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Summary: Buffy made a deal with Mephistopheles to protect her mother while she was in surgery, the hellmouth is gone and Scratch has come to collect on the debt that is owed him. He has several souls for the Slayer to collect in his name.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Buffy-Centered
Marvel Universe > Ghost Rider
texaswookieFR1818101,906610227,9735 Feb 1113 Aug 14No

Haven, Maine

This newest addition of Haven belongs to scyfy company.

Duke Crocker owner and manager of the Grey Gull, a small seaside restaurant and bar looked up as he heard the familiar roar of a motorcycle. He looked up in time to see a blonde girl with leather clad legs that reminded him somewhat of some of the cheerleaders and dancers that he had known over his life. He noticed that she seemed to be talking to someone, and presumed that she had a headset hidden behind her hair. The fact that she was laughing over something that someone was saying seemed to be enough for her. Moving with a smoothness that he had cultivated over the years he moved in towards her.

"Now this is one of the few bars that we can stand to spend any time in without trying to run all of the people off in." Stretch explained to the blonde.

"Really?" Buffy asked in surprise, as she looked around in suspicion. It was filled with townies and travelers sitting at the various tables while fishermen, local bikers, and truckers sat at the bar. Nothing about it looked like it had anything that would be a draw for a group of ghosts. In fact it had a kind of rustic cheery feeling to it. It didnt even seem to be located near some dark essence of energy either.

"Yeah it may not look like much, but the last few years there's always something interesting that's going on here." Stinkie assured her with what she assumed was a charming grin for him. Either that or a sinister smirk. With a ghost it could be either one.

"The foods not bad here either." Fatso added in jovially, licking his lips hungrily.

"Oh look who it is boys." Stretch added with a snicker at an incoming figure. The other two chuckled in amusement as they followed the look of their partner.

Buffy looked up as she saw a guy that looked kind of familiar, as if she had known him a long time ago or seen him before in some half forgotten memory. The only thing that she could think of though was of her first day of Sunnydale High for some reason.

"You want us to get rid of the Fleshie?" Stinkie asked her.

"You got another way to order food?" She asked the ghost. The spirit looked like it wanted to pout, but nodded his head in agreement with her logic.

"How do you do?" Duke greeted the blonde. "As the proprietor of the Grey Gull what can I offer you in the way of nourishment? He asked, while flashing her a charming smile.

Buffy smiled as she looked the guy over. Messy brown hair and eyes along with a bit of scruffy facial hair made the guy look like something of a rascal. "Four of your local brews, a lobster, and three of your biggest ice cream sundaes."

The man raised his brow slightly at the order. "You got it." Duke returned, as he headed back to the bar and began barking out orders for the requested items.

"So I take it that your planning on some after dinner entertainment?" Stinkie teased the Slayer.

"Do you blame me?" Buffy asked the ghost as her eyes followed after the guy. "He's got that kind of bad boy look to him." She explained defensively.

"Ah, why you want to waste your time with a Fleshie I'll never know." Stretch lamented. "At least when you were doing vamps you were moving a step in the right direction. True your particular choices weren't that great but its not like you had a whole lot of good choices when it came to undead lovers. The first one brooded to much, and the second one started off bad." He told her knowingly. "I don't think you even want to consider hearing what it is that the Doc would say if he found out about your dating history.

Considering what his daughter is I'd rather he not find out anytime soon. Buffy ordered the trio. She had spent years listening to people judge her on her choice of romantic partners. She really didn't need the dad of a newly found slayer jumping on the wagon. Knowing him as she did she was pretty sure that he would make her talk about how unhealthy both relationships had been.

The Ghostly Trio nodded accepting that it was none of their business about her past love life. "He's right, Stinkie noted, "I mean, you need to get him bloody before he's worth anything." He continued nodding towards Duke with a look of disgust. "He's totally dependent on the power of others."

Buffy rolled her eyes, of course the Ghostly Trio couldn't just take her to a normal food place. "What did you guys drag me into?" She asked her new friends curiously.

"Well you see, this little town is a nice place on the surface, but underneath it has a rather odd thing to it. Haven has all sorts of curses or something like, on all of the people. They come and go for a while. Every generation the curses come back up though. There's one family that can cause storms."

"Another that turns animals into Fleshies if they try and kill them." Stinkie chortled amusedly.

"What about the guys that can't feel pain? Their always fun to watch." Fatso reminded the others. "Remember that kid that was sledding around that time?" The other two snickered at the memory.

"How about the family that are all bullets magnets? Whenever a gun is fired those guys are going to be the targets no matter if they were aimed at or not."

