Veronica stood on the sidewalk, listening to and watching the sirens, as the trench-coated cops drove her girlfriend away. The rain had slowed to a trickle. She ran her hands through her hair, took a deep breath, and headed to the car.
She’d go down to the precinct, and, what? Well, find out what the hell was going on for starters. Nothing felt right about what just happened, and she’d be willing to bet Harmony’s popularity wasn’t a coincidence.
Now behind the wheel, she knew she had to tell Willow or Xander or Angel, even. And that phone call. Who’d been trying to warn her? Maybe Mac could--
Wait. Another car was pulling up beside hers, window rolling down. Black paintjob. Was that...?
Veronica leaned her head back against the seat and exhaled. “Crap. Not again.”
Trying to make the best out of a worsening situation, she rolled down her window too, unable to resist. “For the last time, no, I don’t have any Grey Pupon.”
Buffy was gonna love this.
This didn’t make any sense. Not that that thought was very comforting to Buffy as she sat in the plain, windowless, white-walled holding cell that was itself inside one of L.A.’s police precincts, but it was the only thought she could muster. Okay, that wasn’t entirely true.
Her other thought? ‘I hope this ink is the non-permanent kind.’
It made her fingers seem like criminals. She tried cleaning them off, which turned out to be a foul-tasting mistake. The black stains were mocking her.
Best she could figure, she was accused of murdering a vampire, and this is where no sense was. One, vampires were already dead, and two, what was the evidence? Dust? Oh, and three, since when was it wrong to kill vampires?
When she got out of here, she was going to slay Harmony ten ways from Tuesday. No, eleven ways. How long had she been here anyway? She looked at the lone, gray toilet in the cell with her--nope, no clock there. And she wasn’t going to check closer.
Just as she was about to get up from the bench and pace, the heavy door locking her in, opened. Then the same uniformed cop that marched her to her current location walked through, not looking very pleased. She tried to keep the smile off her face.
“Get up. Let’s go,” he ordered.
Wow, even for Veronica, this was quick.
Dawn navigated and squeezed her way out of the dorm when she got the call. She couldn’t hear anything over the music and the beer pong. College parties were pretty crazy.
How crazy? Buffy would never know. Because UC Berkley was full of wholesome fun, academic delights, and of course Dawn had no idea what Vodka and Redbull tasted like together. Honest. She couldn’t remember.
But, uh, then again, why would she? She *was* only a freshman. Therefore underage and not permitted alcoholic beverages of any type.
Holding her cell phone to her ear, she put her hand over the other, and spoke still kind of loudly. “Wait, so where's Buffy? ... Again?! What’d you do this time? ... Whatever. Like I believe you ... How’s that even make sense?”
Here, she blushed. “Oh my god. Really? Both? No fai-- hang on, it’s Faith.”
She clicked over to her brunette friend. “Hey. Veronica got Buffy thrown in jail again ... I know, seriously ... Huh? ... Oh. Um, I...forgot to ask, I guess? ... ‘Cause it’s, I mean, obvious that she does. She *has to*. She plans stuff all-all the time and, anyway, you’ll never guess what she just told me ... Duh. Besides the ‘jail’ thing...”
Tara was already blowing out the celebratory, romantic candles around the bedroom before Willow got off the phone--for the fourth time that night. But the most recent conversation wasn’t about their upcoming nuptials. As she took care of the last candle on the dresser, the conversation came to an end.
She turned to face her fiancé, tying her robe as she did. Willow didn’t have to say anything. The redhead’s expression talked just fine.
“Poor Buffy,” said Tara with a sympathetic frown.
Willow nodded agreeably. “Poor, poor Buffy. Also, poor naked me. B-but mostly, yeah, poor Buffy.”
Suddenly, she looked alarmed. “*She* could be naked, too! Right now! In the scary, un-fun way that happens in laundry rooms. And Buffy can’t do the guards’ taxes! She can’t even do her own right!
“‘Dependents’ and ‘descendants’ are totally different. Plus, remember how many she claimed ‘cause *then* she flip-flopped with ‘ancestors’? She still won’t say why,” she pouted.
Her best friend had been practically putting together a genealogy tree. That was a close call. Veronica had blamed their second grade teacher.
“Tara, what if--?”
The blonde switch smiled her half-smile. “Sweetie, you need to stop watching 'Shawshank Redemption' before you go to sleep. I’m sure Buffy’s fine.” Beat. “What does Veronica need us to do?”
The “We’re Engaged” sex would have to be placed on temporary hold.
“Ya know, with the light from the laptop hitting your face like that? Wow, you look,” Xander began all romantical as he walked into the room, “yeeahhhh! Whatever the zombied-up version of ‘homely’ is.
“If you were craving tasty brains and/or flesh, you’d, uh, tell me, right? ‘Cause whatever you need can get gotten, no questions asked. *Whatever* you need.”
“Ass,” Mac smirked at the screen. “I should just dump you already,” she spoke as she swiveled around in the desk chair, “but nope, I can’t, because your shirt’s off.”
She shook her head. “Everyone stare at the shallow, computer nerd--yeah, she’s a walking oxymoron. Nobody’s more shocked than me.”
“What do ya think I thank my jar of lucky pennies for?” He said to her, smiling in relief. “’Xander’s Super Secret Plan of Staying Shapely Because He Works in the Hoisting Industry,’ fails never.”
