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That Seasonal Spirit

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Between Seacrest and Revello". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Even college-attending slayers and P.I.s take a break for the holidays. Third story in the "Between Seacrest and Revello" series, my Buffy/Veronica tale. *NOW REVISED*

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Veronica Mars > Buffy-CenteredPatKFR13514,0136298,1253 Feb 0725 Mar 07Yes

One

Disclaimer: BtVS still property of Joss and FOX. VM still property of Rob and WB. And I still make squat off this.
Spoilers: This references and spoils the first mystery of VM Season 3, and takes place (at least for now) during the episode, "Pangs," in BtVS Season 4.
Note: Yep, it's back. Came to me after I got an email from a fellow fic author friend of mine who's not doing too well right now. They asked if I'd get to more of these melded universes. Hope they, and you all, will still enjoy it. I'll try to get to it as often as my schedule allows.



"I have no clue how to fix this." Buffy said as she stood in his kitchen, checking the stove while he peeled the vegetables for her Thanksgiving dinner.

"The stuffing? Or our spirit warrior's desire to murder innocent people?" He asked, having trouble managing three conversations at once.

Native American, spirit warriors. That's what she got for coming home for the holiday. After the semester she had, this was stress she didn't need, but it was her idea to get away. Because there was no place like Hell.

"No, me and Veronica." She looked at him like she couldn't understand why she'd be talking about anything else. "I hate feeling bad cause I saved someone I love from a rapist's Renfield." She sighed. "Do you have a ricer?"

"I don't think so."

"You don't have a ricer? What do you mean?" She refused to believe this; it didn't make any kind of sense. "How could someone not have a ricer?

The once watcher rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Well, do you have one at home?"

"I don't know. What's a ricer?"

The expected semester of fun had been cut short after Mac's roommate, Parker--who turned out to be a really sweet girl--was raped. Buffy hadn't ever experienced Veronica's dogged side up close before; at least not day in and day out. She'd had warning about the scary, tunnel vision while on a case, but still. Her girlfriend pursued with little thought to who she might hurt or antagonize along the way.

For the first time, even though she'd be standing right next to her, Buffy felt that Veronica left her behind. They fought as a result, dredging flaws...which was another, unpleasant first. That wasn't them. Wasn't them at all.

And then, a couple weeks ago, she'd interrupted Moe, Wallace's R.A. (a.k.a. the Renfield), in the parking lot. He'd drugged Veronica and begun shaving her head. After preventing his escape and bouncing a car door off his face, Buffy called the Sherriff's Department. When he regained consciousness in his cell, Moe gave up campus bookie, Mercer Hayes, as the rapist. Logan previously vouched for the scumbag, too. Aaron Echolls' son? Not happy.

It was over now, so they should've found their way back to normal. But so far? Nothing. Nineteen years they'd been friends, and for a year and a half almost, a couple. This not speaking wasn't good.

"I take it you're asking my advice?" Giles inquired, running his hands under the sink, having finished his assigned task.

"Maybe. Unofficially." Buffy said in a small voice. "Yeah." Sighed again. "We should've stayed in the clink; we were happy there."

Off came the glasses at his incredulous stare. Her innocent, "Didn't I tell you?" face, stared back. There was silence as he wiped his glasses with the towel that'd been over his shoulder. "Sorry, couldn't hear a blasted thing just now...strange, that." Then he dried his hands, and the glasses went back on. "From what little I know of her, Veronica seems a very intelligent, resourceful, and determined girl. And you've mentioned more than once how she can sometimes treat her...cases, as-as highly personal. Which, for her own peace of mind, she feels compelled to see through to the end. No matter what the potential consequences."

Buffy nodded. "Swear it's like a mission sometimes." She half-smirked, next. "Only, m'pretty sure my version was significantly less wordy and British-sounding." Then the slow frown came as she realized, "Stepped on her gumshoes, didn't I?" She'd caught the bad guy Veronica had her sights on, and didn't allow her the satisfaction of collaring him. Damn. "But, that's *not* what I was trying to do!" She yelled at...um, herself. "My whole thinking? 'Bastard hurt girlfriend, Buffy kill bastard.' Any mystery-solving was unintentional. It so isn't my area."

"I'd be careful not to make light of such thinking around Faith." He advised, seriously.

"Who's making light? Being completely heavy, here." His expression was patriarchal and admonishing, "I know, Giles. Okay?" Buffy couldn't believe he thought she was that dumb. "How's she been? Watcher-perspective."