"So in other words, for you guys this town is entertainment?" Buffy stated with annoyance. Deadly experiences that could happen at any moment and it was in no way their fault if someone died when someone's powers were going crazy. It was beginning to sound a lot like the Hellmouth. She supposed that she should have expected that her new friends would have been big fans of irony and gallows humor that places like this seemed to inspire. She didn't know what she had been expecting from the group. Besides maybe this place had really good food.

"Here you go." Duke offered with a grin as he set the drinks, ice cream, and lobster down in front of the bar. Buffy smiled her thanks, and quickly began eating. She really hoped that the brothers didn't do anything that would get her kicked out. The brothers began eating, and Buffy grimaced as she saw that the ice cream was being chewed and eaten, but it still fell through the bodies of her new friends. "You guys know how gross that is?" She asked them curiously.

"Thank you." The Trio Chorused causing Buffy's lips to twitch slightly.

"If I had known you were the kind with quick digestive track and the runs I would have suggested we eat outside." Buffy told them with a smirk that caught the Trio off guard. There weren't many that could mouth off at them with that particular skill. Most people were simply to intimidated by them. In fact in the last decade only Kat and some witches had the guts to do it. Considering that Kat had been a potential though, they figured that gave her an excuse. As for witches well they were some of the only beings willing to stand up to ghosts.

"Sorry Slayer, we just got so excited that we forgot." Stretch explained. "Its not often someone buys us food while at a restaurant."

"I can't imagine why." Buffy returned, as she wiped some of the ice cream off of her plate that had spilled on there.

Well that, and its fun to watch the Fleshies or Casper clean up the messes that we make." Fatso added in getting laughs from all of the ghosts.

Buffy rolled her eyes at the Trio. "Try not to cause any more problems while I finish eating and try and figure a way to explain this away." She ordered as she finally started working her way through the food. The ghosts chuckled as they found places around the bar to hover and watch the bar. She smiled weakly as she saw a stunned Duke walk by and stare at the mess around her. "Don't ask, because trust me you don't want to know." She assured him.

"I'm good at not asking questions." Duke returned, while flashing her a smile as he went to go and retrieve a mop. It figured that one of the prettiest girls that he had seen in a while turned out to be Troubled. He mused to himself. It seemed like all of the Troubled usually made their way through his business eventually. Once he was done cleaning up he sat to talk with the girl. Whatever her trigger was it seemed that she had fairly decent control seeing as she hadn't caused any other damage except for the ice cream sundae mess. He even found himself enjoying his talks about the various parts of the world that he had been to as opposed the various parts of the US that the girl had traveled. It was an interesting conversation. When problems did eventually start they weren't from her. They came from some of the diners that had to much. Unfortunately for him these people happened to be a known Troubled, which, meant that they didn't like him all that much. Jack Eliot could cause a freezing sensation just by grabbing someone. Kelly Hight on the other hand could cause wood to move and reshape itself. The there was Andrew Williams, a guy that could cause all sorts of bone spiked barbs to erupt his arms. Not as cool as say pulling bone daggers, but still dangerous to be around.

One of them had gotten mad about something and soon the two were fighting. A icy fist shattered a wooden device and the two were going at it while a bony figure kept popping and delivering punches to both sides. Soon others had joined in and they were all fighting.

"Somebody call the police." Duke told his people in the back, as another threw him a bat. "Hey, that's enough. You want to cause problems do it outside." He ordered the group of brawlers. As he was flinging them outside he was flung outside and knocked to the ground. He looked up to John Phillips a guy that could make doubles of himself that usually moved around like Locusts. What are you doing here John?

"The Guard want's you dealt with Crocker." The man explained, as five versions of him rushed at the bar owner.

Duke grimaced as he heard that bit of information even as his eyes darted towards the bared arms of all of the fighters, where the celtic tattoo could be seen on all of their forearms. Great, if had known that all of these guys were members of the Guard he would have called the police first and tried to stay inside the safety of his bar. He also would have chosen a better weapon than a bat. Like the shotgun he kept under the bar.

The Guard was a secret society of Troubled people that did all sorts of things. In some cases they did things like provided an Underground Railroad for Troubled people when their powers started to activate. Seeing as how most Troubles were triggered by some sort of emotional event when you added in the powers that came a lot of people usually went spiraling into various forms of depression that allowed their powers to stay active. There were the ones that were lucky and were able to keep living normal lives. There was another much darker side of the Guard though. A side of the Guard that did things like executions of people because they were in the way. They instigated jail breaks and for the most part had a more than decent control over parts of the town. Which was why no one seemed to notice what they were doing to him.

