A/n: I think the heat's seriously melted my brains, people. 48 degrees Celsius, I don't do well in the heat at all.
On the plus side, at least I'm writing again.
Human AU ahoy! Vague crossover with the Fast and Furious, in that it's a racing/cops AU. Maybe with a couple of secondary characters thrown in just for good measure. Note, this will not be a Spuffy pairing.
As usual, I own nothing. BtvS belongs to Whedon/Mutant Enemy though there's a whole kerfuffle going on there now. the Fast and Furious franchise belongs to Fox/Justin Lin who's the writer of the movies.
Buffy kept her head down, and her body tense- shuffling on her knees, as fast as she could go between her coworkers’ desks, trying to hold her case files and coffee aloft at the same time. So far, she was succeeding admirably- thank god for people being used to her quirks and moving out of their way in time to avoid a knee-on collision with her and her hot cup of java.
She heard, rather than saw a pair of footsteps coming closer to her- moving in a very determined and familiar fashion. Sure enough, Buffy cocked her head, the pair of feet were clad in some hideous lime green Crocs that she knew for a fact belonged to her closest friend in the department.
“Willow!” she hissed quietly, hoping not to attract undue attention but grab the gaze of the redhead above her.
No such luck.
“Has anyone seen Buffy?” Willow called plaintively.
‘Shit’, Buffy shook her head and was just about to pull Willow down to her level, knowing full well that the pair of desks around her were mostly empty and those that weren’t- wouldn’t be running back to Giles to report on her lateness. Again.
She heard an ominous sound, one of the most ominous sounds one could hear at the station- a click clack of high heeled shoes with a heel spiky enough to put through a man’s eye if the need arose.
She quickly crawled behind the nearest desk, thanking her lucky stars that it was only Harris’s and that the man was good natured enough to slide a little to the left- thereby blocking her from view, but still letting her see what happened.
“Rosenberg, what’s the matter?” the sickly amused tone of one Detective Lieutenant Chase made the hairs on Buffy’s neck rise up in irritation. “You lost your little twin? I thought you two were attached at the hip nowadays.”
Buffy rolled her eyes from behind Harris’s knees, knowing deep inside that at least some of Cordelia Chase’s vitriol could have been attributed to Buffy’s own actions.
Damn it, yet another reason why she should never have gone after Angel.
Cordy, as she had asked Buffy to call her during the early days of Buffy’s transfer, worked as Civilian Liaison for Dangerous Crimes and Homicide- a venture that she said was making her slightly ‘insane, loopy, wacked out crazy
’ due to all the posturing going on between the two departments and the cloying amounts of testosterone in the air, was nobody’s fool.
She was beautiful, wicked smart with a sense of humor that could either reduce you to tears from laughter or cut you down to shreds in front of your supervisor and thirty colleagues, had a penchant for Manolos, could drink an Irish cop (here was looking at you Harris!) under the table and was loyal as hell.
Or at least, until you moved in on the guy that Cordelia had set her sights on almost two months ago.
Buffy grimaced and ran a hand over her face, hating herself a little bit for giving in to her baser instincts.
Except, maybe, alright- definitely
, Buffy had made a mistake with that. Angel was beautiful to be sure, tall, with a pair of shoulders on him that felt like he could have taken the world on for her. Tried to save her, in fact.
But a month in, once she got past the soulful stare and the old-fashioned romance- that was when Buffy truly realized that she didn’t want him to save her from the world. Didn’t want him to protect her with his strong, manly shoulders. Didn’t want him.
But, by that time- it was already too late. She had destroyed her budding friendship with the fashionable Department Liaison, Willow hadn’t heard from her in weeks
- and had quietly but tearfully mourned the fact that Buffy hadn’t been by her place to listen to her long and excruciating retelling of her feelings for one Detective Investigator Harris who in turn had taken to resenting Buffy for picking the handsome yet brooding profiler- and how in the hell had Angel been allowed to work with all the homicide witnesses with his perpetual squint and long, sloping caveman forehead
, over him.
Weren’t there rules against police officers being creepier than their arrest victims?
Anyway, Buffy spotted her target, it didn’t matter. Because if she was late one more time, but more importantly- if she was caught
being late one more time- the consequences would be dire.
She slowly turned around and thankfully, Harris, the wonderful being that he was- turned with her, making it look like he was just reaching for another stack of files on his desk while Buffy scuttled out of Cordelia and Willow’s line of sight, looking like a panicked crab during a Fourth of July weekend in the Hamptons.
Just as she saw the familiar oasis of her own desk, complete with the pair of last-season Jimmy Choos that she had gotten on sale because a detective’s salary was nothing like the movies made it out to be underneath- she heard the worst sound in the world. A sound belonging to a man that she had been desperately trying to avoid.
