Purple Skin (Crimson Rage)Disclaimer:
Joss owns Buffy, Sherlock (BBC) was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss and is based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I write for fun, not for profit.Summary:
Mycroft gets his first taste of the dangers of Slaying when Buffy gets called to Cleveland. VI in the Myffy Chronicles. Warnings:
(Background) Character deaths. A/N 1:
So, hints of possible other pairings but no, I'm not telling you what they are. I will say, however, that there's gonna be end-game slash in this series. If you don't like it, you may wanna stop reading soon cause any flames or comments will be used to roast marshmallows. Thank you and have a good day. Purple Skin (Crimson Rage)
It started off innocently enough, Buffy supposed. Three girls who'd seen way too much television and not enough reality had found themselves in one of the more shady occult shops in Cleveland. They'd pulled all their money and bought a book, not really knowing what it was they were buying; a demon summoning manual.
The demon who'd sold it to them had, naturally, skipped town by the time the slayers got involved.
Sarah Parker, hysterical after seeing the death of her two fellow “witches,” had gone to the apparent freaks in her high school, figuring if anyone knew what was going on, it'd be them. She'd been right, of course, but that hadn't stopped the demon she'd stupidly summoned from finding her anyway and tearing her to bits and almost putting Faith in another coma.
That was when Robin decided to call in Buffy and her team.
“Hey Mycroft, its me,” the blonde was saying into the phone as she dragged her emergency bag out from her closet. She hadn't had to use it in almost three months and she'd never had to go to Cleveland before, Faith and her team had always been able to handle anything that wasn't in the apocalypse season, when every Hellmouth in the world got an influx of extra slayers and fighters. Buffy had really been hoping she'd never have to take it to Cleveland in any other month than May.
“Buffy, dear, what is it?” Mycroft wasn't going to waste time on pleasantries, when she only ever called him at during the day when it was an emergency or she couldn't make it to their evening plans. Considering they had no evening plans that day, he had to have known it was an emergency.
“The Pineapple Express is flying me and my team to Cleveland in about an hour,” she said, using the code for Willow; you never knew who could be listening in. “Faith's in the hospital and Robin called in S&D team Alpha.”
They had five S&D (Search and Destroy) teams, groups of slayers and watchers whose sole job was to go into places where there either weren't any slayers, the slayers were outnumbered, or the slayers had been taken out and deal with the demon population until they took down the demon causing all the problems or things calmed down, whichever the case may be. Buffy was leader of team Alpha, the top team, which consisted entirely of Sunnydale Slayers.
On one hand, she loved being on a S&D team because it meant she was on down-time until getting called in—which was why she lived in London and only sometimes patrolled with the London girls. On the other hand, however, being on an S&D team meant she saw all the really fucked up situations, such as when the entire Portugal house got slaughtered by a nest of vampires working with a clan of Martok demons.
As Faith said once, only the truly fucked up themselves could really hack it on an S&D team. Buffy sometimes wondered what it said about her that she was on one when Faith had not bothered to even try.
Mycroft knew all of this, of course, she'd explained it before. So he knew how serious it had to be to call in Buffy's team, who were usually reserved for the stuff even teams Beta, Delta Kappa, and Gamma couldn't handle.
“You'll be safe?” he asked lowly and she could hear him moving to get up.
“I'll try my best,” she promised, knowing it was foolish to actually say she would be. If anyone knew the likelihood of death, it was her. “We still don't know what the target is, only that it's an old one.”
“Perhaps you should call in Gamma,” he suggested quietly. “Illyria was an old one, wasn't she?”
That was an idea. Illyria and Spike, the sole survivors of the attack by Wolfram & Hart, had made their way to England after everything had finished. They'd meant only to let Buffy and Giles know what had happened but had ended up staying with them for close to six months before Buffy gave in and assigned Spike and Illyria as a two-man S&D team. They lived in New York most of the time, where it was easier for the two of them to get by. She tried remembering if they were on a mission. She didn't think so.
“I think I might,” she agreed. Having to work with Spike wasn't something she was keen to do, they still had issues, but Mycroft was right; Illyria could be a big help.
“I love you,” she said suddenly and then froze. She hadn't meant to blurt that out, she really really hadn't, but it was the truth. Almost seven months of dating, she'd fallen helplessly in love with his charming personality, the ability to turn the entire world on its head with a simple phone call, the protective, exasperated love he felt for his brother (and, to a lesser extent, John), and the world-weariness born of years of working behind the scenes of the British government.
That didn't mean to say he didn't have his faults—he was opinionated, stubborn, manipulative, way too intuitional, blunt, sometimes tactless, haughty, and sometimes way too aristocratic. In many ways, he was the weirdest mix of all three of her past ex-boyfriends but with a healthy dose of some the three strongest women she'd known; Cordelia, Anya, and Tara.