He turned to see that the fighters from earlier were now gathering around as well. Ah this is going to hurt. Duke complained as he realized that he had been set up for this beating. Evidently he had done something new to irritate the group. Considering the company he kept that wasn't to unexpected though. He did wonder how far they had been told that they were to go. Andrew Williams was tackled and the blonde he had been chatting up had entered the fight. The girl grinned as she rose to her feet as she looked at the group. He was surprised when he realized that she had somehow managed to avoid all of Williams bone barbs in the tackle. Those sorts of moves took a lot of skills. Skills that he didn't think that anybody really had.

"Okay, last and only chance guys. She warned the group. "If we're going to do this then there is likely going to be blood, pain, and possibly even the addition of dirty words. it's not as nice as people like to make you think." She explained to them. "If you walk away though we don't have to worry about it though." She offered the members of the Guard.

Duke couldn't help the chuckle that escaped from his bloody lips. It was just amusing the way she was trying to talk them down. The wary way she was watching them all though showed that she didn't completely believe that they would take her offer up and walk away. At least this was going to fun. He mused to himself as he climbed up to his feet. Maybe they would get lucky and some other help would show up as well. Not that he was going to be holding his breath on that one though.

The members of the Guard scowled at the intruder and made to attack her. The blonde smiled as she kicked one of the clones away, while she flipped another one over her shoulder. "You guys really shouldn't have gone to all this trouble of making this a fun trip." She scolded them as if they had thrown her a surprise party instead of her getting involved in a fight.

Duke couldn't help the grin on his face as the fight really got started. Except for a few tussles with various people, he hadn't been in a bar fight since the Troubles had come back. Regular people didn't want to get on his bad side and Troubled people didn't really want to fight him for their own reason. Add that in with owning a decent business and it was starting to make him seem respectable. Maybe they all needed to be reminded just who and what Duke Crocker really was. He was also pretty sure that he could hear some voices cheering them on from somewhere even if he couldn't see whoever it was.

He punched one of them in the mouth and saw a bloody lip and grinned a bit as he felt the surge of power that he always got when one of the Troubled bled on him. It was his ability. Whenever a Troubled person bled on him it was like someone had shot him full of adrenaline or something. He was also faster and stronger than a person could believe. That was only the first half of his ability though. The other half of his ability was that if someone with an ability was killed by him while he was charged up he somehow took the ability away from the family bloodline as well. He didn't really understand it he just knew what happened.

What followed next was a massacre, as the two fighters tore through the members of the Guard. The panting pair grinned a bit as the last two people fell to the ground leaving just the two of them. "Alright, you seriously know how to show a girl a good time." Buffy told the man. My friends were also right in saying you've got great food." She added in with a smile.

"Well what can I say, we got the food and entertainment just wait until we get to the desert part of the day." Duke added with a suggestive smirk, as he waggled his eyebrows at her.

Buffy smiled as she cocked her head to the side and tapped her finger on her chin speculatively as she looked Duke up and down. "Hmm, I'm thinking that I should hang around here for at least a few more hours." She confessed to him. "That way you can show me these things. Besides I seem to be working my appetite back up." She added in with a mischievous smirk. Before Duke could respond, they saw a battered looking police truck pull up. Of course now they get here. Duke grumbled out darkly as he watched the doors open to allow two people out.

A dark haired man with a nearly an impassive face and a pretty blonde woman close to Buffy's age climbed out of the truck. The pair looked at the crowd of fallen people before looking towards the pair that were still standing up. "Duke, what have you gotten into this time?" The dark haired man asked in annoyance as his greeting.

"Oh come on Nathan, you pull up and automatically think is my fault? What about all that crap about probable cause, or innocent until proven guilty? Unless you skipped out on the days that they were talking about those." Duke shot at the man with equal annoyance.

Buffy rolled her eyes as she sidled up next to the other blonde woman. "So let me guess. Officer Cardboard there was the geek that Duke used to pick on in High School?" She guessed as she watched the pair. The way that the two were mouthing off at each other kind of reminded her of the times that she had watched Angel and Spike verbally spar with each other. That or maybe Xander and Cordellia.

The blonde woman smirked in agreement with the assessment that the other woman had just given. "Personally I just think neither one of them wants to admit that they're more alike than either wants to believe and that they consider each other as friends." She returned with a grin. "Maybe even best friends." She added in.

"Yeah I know the type." Buffy assured her with a matching grin, as she stuffed her hands into her jacket pockets. "Well maybe not the besties part, but the having more in common than they want to admit. I had two ex boyfriends that are like them. Did they spend time as enemies as well?" She asked the woman curiously.

"Well Nathan is a cop and Duke is a smuggler." The woman explained to her with a wink.

"Gotchya." Buffy nodded in understanding.

