They rode in silence for most of the trip to Bobby Singer’s house. Dean drank deeply from one of the bottles of water he had taken from the store, looking at the girl next to him. Buffy looked out the window at the scenery as he drove. He didn’t know what the hell to make of her. But he couldn’t deny that it was kind of a comfort to have her there. She had a certain peace and tranquility about her that Dean needed to keep the memories of Hell pushed back as far as he could. He really hoped this Buffy chick wasn’t evil.
They reached Sioux Falls by that afternoon. Dean had been debating about just showing up at Bobby’s or calling Sam first. He had hoped that Sammy would be with older hunter, even if it was just wishful thinking. He made up his mind and quickly pulled over to the first pay phone he could find. He had swiped a handful of quarters from the convenience store and shoved those into the slot and dialed Sam’s number.
“We’re sorry. The number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer is use.”
Buffy watched from the small car as Dean slammed the receiver down. She wondered who he was calling. The look on his face was heartbreakingly sad for one moment before he steeled himself and made another call.
Dean prayed that Sam’s phone not working wasn’t a sign that something had happened to him. He couldn’t live with himself if after everything he had done, Sam had still died. He pushed those thoughts away and called Bobby. Relief flooded through him when he heard the older Hunters gruff voice.
“Bobby, it’s me.”
“Who’s me?” Dean couldn’t believe that Bobby didn’t recognize his voice.
“Dean.” The line went dead. That old bastard had hung up on him! Dean fished some more quarters from his pocket and dialed again.
“Who is this?” Bobby barked into the phone again.
“Bobby listen to me!” Dean was desperate. He had expected Bobby to just know that it was him.
"This ain’t funny. Call me again and I’ll kill you.” Once again the phone line went dead. Dean hung up and looked back to the car where Buffy was waiting. He let a large sigh escape before he left the phone booth and walked back to the sedan.
Buffy didn’t say anything, just gave him a sympathetic look before turning and looking out the window again. She knew how hard it was to adjust to living after being brought back from the grave. She hadn’t wanted to talk about it either seven years ago when the same thing had happened to her. And Dean didn’t look like the “share your feelings” kind of guy anyway. So she stared out the window and tried to make sense of what was happening.
Four months ago, Buffy had started to dream about this man. At first she had thought they were Slayer dreams, but after calling Faith and a few other Slayers still fighting, she found out that she was the only one having them. So night after night, she would have the same dreams and wake up with the urgent notion that she had to be somewhere. She had started to piece together the clues in the dream and from there drove all the way from L.A. to South Dakota. It had taken another three weeks before she narrowed down the search to a small forest outside Sioux Falls. Something had led her to this man, she just didn’t know why. And that was the most troubling fact of all.
Dean parked the sedan and sat looking at the sign that said Singer Salvage. The engine cut off and the driver door opened and soon enough Dean found himself standing alone on the old porch to Bobby’s house.
Buffy had stayed in the car, thankfully giving him some privacy to reunite with the man who was like a father to him. He turned back to look at her just one more time and could see her smile and nod her head in encouragement. Pain went through his sore and bloody knuckles as he knocked on the old wooden door. Suddenly the door flew open and there stood Bobby, a look of shock and disbelief on his face.
“Surprise,” Dean said, his voice still raw and gravelly. Until now he hadn’t been one hundred percent sure that this wasn’t some kind of new hell. But seeing Bobby standing there, looking as dumbfounded as Dean felt, he knew that this was real.
“I don’t…” Were the only words the older man said while looking at the younger man, who just shrugged his shoulders and started a few steps into the house.
“Yeah, me neither. But here I am”
The next instant Bobby was swinging at Dean’s head, lashing out with a silver knife. Dean dodged the blade, grabbing the arm holding the knife and twisting it behind Bobby’s back. The older man turned his body and brought his other fist up, hitting Dean square in the face.
“Bobby! Bobby, it's me!” Dean spat out the words and the blood that pooled in his mouth from the punch. Damn, that sonofabitch punches harder than I thought.
“My ass!” Bobby said as he walked toward him. Dean knew he needed to get a little space between the two of them. He didn’t want to hurt Bobby, even if it was self-defense. Moving behind the desk chair, Dean held his hand out and started trying to convince the older hunter that he was himself.
