ll take Dawn.”
“Oh Buffy, she’ll be geeked!” Willow cried, as an ecstatic smile supplanted the worry marring her features. “She’s worked so hard.”
Buffy smiled feebly.
Her thoughts were obviously only partially focused on the job. “I know,” she acknowledged. And then, as if shaking herself from a daze, Buffy continued swiftly, “She’s a good fighter, and the best witch in Europe, next to you. She’s earned the right to prove herself. I just…”
“Just can’t believe she’s all grow-ed up?”
Buffy colored, prodded into a brighter smile by the only other woman in the world besides Dawn who knew her inside and out.
Confessing with a fair amount of chagrin, Buffy said, “Something like that.”
The next thing Willow knew, she was caught up in a quick, hard squeeze.
Then without looking back, Buffy hurried toward the door, shouted for Dawn—who was still loitering and laughing with Xander across the hall—and together, the Summers' women made a beeline for the stairs.