Heartbreak: The Funeral of Buffy Summers
DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and all related characters are owned by Mutant Enemy Productions and Fox Television. The X-Men and all related characters are owned by Marvel Comics/Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Productions. VI and all related characters are owned by Dorian Blackthorne. No profit is being made from this endevor. It is strictly for entertainment purposes.
Authors Note: Takes place immediately after “Preludes to Heartbreak.” Probably won’t make any sense if you haven’t read the preceding works. Part I:The Next Morning
Of all the stupid ideas…
Nicholas Graydon cut off his line of thought as he approached the locations of last night’s activities, currently surrounded by yellow crime scene tape. Giles misguided nobility would have to wait. Nicholas just hoped the Watcher would forgive him. Right now, however, he had other things to take care of. He lifted up a section of the tape and walked under it, preparing himself for the inevitable.
“Hey! You there!” came the shout from his left. “You can’t walk in here!”
“Right on time,” Nicholas mumbled, reaching into his jacket.
“This is a crime scene, mister,” the cop continued. He looked young to Nicholas, too young to be dealing with this. Well, he thought, let’s see just how inept the Sunnydale Police really are.
He flipped the badge he had pulled from his breast pocket open directly in the young officer’s face. The cop blanched slightly.
“Oh,” he stammered, “Sorry, Sir. No one told us you were coming, and I don’t believe we requested help from the Bureau.”
“I was in town, thought I’d see if there was anything I could help with,” Nicholas muttered, “Who’s in charge?”
“That’d be Commissioner McCrate, Sir,” the officer replied. “I can take you to him?”
“Please,” Nicholas said. He followed the young cop through the scene, noting with interest the other officers on the site. Some were loading up body bags. They seemed completely indifferent to the nature of the corpses, and this led Nicholas to suspect that these officers were picked for just this sort of duty. Dispose of the demon corpses. Never say a word about it. Just another day at work. They were approaching the tower in the center of the taped off area. A large man stood at the base of the structure, looking down on one particular spot, lost in thoughts of his own.
“Commissioner?” the young cop interrupted his superior’s thoughts, causing McCrate to look over at them. “This is Nicholas Graydon, Sir,” the officer continued, “He’s with…”
“I know,” sighed McCrate, “I’ll take it from here, Perkins.”
“Yessir,” the officer said, and turned to go back to his duties.
“I know you’re not with the FBI,” McCrate said.
“You know?” Nicholas asked.
“An officer caught a picture of you walking with…” he hesitated a moment, “her, on his video camera, a couple of weeks ago,” There was no question who the “her” was in that statement. “Looked you up. Had to call in a few favors to do it, but I finally found out who you are.”
“Better look into that,” Nicholas muttered.
“I served with Fury,” McCrate responded. “He found out I was looking into your background and called me. What’s his agency doing on this?”
“They’re not,” Nicholas told him, “This is just for me.”
“You knew her, then?”
“Not as well as I’d like,” Nicholas looked up the tower. “This is…”
“Where she fell,” McCrate confirmed. He pulled a small flask from his hip pocket, saluting the spot in question, then taking a drink. He held the flask out to Nicholas.
“Rest in Peace, Buffy Summers,” McCrate said as Nicholas drank from the flask, “You deserve that much.”
“How much do you know about her?” Nicholas asked, handing the flask back.
“Enough,” McCrate said softly, “She was protecting this town. Hell, this world. We’ve known about her pretty much since she arrived.” He stroked his mustache thoughtfully. “We’ve pointedly ignored lots of…incidents that involved her, and her friends.” He turned and looked at Nicholas. “How are they doing?” he asked.
“Shock, mostly,” Nicholas said, “It’s going to be tough.”
McCrate nodded, understanding. He turned and pointed off to the side.
“We found a human body over there,” he commented, “Looked like the cause of death was…”
“Accidental.” Nicholas said firmly. McCrate turned and looked at him, the question in his eyes clear.
“Had to happen,” Nicholas told him, “He was the conduit for…” he gestured around him, “This.”
“Accidental it is then,” McCrate said, opening the flask once again.