Even Dawn had noticed the similarities, though she hadn't said so in as many words.
Over the phone, Mycroft cleared his throat. “And I you,” he said softly, hesitantly, and Buffy sank down onto her bed with a smile. Mycroft wasn't one for mushiness, he still wasn't entirely sure caring as much as he did was a smart move, so she knew how big of a deal it was for him to say those words now. She felt tears prick her eyes; she was pretty sure she was done baking.
It was about damn time. ~~*~~
“You're worried about Buffy.”
Mycroft resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose when he walked into 221B and was rewarded by his brother's spot-on deducing. He really didn't need this but after not getting an answer at 221C, where Dawn now lived because, as she'd kept insisting, Mrs. Hudson was a manipulative old lady, he'd come upstairs to check if she was with his brother.
She didn't seem to be.
“Do you happen to know where Dawn is?” he asked, taking a seat without being asked. Sherlock's blue eyes studied him.
“With John,” he said finally. “She's been jumping at every little thing all day and it was distracting me. They went to get ice-cream.”
Mycroft nodded; that didn't surprise him. Buffy had told him over the phone that she'd forbidden Dawn from going to Cleveland, the entire continent really, until the new old one was dealt with. She hadn't asked for him to use his own connections to make sure Dawn didn't leave the country in mundane ways but he'd done it anyway. If it had been him and Sherlock in the sisters places, he was fairly certain he'd be just as worried as Dawn—in fact, he had been, on more than one occasion.
Despite the fact she was more like Sherlock than he, Mycroft felt a certain amount of camaraderie with the girl who had to wait and hope for her siblings safe return. Didn't he have to do so whenever his brother took on another case?
“What is going on?”
“Buffy's company called her in to deal with a situation in the States,” he said after a moment. “Five of her girls have already been killed.”
The fifth had happened as Buffy had been talking to him as she packed. The young slayer had, according to what Buffy had told him through her tears the day before, simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sherlock didn't say anything, didn't move, didn't ask the questions that should have been pouring out of him. Eyes narrowing, Mycroft locked gazes with his brother.
Sherlock knew something.
Before he could demand answers, they both heard the sound of the downstairs door being opened. He let the matter drop, not wanting to bring any of this up in front of Dawn, who had to be worried enough as it was.
Unlike his brother, he knew the values of silence and ignorance.
John and Dawn appeared in the doorway then. Well, Dawn appeared in the doorway, saw him, and stopped dead. John then ran into her.
“Dawn, what....Mycroft,” John greeted him.
“Did...is Buffy...” Dawn stuttered.
“I haven't heard anything,” he assured the white-faced girl. “I was rather hoping you had.”
She shook her head, finally able to get the power to move again as she came inside and flopped down on the floor by Sherlock. John, holding the bags from the store, went into the kitchen to put things away. Glancing over, he felt his lips quirk; that seemed to be an awful lot of ice-cream.
The sudden ringing of Dawn's cell-phone almost made him jump. Dawn did, as she frantically searched her pockets for the device only to have Sherlock reach into her purse, which had been thrown on the table by his chair, and pull it out. Dawn snatched it up and pressed it to her ear.
Mycroft watched the emotions play across Dawn's face. He was momentarily distracted by his brother, who was looking past him, at where he could feel John, and making faces at whatever John was miming. Finally, he saw the younger man roll his eyes before placing a hand on Dawn's shoulder. His eyebrows went up almost on their own accord when Dawn's hand reached up and practically crushed Sherlock's fingers with her own. Sherlock winced but didn't pull away.
Hm. That was an interesting development. He'd have to let Buffy know.
Reminded of his girlfriend, he looked back at Dawn (but not before seeing his brother glare at him). She was breathing more evenly than she'd been, some color coming back into her face, and she was practically sagging against Sherlock's legs in what he hoped was relief. Her eyes were closed but he could see the faint gleam of tears on her lashes. He straightened, heart pounding uncomfortably in his chest.
“Thanks Xan,” she said. “I'll be on the next flight out. Take care of her until we get there.”
She hung up, breathing in deeply for a few minutes before looking up at him. “She was severely injured and is in the hospital,” she told him. “She'll be out of commission for a couple months or so but she'll live.”
“What aren't you saying?” There was more to it, he could sense it.
“She lost Chao-Ahn, Caridad, and Megan,” she whispered. He recalled Buffy telling him once that Dawn was friends with all of the girls on her team; they were the ones who played Paintball London with Sherlock. He saw his brothers eyes widen before they shuttered. She looked up at him. “Plus seven of the US girls. It would have been more if Illyria hadn't been there.”
