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A Dish Served Cold.

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This story is No. 8 in the series "Grim up North.". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Non-xover with a xover sub-plot. “Great,” Xander muttered wearily, “rubber and wet, naked women!” A grim tale of sex, drugs and zombies.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Horror(Recent Donor)DaveTurnerFR15819,9630258,02710 Mar 1123 Mar 11Yes

Chapter One

A Dish Served Cold.
By Dave Turner.

Disclaimer: All things Buffyverse belong to Joss and Mutant Enemy not me.

Crossover: Non-crossover/Left for Dead II.

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar; Written in glorious English-English. American and English idioms are used throughout this fic.

Timeline: Late winter early spring 2004.

Words: Eight chapters each of about 2500 words.

Warnings: None.

Summary: Non-xover with a xover sub-plot. “Great,” Xander muttered wearily, “rubber and wet, naked women!” A grim tale of sex, drugs and zombies.

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‘Secrets’, Monmouth Street, London.

Sitting in her pokey little room overlooking Monmouth Street near Seven Dials in central London; Amy Madison watched the people in the street as she absentmindedly counted the banknotes in her hand without really looking at them. Some would go to pay for the use of the room, most would go to pay the rent on the tiny bed-sit where she lived, what little was left over would be spent on keeping herself alive and the few little luxuries she allowed herself. As she often did Amy wondered how she had come to live like this.

0=0=0=0

After her attempt at revenge on Willow Rosenberg, Amy had run; she wasn’t stupid…well maybe she was, just a little. Maybe her anger and frustration had got the better of her and made her a little insane; she was a good witch, she worked hard at her craft, but she’d never be as powerful as Willow Rosenberg. It all came so easily for her; Rosenberg hadn’t had a mother who had tried to take over her body so she could relive her cheerleading glory days. No, Rosenberg had it all; she had power, a position high up in Buffy’s Scooby Gang. Her very own slayer lover, and a pack of little slayer girls to do her bidding…‘Witch Queen of the North’ they called her, it made Amy sick, and what had she got?

Nothing!

When Amy had run she’d headed for Los Angeles, catching her breath she’d taken the time to make a plan. Los Angeles wasn’t a safe place for the likes of her. The slayer-bitch, Buffy Summers had contacts in the mega-city, so it wouldn’t be a safe-haven for Amy. Booking out of her cheap motel room, she’d made her way to the bus station where she a bought a ticket for Las Vegas. Once in the gambling capital of America, Amy could make her fortune.

Indeed she did amass a small fortune in the few days she’d been in the city; two things spoilt her plans. Sunnydale disappeared into a hole in the ground and the world suddenly became full of slayers; but more importantly she’d come to the notice of the Gaming Commission. They wanted to know why she was so successful at the gaming tables. Once again Amy ran; she had this fear that if she used the sort of magic that would put the Commission off her trail, Willow Rosenberg and her slayer lover would come looking for her. Amy left Las Vegas by jet and headed East, New York beckoned the fleeing witch.

After spending several months living quietly in New York, Amy started to feel the slayers all around her again. Obviously the bitch-witch Rosenberg had found her and had sent slayers to take her back to wherever it was the slayers had set up camp. In a panic she jumped aboard a plane and left the country. That was how she’d ended up in London; she’d no money now, it’d all been spent getting her to safety. She couldn’t even use any serious magic for fear that it would give her location away.

0=0=0=0

Her ‘clients’ weren’t all that much better off than she was, that’s why they came to her in the first place. They came in the hopes of finding some happiness, something to look forward to; Amy’s last customer was a case in point. Miss Phelps was an attractive woman in her early thirties; she had a good job in ‘Human Resources’ for a computer company situated out in one of London’s suburbs. Amy would have thought she’d have no problem getting herself a man, but the woman still lived at home with her mother and had just given up her one long time boyfriend simply because Amy had said she should. You see, Miss Phelps wouldn’t make a move without the say so of her friend and confident, Amy Madison. You could get people to do almost anything if they believed that you had some connection with the world of the mystic, and you knew not to push too hard or too far.

Getting Phelps to dump her boyfriend had been the test, once she’d done that Amy knew she had Phelps for life, a small but steady source of income; it would have to do for now. Amy sighed, if only she could find a celebrity that needed a good psychic she’d be made for life; people were so gullible that she mostly didn’t need to use magic.

Picking up her bag Amy stuffed the money into her purse; she pulled out a diary and checked today’s date. Phelps was her only ‘regular’ for today, she toyed with the idea of telling Maureen, the lady who ran the shop where she rented the room for her readings, that she was open for passing trade but decided against it. It was nearly lunchtime, and she’d made enough money this week so she could treat herself. There was an ‘O’Neill’s’ pub just around the corner, she could have a beer and buy herself lunch.