"Very much committed to training and patrolling." Giles said, still somewhat amazed by the turnaround. He was appreciative, too--training Faith kept him from feeling useless. "She doesn't say it, but I believe she thinks she has to redeem herself by living up to your example."

"She knows I turned my vampire, ex-boyfriend back into a mass-murderer, right?" Buffy asked rhetorically, and it just kind of inevitably hung there as they remembered the victim that had struck closest to home: Jenny Calendar. "Uh, so how much do you not like me for de-committing? Been exercising daily, though. Oh, and there have been a few vamps in Neptune since I started matriculating. I think they followed me. Like evil puppies." She deduced. "But they're giving somebody asthma within two seconds of me introducing Mr. Pointy. Promise. Can still slay with the best of 'em."

"You're concentrating on university, Buffy. There's nothing wrong with that." He laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "You deserve to experience life beyond the trappings of your calling, and I want you to take full advantage." Smile. "Of-of course, in situations like the one with this, ah--'Hus,' you called him?--we're quite glad to have you home."

Her eyebrow quirked. "That seguing was almost close to seamless." And she really was planning on focusing on the vengeful, ghost guy who made her feel just the tiniest bit like a guilty, white oppressor, but... "God, the stuffing! Mom was supposed to write down the recipe before they left for Aunt Darlene's." She panicked, moving over to the counter to rifle through the recipe book, and after several moments, shook her head. "But it can't be just that. I mean, we fought before I ever..."

"You and your mother?" He'd been in this conversation long enough to at least know she wasn't ever going to cover his topic of choice.

That look again. "Me and Veronica."

Was that a headache he felt? "Might I suggest talking to her instead of me? If I possessed the ability to mend your relationship, I would. If only so your attentions were less divided." He said, pointedly. "Being that I can't, however, I'm afraid it's a task that must fall to you and she alone."

They were clearly very stubborn, and therefore, very alike, and he was staying out of it.

Buffy's eyes went wide. "You think it needs mending?" It couldn't be that bad. "Believe me, I wanna be chatty. Have to be. And if she's still...coming, it's gonna happen." She reminded herself to stay positive. "Where else could she go? Her dad's with my mom, Parker's having Thanksgiving with Mac's family, Wallace is at his dad's in Chicago, Piz drove home, and Logan's..." Well, she didn't know what he was doing. "...hopefully not an option." Veronica had to come.

"I'm sure she'll be here soon." After a moment, he cleared his throat. "Now, about--" Unfortunately for him, the doorbell rang. As she ran to the door, he sarcastically commented to himself, "Right. Because he'll kindly wait until after supper before slaughtering us all."

When Buffy opened the door, Willow was standing there holding a large stack of books, atop which sat a bag of peas. The slayer deflated at the fact that it wasn't who she wanted it to be. Under any other circumstances, the redhead would've been hurt by the reaction.

"No?" She sympathetically questioned.

"No." Her sad friend confirmed. "Peas?"

"Peas."

Buffy took them off the large stack of books, and ran back into the kitchen.

***

"Tell me I'm missing somethin'." Weevil requested, driving his car down Sunnydale's main street. "Cause this place? Hell's fundillo?" He wasn't buying it. "All these wasps around, I'm gonna get stung before I ever gotta watch my neck."

"*Boca*, actually." Veronica corrected, leaving her thoughts to do so. "Where the 'airplane' should've landed for a wee Weevil. And if it ever did hafta change course? Hope it was warm, and had a dang fine pilot." She cracked, turning her head to smirk at him. "But c'mon, every burg's got their underbelly. Wait'll Mister 'Gas Ball' takes his nightly siesta." Pointed up and out the windshield. "Come tomorrow, you may just wanna ditch the 'Dale and go lather up in a more familiar brand of seedy."

Weevil slowed for a stop sign. "Been a while since you had a boca on your fundillo, huh?"

Her features hardened. "Turn right."

What prompted the estrangement to which he slyly referred?

{"I told you what I'm like...how I need to be. Do I wish I could turn it off and live the 'Hearst Experience' promised by the brochure? Yeah. But being an unbending, social leper? Who has no problem dealing out comeuppance if screwed with? Only way to start getting honest answers to my probing questions." She had defended herself to her girlfriend, speaking from experience. "And right now, a husky 'D Block'-er named 'Tiffany' is laying on a bottom bunk all alone; damned if I'm gonna let that stand. Gets cold at night on the inside."

"S'why I'm glad I had company." But humor didn't deflect Buffy that time. "Know what I wish for? Her to still be here." There'd been a semi-dramatic pause. "Because she'd trust me to help with the coping--you know, support system?" The question was pointed. "But like everyone else, I get 'Veronica Mars.' And I don't care what *she* says...'Veronica' doesn't need t'go hibernating."