A very polite, very British voice clearing his throat pointedly.
“Shit,” Buffy frowned and tilted her head up to see Giles looking down at her with a sense of resigned curiosity, like he couldn’t be assed to even care anymore why she was crawling all over his station.
“Hi Captain,” she cleared her throat and got to her feet, holding out her files in supplication, “I was just picking these up. Dropped them on the floor-…” she looked around wildly for inspiration.
Behind Giles’s back, Harris was making some kind of complicated pictionariesque gesture that she could have possibly described as an alligator trying to have sex with an ice-cream cone.
“On my way to Detective Harris,” she finished triumphantly, promptly ignoring the alligator gestures and beamed at Giles, “you know us, all work, work, work. Absolutely no lazing about in your
department, Cap- busy bees, all of us.”
Someone coughed behind her and Buffy had the sinking suspicion that it was Cordelia, vainly trying to muffle her snickering at the word-vomit currently horrifying half the department.
“Quite,” Giles finally said and pushed his glasses further up his nose, “now, if you’re done with delivering the documents,” he gave a pointed look to where Buffy was sure Harris was slowly wilting in his chair, “I’d like to see you in my office.”
He shook his head, giving her the look of disappointment to end all looks and left for his office- a clear path of people giving him space on his way.
He closed the door behind himself and barely a moment had passed, silent and thick with the foreboding weight of a department’s judgmental stares aimed straight at Buffy- when people erupted into loud ‘Ooohh!’s and catcalls.
Because she worked in the equivalent of a kindergarten except much better armed, Buffy sniffed haughtily, raised her head and dropped the files back on her desk, ignoring Harris’s excited eyebrow wiggle. She then turned to where Willow was still waiting nervously, propping up the most shadowed part of the office wall, looking like she was about to start chewing on the ends of her hair at any moment now.
“Do you know what Giles wants to talk to me about?”
Willow shook her head and then grabbed at Buffy’s elbow, “oh Buff, are you nervous? Do you think something’s wrong? Did you do
something wrong?” Willow lowered her voice, trying to sound more menacing and just ended up sounding like a vaguely stoned chipmunk.
Buffy thought of all the times she had skulked in late, the blazing fight that she’d had with Cordelia near the women’s washrooms last week and the fact that Angel had taken to dropping little mementos on her desk as incredibly creepy reminders of the thankfully brief time that they had spent together, the broken coffee machine that Buffy was meaning to substitute any day now, the jammed copier-
“Nope,” she chirped loudly and falsely, “everything’s fine.”
Willow, bless her soul, had the ability to spend every day elbows deep in corpse guts and still retain her youthful naïveté- she nodded and sighed in relief, “thank god.”
“Uh huh,” Buffy nodded a little maniacally and gestured back to where Giles’s office was beckoning to her like a big cave of doom. “I’m going to go see what he wants though, even if it’s nothing big-“ she gave a tinkling laugh, “I don’t want to keep the man waiting.”
“Oh yeah, yeah,” Willow pushed her forward, “you go do your thing and I’ll go down to the basement and do mine.” She paused, “but maybe, do you want to give me a call once you go on break?” Her green eyes looked hopeful, “we can maybe do lunch?”
“Of course!” Buffy exclaimed, grinning wildly and resisting the urge to pull the red-haired young woman into an embrace. She felt like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders, relieved and exultant that Willow- at least, was coming back.
“Okay,” Willow nodded, smiling gently as she tucked back a strand of red hair behind her ear, “okay.”
Buffy turned back to the bustling floor and from over at his desk, she saw Harris give her two thumbs up- along with one of his older smiles. Maybe, maybe that meant that things weren’t as bad as she previously thought they were. That there’d be a chance for their friendship, even if she didn’t want anything more from him.
The last person whose gaze she met before closing the door of Giles’s office to give them some privacy was Cordelia and she
didn’t look like she’d be forgiving Buffy anytime soon.
“Tell me what you know about William Pratt,” Giles dropped a large file on the table in front of Buffy. It made a satisfying thump as it landed, several hundred thousand pages- or what looked like it, gleefully announcing to her that she would not be getting her customary six hours a night for the foreseeable future.
Buffy sighed and slid the ginormo-file closer, opening the first page to see a smirking picture of the man himself, bleached blond hair and all.
