Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Anita BlakeRating:
graphic depictions of violenceDisclaimer:
I have no rights to or within the Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Anita Blake franchises, copyrights, characters or trademarks. This is for fun, not profit.Summary:
Inspired by Xander, Buffy takes a road trip of her own. Along the way, she rides on trains, hitchhikes, picks up the odd job, and makes new friends... whether she wants them or not.Additional Notes:
This fic fills xgirl2222
's prompt for Wishlist 2012 which I interpreted to mean a Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Anita Blake crossover with a parting, a meeting, and Asher, Jean-Claude, and Buffy. Also fills the "unrequited pining" square on my Hurt/Comfort Bingo card and the "Headache" square on my Cotton Candy Bingo card. Also answers Challenge #6910 (Play by the Rules) and Challenge #4842 (Vampires' Superiority Complex) on the Twisting the Hellmouth Website and partially answers the TTH100_2 Challenge. 071. Sweat
Bony fingers dug into the soft flesh of Buffy's throat and wrenched her halfway into the coffin. Buffy had the impression of gray skin sloughing off and the flash of fangs as seen through a half-rotted away cheek before she found herself up close and personal with a pair of glowing eye sockets and shriveled eyeballs. Underneath her stomach, the vampire's arm was flexing and twisting, perhaps to disembowel her or come around her waist and finish dragging her in and Mr. Pointy's shaft dug into her abdomen.
Wailing an unearthly shriek, the vampire sank his teeth into Buffy's shoulder. Pain seared through Buffy as he savaged her with his teeth, the mass of her flesh and blood doing little to muffle his shrieks.
Terrified, Buffy automatically wrapped her hand around the vamp's wrist and jammed the palm of one hand against the place where his throat should be. Her palm slapped into a heap of slimy, rotting flesh and the vague impression of boney protuberances, muffling the vampire's screams. It was the most disgusting thing that Buffy had ever put her hand in. Her own shrieks were mostly gargles of sound and air as Buffy clenched her other hand and twisted, wrenching the vampire's hand off at the wrist.
The vampire was still tearing at her shoulder, his fangs embedded deep within her flesh, but it took all of Buffy's willpower to drive her bare hands into the corpse's putrid tissues, feeling for the solid mass of his spine. Underneath her, the vamp's body bowed and arched and writhed. When the tip of one of her fingers banged against something smooth and hard, Buffy adjusted her angle and then closed her hand around delicate bone. Ridges and spires of bone digging into the flesh and bone of her own hand, Buffy tightened her grip and twisted her wrist, hard. She felt his spine shatter, slivers of bone driving themselves into her palm, as she tore his neck in half.
The fangs in her shoulder abruptly stopped moving and the arm trapped under her stomach stilled. When Buffy shoved herself backwards, out of the coffin, she took the head with her. Its fangs were still imbedded in her shoulder.
Buffy collapsed on the floor, her pants ringing in her ears. For a few seconds, all she could concentrate on was how utterly, amazingly wonderful it was to be alive and unafraid. And how much it hurt to have a vampire head hanging from her shoulder.
Pulling the fangs out of her shoulder hurt.
When Buffy flung the head down, it landed on the ground with a sickening squelch.
Suddenly furious, Buffy slammed the side of her good fist against the vampire's skull, shattering it. It was one of the most emotionally satisfying things that Buffy had ever done. So she smashed the head's biggest bits again and again until it was pulp. Panting and gasping for breath, her hand resting in a mess of bone chips and oozing flesh, Buffy forced herself to calm down and get a grip before something else went wrong or grabbed her.
That was when the other sounds, the ones that Buffy herself was not making, began to register.
Her heart pounding, Buffy clenched her hand in scraggly remnants of the skull's hair and forced herself to her feet on a wave of adrenaline that left the pain in her shoulder a dull throb. She spun towards the sound of soft, ratting moans, prepared to bash everything and anything into submission with half of a parietal plate.
Buffy was the only thing standing in the room.
Around her, most of the coffins were closed and still. Several were shaking, limbs rasping over satin and silk or thumping against wood. But a handful of them had sprung open, their half-rotted occupants sitting up and facing her with their eye sockets fixed on her. Their moans rattled through the remnants of their desiccated throats.
Buffy braced herself for a fight.
Nothing happened.There's no tingle on my neck,
Buffy slowly realized. They're all still dead for the day. They're just... zombies? On autopilot? Is that a thing?
