Chapter-Twenty Five: Always on My Mind
Two weeks later:
Buffy bounced smugly as she skipped down the sidewalk toward the Espresso Pump, eavesdropping on various thoughts of people that she passed by. The possibilities of her mind reading ability were endless. She had a few ideas on how she could use this to her advantage, particularly on certain friends in her life.
She spotted Sam sitting at a table outside, reading a book. She gave him a hug and took a seat across from him.
“Where’s your brother?”
Buffy played it cool as she heard Sam’s answer in her mind.He’s trying to score with some bimbo at the flower shop.
“Uh, he said he had to run down to the army surplus shop.”
Buffy drew in a breath. She had believed Sam had always been truthful with her.I hate lying to her but she’s better off not knowing what Dean is really doing.
Buffy smiled at Sam. She couldn’t be mad at him. She engaged him in conversation for a few minutes before she couldn’t hold in her secret any longer. She imparted to him the details of the scaly demon she had killed and the discovery of her newfound ability. Sam sat back and exhaled a deep breath.
“You can read minds?”
“How can you be sure?”
“Oh, I’m sure,” she replied. “So sure that I know that you lied to me about where your brother really is. He’s at the flower shop, chatting up some new conquest.”
Sam shot her a look of astonishment.
Buffy shrugged, “No worries. He’s exhibiting classic Dean behavior. Can’t expect him to change.”
She filled him in on all the thoughts she had heard during class as well as her active participation in a discussion about Othello. Sam shook his head in amazement.
“So, it’s cool huh? I’m like the all knowing one. I have the power!”
Buffy raised her arm up in the air, mimicking He-Man. Her eyes danced with glee.
“Well, Buffy…with great power comes great…”
Buffy frowned. “Don’t rain on my parade Sam. I can do so much with this ability. I can – find out what my enemies are really thinking, what they are planning so I can thwart them. I can – excel in my courses….I can – find out what goes on…in the mind of that thick headed brother of yours.”
A sly smile creased her face. Sam chuckled.
“I think it’s obvious. Anyway, I don’t think it’s a good idea to get inside my brother’s head – even for a short time. It could be a very – traumatic experience.”
Sam took a moment to think about living inside his brother’s head.
“Why do you think I tune him out? I can’t afford the therapy.”
“I’m talking about when it comes to me. I mean, come on, my whole life I’ve been wondering what your brother really thinks about me. I’ve never been able to figure him out and now – I’ve got this secret lie detector and I can finally get the answer to the big question looming in my head for practically a decade. You think I can ignore this chance?”
Sam sighed, “Knowing you? No, you won’t.”
Buffy looked past Sam and jumped in her seat. “Oh, here he comes. Do me a favor, let’s just keep my interrogation plans between us? Please?”
Buffy regarded Sam’s hesitant expression.
“Come on, consider this part of your younger sibling payback.”
Sam chuckled. “Okay. But no offense if I keep my distance around you.”
Buffy scoffed, “Like you have any dirty thoughts floating around that brilliant mind of yours.”
After a minute, Buffy opened her mouth and gasped.
Sam flushed a deep red as Dean caught up to them.
“I’m a – going to the bookstore.”
Sam raced across the street.
“What was that about?”
Buffy shrugged, “Where’ve you been?”
She bit back her amusement as Dean glanced at her.
“Just walking around.”
“Oh, did you…pass by the flower shop?”
He looked at her strangely.
“I didn’t notice.”
She hopped off her chair and feigned a glum look.
“What’s with you?”
Buffy hid her satisfaction as she listened. She’s got that look like someone ran over her puppy. Crap. This better not be about Angel.
Buffy bit down on the smile that wanted to form on her face. Was he jealous?I’m really sick of hearing about him.
Buffy pouted as she stepped onto the sidewalk.
“Oh, I killed this demon last night and something strange happened.”
She described the demon and the weird rash on her hand but omitted the part about the mind reading.
“An aspect of the demon? That’s all you know?”
Buffy pretended to be worried. “Yeah, I’m like starting to really wig about it. I mean, what if I start to transform into the demon? What if I sprout weird wings or a tail? Would I still be cute with a tail?”Geez, you’d look cute in a potato sack.
He glanced across the street. Buffy smiled then forced it away when he looked back at her.Oh man, she really wants to know. Crap. Change the subject, change the subject.
“What does Giles think about this?”
“He doesn’t know anything yet. He’s consulting his books.”
“Well, you shouldn’t worry too much about it until you know more. It could be anything or nothing.”
Buffy said casually, “Yeah, it could be like, I don’t know, telepathy? Wouldn’t that be funny if I could like – read your mind – know every one of your thoughts?”