“William Pratt, twenty nine years old- underground street racer, owner of Aurelius garage and a shop over on Sunnydale street,” Buffy rattled off the facts, flipping through the list of known associates, “did time for almost killing a man by crucifixion, drove railroad spikes through his hands and feet and left him on the tracks for the upcoming train. Got off relatively easy due to being, technically, a minor at the time and the mitigating circumstance that the vic had stabbed Pratt’s mother in a domestic robbery two months previously- lawyer used emotional affect and Pratt’s own fuck-,” she glanced up at the captain cleaning his glasses inscrutably, “seriously
screwed up childhood to great advantage with the jury. Got out and went legit, opened up his own garage- started winning races, making money- partly due to the fact that man can drive and partly because of the reputation he had developed. Which incidentally led to the name that he uses in underground circles now- Spike.”
She trailed her finger down the pictures of his associates, those closest to him- or at least the ones that the force knew of intimately.
Faith Lehane- twenty five, Pratt’s unofficially adopted sister stared at her belligerently from her five year old arrest picture- booked and let go on the same night. Street trained martial artist, proficient in at least seven disciplines that they knew of and possessing a vicious uppercut.
Buffy rubbed subconsciously at her chin, where Lehane’s boot had once caught her unaware during a routine home visit gone wrong.
Daniel Osbourne- twenty seven, never convicted though a long list of crimes was thought to be the result of his planning, was pictured on the stage of some club, snapped by an undercover while playing bass guitar. Even in the black and white, Buffy could tell that the man’s hair color was some unnatural shade of bright, sticking out in rebellious tufts that were likely the result of some fast driving and not expensive hair gel.
Kennedy Ortega- twenty three, the newest recruit to Pratt’s gang. Not much was known about her, except the fact that she idolized Lehane implicitly, going so far as to even copy the older woman’s dressing style.
And finally, Buffy turned the last page, the most innocuous employee of both Aurelius garage and William Spike
Pratt- Andrew Wells, twenty four years old and mechanical genius. Long known on the circuit for his virtuosity with engines, the ability to make any car into a piece of art and his unending loyalty to Pratt first and foremost and to Lehane as his second-in-command.
“What’s this about, Giles?” Buffy raised her gaze, closed the file.
The man was not known for doing things just because, and though they were somewhat notorious on the racing circuit- they had never come to the department’s attention for murder.
“About two weeks ago,” Giles began slowly, “Vehicular got an anonymous tip about a shipment of stolen imported cars coming through the docks.” He turned his back to her, facing the open window of the office, looking at the hustle and bustle of the various police officers hard at work. “It was a routine bust, nothing too big, nobody too hard to handle…”
“Let me guess,” Buffy said, “it wasn’t that routine, was it?” She felt her stomach sink at the tenseness of the captain’s back.
“No,” Giles shook his head and turned back to her, “it was Heinrich Nest.”
“Shit,” Buffy breathed out, not even caring that she was swearing in front of her boss.
“Quite,” Giles snorted wryly, knowing full well the reason for Buffy’s reaction. He leaned against a corner of his desk, crossing his legs at the ankles. “It seems that Herr Nest has added another venture to his illustrious empire, he now deals in luxury vehicles as well as prostitution, kidnapping and murder for hire.”
Giles’s lip curled back in a sneer.
Buffy’s heart beat in a wild, staccato rhythm as she sat, staring straight ahead. They had been after Nest for the last eighteen months, compiling painstaking evidence, enough to arrest the man on probable grounds- an almost impossible task, considering the fact that he never left any evidence and more often than not, he was represented by his two trusted commanders- one Darla Collingwood and a Lucas no last name but one scary face.
“What does this mean?” Buffy finally asked. “Why did you call me in here?”
“Well,” Giles said, “your old colleagues were kind enough to inform us that Nest has been spreading feelers out through the racing scene, looking for drivers.”
‘Oh no,’ Buffy thought emphatically, knowing with sick dread where the conversation was leading, “oh, tell me that you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking.”
“Seeing as how you already have an established presence within the scene, we’re sending you and Chase to work with Vehicular Crimes on this. You will report directly to me, I want to know everything
that you do,” Giles looked dead serious, “there will be no mistakes, no- as you like to call them, fuck ups
- you will go in, you will get the job done- find out who’s being recruited, find an in with them and then- you will find me Nest’s exact location so I can finally put that sod away for good.”
Giles leveled her with a look over his glasses, “is that understood Detective?”
“Crystal, sir,” Buffy nodded and slumped back in her chair, mind already whirling over the possibilities.
“Sir,” she interrupted him, “what day is it today?”
“It’s Tuesday, Detective Summers,” Giles leveled her with a distinctly unimpressed look, “perhaps you should be sleeping more.”
“Perhaps, sir,” Buffy nodded.
To herself, she thought soberly- it figured. She fucking hated Tuesdays.