Her throat and her belly were beginning to hurt. Her shoulder had never stopped hurting. Buffy decided that daytime zombies on autopilot was definitely
a thing in non-Aurelian vampires. She also decided that it was time to go.
Moving her injured shoulder hurt like burning but Buffy still forced herself to tear the non-rotted vampire's head off. Then, with her good arm, she relocated Mr. Pointy from one chest to the remnants of the other, fished a carefully folded garbage bag out of her pocket, and dropped the head, the biggest pieces of the rotted head, and Mr. Pointy into it. By then her hands were wet with gore, which in turn made the plastic slippery. Knotting the top of the garbage bag was tricky. Proof secured, Buffy limped for the nearest exit, screw whatever got hit by a bit of morning sunshine.You harbor fugitives from justice, you take your chances,
Buffy decided as she passed a rotting corpse that was sprawled halfway out of its' open coffin, as if it had been in the process of coming to the other two vampires' aid when it suddenly ran out of crazy zombie juice. First stop, the hospital. Second stop, bed. Tomorrow, I'll collect my fee, report to Giles, and hit a non-Giles library. Because this shit isn't happening again. A Slayer's gotta know her enemy.
Outside of the warehouse, it was still early morning and the day was hot but not yet scorching. It felt wrong. It felt like it should be much later in the day. Buffy staggered out into the sunlight, anyway. She gloried in it.
She had to walk to a nicer, less creepy part of town to catch a cab. Every step jostled her wounds, making them throb and ache. As she walked, sweat beaded over Buffy's skin and dripped into her wounds. Somehow those tiny, stinging pains were nearly as awful as the bites.
Buffy knew that she had hit a nicer part of town when people started doing double takes at her appearance. When she ducked into a gas station and asked for a cab, the man behind the counter complied with her demands with gratifying speed. He also gave her a chilled bottle of water and a lump of ice wrapped in a worn handkerchief free of charge.
At the hospital, Buffy was whisked from the walk-in emergency room directly onto a gurney. They gave her a clipboard filled with paperwork to fill out while they wheeled her into the treatment area. Buffy filled out the paperwork as best she could, let them make copies of her insurance card, and asked for someone to double-bag her garbage bag. The gunk that had been on her hands when she had originally tied it was beginning to dry. It smelled awful. She
A nurse was gently cleaning the area around her bite wounds when a doctor sailed past the curtains surrounding her little treatment area and stopped dead.
"It's really not as bad as it looks," Buffy said brightly. "You should see the other guy."
The doctor slowly nodded and introduced himself. He asked, "Have the police been notified yet?"
"They will be. I'm the new vampire slayer in town. But hush-hush, you know? So don't spread it around, either of you. Anyway, I was fulfilling my first court-ordered execution when, uh, all of this happened." Trying to hold still, Buffy darted a quick look towards her double-bagged heads as she added, "But I totally won the argument."
The doctor turned to look at the white garbage bag sitting innocuously on a visitor's chair, stared at it for a few seconds, and then slowly turned slightly green. Hastily looking back towards Buffy, he said, "Let's see about those bruises and puncture wounds, shall we?"
It was hours before the hospital staff let Buffy escape back to her hotel room with strict care instructions and a tentative assurance that her injuries would probably not scar very much. Buffy immediately went to the nearest sandwich shop and purchased a quart of ice tea, about a half-gallon of bottled water, a box of designer crackers, and a gallon of chicken soup. Then Buffy retreated to her room, put out the Do Not Disturb sign, and crawled into bed.
If the local vampires had a problem with waking up to their executed brethren, they did not disturb Buffy with it.
The next morning, Buffy woke up feeling ravenously hungry and incredibly sore. She lurched out of bed in fits and starts and headed for her bathroom. After a wonderfully hot shower, Buffy carefully dressed in a loose t-shirt and jeans. Then, since she had finished off all of her provisions during the night, Buffy set out in search of breakfast.
The look that the clerk at the nearest greasy spoon gave her bruised and bandaged throat made Buffy wish that she had thought to pack a turtleneck.But who packs turtlenecks during a summer trip?
Buffy thought as she waited for her Supreme Breakfast Combo to make an appearance. And it feels loads better than it did yesterday. Everything feels loads better. Slayer healing for the win!
When her breakfast showed up, Buffy ate with a ravenous will. Afterwards, Buffy went back to her hotel room for the Bag of Heads. Then she headed for the police station again.