Dean chuckled awkwardly. “Yeah, that’d be – outrageous.”I hope to god that’s not what the aspect is. I’d have to leave town.
Buffy swallowed a tremendous laugh tickling her throat. Her amusement suddenly faded when she noticed him watching the young women strolling around town. An auburn haired college student paused outside a boutique shop to admire the outfit displayed in the window. She caught his eye. Why does she look familiar?
The girl kept looking him as he passed by. He glanced behind him then suddenly shifted them forward.Do I know her? Oh crap. I do know her. Crap, I told her I was leaving the country. Look away! Look away before she recognizes you.
Buffy observed Dean as he slumped low in his jacket and quickened his pace. He relaxed after a few blocks. His eyes drifted to another young woman who passed by him. Wow, look at the ass on that one. The things I could do to that…
Buffy’s eyes widened as she heard the remainder of his naughty thought. She began to regret prying into his mind.
“Oh – my – god!”
Dean snapped his eyes back to her and looked at her curiously.
“Oh uh, did you see that girl’s hair? It was totally last year’s style. It should be a crime to let her walk around.”
He assessed her with his eyes. Is she kidding me?
He suddenly jerked forward and sneezed loudly.
He sneezed two more times. His eyes dampened with redness.
“Bless you twice,” she said. “Are you getting sick?”
“I hope not. I hate being sick.”
“Oh. Maybe it was just something in the air just then.”
“Yeah, maybe.”Or maybe it was that chick and her roommate from the other night. They lived in a sty, there were probably germs everywhere….but god if they weren’t hot….
“I’m feeling better now.”
Buffy drew out a breath when she noticed the small smirk on his face. She had to steer this conversation back on track. She patted the top of her head and frowned.
“Do you see any weird bumps on my head? Mutations?”
“No. Stop worrying.”
“I can’t help it. Would you still be my friend if I turned into a demon?”
“Are you going to try and kill me?”
“No, of course not. I wouldn’t do that.”
He rolled his eyes. “That’s what they all say.”Crap, this better not gravitate toward a conversation about Angel.
“No seriously. My love for you would stamp out any desire to kill you.”
She masked the tease in her eyes.What – did – she – just – say? I’m hearing things. She’s just messing with me. She’s always messing with me. She loves Angel. She always will. Ah hell, listen to me babble like an idiot -maybe I am getting sick or just weak.
He had another sneezing fit.
“Maybe we should go back to my house. You can lie down for awhile….I could take care of you.”Geez, did she have to say that? Now I’m going to think about how many ways she’ll take care of me...aw shit…quit it Dean, just quit it…this is wrong
He cleared his throat.
“I’m fine….probably allergies or something. Shouldn’t you be in class?”
She shrugged, enjoying her little game too much. “I cut out early.”
“Well maybe you should check in with Giles, see if he’s come up with any theories on your demon aspect.”
“Yeah, I should. Want to come with?”
“I’ve got meet up with dad, he’s got a couple of things he needs me to take care of.”
“Oh, okay. See you later.”
Buffy waited until he disappeared around the corner before releasing the thunder of laughter that she had beaten back over the entire length of her interrogation.
Later in the day, Dean headed toward Sunnydale High, on a request from his dad. He burrowed deep in his jacket in an effort to ward off the chills racking his body. A cold sweat coated his face as he ambled down the sidewalk.
“Aw crap,” he grumbled.
He was feeling like death. He shouldn’t have been walking around. He should have crashed in the living room for the day. But dad had asked him to retrieve some texts from Giles. When he crossed the street to get to the school, he saw a crowd hovered around the greenery.
Giles, Oz, Willow, Xander and Cordelia circled around someone on the grass. As he stepped onto the curb, he noticed Giles had knelt down to help up – Buffy. Everyone started talking in a flurry. Giles led Buffy away from the group, toward the parking lot.
Dean paused as Giles acknowledged him. Buffy was leaning against Giles for support.
“Oh good, you’re here. Perhaps you could get Buffy home? She needs to be home, away from the general mass of people.”
“What? Why? What’s going on?”
“The telepathy Buffy has gained from the demon has taken a physical toll on her. She needs to be isolated.”
His eyes widened with dread. “The what?”
Giles set Buffy against Dean. “I must find a way to help. Please get her home.”
Dean blinked, completely mortified by this revelation. Giles turned back toward campus. Dean briefly snapped his attention to Giles.
“Uh Giles...I actually need….some stuff for my dad.”
He rummaged through his pocket and retrieved a folded up piece of paper.
“He said you might have these books?”
Giles took the paper and quickly glanced over it. “Um, yes. Yes, I have them on hand. Is it urgent?”