“Wait! Wait! Your name is Robert Steven Singer, you became a hunter after your wife got possessed and you are about the closest thing I have to a father,” Dean pleaded. “It’s me. It’s me!”
Buffy cracked open the door to the sedan and let a little fresh air into the car as she waited on Dean and Bobby. Knowing Bobby, he was going to take some convincing. Hunters had to be the most suspicious and paranoid people she had ever met and Mr. Singer there was at the top of the list. She turned her head when she heard them start to scuffle. They’re both big boys. They can take care of themselves, she told herself. Then came the sound of furniture breaking from inside and Buffy just sighed and started walking toward the old farmhouse.
Tiptoeing through the entryway, the slayer silently made her way to the den, just in time to see Bobby try to take a swipe at Dean with a silver knife.
“I’m not a shape shifter!” Dean shouted. He saw Buffy out of the corner of his eye as she positioned herself behind Bobby, looking like she was going to disarm him. Shit, now I have to watch little miss Malibu Barbie’s ass too. Why the fuck couldn’t she stay in the car?
“Then you’re a revenant!” The hunter growled and lunged toward Dean again. But he only made it two steps before Buffy grabbed him from behind and kept him in place as she tried to calm him and keep him from going after Dean.
“Bobby! Listen to me,” Buffy said to the older man still struggling in her grasp. “You gotta calm down and listen to what he says.”
Dean watched as the little blonde bombshell, who couldn’t have been more than a hundred pounds, held back a man who easily weighed twice what she did and didn’t even seem to struggle while doing it. She grabbed the knife and tossed it again to Dean. Never taking his eyes from Bobby’s, Dean slid the blade across his bicep for the second time that day.
“Dean?” Bobby stopped struggling and Buffy let go and stepped to the side, her eyes going back and forth between the two men as they embraced. She had never seen Bobby so choked up as he was now. Whoever this Dean Winchester was, he obviously meant a lot to the hunter.
“I’m not demon, either.” Dean ground out the words while wiping the Holy water from his face. Buffy couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled out of her mouth. That resulted in a mouth full of Holy water when Bobby doused her.
“Damn it, Bobby!” The blonde sputtered, she really hated when that happened. She caught Dean’s eye and saw the smirk before she just rolled her eyes and went to get a paper towel from the kitchen.
“Anybody want a beer?” Buffy called out to the two men. Both accepted and she grabbed three bottles and shut the fridge. Tossing one to each man, Buffy hopped up on the counter and opened her beer. Dean watched her make herself at home in Bobby’s house and had to wonder how well the old Hunter knew the blonde.
“So, anybody want to fill me in on what’s the sitch? Because pulling guys out of graves isn’t normal, even for me,” Buffy looked directly at Dean when she said this. She had a feeling that Bobby wasn’t involved in any of the mojo needed to pull someone back top side. “‘Cause I can’t save your ass if I don’t know what is going on.”
Dean was taken aback by this direct approach. He was still trying to figure out how the hell he was even alive himself. But as hot as this Buffy chick was, he was not about to let her get all sucked up in Winchester business.
“Look, sweetheart. As sexy as it is to see you try to take charge like this, and God knows I love a woman in charge. This is none of your business. So butt that tight ass of yours right out.” He took a long drag of his beer and watched the anger build in the depth of her olive green eyes. He’s been rude and he knew it, but damn if he was going to let Malibu Barbie get messed up in the shit that was his life.
“Dean,” Bobby growled out, his voice carrying a warning with it. “If Buffy here is offering her help, I think you otta shut up and listen to the girl.”
“Thanks, Bobby.” Buffy flashed the older man a bright smile and set her eyes back on the man before her. “Ok, I get that you don’t know me or anything about me. And I know how paranoidy all you Hunters are. Hell, Bobby here didn’t start trusting even after I saved him from that Gumbo demon. That was one tricky bitch, too.”
“Gumbo Demon?” Dean scoffed. “Now I know you’re crazy. There is no such thing as a Gumbo Demon.”
Bobby leveled a stern gaze at Dean, who just laughed and sipped more of his beer. Gumbo Demon? That is the funniest damn thing I have heard in a long time.