"I'm Detective Audrey Parker, and that's my partner Nathan Wuornos, Haven Police Department." The woman introduced herself while offering her hand.

"Buffy Summers." The other blonde returned with a wary smile. Her abd cops had a rather sporadic relationship. The fact that Cops usually tried to either arrest or shoot her since she had become the Rider made things a bit more problematic. At least as far as she was concerned. The Rider tried to leave Cops alone unless they wouldn't leave it alone. Then it judged them just like everyone else. Hell, the only Cops that she had liked so far had been the Texas Rangers.

"So, you want to tell me what's going on while those two do whatever it is that they're doing?" Audrey pleaded of the other woman. "It might even mean that we can miss some of this." She added in enticingly.

"What, skip the whole male insult-a-thon while acting like you don't care even while you're secretly making sure there's nothing wrong with them?" Buffy asked with fake shock. "I don't know if I could stand to miss out on that." She pondered sarcastically.

The blonde woman found herself grinning in appreciation. "Ah good, you really do understand then." Audrey returned pulling out a notepad, and gestured for the woman to give her statement.

The blonde shrugged as she let the woman see her ID. "There was a bar fight, so Duke was kicking them out, and having his people call you guys. When he got outside the twins times five decided that it would be a good time to help their friends." Buffy explained. "Although it seems only one of the brothers remained to take the blame. She told her blandly.

"Uh huh." Audrey returned, knowing exactly what a cloner could do. The fact that this woman hadn't even hesitated in giving her a bull crap answer made her wonder just who pr even what she was.

Buffy continued unaware that the cop wasn't completely buying her tale. "I didn't really think it was fair to gang up on Duke like that. I mean a cute guy like that shouldn't have all of the stuffing beat out of him like that. so I gave him a hand with them and this happened."

"Right, well I guess we can take these guys in for lockup." Audrey returned. "Once we can get those two to stop arguing long enough that is." She added with a tired roll of her eyes as she approached the pair of men that were still sniping at each other.

"Well you know guys and their Bromance." Buffy returned with a shrug as she the pair moved back towards the guys. The two women watched for a moment as they went back and forth with insults. "Are they really arguing about something that happened in High School?" She questioned in disbelief as she listened to them.

"Yep." Audrey returned as she cuffed the unconscious members of the Guard.

"They have two hot blondes standing here, one in leather and another with handcuffs and that's what they'd rather do?" Buffy asked, shaking her head a bit. "Are you sure they're not gay or something? Not that I have anything against gays. Just asking."

Audrey snorted at that idea. "I have honestly never asked them if they have some sort of sexual tension between them. It would explain some things about them though." She mused out loud where the two could hear her.

"Hey!" The arguing pair shouted, turning to look at her with a combination of disgust and hurt that she would say such things about them.

"I mean it would explain some of those interrogations." Audrey continued, smirking at the two men who were now blushing at the ideas that she was bringing up. "Maybe that's why we don't normally take Duke into normal interrogation room, you don't trust yourselves to be alone in the same room." She added twisting the knife in just a bit more. "Unless of course you were caught by your dad and he made it a point that you had to question him at that table?" She asked Nathan curiously.

"With or without the cuffs?" Buffy asked with interest, she had to admit she was enjoying this. She was so glad that she had found a cop that actually had a sense of humor.

"Oh good point." Audrey agreed.with a nod.

"Audrey, if we promise to not ignore you for our fights, will you please stop." Nathan pleaded desperately.

"Yes Audrey, please stop." Duke begged, even though he was still shooting dirty looks at Nathan.

"Huh, I wish I had known it was that easy to get you two to pay attention to me before. Audrey returned to the pair with a smirk. "Thank you." She told the blonde biker. "This could make my life so much easier."

"Always a pleasure." Buffy returned with a smirk. She walked up to Duke and looked him over. "So, interested in proving that your not in love with the detective?" She questioned curiously as she jerked her head at the man. "I had a friend that liked to refer to this the after effects of a good fight." Her mind flashing to Faith and her H&H theory on what a good fight made a Slayer want to do.

"Oh hell yes." Duke agreed. "After what you and Audrey said, I need some different scenery." He told her as he offered her his hand. "Come on, I'll show you my ship." He offered while flashing a grin at the blonde. As for you Nathan have fun filling out your paperwork and all that. He added with a smirk towards the dumbfounded detective, as he began to pull the girl away.

Buffy waved to the lawmen as she was dragged off. "I may or may not see you later." She told them with a matching grin. "Nice meeting you Audrey." She called

"Yeah you to." Audrey told the young woman with a shake of her head as she watched them disappear.