“Uh no. He just needs them when he gets in tonight.”
“Good. Very well. I shall ring you when I have them.”
Giles darted off as Dean felt Buffy slump against him. As they slowly walked away from campus, Dean eyed Buffy. She was pale and shaking. She looked as good as he did. He swallowed a large lump in his throat as he thought about her ability to invade a person’s mind. He began to hum a song very loudly to himself. He was trying to fill his ears and his mind with lyrics and avoid any thoughts.
“What are you humming?” Buffy asked, still leaning against him.
He went back to humming through the song.
“How long have you known you could read minds?”
Buffy heard the irritated and accusing tone of his voice. She gulped.
“Uh, when I went to see Giles, it all started happening. I heard everyone’s thoughts in surround sound.”
She eyed him as he seemed to sigh in relief. Dean kept humming as they crossed a four way stop. An attractive girl pulled up to a stop sign in her convertible. She looked at him flirtatiously. Dean closed his eyes to shut her out of his mind. He continued to soothe his nerves with the Metallica song book.
Dean pushed the door open to the Summers’ house and moved on to another Metallica song. Joyce came out from the kitchen and drew a concerned expression when she saw their pale faces.
Dean broke from his humming.
“She can read minds!” he said frantically.
He went back to humming as Joyce regarded him curiously.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“You should get her upstairs.”
Joyce helped Buffy to her room. After a few minutes, she descended the stairs and found Dean collapsed on the couch.
“So what happened?”
Dean explained all that he knew and watched as Joyce’s expression changed from confusion to fright.
“And now she can read minds?”
“Oh. Oh dear.”
Joyce went back upstairs. Dean closed his eyes as he heard muffled conversation upstairs. He felt warm, too warm and quickly shed his jacket and long sleeve shirt. He opened his eyes when he thought he heard Buffy cry out something about Giles and…sex? What? Joyce suddenly flew down the stairs, her cheeks stained a bright red.
“Dean! Can I - can I get you anything?”
He shook his head and immediately regretted it, feeling his whole body ache. He yanked the blanket hanging over the couch and threw it over himself.
“I’m okay. Thanks.”
Dean closed his eyes and felt himself quickly drift off to sleep.
The living room was awash in faint light when Dean roused from his nap. He eyed the clock on top of the television. It was after seven. He spotted Sam’s long leg stretched out from the kitchen table. Dean sat up and gauged his physical condition. He felt only slightly better after resting. He slowly crossed into the kitchen and was surprised to find his dad leaning against the island.
John Winchester examined his eldest son.
“You look like death son.”
“I feel like it, sir.”
“Well, you can sit this one out then.”
Dean glanced at his dad curiously. “What are you talking about?”
“I just got back from seeing Giles. He updated me on the situation with Buffy.”
“Oh. Did he figure out how to help her?”
John looked grim. “There has been only one case of a man inflicted with this demon’s telepathic ability. Unfortunately, he’s shut himself off from the outside world, driven mad by his ability. Giles and I came across one possible cure but we’re not a hundred percent certain it’ll work.”
“It’s better than nothing. What do we do?”
“We need the heart of the demon that got away.”
“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go get us a demon heart.”
“You should get some rest. I’ll make a pass through town.”
“I’m fine, really. I look worse than I feel. I’m gonna go crazy if I have to sit around here and rest.”
“You’re no good to me in your state. I want you to get some bed rest. That’s an order.”
Dean sighed. “Yes sir.”
John crossed into the living room and put on his jacket.
“I’ll speak with Buffy and see if she remembers where she last saw the demon.”
Dean looked up the stairs apprehensively.
“Uh dad – before you go up there you might want to think – happy thoughts.”
John gave a small smile. “No need to worry. At this stage, Buffy is unable to focus on any single thoughts. What she hears is basically muffled noise, nothing distinct.”
John returned down the stairs after five minutes. He swept through the door and left Dean in the living room. Sam was out back, reading another book.
Joyce poked her head down stairs to check on Dean. She looked him over and placed a hand over his forehead.
“You’re burning up. You need to lie down. I’ll bring you some vitamin C.”
Dean was going to protest but after bolting forward with another nasty bout of coughing, he surrendered to his illness. He settled down onto the couch and buried himself under the blanket.
Joyce returned with a glass of juice and a thermometer. She took his temperature and frowned with concern.
“Well, I was right, you are burning up.”
Dean gritted down on his teeth, “But I’m freezing.”
Joyce regarded him with great maternal sympathy as she pulled the blanket over him. He shivered as a wave of chills racked through his body. Joyce brought Dean a couple more blankets and tucked those over him. She shuffled through the house and returned with a tray containing a box of tissue, cough drops, juice boxes and the television remote.