Her eyebrow quirked. “You’ve been getting foreman pay for like, years. You delegate the hoisting, dude. Nice try. I know about the membership card in your wallet, so seriously, just drop the really lame acting before I think I’m dating Paul Walker. If he, um, was as homely as my face, the ‘Thriller’ video.”
He gulped. “You knew? That was ‘Xander’s Unbelievably Secret-ier *but* Ten Percent Less Super, Gym-Going Plan’! Oh god.”
She giggled as he sighed resignedly, spun the chair around, and then asked, “What’s goin’ on, Cindy-rella? Two phone calls during the vampire-snacking hour means--”
“--you’re an ass-squared,” Mac said in response to the use of her real name. “It was Veronica that time. She needs a favor.”
“A not so much legal favor?” He questioned rhetorically, moving his head next to hers as he stood behind the chair. “Man, how long is Buffy’s rap sheet gonna get?”
“Gee, *Alex*, I dunno,” she jibed. “But if I don’t fax this in the next, five minutes, we probably won’t ever know. At least not for another twenty-five years.”
He was just now getting a good look at exactly what she was faxing. “Should that look that easy?” He said with awe before kissing her temple. “Stroke them keys good, baby.”
"Watch me," Mac grinned. “But it only looks easy because I took the time, way in advance, to create a go-to collection of templates. A decade from now when I’m living off the grid in India to ditch the FBI and write my own Hacker Bible? First chapter’s gonna be called, ‘Respect the Template.’”
Back in handcuffs, Buffy was led over to the desks of the detectives that arrested her. She saw two men in suits standing there, and when she saw their faces, she had to suppress a groan of supreme annoyance. She was gonna hate this. Clearly the one detective sitting there, did.'Not again.’
They flashed their badges at her. The shorter one spoke first.
“Buffy Summers, I’m Special Agent Willis, and this my partner, Special Agent Van Damme, FBI. I’m afraid you’re comin’ with us,” Special Agent Willis addressed her with a smug smile.
“As soon as our office gets those transfer of custody papers faxed over,” added Special Agent Van Damme hiding nervousness fairly well.
“Heh. Which should be any time now.”
The other detective was coming towards them, papers in hand. “Yep, she’s their problem now.”
“Great. We’ll just, get her out of your hair, then,” offered the relieved Van Damme, stepping next to Buffy and pulling her by the arm.
“What else she do anyway? What’s the FBI want her for?” The sitting detective asked curiously.
“Question is, what don’t we want her for? Fellas, you dunno the half of it. This one’s just plain wrong upstairs. We’re talking homicidal. ‘Gets you to drink the Kool-Aid then beats you down with the pitcher’ homicidal,” Agent Willis explained, unable to keep the joy from his eyes. “We haven’t seen a whacko like her since that thing in Texas.”
“We don’t like to talk about it much,” Van Damme interjected, shooting his partner a look and then starting to walk Buffy out.
Willis coughed. “Who needs that P.R. nightmare again, right?” He joked, and pointed at the detectives. “Thanks for bringing her in. You’re a credit to your country.”
Buffy whispered through gritted teeth up at the “agent” pulling her along. “I am so slaying your brother. I’m gonna carve the bluntest stake in the history of stakes, then just let it keep stabbing wherever. Well, until I figure out how much strength to use...with the bluntness ‘n’ all. Could take a while--I don’t know my own sometimes.”
“Ssh,” was his response. “Save it in ‘til we get into the car, okay?”
“Into...? I’m *not* getting in that thing,” she insisted.
Not after what was supposed to have been the last and only time.
“Hey, watch your mouth, sweetheart,” warned “Agent Willis,” who’d caught up with them. “And like you’ve never been inside a chick before,” he smirked.
Sam and Dean Winchester? It was bad enough they were in town, but now she owed them. This was absolutely a nightmare.
While Buffy was elsewhere in her own personal hell, the elevator doors dinged open on the fifth floor of the Scarlet Springs Hotel. Kasey Nichols stepped out, having come from the reception downstairs, still in her midnight blue bridesmaid’s dress. She headed down the hall, taking the heels off her aching feet and undoing the bun in her hair as she went.
Rounding the corner, she smiled politely at the fair-haired young man that walked past her. He was wearing a backpack; he couldn’t have been more than eighteen. She turned her head--her eyes may have lingered somewhat. Nah. Maybe if she’d been drunk...
But she kept going until she reached the room she was looking for, then knocked.
“Hey, Mr. and Mrs. So-Ridiculously-Hot-Together-I-Hate-You, move your asses. Limo’s here--better be finished packing. And I mean the suitcases, Bri.”
She waited, got no answer and grinned. “C’mon. You two’re the ones who wanted t’ hold off on deflowering each other to catch the red-eye, and *I* agreed to stay sober to make sure you did. You make me regret that and I swear I’ll...”
Knocking again as she turned the knob, she jokingly covered her eyes as she stepped inside. The first thing noticeable was the smell.
“Whew. Guys know you’re supposed to wait for the luau, right? Damn. Did you burn anything expensive, ‘cause--?”
Uncovering her eyes, she finally looked. The room was spotless...except for the charred, blackened bodies of the newlyweds on the bed. For modesty’s sake, the veil covered where her best friend’s face used to be. Despite that however, Kasey screamed.
No, *that sight* was absolutely a nightmare.
A little farther away from it? Down the hall and around the corner? The boy with the backpack entered the elevator whistling some old tune by Mendelssohn.
More Disclaimers: Sam and Dean Winchester and all things "Supernatural" belong to Eric Kripe and Warner Bros.