"Wait one moment and someone will be right with you to take your statement," said the officer behind the desk, while eyeing Buffy's neck through the thick layer of glass separating them. He was safely locked into his little admin booth, a locked door on either side of him.
"Oh, no, I'm here to see Sheriff Jones," Buffy replied. She hefted her double-bagged heads as she added, "I've got something for him."
"He's out right now," the clerk replied, looking dubious. "Would you care to leave it with me?"
"It'd probably be best if I delivered them myself," Buffy decided. In her experience, people tended to take someone leaving a pair of severed heads and no explanation for them very poorly. "I'll wait."
She claimed a seat on the bench across from the sergeant's desk and waited for something to happen. The officer behind the desk went back to work. Nothing happened. It was all very boring.
When Sheriff Jones finally strode out from behind one of the doors, he looked genuinely pleased to see her alive.
"Miss Summers!" he exclaimed. A moment later, he looked sort of appalled. "You look terrible."
"Fun fact," Buffy replied, "rotters wake up when you kill their coffin-mates. And they make like zombies when you kill other rotters in the coffin room. Did you know that? I didn't know that."
"No," said the sheriff slowly. "I didn't. Honestly, I'd hope you'd given up a few weeks back."
"I didn't. It just took awhile to find the right vamps," Buffy replied. She offered him the trash bag. "I've brought the proofs of deaths."
The sheriff eyed the bag with something very much like trepidation. "Proofs of death?"
"The heads," Buffy cheerfully affirmed. The desk clerk dropped his pencil. "Do you have any other death warrants for me to execute? And how do I get paid?"
"That, ah, wasn't necessary," he said, making no move to take the bag of heads from Buffy. "Why don't you come with me?"
The desk clerk buzzed them through one of the self-locking doors.
The sheriff led Buffy first to another officer's desk, where she surrendered the heads and the officer was charged with taking them to the morgue. Then the sheriff led her to his office, where he called the city's accountant to cut a check for her. While studying the giant state map that dominated one wall of the office, Buffy listened as the accountant promised to have a check made out to cash ready for her to pick up within two days' time.
When he got off of the phone, the sheriff passed the accountant's message along then said, "There's only one more piece of business and then we'll be done here. Who should I attribute the kill to?"
"Attribute the kill to? I don't understand."
"I'll have to note who performed the warrant. Some vampire executioners use their real names, like Anita Blake. Others simply use their handles, something that the vampires call them."
"Ah. Put two down for the Slayer."
The sheriff nodded, made a few quick notes on another copy of the warrant that Buffy had executed, and then had Buffy sign it as the Slayer. He inked her right thumb up and made her press a thumbprint into a particular box in the bottom right-hand corner of the form. Then he put away the ink pad, filed the form, and stood next to Buffy's chair, as if waiting to usher Buffy out of his office. Buffy stubbornly stayed in her seat.
"Hey, don't you have any other warrants for me to execute?" Buffy asked.
"Do you know of any other little towns that might need a visit from a traveling vampire executioner?" Buffy persisted.
The sheriff sighed. "Are you sure that you want to do this?"
"Yes," Buffy said firmly.
Sheriff Jones sighed again then leaned down to pull open his bottom drawer on the left side. He retrieved a short stack of death warrants from the drawer and fanned them out across his desk like cards from a pack of playing cards.
"These are copies of all of the death warrants currently valid within the state of New Mexico. The ones in the cities will be thrown to a vampire executioner who goes by his name, Ted Forrester. The rest of them aren't worth his time."
"Then they're mine," Buffy replied as she studied the warrants, sorting them one by one into two piles. "There, does that seem right? The ones on the left are Ted's and the ones on the right are mine."
"Yeah," the sheriff said after flipping through the stack on the right. "Kid, you're going to get yourself killed."
"That was my first time dealing with a rotter," Buffy replied as she took her stack from him. She folded it in half and then wedged it into her little purse. "I'll do better with these. Will you be my reference if those other police chiefs ask for one?"
"Yes," he sighed. "If you're going to do this, kid, can I give you a piece of advice?"
"Stop giving out your name. You don't need to and no one's going to ask for it. The title and your right thumbprint are enough. The more you use your name, the more likely it is to get out. And set up an account somewhere far away where banking is their national export and your name is optional. Somewhere where an electronic money transfer won't be traceable to you."
"Gotcha. Should I bring in the heads next time?"