Collecting her things she stood up and glanced out of the window as every magical ward Amy had set up around the room started to flash danger signals. She stood looking out onto the street with wide staring eyes; Amy knew a slayer when she saw one and she was looking at three right now. There was a blonde and two brunette teenage girls looking in the window of the retro-boutique on the other side of the narrow street. Their auras glowed all around them giving away what they were to those who had the eyes to see.

Suddenly Amy realised what had happened, the Bitch Witch Rosenberg and her friend Summers had somehow found out where she was. They’d obviously sent the slayers to either kill or capture her. But Amy had been too clever for them; her early warning system would give her enough time to escape.

Leaving the room, Amy walked quickly along the narrow corridor and down the stairs into the small yard at the back of the shop. From there she found her way out onto the tourist packed streets of Covent Garden; as long as there were lots of people around not even a slayer dare attack her.

Walking quickly towards The Strand, Amy realised that this couldn’t go on. What if every time she made a life for herself, even the miserable existence she’d carved out for herself, Rosenberg and Summers tracked her down. She needed to do something and do it soon. Stopping at the curb she looked up and down the street waiting for the traffic to let her cross. It was then that the thought hit her; hadn’t someone said that the best form of defence was a spirited attack?

Smiling to herself, Amy crossed the road, her smile turned into a full throated laugh which made passersby stare at her but Amy didn’t care. The only thing she cared about was how she was going to make Rosenberg and Summers suffer.

0=0=0=0

Willow and Kennedy’s Apartment, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland, England.

Yawning slightly, Willow rolled over on the bed and opened her eyes. Smiling she saw Kennedy’s sleeping face only inches away from her own. Reaching out she gently brushed some loose strands of hair away from her girlfriend’s eyelids being careful not to wake her. They’d driven back from London the previous day and had arrived home at about ten-thirty. After a light supper they’d fallen into bed and quickly drifted off to sleep.

Although they’d won their battle against the evil apartment block, the fight had taken a lot out of the young couple both physically and emotionally. So, they’d spent several days in London recovering at the Ritz Hotel just off Green Park. The spirit that’d possessed the tower block had lived on its victim’s fears, paranoia and guilt. Willow’d had to use a great deal of her magical power to fight the entity; while Kennedy’d had to face up to her feelings of guilt about the death of her watcher and her girlfriend when she’d been a potential on the run from the Bringers.

Both Kennedy’s watcher and girlfriend had sacrificed themselves so that she could escape; she’d hidden her feelings of guilt and inadequacy under a façade of outspoken self-confidence. The entity had fed on her deeply buried feelings of failure and had almost forced the young slayer to jump from the roof of the tower block. Now the block had been emptied of its human victims and was scheduled for demolition.

Running her fingers lightly down Kennedy’s cheek, Willow grinned as she watched the girl stir. Working herself a little closer she kissed her gently on the lips, Kennedy’s eyes fluttered open and she smiled at her lover dreamily.

“Hi,” she mumbled sleepily, “this is a nice way to wake up.”

“Oh,” Willow smiled, “if you think that’s good…”

Her hand slipped from Kennedy’s face down to her breast as Willow moved in to kiss her more passionately. Their mouths met and their tongues entwined and Willow rolled Kennedy onto her back; moving her hand from her breast and down across her body heading for her…

*BANG! BANG! BANG!*

“What the…!”

Both women froze as they listened to the sound of someone pounding on their front door.

*BANG! BANG! BANG!*

“Who the hell’s that!?” Kennedy pushed Willow off her as she started to get out of bed, someone was going to pay for disturbing them.

“Look,” Willow held on to Kennedy’s arm with a calming hand as she started to get up, “I’ll go look, like I don’t want you hospitalising anyone this early in the morning.”

“But…” Kennedy frowned, however Willow was already out of bed and putting on her robe.

“Hey,” Willow headed towards the bedroom door as she tied the belt of her robe in a big bow, “I promise that unless it’s the imminent end of the world I’ll turn however it is into bunny or something.”

“Okay,” sighed Kennedy as she leaned back on her pillows; realising that the moment had been spoilt, she climbed out of bed and slipped on her own robe before heading off after Willow.

0=0=0=0

“Okay, okay,” Willow called as she headed towards the front door, “I’m coming.”

By the time she’d got to the door the incessant pounding had subsided, she put her eye to the peep hole.

“Giles!?” she gasped, this must be urgent; quickly Willow unbolted and unchained the door, she pulled it open to reveal a highly agitated Rupert Giles.

“Thank god you’re back!” Giles pushed past Willow and into the flat.

“Giles!” Willow pushed the door closed and followed Giles into her living room, “What’s wrong? Has the Hellmouth opened?”