Buffy was going to be devastated. That was one-third her team, the young girls she'd become fiercely protective of. Not to mention, if they'd lost ten slayers, he could only imagine the injuries of the others who'd been there. There were fifteen slayers stationed on the Hellmouth, fourteen had been called in from the surrounding areas, and then team Alpha, which had consisted of Buffy and nine women under her. Thirty nine slayers in total, plus Illyria and Spike, and they still lost ten of the girls.
He pulled out his phone even as he made a mental note to stock up on the mystical sleeping aids Buffy sometimes used when she had nightmares. “Anthea, I'll need two flights to Cleveland, Ohio for myself and Dawn Summers.”
“There's a flight that leaves in four hours,” she answered promptly as Dawn got up and left for the flat downstairs. John followed her, leaving Sherlock with Mycroft. “You're on it.”
“Good, pick up my suitcase from the townhouse, it's already packed and sitting in the foyer. We'll meet you at Heathrow in an hour,” he said and hung up. One good thing about Anthea, she didn't ask questions, she just did as she was told.
Without looking at his brother, he made his way downstairs to Dawn's refurbished flat. Buffy, Mrs. Hudson, and Dawn didn't know it, but the lottery ticket Mrs. Hudson found on her stoop had been from him. It wasn't a full-on winner, was in fact just a little bit more than what he knew she'd need to renovate and then rent out 221C, but it was his way of apologizing for what happened with the CIA agents. He hadn't thought Mrs. Hudson would end up renting the flat to Dawn but hadn't entirely been surprised when Buffy told him. Sherlock and he both knew how deceptive Mrs. Hudson's “harmless old lady” look was. She might not have his and Sherlock's brains or ability to deduce, but she was far from stupid. No one who'd survived living with a serial killer for almost thirty years could be.
“Dawn, you can't just throw things in your suitcase, it won't all fit,” John was saying as he slipped inside the flat. The doctor sounded exasperated. “Give me that!”
“I don't have time, John, I have to get my stuff and get to the airport!”
“Fine, you get what you need, throw them on your bed, and I'll
pack,” he said and it was obvious from his tone of voice he had had at one point been in the army.
“You're not packing my suitcase!”
“Yes I am, otherwise you'll miss your flight because you'll be too busy trying to get the damn thing closed!”
“Hey, get out of my dresser!”
Shaking his head, he turned to where his brother had followed him. “Are they always like this?”
“Yes,” Sherlock answered and his lips quirked. He didn't say anything more however so Mycroft let it drop. Just in time, too, as Dawn came storming out of the bedroom and towards the dining room table, which was covered in papers. Mycroft saw Sherlock watching her. “You gave in,” his brother noted blandly.
“He's an unmitigated jackass with power issues!” she snapped back without turning around.
“And he's right,” Sherlock said and Dawn sulked.
“Well, I wasn't going to tell him that,” she mumbled and Mycroft felt himself smile at the pout on her face. He would never tell them, but she looked remarkably like Buffy when she did that.
He liked his spleen where it was, thank you.~~*~~
Mycroft detested flying. He liked control, being able to do as he pleased, and up in the air, he was at the mercy of not just the pilot, but the weather and the other passengers.
Thank God he could afford to fly first class. He'd never go anywhere if he couldn't.
He also hated hospitals, as it reminded him too much of things he'd rather forget, such as finding Sherlock had overdosed on drugs. Hospitals may be for the best and he had nothing but respect for the majority of the men and women who worked in them, but he'd only go into one for the most extreme reasons.
Such as Buffy nearly getting gutted by the old-one she'd been fighting. According to what Rupert had told him and Dawn on the flight over (he hadn't been very surprised when they found him at the gate at the airport), Buffy only survived because Faith had broken out of the hospital to help, nearly killing herself in the process.
To say Rupert was a mite irritated with his senior slayers was an understatement. He'd spent a good portion of the flight coming up with punishments for Faith (and to a lesser extent Buffy), the least and most baffling of which was sending the dark-haired slayer to a nunnery to recover.
Dawn had laughed until she'd cried at that one so he figured it was an inside joke.
“Giles!” Mycroft came out of his thoughts as he, Rupert, and Dawn made their way towards the wing the army hospital had set up the injured girls in. They had an agreement with the US government and in times like these, the armed forces became a godsend; there was no way they could send so many teen girls injured like they were to a normal hospital. “Dawnie, thank god.”
The speaker was a young man Mycroft hadn't met but recognized from Buffy's photo's. Xander Harris, looking haggard. He hadn't shaved, his hair was sticking up every which way, and his eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep and possibly crying. Mycroft deduced he hadn't left the hospital since they'd arrived.
“Any news?” Dawn asked once Xander let her go.
“She's awake and bitching,” he replied promptly with a smile. Mycroft felt his heart speed up a bit as he felt a tension he hadn't even notice leave his own body. Dawn was just as relieved.
“Sounds like her,” she smiled. “Which room?”