"Sexual Tension between me and Duke?" Nathan questioned her in a disgusted tone while glaring at her. "Was that really necessary?" He demanded of his partner.

"Hey, it worked." Audrey countered him smugly. "Now lets get these guys somewhere where their not doing something to endanger the secrecy." She reminded him of the group of Troubled lying on the ground.

"So wait, I have to load these guys up, do paperwork over a bar fight at Duke's, and probably deal with the politics while Duke goes to have time with a blonde biker?" Nathan asked in disbelief. "Are you sure I can't haul him in for something?" He practically pleaded of her. "If he can make my day bad, then I should be allowed to return the favor." He tried to reason.

"Sorry, you don't have a good enough reason." Audrey returned with a smile. "Also, you should really stop thinking about what Duke is getting ready to do." She added with a mischievous grin, which caused Nathan to scowl at her in return. He did turn around and start helping her haul the unconscious Guard members into the truck though.

The Ghostly Trio were invisible as they watched the cops cart the Guard away. "So Sarah is back and doing her do gooder thing again." Stretch noted. "Might as well enjoy the town while you can boys, you remember what a buzzkill she was in her last life."

"And Lucy in the one before that." Stinkie grumbled.

"And the one before that." Fatso added as he glared at the woman that was oblivious to their presence. "It doesn't look like her time in the barn has helped any."

"Yeah, she used to be fun. Now she's all about helping people and stuff. Stinkie grumbled. "She's just boring now."

"Hey, you guys think that the Teagues are still here?" Stretch asked with interest. 'They were always fun to scare."

"The newsboys? Well it couldn't hurt particularly since our guest decided to play with locals in her own way." The ghosts nodded as they headed into town.It only took them a matter of minutes to find the old newspaper office.

They slipped into the newspaper building and looked the place over. The place was a mess of boxes of papers pictures, and computer equipment lying all over the place. Two men were seated in the middle of the organized chaos. One was a large man with gray hair that reached down to his shoulders with a wrinkled visage, and a rather noticeable paunch to his gut. In his youth he had probably been an imposing figure that had caused many a man to stop and think about crossing him. Age had caught up with him though. The other was a much shorter man who was slim, had a wring of hair around a large bald dome and wore thick glasses.

"Man, did you Fleshies ever get old." Stretch noted with mock concern as they became visible.

"You three." Vincent Teague scowled angrily as he saw beings that he would have preferred had stayed in his past." The large man really didn't want these beings back in his life. "What are you doing back here. Didn't you cause enough problems the last time you were here?" He demanded of the group.

"Vince, Baby, Fleshie," Stretch greeted ignoring the less than pleased tone that they were receiving. "You know us, we never could resist a good show and the Troubles is one of the best shows. Even if it does only come every few decades. We thought we'd stop by and say hello though, while a traveling friend of ours is busy with some of the locals youse gots around here."

Vince scowled but didn't bother trying to do anything to them. "What monstrosity did you bring into our town during these times?" He demanded of them.

"Oh we just invited a friend that goes by the handle of the Rider." Stinkie replied to him.

"Audrey will stop whatever you have planned." Dave shot off confidently as he adjusted his glasses to glare at the Ghosts.

"Doubtful, or did you forget that she can still be affected by powers that aren't caused by Troubles." Stretch taunted the pair of men. The two men glowered at the Ghosts at that reminder. "Because trust us, our new friend didn't even know that the troubles existed before today. That don't mean they ain't got power all of their own though."

"Yeah, there's also the fact Sarah, or Audrey, or whatever she's calling herself and our friend are now friends as well." Fatso added in with a leer.

"Come on boys we gots some shows to take in before old whatshername tries to cancel them." Stretch ordered. The Trio cackled as they zipped through a wall.

"This is serious, Audrey could be in real danger." Dave worried.

"Yes, and we can't do anything about it." Vince noted to his brother. "There's no way that she'll believe that there are ghosts sightseeing through town and that they're far more dangerous than she believes." The two men frowned as they tried to figure out what else could happen.

Buffy smiled as she stretched out like a cat. Yeah Duke had made her a believer into his not being in love with the other detective. Well at least not Detective Wurnos. The jury was still out on Detective Parker. Gathering her things she hopped into the shower when she came out she couldn't find her clothes so she borrowed one of Duke's shirts. She found her clothes drying on a clothesline on deck, she scurried over and began retrieving her clothes.

"So your alive." Duke noted from where he was siting on a deck chair and drinking from a bottle. "Your not going to threaten to shoot me are you? Cause that's what Audrey did when she found out I did her laundry the first time around."