“Couple other things,” Nicholas said flatly.
McCrate simply waited, holding out the flask.
Nicholas took a drink, then sighed.
“I need to know if there was another body, may have looked human, or not, over there.” He pointed to an area to the side of the tower. That was about where Doc fell, according to what Xander had said.
“Nope,” McCrate said, confirming Nicholas fears, “All we found over there was some sort of ceremonial dagger. Got it bagged in evidence if you need it.”
“Shit,” Nicholas muttered, “That’s not good.”
“What else,” McCrate asked.
“There can be absolutely no record of Buffy Summers’ death,” Nicholas told him.
“What?!?” McCrate sputtered. “What are you talking about?”
“She was protecting this town, you’re right about that,” Nicholas told him. “You obviously are aware of the demons that are here. What do you think will happen if word that the Slayer is dead gets out?”
“Slayer?” McCrate said blankly.
“Slayer,” Nicholas confirmed, “As in Vampire Slayer, Demon Slayer, understand?”
McCrate stood for a moment, thinking back to the death rate of six years earlier.
“This town suddenly becomes and all-you-can-eat buffet again,” he muttered.
“I’ll make sure there are no written records,” McCrate promised, “But how the hell are we going to make it look…”
“Don’t worry about that,” Nicholas said, “Just keep your policy active as far as her friends are concerned.”
“We can do that,” McCrate returned his gaze to the spot where Buffy had fallen. “Will there be a funeral? A lot of us would like to pay our respects.”
“I’m sure there will be something, Commissioner,” Nicholas told him, “I’ll let you know.” He held out his right hand, and McCrate took it, shaking it solemnly. Nicholas then turned and started walking away from the tower. After a moment, he stopped and called out: “Commissioner?”
“Yes,” McCrate answered without looking up.
“I can imagine how difficult it is to do your job here,” Nicholas said, “For what it’s worth, I think you’re handling it well.” He then continued on his way.
McCrate said nothing. He simply looked once more at that dreaded spot, taking one more drink. He then returned the flask to his pocket and looked around.
“Alright people,” he called out, “Let’s get this wrapped up.”********Scott,I don’t know exactly how to say this, I know I promised I would call. But there just wasn’t time. Besides, I think I know what’s going to happen tonight, and I don’t want you there.Have I mentioned how proud I am of you? Probably not. But I am, so very proud. You stand out there, fighting for a dream, putting your life on the line for others, so that they will never know the fear and hate that’s been so much of your life. And that matters more than anything else.That’s why I couldn’t call you to help with Glory. The world needs you, Scotty, and if you’re reading this, then Dawn needs you too. See, Dad is really a complete looser, and I don’t want her to end up with him. I’m not sure what is going to happen now, but I trust you to take care of her. I trust you completely.I love you, Scott Summers, and I want nothing but the best for you. Take good care of our Dawnie, she’s going to be something else….Oh, and before I forget, Spike promised to take care of her. Make sure to include him in any decisions about her future. For me.Give my love to Jean, and the Professor, and Hank, and Remy, and Logan, and Ororo, and Rogue, and everyone else. And especially to yourself. And listen to the advice you’re given. I’ve made sure you’ll get plenty.With great fondness, and lots of love,Buffy********
Scott Summer finished the letter, and set it down in his lap. Jean Grey, sitting next to him, said nothing. She simply reached out and pulled him into an embrace, holding as tight as she could.
And Scott Summers mourned the life he couldn’t save.********Alexis,If you’re reading this, then I’m dead. Wow. Great way to start a letter, huh?But, it’s true. There is a very real chance that I’m not going to survive this night, and that thought is giving me a major case of the wiggins. I don’t have a lot of time, Spike’s waiting for me downstairs, and I’ve got to write to Scott still, so I’ll make this quick.You once said that this family of mine has some good friends they could call on when they needed. Or something like that. Back when we were planning on how to attack Essex in the caves, remember? You said it to Dawn, but I’m taking you up on it.If I’m dead, and you’re reading this letter, then my family is going to need you, whether or not they realize it. Please help them. I know that this is going to be hard on them, but it’s important to me that they don’t give up. They can’t give up. Please, please don’t let them give up.I’m asking you this because the three of you are good people, and because you’re not directly part of this group (no offense). I hope you understand what I’m saying. You and Nick and Spencer can say and do things that they will never think of. Give my love to all of them, and I do mean all of them. And make DAMN sure that Spike remembers his promise to take care of Dawn.And, strange as it sounds, since I don’t know the three of you that well, know that you have my love too. Maybe it’s just the thought of what’s coming, but I suddenly have a lot of it to go around.Thank you, so very much, Buffy********
Alexis Vanadis smiled, folding the letter that Dawn gave her back up and placing it carefully in the envelope.