“Down the hall,” he directed her and Dawn left, jogging as she peeked into rooms and then disappeared into the one across from the nurses station.
“How bad are the injuries, Xander?” Rupert asked. “Any updates?”
“Annie pulled through and Icheko woke up about an hour ago,” Xander replied, giving a report of the injuries of the sixteen slayers, four watchers, and two fighters who were injured. Several of them, including the two girls Xander had mentioned, had been worse off than Buffy. “Some of them aren't going back into the field for a while, Giles. Susan nearly lost her leg, it'll take months to heal even with being a slayer.”
Rupert nodded and then turned to him. “Mycroft, go and see Buffy, I'm sure she'll be happy to see you,” he said. “I have to speak to Robin< Xander, and the other surviving watchers.”
“If you're sure, Rupert?” he asked, voice carefully neutral as Xander's eye widened as he finally realized who Mycrfot was. Rupert gave him a little push.
“Go see her,” he said smiling.
“Uh, just FYI, Riley's in there with her,” Xander said before Mycroft could take more than a few steps towards Buffy's room. “Him, Sam, and Gray showed up about an hour ago from Washington.”
Mycroft nodded his thanks and headed for Buffy. He wasn't about to leave Buffy alone with her ex, even if he was married, for longer than he absolutely had to.
She looked like hell, was the first thought that popped into his head as he saw her. Most of her skin was black, blue, purple, and green, bruises in varying stages of healing. Given the time it usually took for such injuries to heal, it told him a lot about how bad they'd originally been. She had cuts and abrasions across most of her face, neck, and arms, and she was holding herself in a way that he knew she had broken ribs.
He'd never understood the saying “seeing red” but as he gazed at the woman he loved (and he could admit that, in his own head), he felt a deep sweltering rage fill his body. She was his
damnit, and she'd been hurt. It was only knowing that a, the old-one was dead, and b, he'd get swatted away like a fly that kept him from going after the demon himself. He paused outside the door, forcing his body and mind to calm down.
“...seriously, what is Giles planning for Faith?” Buffy was asking Dawn as she lay in the hospital bed. Dawn was on her one side, another man in army fatigues on the other.
“He threatened to send her to a nunnery to recover,” Dawn replied with a smirk. Buffy burst into hysterical laughter as Mycroft took in the other man. Tall, good-looking, well built, he could see why Buffy had been attracted to the major while in university. He was the epitome of the strong alpha male.
Despite that, when Buffy finally recovered from her laughing fit, she saw him and her face brightened. “Mycroft!”
“Buffy,” he said, coming inside and silently dismissing the man. Dawn slipped away so he could take her place at Buffy's bedside, since it was obvious Major Finn wasn't going to. He leaned over, hand finding hers, as he kissed her forehead.
“Mycroft,” she said more softly, looking up at him with a smile. “You didn't have to come.”
“Nonsense,” he said instantly, sitting down on the chair Dawn had vacated. “I intend to remain here with you until you return to England. In fact, I was ordered to.”
“By who, Sherlock?”
“And John and the Queen,” he nodded and he heard Dawn snicker from where she'd dragged another chair into the room. “Her majesty wants hourly updates and she expects to see for herself you're okay when you finally return to London. Something about dinner at Windsor.”
As he'd known they would, Buffy groaned and Dawn burst into giggles. “Just what I need, dinner with the queen, again
,” she complained. “Wasn't one embarrassing dinner enough?”
“Apparently not,” he smiled. There was a sudden cough from the direction of the army major and Mycroft gave him a bored look as Buffy made a face.
“By the way, Major Riley Finn, this is Sir Mycroft Holmes, my boyfriend,” Buffy introduced them. She turned to him, obviously pretending not to see the major's stunned expression. “Riley, Sam, and Gray came to help but were a little
late to the game.”
“If someone had actually told us sooner than ten minutes to battle, we wouldn't have been late,” Riley said, sounding aggravated. “Do you know how hard it is to mobilize a dozen soldiers who were willing to go AWOL when they heard you were in need of reinforcements?”
“I called you as a backup plan in case we failed, which is why I waited until ten minutes,” Buffy replied back as she took Mycrofts' hand in hers. “So no, I really don't care about your headache.”
Mycroft smiled as the major grumbled and the two started arguing about the benefits of having an entire platoon at her beck and call and how she needed to just accept that they wanted to help and didn't have ulterior motives. Listening to them speak to each other, Mycroft came the conclusion that though they still cared for one another, it was less lost love and more comrade in arms.
When Buffy caught his eye halfway through the argument, when Finn had become somewhat distracted by his wife coming in, she smiled and winked. He smiled back, settling in the chair and keeping her hand in his.
He couldn't protect her, wasn't going to even try, and while it annoyed him to no end, it was also the best thing about her in his opinion.
He'd been looking for the princess for so long. Who knew what he really needed was the lady knight?