"Oh, like you're available year-round?" Veronica, or whoever she was, had fired back. "Ya come home from a hard day's night on the J.O.B, and..." She trailed off. "Oops, nope, sorry--you don't. Wherever the hell you are, it isn't anyplace I can track. I've tried." That's how it felt, anyway. "I just wanna have my stone wall, too; careful, that last step into hypocrisy? Bit of a doozy."

"Slaying's--"

"--yours and Busty McGee's corner of the market, I know. And it's impossible for those of us who wouldn't ever survive said corner, to grasp how it feels to work there...so what's the point trying to explain, right?" She'd known what was coming. "Well, same goes for mine."

"It's...different." The slayer had said hesitantly. "At least I come back." Another dramatic pause. "At least I don't look for reasons for people to be guilty instead of not...and I definitely wouldn't do that to a friend if they told me they weren't."}


It worsened from there, until Veronica escaped from the fight, needing to be elsewhere. Because that's what she did when someone cut too close. Even with Buffy, it seemed. She and Buffy got angry. At each other. Hurtful words and ugly truths were bandied about. Such a surreal, unnatural experience. For weeks now, they'd avoided contact. The last time they clashed was when Buffy made them lose the two-legged race on Field Day in fourth grade, tripping just prior to the finish.

Weevil tended to be absent from Field Day. Yet thankfully, he chose not to be absent from Buffy's Thanksgiving dinner. It was him who pressured Veronica into sucking it up, under the excuse that he needed a navigator. He was also the friend Buffy was referring to her going after. Yeah, criminal past, but he would never steal something from her. Especially not something that meant as much to her as Lilly's necklace. Except she apparently couldn't help it.

Her first inclination was always to suspect, even if she was finding out that Hearst--though it had its share of unsavory characters--wasn't nearly as bad as Neptune High. Not wanting to be caught unaware, she entered college prepared for battle; Hearst wasn't her first choice, and because she went there by default (and because it was under Neptune's umbrella), she'd been battling unnecessarily, which only made her life more difficult. Buffy was right about "Veronica Mars."

Since Mercer had been locked away, "Veronica" was let out again. It was going to take work to make her stay. First, she had forgiveness to beg, because she planned to actually lean on the girl she loved from then onward--while having to look the girl in the eye. Wasn't the same as getting comfort from across a cell tower. No more saying it, then forgetting to follow through, because that wasn't what people who loved one another did. But they did occasionally fight. People not in love? Didn't bother. Or so she'd read.

All she knew, was she didn't much like separation. Waking up solo didn't hold the same appeal it used to. Really, the most concise way to put it, was that these weeks without Buffy's company were quite shitty.

Weevil slowed the car to a stop in front of Giles' apartment complex. "Figure I should get in the habit, so...I'm sorry, Weevil."

"Gonna make me cry, V." Then he grinned his acceptance at her, and opened his door. "You go in, act like a moron? Hope you got the cash for a Greyhound."

As he got out, she sarcastically responded, "Wow, I feel inspired. Somebody oughta tell Tony Robbins to watch his back."

***

The fourth time Buffy opened Giles' front door, Weevil waited on the other side. She smiled, however, it would've been larger had she seen someone else with him. They hugged. "Glad you made it. Were my directions followable?"

"Town ain't that big, Hazel Eyes." He said back to her, ending the hug. "And you owe me one."

Buffy's brow creased as he walked by her into the house, but then she saw that Veronica had been behind him. Inside the butterflies were thrilled, and outside, it was a very uncertain few moments. Veronica, as always was the case in these types of situations, braved speaking first.

"Bertha." She greeted.

Hearing that, Buffy relaxed and remembered to breathe. "Marge."

They invented yet more nicknames in the slammer.

"Brought rolls." The P.I. held up the bag.

The slayer lit up. "Great! Xander forgot." Her smile was grateful. "Thanks."

Veronica nodded, unsurprised. "Somebody always forgets the rolls."

"He's kinda cursed with syphilis though, so I couldn't get too mad."

Beat. "Thanks a lot, Xander! Way to make Chlamydia look like the 'Bunion' of STDs!" She yelled inside, then to Buffy she said, "Wanna take a break?"

"Uh huh." Buffy answered, hurrying outside and shutting the door behind her. "Willow and Giles are driving me nuts." Veronica's eyebrows rose in question. "Guess that needs explaining."

"It's not the only thing that does."

Buffy forgot all about dinner in that second. It was a miracle.
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