Buffy shook her head in amusement as she slipped into her clothes wondering what the story behind that was, and if she could manage to pry it out of him. She somehow doubted it. The two detectives and Duke reminded her a lot of what the Scoobies used to be. She wondered if she could convince Phoebe to talk the Doc into the belief of the supernatural. Cause having a mind specialist that didn't do mind spells on either end of the coast could be useful. She mused to herself. Then again Phoebe would want her to talk about some of the issues that she still had from her time on the Hellmouth. Something that she would so rather not be doing. She was interrupted from her thoughts as she sensed someone behind her. Turning she saw her boss. "Why is it you always show up at bad times?" She hissed at him unhappily.

"Not my fault or my problem." Mephistoles returned to her with a shrug. "I have a new job for you a few states over."

Buffy nodded her head at that. She had kind of been expecting that. So, where are you sending me now?" She asked him curiously.

"New York. There are a lot of rogue souls that belong to me that need to be brought in. Not all unlike your new friends only more feral."

"Evil ghosts?" Buffy asked curiously.

"Something like that. Just be prepared for a lot of interference once you get there. New York has its own protectors right now. Some of them that believe themselves to be experts in Paranormal beings. Not all that unlike your friend with the Slayer daughter."

"Right." Buffy returned doing her best to ignore the thought that the demon might have his eyes on some of the friends that she had made while traveling. She picked her jacket up and when she looked back up she saw that he was gone. "I really hate how he manages to do that." She grumbled. She came back around and saw an oblivious Duke still sitting there. They exchanged a quick kiss. "Well as fun as this has been. I mean seriously, food, fighting, sex. It was all good and I might be tempted to swing back through here later. I just got a summons for my job and I have to get going." She told him regretfully.

"Really, I can't convince you to stay one more day?" Duke suggested with a grin, as he pulled her back down to another more forceful kiss.

Buffy groaned before she broke the kiss off. "I wish, but he'll know some way or other. He's got me on some Hellish type of GPS." She explained to him.

Duke nodded his acceptance of that. "Where are you heading?" He questioned curiously.

"New York." Buffy told him with an apologetic grin. "Wish I could have stayed longer, but my boss is a fan of the last minute changes to the schedule. I think he personally gets a kick out of it just to see me rush from place to place."

"That's why I'm self employed." Duke returned with a careless grin.

"Yeah, but I owe him." Buffy returned with a shrug. "Not to mention there's a contract. Once the balance is settled though I am so leaving him and his job."

"Well maybe when its all done you can come back through here." Duke offered. "I can guarantee food and sex, as for the fight, well if you hang around me and the people I know long enough I'm sure that we can find you some of those." He assured her. "I've made it an art form of getting people mad at me."

"Yeah, I haven't made people hate me here." Buffy returned optimistically. "Course by the time I come back you may have yourself some honey that will have taken your mind off beautiful blondes." She added with a smirk.

"Doubtful." Duke returned determinedly.

Buffy smiled as she jumped off the boat only to find herself looking into the stony face of a couple,of older men. "Uh hi." She greeted them. She looked around and noticed that the dock was fairly quiet except for a lot of people pretending not to watch her.

"You must be Duke's new friend." The big guy declared. "I understand you saved him from getting roughed up earlier."

"What can I say, I was being a good Samaritan." Buffy returned.

"Hey Buffy, Detective Audrey Parker greeted as she saw the group. "Vince, Dave." She greeted the two men.

"Audrey." The two men greeted her without meeting her eyes.

The blonde woman narrowed her eyes at the men. "So what's going on?" She questioned them in a sweet honey filled voice.

"No idea. They were just asking me about Dukes bar fight." Buffy explained to her.

Audrey rolled her eyes at that. "The problem of being a small town and being on a first name basis with the owners, operators, and everything in between of the local paper." Audrey explained to her. "That and it gives them excuses to be nosey old men that can look into everyone's business without getting to much trouble by yelling freedom of the press or something similar." She added in. The teasing quality of her voice took any sting out of her words.

"Oh cool." A relieved Buffy replied. "Well anyways, I just got a call from my boss, so I have to get going."

"Oh really already?" One of the brothers asked.

"Yeah its part of the joy of being who and what I am." Buffy explained to them. "The boss likes to send me weird places."

"And did he send you here?" Vince wondered.

"Nah, I was meeting some guys for food here, other than that nothing. Although it does have some good things to it." She added. She would have said more except she was ambushed from behind. A brunette girl had tackled her and Buffy screamed as she felt pain all over her body where flesh touched flesh. Acting on instinct she lashed out and sent her attacker flying.

"Jordan, what are you doing?" Audrey demanded, as she glared at the woman Buffy had sent tumbling about twenty or thirty feet.

