Debts to be Paid
Episode Three: "Debts to be Paid"
It was a chilly, late November morning. A few days before Thanksgiving, actually. Buffy felt the chill run throughout her bones as she entered Castle’s apartment building. She hesitated in front of his door, not sure what she would say. And with how horrible she looked at the moment, well, as horrible as she imagined she looked, she would have to say something.
She knocked lightly on the door, hoping it wasn’t too early. She waited a few minutes before the door opened, revealing a sleepy looking Castle. His hair was bed-heady and he was in his pajamas.
“Buffy? What’s with the early wake up?” he asked, wiping his eyes.
He walked away from the door, that being her invitation to join him inside. She followed him in, but didn’t join him when he sat on the sofa. She stuttered through a few sentence openings, not quite sure what to say. Luckily, his brain must’ve woken up because before she could speak, well, stutter,
again, he jumped up off the sofa and over to her.
“Oh my God what happened to you?!”
Okay, so it was bad. Buffy hadn’t really had a chance to catch a mirror in all the craziness…
“My apartment kind of burned down.” she said, softly, clutching onto the only three things she managed to save.
The scythe, which she had already had in her hands, a picture of her, Dawn and Mom the Christmas before she, Mom that is, died, and a high school picture of her, Xander, Cordy, Willow and Oz.
“Burned down?! How?”
“Okay, so when I say ‘burned down’, I might mean ‘blown up’.”
“Someone blew up your apartment? Like with a bomb?”
“Well, there was definitely an explosion. And lots of fire. So I’m going with yes.”
“Have you been to the hospital? Are you hurt?”
“Castle, I’m fine.”
“Buffy, your place was bombed. You’re going to the hospital.”
“They probably don’t want to see me right now.”
“I kind of punched out a really
obnoxious EMT and ran off. Trust me. They don’t want to see me right now. However the NYPD might…”
Martha came down the stairs, took one look at raggedy Buffy and rushed right over.
“Oh my God, what happened? And why does it smell like a fireplace in here?”
“My place burnt down—“
“—was blown up” Castle interjected.
“—Yes, fine, was blown up. And I’m pretty sure the fireplace smell is me.” she added, sniffing her hair.
“Well, you’ll be staying with us then until you can get a new place.” Martha said.
“Oh, no, I couldn’t. I’m just going to get a hotel room ‘til the Council can get me a new place. I just wanted to let you know before you heard something about it on the news. I didn’t want you to worry…”
“Nonsense. A woman can’t live out of a hotel room! We have an extra bedroom down here, just sitting there. Collecting dust. Don’t you agree, Richard?”
Castle nodded his head. “It is a definite dust collector.”
Buffy sighed. “Oh, well, okay. I mean, if you insist. Just…it might take awhile for the Council to put everything into action. Pretty busy these days.”
“Well, I would assume that they probably want to send someone out to investigate the reasoning behind it.” Castle said.
“More along the lines of Giles might have a hit put out on me when he finds out how many books were lost.”
“I’ve got to get going, I’m late for a breakfast date, but darling, you go and get some rest and then make sure my son takes you out and gets you some new clothes.”
Martha hugged Castle and waved as she walked out the door.
“Monday morning? Hmm…that’s usually her drug cartel time slot, but I think she managed to shove that aside for a gang member meeting.”
“You could’ve just said ‘in school’.”
Castle smiled. “Allow me to show you to your room, mademoiselle.”
Buffy followed Castle past the open kitchen and around the corner. There were two doors directly across from each other.
“Of course it’s next to your room.”
“Hey, I’m a gentleman. I’ll only come barging in if you need help. With anything, might I add.”
Buffy pursed her lips. “Yeah, I’m not even going to touch that sentence. Where can I shower?”
Castle’s eyes lit up. “Well, I have a master bath in my bedroom which is right over there…”
“I’m contemplating slaying you right now.”
“Upstairs. Three doors to the left. I think you should probably fit into some of Alexis’ clothes. I’ll leave them in your bedroom.”
“…….That means that I’ll have to walk all that way in a towel.”
“I know.” Castle grinned.
Buffy juggled the two picture frames around in her hands and held up the scythe.
“Fiiiine. I’ll slide them under the door.”