“Stop being an ass, Dean. Buffy meant to say a Jurogumo Demon. And, she is the best damn hunter there is. If she is here, it‘s because shit is about to hit the fan and you better not piss her off,” Bobby warned. Dean turned and stared at him and the girl. Jurogumos were badass demons. Huge spiders with the ability to shift into the form of a beautiful woman. They would trap and kill men for their own meal or that of their children, feeding when they hatched. No way in Hell little did Miss Buffy take one down. He let his disbelief show on his face.
“Yeah right. You expect me to believe Barbie here is the best hunter you know?”
“Actually, I’m not a hunter,” Buffy said as she hopped off the counter and walked toward Dean. He could see anger in the green depths of her eyes. But it wasn’t the anger that shocked him to his core. It was the power, raw and primal. She leaned forward so that their faces were only inches apart, her breath warm and sweet. “I’m the Slayer and I could break every bone in your body before you even lay a hand on me. I’ve been doing this since I was 15. So, why don’t we get down to business, huh? Find out who the Big Bad is, how to kill it and get with our lives.”
Usually Buffy didn’t like to throw out the Slayer word to just anyone, especially to hunters who seemed to get intimidated by her and somehow think that just ‘cause she was stronger, it made their penises smaller or something. But she could tell this man was close, very close to Bobby, and she trusted Bobby completely. Getting it out of the way would just make things easier now. She could tell that Winchester was already starting to question who she was. She was going to go with her gut, and her gut said even if this guy was an ass, she could trust him with her secret.
“Bullshit," Dean spat out as she stalked away, crossing her arms across her chest and leaned casually against the counter. He looked her up and down, his best smirk on his face just to piss her off. “Slayers don’t exist. They are just something a bunch of horny nerds made up to fuel their wet dream fantasies.”
“Eww! That is so gross, perv!” Buffy said, disgust making her face scrunch up. Before she could say anything else, though, Bobby was hauling Dean up and leading him away to the dining room. Shooting daggers with her eyes, Buffy stayed in the kitchen and gave them a little privacy.
“Boy, you better get your head out of your ass quick! Slayers do exist, get over it and move on. Do you really think I would let her stay here if I didn’t trust her? Now get back in there and shut the hell up till we know what the fuck brought Buffy here, because whatever it is, you can bet that it’s deep shit.” Bobby’s tone told Dean that there would be no arguing with him. Not one to back down, though, Dean looked him straight in the eye and asked the question that had been plaguing him since he crawled out of his grave.
“I just gotta ask before we go back in there. Sam. Is he??”
“Oh, he’s alive, as far as I know," Bobby replied, looking absently at some papers on his desk.
“Good. Good,” Dean said, relief spilling through his entire body as the tension he didn’t even know he had, left. “Wait. What do you mean, as far as you know?”
“I mean, it’s been hard Dean. He left a few weeks ago and I haven’t heard from him since.”
“But he’s alive?” He just had to know. Had to know that the sacrifice he made had been worth it. He could live with what he had done as long as Sammy was alive and ok.
“Yeah, he’s alive, idjit,” Bobby said affectionately. “Now let’s go see what kind of trouble brought the Slayer on your ass. Then we will deal with your idjut brother, all right?”
Buffy, of course, had heard the conversation between the two men in the other room, thanks to her Slayer-enhanced hearing. She had heard the pain and anguish in Dean’s voice when he has asked about someone named Sam. She was pretty sure the handsome hunter wasn’t gay, that ruled out a lover. Brother, perhaps? Buffy could understand the love between siblings. She would do anything to ensure her own sister Dawn’s safety. And had on more than one occasion. Her gut told her that Dean was the same and she respected that.
The two men returned to the room. Dean’s eyes met Buffy’s and held them as he walked back to the chair he had previously occupied. The Slayer arched her brow before rolling her eyes at him and breaking eye contact. She knew enough about hunters to know that even under the best of circumstances, they were a paranoid lot. She wouldn’t be able to get any answers to her question without answering theirs first.
“All right guys, here‘s the sitch," Buffy said, taking charge of the room. “I don’t know what is going on, but something is going down and it’s big. Apocalypse big, big. And I‘m here to stop it.” Her eyes looked to Bobby’s, to make sure that he understood that she wasn’t going to be left out of this. This was what she did, what she had been born to do and eventually what she would die doing. If Mr. Macho Dean couldn’t handle a girl in charge, he’d get over it soon enough when she kicked his ass.