"The Guard wants her out of town, its my job to see at she leaves. Besides can you imagine the damage Crocker could do with someone like her on his side?" The brunette woman explained as she climbed gingerly to her feet. "Now get lost." She demanded, as she shoved past Audrey. Jordan had a rather strange ability. She could touch someone and induce pain wherever her skin touched them. Normally she wore gloves and long sleeves, but when she wanted to hurt someone the gloves literally came off.

Buffy was still on her knees and hurting from whatever it was that the other woman had done to her. She looked up at the woman that was approaching her.

"You can leave, or I can offer you another dose." Jordan offered as she held her hands up. "All the strength in the world won't save you from me."

"Now I'm pissed." Buffy noted as she painfully climbed to her feet. She hadn't been this hurt in a long time. Probably not since her first encounter with Caleb or one of the Turok Han Vampires. The fact that it was a girl that she had never met though gave her a target, and she was going to make her pay. She needed to learn what happened to people that tried to get into it with her. Everyone noticed the rage in the blonde's eyes. Several of them stepped back slightly as they realized that she was now surrounded by flames that were rising all arounder her.

Audrey reached for he phone at her side. "Nathan, get down to Duke's boat now!" She ordered her partner. "We have a situation." She then turned to look at the angry blonde woman. "Look, you just need to calm down." She tried to reason.

Buffy ignored the detective and focused on her attacker. "You messed with the wrong person. Let me show you what happens when you decide to play outside your weight class." She felt the familiar burning sensation as the Rider began to take control. Unlike other times she had been hurt she didn't hold it back. Besides, she figured she owed it for letting the Slayer do the last hunt.

"Oh dear." Vince mumbled, as he and his brother began backing away from what was quickly becoming a nightmarish like creature.

"You don't think that this is what the Brothers were telling us about do you?" Dave asked nervously, as he watched skin and muscle melt away to leave a fiery skeleton in its place.

"Its a possibility." Vince admitted, as his eyes flicked towards the motorcycle that had the girl had been heading towards. To think they had been content if she was to ride out on her own but thanks to Jordan they were now in this mess.

"Lets do this." The flaming skeleton hissed out, as it made a beckoning motion with its hand towards a fear frozen Jordan.

Audrey swallowed nervously as she tried to remain calm in front of the burning figure. She situated herself in-between the pair, and held her hands up in a placating manner. "Come on, everyone needs to take a step back and calm down." She suggested, hoping that they could stop this before anything bad happened. She had to admit Buffy remionded her more of something out of nightmare than anything else. She had never seen a transformation this severe before.

The Rider ignored the blonde as it darted past her and grabbed Jordan by the throat. Buffy didn't even seemed to be affected by her ability anymore. Then again as a skeleton it didn't have to worry about things like nerves and skin to skin contact. "Guilty." The creature snarled at its captive, as flames seemed to wash all over her body.

Jordan screamed, as pain not unlike what she made her victims feel engulfed her entire body. The Rider then dropped her burnt body. It looked the others over curiously as if it couldn't decide just what they were. "Liars and Schemers." It hissed, as it stared at the brothers. The two men traded looks as they realized that the creature could somehow tell just what it was that they had done in the past. As if it could see their very sins.

It then looked at Audrey. "Repentant One." It then raised its hands and a wave of fire hit all three of them. When the flames died they were all suffering from burns on various parts of their bodies. Nowhere near as severe as the ones that Jordan had though. Duke wasn't sure what he was seeing as he watched the skeleton take down all four of them like they were nothing. He wondered if he could get some blood in time to stop this thing. He saw several Guard members try to approach it only to get knocked aside as if they weren't worth its time. It approached Buffy's bike, and he watched as it changed into some sort of monstrous analogue of what it had been earlier.

Everyone heard the sound of applause, catcalls, and whistling from up above. The inhabitants of Haven turned their heads to see where it was coming from. "What an act." A voice cheered down on the devastation that the unknown had just torn through the group as three strange looking creatures appeared around the Rider. The Ghostly Trio had come back for the closing finale.

"Way to go." Stinkie complimented, as he looked around at the damage that the Rider had caused.

"Yeah, I'll give you the full 10 points for that one." Fatso agreed.

"Yeah, if you didn't spend some of your time as a Fleshie I'd ask you out." Stretch told the Rider appreciably as his eyes darted around in admiration. And to think, you've only had this gig for around a year or so." He complimented her.

New York. The creature hissed back at them.

Its that away. The Ghosts explained as they all pointed in the general direction that one would need to take. It would also take the Rider right down the Main Street of the small town.

"Be sure to tell the green guy that we said hello." Fatso added in.