“No, Buffy,” she whispered, “You always had that much love in you.” She stood in the hallway, with a gray and white Somali named Tabouli draped around her shoulders. Through Tabouli’s eyes she looked around the living room at the Summers’ residence. Xander and Anya were still at the hospital, waiting to see how badly the ex-vengeance demon been injured. Once it was determined that there was no life-threatening damage, Xander had sent the other’s home.
Dawn had found the three letters on Buffy’s bed when they came in. One to Alexis, one to Scott, and one to Dawn herself. The last of the Summers women was currently sitting on the stairs, tears in her eyes but determined to be strong, reading her letter. Tara sat next to her, one arm wrapped protectively around the teen; normally she and her life-mate would both be there, but Willow had gone to L.A. to inform Angel, Cordelia, and the others of Buffy’s death.
Scott was on the sofa, crying softly into Jean’s shoulder. The letter to him lay in his lap. The other X-Men milled about the house, deep in their own thoughts. Some were contemplative, others angered.
Spencer was in the kitchen, making sure that there was something available for anyone who wanted it.
Giles and Nicholas had gone upstairs to Joyce’s bedroom to discuss something earlier. Shortly after that, Nicholas had come back downstairs, announcing that he had some business to tend to, and Giles would be down later. It seemed that this was later, as Giles came down the stairs, the pained expression on his face matching the bruise on his chin.
“Giles!” Tara spoke up as she noticed him, “What happened?”
“Nicholas took it upon himself to prevent me from being, and I quote, noble to the point of idiocy,” the Englishman said softly.
“He hit you?” Dawn asked, incredulously.
“Quite well, in fact,” Giles confirmed. “I was going to go to the police. To confess about Ben…”
“Confess…?” Dawn asked.
“Yes, well,” Giles stammered, “He’s dead.”
“Ben?” Alexis asked, “Who’s Ben?”
“Ben was Glory’s human side,” Tara explained, “Sort of. They were tied together.”
“So if Ben lived…” Alexis started.
“Glory could come back,” Dawn finished. She handed her letter to Tara, and stood up to face Giles. “You did something that had to be done,” she told him, piecing together what Giles had said. “Even I can see that. And now you’re needed here. I need you, the others need you, and you can’t help us if you’re in jail.”
Giles smiled softly at her.
“When did you get so wise?” he asked.
“When my sister made me promise to take care of you,” Dawn answered.
“Yes,” Giles responded, “But nonetheless Ben is dead…and I….”
“Were witness to a tragic accident,” said Nicholas as he entered the house, “I’ve checked the police report. There’s no indication of foul play.”
Giles looked at him for a moment, meeting his eyes, and understood what he was saying.
“Thank you,” he said softly.
Nicholas walked up the stairs and clasped Giles’ arm.
“Anytime,” he replied. “We have a lot to talk about later.” He turned his attention to Dawn, reaching out and brushing a stray lock of hair from her face.
“How are you holding up?” he asked softly. Since their arrival this morning, he hadn’t had a chance to talk with the teen.
“I’ll live,” Dawn told him, “I…don’t know about anything else.”
Nicholas looked into her eyes, seeing the tears on the edges. Silently, he pulled her into a tight embrace. Still, she refused to let emotions loose, but she did relax into the hug, returning it with every bit of strength she had. After a few moments, she stepped back, and smiled at Nicholas.
“Thanks,” she said softly, “I needed that.”