When Kennedy and herself had left for London, The Middlesbrough Hellmouth had been quiet, she wondered what could have happened to panic Giles so.

“No, no,” Giles paced up and down in front of the fireplace, “it’s worse than that!”

“Worse than the hellmouth opening?” Willow gave Kennedy a frightened look as her lover came to stand next to her. “Like, how much worse,” demanded Willow, “Giles quit panicking and tell us what’s wrong!”

“Yes, yes,” Giles stopped moving, “you’re quite right, this is no time to panic.”

Kennedy had to admit to feeling a little panicked herself, anything that could make the normally unflappable Rupert Giles act like this had to be bad, she decided the situation needed some calming slayer input.

“I’ll go put some tea on,” she announced and headed for the kitchen.

“Yeah,” Willow agreed, “nothings ever as bad as it seems if you look at it over the rim of a tea cup.”

“Yes,” agreed Giles, “you’re quite right…two sugars please Kennedy,” he called as he sat down on Willow’s couch, “this is all probably just some foolish misunderstanding.”

“What is Giles?” Willow slowly walked over to the couch as if she was scared of setting Giles off again, she sat down next to him. “Tell me everything…start at the beginning and leave nothing out.”

“Its Buffy,” Giles began, the blood draining from his face as he thought that maybe it wasn’t a misunderstanding after all, perhaps his worst fears were about to be confirmed.

“Buffy?” Willow prompted.

“Look,” Giles took a deep breath, “we’d been having a farewell party for the new slayers.”

“Uh-huh,” Willow remembered Faith telling her that a batch of young slayers had been coming up to ‘Slayer Central’ for a week of training.

“Everything was going quite well,” explained Giles, “but Buffy got a little, you know…got a little drunk.”

Willow nodded her head sagely; Buffy had a drinking problem, one drink and she had a problem. Willow thought it was probably a hangover from the ‘Bad Beer’ incident when they were at college.

“And?” Willow encouraged Giles to go on with his story; she glanced over her shoulder to see Kennedy heading their way carrying a tray of tea things.

“So, I took her back to her chalet…”

Buffy lived in a chalet on the old holiday camp grounds where they’d set up Slayer Central.

“…I got her home and…” Giles swallowed, his Adams apple bobbing up and down, “she tried to seduce me!”

There was a loud crash as Kennedy dropped the tea tray.

“WHAT!?” screeched Willow, her voice going so high it was likely that only bats and dogs could hear her.

“I only just escaped by the skin of my teeth!” Giles explained.

0=0=0=0

Buffy’s Chalet, Slayer Central.

Rolling over on her bed, Buffy groaned and cracked open an eyelid, she saw the sunlight pouring in through her bedroom window. Groaning again she tried to turn away from the light, closing her eyes tightly as she rolled over away from the window; she froze in mid-roll as her face came in contact with something rough and vaguely familiar. Her hand came up to examine the object. It was some type of cloth, some sort of clothing; she sniffed and smelt a familiar scent. Sitting bolt upright, she looked down at Giles’ tweed jacket as it lay beside her. With increasing horror, the memories of the previous night came flooding back to her mind.

She’d drunk just a little too much (which honestly wasn’t that difficult), Giles had steered her back to her chalet. Buffy remembered going on about all the people and places that she’d ever loved and how Giles had always been there for her. Which wasn’t quite true, she now realised in the cold light of day. Whatever, she’d been drunk, then she’d…

“Oh my god!” Buffy’s hand flew up to stifle the cry that escaped her lips, “GILES!”

Looking down at herself, Buffy sighed with relief; apart from one shoe she was still fully dressed. With luck she’d not done anything she’d regret; not that she didn’t regret the entire incident. But, if she had to choose between the monumental embarrassment of forcing herself on her ex-watcher and father-figure; and simply apologising for getting drunk and stupid she’d take the latter over the former any day…or was that the other way around…whatever. She needed to talk to Giles: no she corrected herself, she needed to talk to Willow before Giles got to her and…

“Oh my god!” Buffy swung her legs off the bed and stood up a little unsteadily; what had made her act like that in the first place?

Surely it couldn’t have been just the alcohol? Someone must have put a love spell on her! Just like that time she’d almost married Spike. Who’d do something like that? Almost anyone who hated her (a long list of people and things started to scroll through her mind) she headed for her kitchen to put on some coffee…and Giles wasn’t so bad in an older man sort of way. He was certainly younger than either of her two previous boyfriends (if you didn’t count Riley) and all that sexual experience, after all Giles hadn’t always been a librarian…

“OH MY GOD!” Buffy dropped the mug she’d been getting down from the cupboard, it smashed on the floor, “What am I thinking?” she gasped, “This must be a spell.”

Hurrying into her living room, a moments searching found her cellphone; she hit the speed dial for Willow’s number.

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