“There. Everything you need. Now you just try and sleep. I’ll check on you later.”
“Thanks,” he said.
Joyce crept out of the living room. Dean closed his eyes and let his fatigue take over.
Dean broke from his slumber at the sound of the doorbell and then a rapid fire knocking. Footsteps padded down the stairs as Joyce raced to the door. Dean slowly sat up to see Wesley hanging around in the living room. A figure under a black shroud flew inside followed by John.
“We’ve got it.”
John revealed a glass carafe with a glowing liquid inside. The figure removed the black smoking blanket. Dean blinked to see Angel dusting himself off. John and Angel took off upstairs. There was a shuffling upstairs followed by some howls and thrashing. Then silence.
John descended the stairs to meet everyone’s curious eyes.
“Buffy’s resting comfortable now.”
“Did it work?” Joyce asked.
“We won’t know until she wakes up.”
Joyce nodded and turned toward Dean. “Let’s check on our other patient.”
She came at Dean with a thermometer.
His voice was hoarse and dry. Joyce shoved the thermometer in his mouth and took his temperature.
“You’re not okay. Go back to bed. I’ll bring you some tea.”
It was a waiting game until Buffy finally woke up one hour later. There were muffled voices upstairs when Dean woke up. Sam descended the stairs.
“What’s happening? What’s going on? I hate being sick.”
“Buffy’s fine. No more mind reading.”
Dean sat back and drew out a breath. “Oh thank god.”
Buffy swept through the door to hear the soft sounds of the television in the living room. Dean was propped up on the couch, still coated with blankets. He had more color in his face but looked completely beaten by the flu. He was clicking through channels when he noticed her.
“Hi,” he said. “Thank god you’re home.”
Buffy drew an amused smile as she moved into the living room.
“You’re happy to see me?”
“Everyone left this morning. Your mom’s at work and my dad and Sam are out and I’ve been stuck here all day having to suffer through daytime television. It sucks.”
She dropped her bag on the floor. “Oh, I guess it’s a good thing I stopped and got you these.”
She dug out a plastic bag with Sunnydale Video emblazoned on the front. Dean smiled as she tossed him the bag.
“You brought me movies?”
He paused before opening the bag.
“Wait a sec – did you pick these out? Am I going to see the whole John Hughes collection inside? I’d rather watch Oprah.”
“Hey, I spent a good hour of my time browsing through the aisles for you when I could have been at the mall.”
Dean took a look at the titles. “Seriously? You picked these out?”
He pulled out the three movies in the bag.
“So did I do a good job?”
He chuckled, “Geez, the Omen, Jaws and Evil Dead. I’d say so.”
He set the movies aside.
“So what happened to the student who made a death threat? Did you find them?”
Buffy nodded and filled him in on the events that had unfolded just a few hours ago. He snatched a juice box and sat back listening intently.
“You see, that’s why I don’t have any regrets about missing high school. There’s so much unnecessary crap that goes on.”
“You look better.”
He drew a small smile over his face.
“I feel loads better.”
“Really? That sucks, I was looking forward to coming home and playing a little nurse for you.”
Dean choked on the last of his juice box. He forced a couple of coughs out.
“Uh, damn cough won’t go away...sorry.”
He cleared his throat a few times and then snatched up a cough drop. Buffy stifled back a fit of laughter tickling at her throat.
“I guess I’ll try and tackle my homework.”
She got up to leave.
“You’re leaving now?”
She saw his face sink with disappointment.
“Aw, are you lonely?”
“Uh, the quiet is driving me crazy.”
She grinned, “If you want company, just say so.”
After a long minute, he gave a humbled look.
“Will you keep me company?”
She shrugged. “I wasn’t really aching to do homework anyway so let’s bond.”
She quickly disappeared into the kitchen. Dean heard a succession of noise before Buffy returned with a tray full of goodies.
“We’re not bonding,” he said.
Buffy put in one of the movies and settled onto the floor with one of the throw pillows.
“Yeah, we are.”
“No, we’re not.”
She picked at a bowl of leftover macaroni and cheese.
“That looks good,” Dean replied, eyeing her spoonful of pasta. “I really haven’t had much an appetite until now.”
“Mmm, it is good. I’d let you have some if we were bonding, because bonding equates sharing.”
She gave a playful smile and continued to eat in front of him. He rolled his eyes.
“Okay fine, we’re bonding. Can I have some now?”
She grinned and revealed another fork.
Dean frowned as the opening scene of Jaws played.
“Someone’s feeling better.”
The banter continued throughout the movie.