Two hours and one incredibly amazing shower later, Buffy was walking Fifth Avenue with Castle.
“You don’t need to buy me clothes, you know.”
“I’m not sure you can share clothes with Alexis forever.”
“I just meant that I still have the credit card that the Council gave me.”
“Well, we’ll just see who swipes their card faster.” Castle smiled.
They walked and browsed in silence.
“So, what happened?” Castle asked.
“Last week, I ran into a few….acquaintances…of Spike’s, from Sunnydale. Poker buddies. That sort of thing. They used to follow this loan shark guy, but I managed to scare him off in Sunnydale, with Spike promising to repay him what he owed plus some. Well, apparently, a couple of these vamps are under new management. A vamp named…Tea? No, sorry, Thea. Anyway, the vamp that recognized me from Sunnydale didn’t know that Spike is dead. He assumed that we were….together, and that he was here with me. The next night, as I was walking into my building, this Thea chick blindsided me. Yelling that Spike needs to pay what he owed plus interest. I told her that he was dead and has been dead for almost six years now…it happened in the collapse of Sunnydale. I told her that I saw the flames start myself. She insisted that since he was dead, it was now up to me to pay what he owed, since we were “together” at the time of his death. But we weren’t. We were never 'together'. Not like that.”
“Then like how?” Castle wiggled his eyebrows in a suggestive way. It made Buffy think of Xander.
“I made some bad decisions at an extremely difficult time in my life. Cut me some slack, huh? Besides, I’ve met both of your ex-wives and you have NO room to talk.”
“…..Touché. Continue on.”
“So I laughed at her and told her that Spike and I were never together. I called her insane. She flipped a bit. I moved into attack her but she flippin’ disappeared in a smoke cloud thing—“
“That’s so totally cheating.”
“—Agreed. Dracula’s smoke puffs were enough to deal with. I don't need every vamp I encounter doing it too. So, last night, as I was walking into my building, she yet again stops me and starts her spiel over. I, again, laughed but I made my annoyance at this whole new stalking scene pretty clear. She made a cryptic remark about how I had till dawn to come up with what he owed or else I’d be seeing the ‘flames of death’ once more. There was a tiny fight and I staked two of her lackeys. She pulled her disappearing trick again. I went back out patrolling, well, looking for her. By the time I got home, it was pretty close to sun up. I was in the hallway when it exploded. I already had the scythe from patrolling. I managed to grab the two pictures and then, after punching out the EMT, that’s when I showed up at your door.”
“How much did he owe them? I’ll pay it right now, if it’ll make you safe.”
“Yeah…they aren’t looking for money.”
“What then? Blood? Organs? A virgin sacrifice? The first born son of a prodigal family?”
“As in, ‘meow meow’ baby cats?”
“Those are the ones.”
“Who plays poker for kittens and where can I join up?!”
“Okay okay, I was kidding.”
“Vampires and assorted demons. You’d be surprised at how lucrative a business it can be. However, you’re not joining up.”
“I’m not going to give them kittens. Alexis would murder me.”
“Personally, I was thinking of just killing them
“Oooh can I come?”
Buffy laughed. “It would be pretty stellar in the book.”
“Oh my God you’ve already got something planned, don’t you?”
Buffy smiled, mischievously. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
They walked in silence for another few minutes till a bunch of police cars and fire trucks went screaming past them.
Buffy turned to Castle and nodded towards the parade of emergency vehicles. “We should probably follow that.”
He grinned widely and clapped his hands together, letting out a small school boy-ish squeal. “I knew
They arrived at a small, abandoned building that had flames bursting out of it. They stood far away from the group of onlookers that was getting larger and larger behind the safety tape.
Two firemen walked past them, talking amongst themselves. “Second explosion today. Think they could be related?”
After they passed by, Castle turned to Buffy. “You blew them up?!”
“Yes, please. Let’s announce that as loud as possible to the nice policemen.”
“Right, sorry. But you blew them up
“I believe the old saying starts ‘an eye for an eye’?”
“What…how did you even make this happen?!”
“You have your connections and I have mine. Some of mine just happen to be people that are very high up in the military that can get things for me. Fast.”
“Oh, you are a girl after my own heart. Seriously. It’s not even here yet, but, BEST THANKSGIVING EVER.”