With a roar the Rider revved the engine and moved forward. The motorcycle left a flaming tire trail behind it, while the Ghostly Trio flew behind it.

Nathan who had already incoming shifted the police car so that he was now chasing after the flaming monstrosity that had just taken off. He didn't know what kind of trouble Audrey had gotten herself into, but he was sure that he would need to track the figure down if for no other reason so that she could calm them down or whatever it was that was needed this time around.

"Man, I just can't find a normal girl in this town can I?" Duke complained as he ran his hand through his hair before he jumped over the edge of his boat and went about checking the injuries of all of the people that had been hurt by the girl. If he didn't already know that he had an ability, he would wonder if that was his. The power to attract psycho girlfriends. Of course if that was the case, he probably would have dated Jordan as well. He sure felt sorry for the shmuck that had a power like that. He also knew that there were going to be people that tried to blame him for this as well. His ability just made him extremely disliked by anyone that he wanted to associate with.

"What happened?" Audrey asked from her hospital bed a few hours later.

"You tried to mess with something that wasn't a Troubled person." Vincent explained from where he was sitting in a nearby chair. "Not that its your fault since Jordan attacked the person responsible for putting half of the best fighters in the Guard and yourself in the hospital." He grumbled.

Audrey nodded wincing as she sat herself up. "Where's Nathan?"

"Gone to get some coffee." The brown haired man explained from the doorway, as he held up two cups for them to see.

"We all got our asses kicked when Jordan attacked Duke's latest conquest." Nathan explained to her grimly. By the time he went and got a weapon everybody was already out and the Rider was gone." HE explained to her.

"Rider?" Audrey questioned curiously.

"Yeah the Rider, they've been traveling across the US." He explained as he showed her a file that had reports of the Rider destroying large sections of multiple towns. Each town that had been visited had a red dot along with the date listed under it. "Normally big towns to. San Antonio, Los Angeles, Austin, San Francisco, and had jumped the Canadian border to visit Port Columbia." NAthan pointed out.

Audrey nodded as she read the report. Haven would be the second small town that it had shown up in. Considering how effortlessly the girl had torn through them she wasn't really looking forward to seeing what would happen if normal people would have looked like against this person. "Any idea where she went?" Audrey asked, wincing again as she felt the various burns on her body stretch her skin.

"No, but I have given her an approach with caution." Nathan added.

The blonde nodded her thanks to him. "How was I hurt?" Audrey asked Vincent. "Its always been a thing about me is that i've never been affected by the Troubles no matter what." She reminded him. "So how was I burned like you guys?" She asked, nodding to the heavy bandages the other men were wearing.

The large man looked Audrey over as if trying to decide what to tell her. "You were hurt Audrey, because whatever that girl was she wasn't Troubled. She was something else, and something more dangerous than even what we're used to." He informed her solemnly.

"Well we can't go chasing after her even if we suspect we know where she's going. She's wanted for questioning for things that was as far as I felt was safe. We could say we suspect her of being the Rider." Nathan suggested to the others.

"And when someone thinking she's a harmless biker with a flare for dramatics goes after her?" Audrey pointed out to him. "No, we have to wait for her to let herself be known and try and figure out what we can do to help and protect people from her."

"Try not pissing her off would be my suggestion." Duke piped in from where he was leaning against the wall his face fyrrowed with concern for the woman stuck on the bed.

"You know what the worst part about it all is?" Audrey asked the others.

"What might that be Audrey?" Dave asked her curiously.

"I actually kind of liked her." She admitted to the group.

"Not as much as I liked her." Duke assured her with a knowing grin. "That girl had muscles, flexibility, humor, and staying power." He told them with a dopey grin. His eyes glazed over as he thought about their time together.

"Only you would be able to bed the one girl that was like that." Nathan returned with a shake of his head at his old rival in annoyance. What bugged him the most about it was that Duke didn't even seem to be the least bit repentant about the person that he had brought into their lives.

"Don't make me get Buffy's threat out you two. Particularly with these two here." Audrey cut in with a smirk, as she waved at the two newsmen.

"Is there something that we should know?" Vince asked curiously, looking back and forth between the two men and Audrey.

"It's your responsibility to tell the press these sorts of things you know." Dave added in somewhat officially.

"You do remember that the last time that you used that threat nearly started this whole thing right?" Nathan asked her curiously.

"Hey, you may want to chance the gossip mongrels with that one but not me." Duke returned to him as he held his hands up in surrender. "You win." He conceded to Audrey. At least I can get some good dirt on you."

"Thanks guys." Audrey told the Teagues with a grin.

The actor that portrays Duke happens to be the same actor that played Jesse McNally in the first episode of Buffy.
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