“No problem, Sunrise,” he told her.
The look in her eyes darkened slightly, and she looked towards the doorway to the basement.
“I’d better go check on Spike,” she said, walking towards the door.
“I could…” Alexis started.
“No,” Dawn said firmly, “He’s taking it hard. I’d better go.” And she opened the door to the basement.********“Professor?”
Charles Xavier heard Scott’s inquiry in his mind. He sat the photo of the Summers women back on the end table where it had rested and wiped the tear from his eye.“Yes, Scott?”
he thought back, looking over to the sofa where his student sat.
Scott and Jean were both looking at him as the unspoken conversation continued.“I’ve discussed this with Jean,”
Scott sent, “And I’d like to ask Dawn to come back to the school with us.”“Are you intending to become her guardian?”
came the reply, “At least, not yet. But I think, and Jean agrees, that some time away from Sunnydale would be good for her. If she wants to make it permanent later, we can discuss it then.”
Xavier smiled, he had expected as much.“Certainly,”
he told them, “I think we have plenty of room for Dawn.”“There is a catch, Professor.”********
“G’way, platelet.” His voice was slurred, he’d been drinking.
“No,” the teen replied, coming further down the staircase. “I’m not going to let you sit down here and drink yourself into a stupor.”
“I failed, Bit. I failed her, I’ll fail you…” came the response.
As she found the bottom of the stairs she saw him, sitting in the corner with a bottle of bourbon in his hand. Anger took hold of her as she walked over and slapped him hard across the face.
“Don’t…you…ever…say...that…again,” she told the vampire. “You did everything you could, and I need you to understand that.”
“No, Spike,” Dawn interrupted, “No ‘Buts.’ She trusted you, and I trust you. You didn’t fail her.”
Spike said nothing to this. He simply looked up at her, his eyes red from tears, and Dawn felt her anger fade away to be replaced with…
“…and I need you,” she told him, the tears finally starting to flow, “Because I don’t have her anymore.” Her breath caught, and Spike stood up to face her, dropping the bottle and taking Dawn into a fierce embrace. Then the dam burst, and Dawn sobbed loudly, burying her face into his chest.
The vampire held on with every bit of strength he could summon, his own eyes beginning to tear again, and silently wondered how much more this girl, his girl now, would have to endure. He would have to be strong. No more of this hiding in the basement trying to drown himself in bourbon. He’d made a promise, and he intended to keep it. ‘Till the end of the world.
They stood like that for some time, the tears wetting his jacket. And then the door at the top of the stairs opened and closed, and someone else made their way into the basement.
“Dawn?” Scott called out. “Spike? I need to talk to both of you for a moment.”********
“Xander?” came the small voice from his side.
They didn’t have a car at the hospital, so Xander and Anya had to walk back to the house on Revello Drive. She had said nothing until now, and Xander wondered what was on her mind.
“Yes?” he replied.
“Isn’t that Joyce’s shop?” she asked, pointing across the street.
The storefront in question was dark, far beyond the usual darkness from being closed for the night. Xander looked over and stretched his memory, having never actually been in the establishment in question. It looked right, but he couldn’t really remember right now.
”I’m not sure, hon,” he said, “Why?”
She didn’t answer him. Instead she let loose from his side and ran across the street to the store in question. As he joined her, Xander had no doubt that this was Joyce’s shop, no other store in Sunnydale would offer the items in the window.
“What happens to it now?” Anya whispered.
“I dunno, Ahn,” he answered. “I guess the government takes it’s share, and the rest gets auctioned by the bank…”
“No!” Anya shouted, “This is what she left to her daughters!”
“Ahn,” Xander said, “This isn’t the time….”
“Yes it is!” she insisted, “We have to make sure that this is taken care of. Joyce knew she was dying, but she couldn’t know that Buffy was going to die too…” She stopped for a second, collecting her thoughts. “We have to make sure that Dawnie’s taken care of,” she continued, “We have to….”
Alexander Harris realized once again why he had fallen in love with this woman, and why he had asked her to marry him. Pulling her close, he whispered softly to her:
“Okay, hon, we will.”