"There's, ah, nothing wrong
with bringing the heads back, per se," the sheriff said carefully. "It's just very old-fashioned. And no one has ever offered me a
head, much less a pair of them, before."
"What can I say? I'm just an old-fashioned girl."
Since she apparently had some time to kill, Buffy spent the rest of her morning in the local library, abusing the generosity of their librarians. She learned exactly nothing about vampires, vampire lines, or vampire slaying that she did not already know, save for the fact that the biggest, baddest, 'grand-daddy' of vampire hunting was some guy who killed about a hundred vampires in his entire lifetime.
Buffy had killed more vampires than that during her first three months as the Slayer. Lothos had been her hundred and fifty-seventh kill. She had stopped counting after she killed Lothos.I'm totally taking your title old man,
Buffy thought as she studied the black and white photograph of a grinning old man. He was missing some teeth and had some wicked scars down one side of his face, around his throat, and on the back of his hands. Still, he looked like he had an awesome sense of humor. Buffy liked to imagine that he would have welcomed a bit of friendly competition.
Buffy left the library at lunchtime, ate lunch at the greasy spoon, and went back to her room to call her Watcher.
"Giles, is there stuff about rotter-vamps turning into rotting, screaming zombie-vamps when you try to stake them anywhere in the Slayer Handbook?" Buffy asked as soon as Giles answered his cell phone in lieu of a greeting. "Also, is there anything about them forming no-soul zombie-packs? Because both of those things totally happened."
"What? I'll, ah, look it up as we speak," Giles said. Through their phone connection, Buffy listened as he moved about his apartment. "I take it that you had a run in with your quarry last night?"
"I killed them yesterday," Buffy informed him as she listened to him flip pages in a book. "I went in during the day when all of the little vampires were dead for the day. I staked the first one, the lusty vamp, easy as Xander falling off a tombstone. There were, ah, unexpected problems with the second kill, though. Zombie-like problems."
"Are you okay?" Giles asked, sounding gratifyingly concerned. The page flipping paused.
"I've got a lot of bruises. And twenty-seven stitches. But, hey I shouldn't have much scarring. And they said that without knowing about my Slayer-ly healing factor or extensive knowledge of applicable scar-minimizing skincare regimens so I'm banking on no scars. Go me!"
"Indeed," said Giles as the flipping started again. "Ah, here's the relevant portion. A moment, please."
Buffy waited in silence as Giles presumably skimmed the appropriate section.
"Yes," he said finally. "Those are both in the Slayer Handbook."
"FedEx that book to me," Buffy ordered. "And a crossbow. And bolts. Crossbow bolts can kills screaming rotters, right?"
"Well, uh, not entirely? It is imperative that you destroy the heart and take the head when dealing with that line, as I reminded you at the outset of this adventure."
"Which I totally did! I listen when you talk!"
"Sometimes, I wonder."
"Well, I do. I'm also a very good reader. Why, this very morning, I went into a library and read a book. Several books, actually, as well as a variety of articles and I even skimmed a few webpages."
"Dare I ask what you were researching?"
"Vampires, obviously! The non-Giles-y library had nothing
useful, by the way, except for the name of the so-called grand-daddy of vampire hunting. Did you know that killing a hundred vamps is considered a huge thing outside of Sunnydale?"
"No. I'm not really surprised, of course, but it's utterly disheartening."
"I can totally beat that!"
"B-Beat that?" Giles asked, sounding alarmed.
"Of course. Everyone always says that you should do what you're good at as a career. I'm good at slaying. Giles, do you know how much this town is going to pay me for killing those two vamps?"
"I-I think that the saying is to do what you love," Giles offered weakly.
"Buffy, slaying is a sacred calling. To get paid for it is-"
"Smart, especially since I'm not going to let the council own me. How else am I going to pay my bills? If I find a real job that I like and is compatible with Slaying, I'll totally do that on the side. Or as a part-time thing."
"Or an official one."
"Ooohhhh, yes! Secret-identity stuff! Ha! I'll get the hang of that yet. Kendra will be so proud!"
"Do you think I'll be able to keep my secret identity up if I write off my ruined clothes as a work-related expense? You know, for taxes."
"I don't... know."
"Right. British. I'll ask when I turn in my next set of heads. I think they'd just take my word for it if I just wanted to report a kill or whatever but I'm an old-fashioned girl. You raised me right, Giles."
"Buffy, I, ah, need to go... go lie down. Now. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"Okay! Bye Giles!"