“About 4 months ago, I started having these dreams. I thought they were typical end-of-the-world-is-about-to-happen Slayer dreams, but I‘m not sure about that. Usually all the called Slayers have the dreams, but I‘ve been the only one having them.” Buffy moved her eyes back to Dean and she noticed that he had lost the macho bull crap and looked at her with only curiosity. “They all start out the same. I think I’m in some Hell dimension. I hear people screaming and there is so much pain and blood. It’s everywhere.” Buffy shuddered and quickly kept talking. The feelings she had experienced while having those dreams had shaken her to her core. So much pain, anger and guilt would flood her mind that it had physically hurt to think about it.
“Then suddenly I hear birds, at least I think it’s a bunch of birds because all I hear is the sounds of their wings. I wake up and I’m in a coffin. I thought I was having flashbacks to… something else, but I think I was dreaming about you, Dean.” The last sentence was spoken softly, emotion making her throat tight. Dean studied her, tried to see if he could see any deception in her eyes, but all he saw was sadness and pity. He quickly looked away, not wanting to see such things from her, of all people. “When I would wake up, the feeling that I needed to find you was so strong, that there were a few times I would already be in my car driving before I was completely awake. It was almost like I had a compulsion on me to get to you. It became a sort of obsession of mine. I knew that if I didn’t find you, something terrible would happen, even though I didn’t know what it was.”
Buffy was still looking at Dean as she talked. She had decided that if she was going to tell them her dreams, she was going to tell all of it to them, even if it made things embarrassing and awkward. “I had all these flashes of different of places. I saw cities and highways, then bits of the country and finally I would always find myself in a clearing in a forest. I had no idea why I kept seeing all these places, but I think they were all clues on how to find you. It took me a couple of months, but I finally figured out that you were by Sioux Falls when I saw a couple of the landmarks I remembered from the last time I came to see Bobby.” Buffy looked at Bobby and gave him a small smile. Ever since Giles had been killed, she held a soft spot in her heart for the gruff older Hunter.
“The dreams suddenly started changing about a month ago. There were all these weird X-files type of things going on, like one where a snake was born that had a head at each end and was being worshipped by hoodie guys. That was totally creepy and disturbing. But some of them were more my usual type of visions. Murder, evil witches and the like. At the end of every one, there would be this sound of shattering glass. I don‘t know what all these things mean, but I do know that I have to stop them. I think we have to stop them.” Dean looked up at her sharply but didn’t say anything. She had hopped off the counter and was pacing about the small, cluttered kitchen, clearly a little embarrassed to be saying such things to a stranger. “You were there and so was this other guy. He was tall, way tall. With dark hair and in desperate need of a haircut.”
“Sam.” Dean had said the name in a whisper to himself but Buffy had heard it. He shared a look with Bobby and then turned his head and nodded to her to continue. She held her tongue about asking who Sam was and continued with her dream.
“ The dreams end the same, every time, although the place and one of the people changes. The other guy, the dark-haired one, it’s him and another person. Sometimes a little girl, sometimes it’s woman. One time it was even an old man. But each one was in some kind of church and somehow, I don’t know how, he kills them. And each time the two of us are too late to stop it and everything ends in fire.”
“That’s it?” Dean asked. He has expected some kind of prophecy, omens. Something more than just what she said. There was no way to know what they were facing. She was supposed to be the Slayer, shouldn’t she have had better dreams than that?
“Oh, I’m sorry. Were your dreams more informative?” Buffy spat. What the hell more did this dude want from her? Was she just supposed to have answers. “I guess not, since you’ve been dead, huh.”
Dean was about to start arguing with the blonde Slayer when she stopped pacing and poked a pointy finger to his chest, demanding to have her questions answered.
“So who are you guys? What the hell does all this have to do with me? And who is Gigantor? I know you know who he is.” Each question was marked with a stab of her bony finger into his chest with enough force that Dean thought she might break his bone.
“Stop poking me and I’ll tell you!” Dean yelled as he rubbed his chest. The two of them glared at each other for a minute before they both sat back down. Bobby looked back and forth between slayer and hunter and couldn’t help but see the fire between the two of them. So it was going to be like that, huh? They could do worse.