At two the next morning Spike’s eyes flew open only to be confronted with the dark. He blinked his eyes a few times then tried to bring his hands up to feel his face, only to be confronted with hard metal walls. Putting his hands back down he tried again, only with more force. Failing again he put his hands down and cursed when he felt the bruises form. Obviously he was stuck, and now Buffy would laugh at him as soon as he tried to explain his bruised palms. Shit. So, he was in a metal box, and as he calmed down he noticed two more important facts. He was butt naked and covered in a sheet. Naked, covered in a sheet, which he now imagined was white, and in a metal box, nope make that drawer, things made sense now, he was in a morgue. Fuck. A morgue which Buffy and her pals had no practice breaking in and out of. Double Fuck. He was locked in a drawer, on the opposite side of the country as his lock pick supplies, and he had no idea when Buffy would be coming to spring him. The day was already shaping up to be a winner. “BUFFY!” Note to self, metal drawers retain sound and do not make it any quieter, ouch.
Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh walked in to the Boston medical examiners office at thirty-five minutes after eight, five minutes late. Her boss, Dr. Garret Macy, was there waiting for her.
“What’s the story on the car wreck?” He asked as they started walking through the office.
“According to the girlfriend, he was walking down the sidewalk, had an unfortunate collision with a post box and she just missed grabbing him before he wound up decorating the front end of a Ford Excursion.”
Dr. Macy’s eyebrow shot up, “An Excursion?”
Jordan grimaced, “Yeah, the guy didn’t stand a chance; an elephant wouldn’t stand a chance. The strange thing was that the driver was more broken up than she was, I gave her Lily’s card, so she may be in sometime today if you want to talk to her.”
Dr. Macy nodded, “Any reason not to just release the body?”
“Discrepancies in witness testimony?”
“Big discrepancies?” Dr. Macy asked with a growing sense of trepidation.
Jordan shrugged, “She says ‘tripped,’ they say ‘pushed.’”
“Are witnesses saying that she pushed him?”
Jordan shook her head, “That’s the other thing, witnesses’re saying it was an unidentified third party.”
“Is she protecting someone?” Dr. Macy asked.
Jordan shrugged, “It’s possible, the girlfriend didn’t look really worked up, she just seemed to take it in stride.”
Dr. Macy nodded “Are you planning to do an autopsy?”
“No reason right now. I’ll do a blood-alcohol test; make sure he wasn’t just smashed.”
Pushing his office door open, Dr. Macy turned back to Jordan, “Don’t push the girlfriend any harder than you have to. Remember, we all grieve in our own way.”
Jordan smiled at her boss’ retreating back, “Yes mom.”
Not waiting for Dr. Macy’s rejoinder, Jordan walked the rest of the way to the labs whistling some inane tune.
“Practicing for Pop Idol, luv?”
Jordan whipped around in surprise, “Pop Idol?”
The dark haired Brit smiled, “Well, we’re not all American, than are we?”
“No, of course not, Nigel,” Jordan said following the eccentric doctor into his lab, “How’s your coffee database going?”
Nigel pulled a thick binder from the shelf, “I’ve got every domestic catalogued, it’s the foreign brews that are going to be the trick though.”
Jordan nodded watching her friend walk around his lab, booting up the computers and turning on the lights. “Is it odd to you that a the driver in an accidental death would be more broken up than the girlfriend of the deceased?”
“I thought so.”
Nigel turned his head only a degree as he logged on to his computer, “Any reason you’re questioning true love?”
Jordan picked up the Coffee book, “New case.”
“Ah,” Nigel said with a sage-like voice, “And the intrepid detective smells foul play?”
Jordan shrugged, “Maybe.”
As Buffy walked up the street between old brick buildings she marveled at the difference in the older architecture of Boston and the newer styles in Sunneydale. Internally she could admit that all the brick was making her slightly nervous, growing up in a newer town in the earthquake state meant that most of the houses and buildings she was accustomed to were made of more resilient materials. Looking down at the business card the medical examiner had given her he night before then back up at the multi-level buildings, Buffy found the one that contained, among other things, the Office of the Boston Medical Examiner. She smiled at the fact that for the first time in her many visits to a morgue she wouldn’t be using the tried and true B&E key for entry.
Walking out of the elevator on the third floor Buffy could see right away another difference between Sunneydale and Boston, where the Sunneydale morgue was sterile and medical looking, the Boston morgue was sunny and decorated with wood and frosted glass accenting. It made the place seem more like a pediatricians office than somewhere where autopsies were performed on a regular basis. Wandering up to the receptionists desk, Buffy tried again to work up some tears. “Hi,” She said, in what she hoped was the voice of a devastated girlfriend, “I’m Buffy Summers, my boyfriend, Spike, uh…William Blutig, was brought in last night. A woman gave me her card, Dr. Cavanaugh, she said I should come in and talk to someone named Lily.”
The elderly woman behind the desk affected a much put apon smile, “That’s nice dear, why don’t you have a seat, I’ll let Ms. Lebowski know you’re here.”
Walking over to the comfortable looking seats, Buffy shook her head, what kind of person says ‘that’s nice dear’ when they hear your boyfriend is dead? Then again, she thought wryly, what kind of person works as a receptionist at the morgue, the job must attract a special kind of individual. Putting her feet up on the coffee table, Buffy closed her eyes and prayed that Spike was none the worse for wear when she finally found him. She knew he was going to be pissed as hell, but she hoped he wouldn’t take it out on the first person he saw. Wrapped up in her thoughts of the bleach blond vampire, the slayer didn’t notice the kind-faced brunette standing over her say her name. Feeling a tap on her shoulder, Buffy was roused from her daydreams.
“Hi,” the woman said, “Are you Buffy Summers?”
Buffy nodded, “Lily Lebowi-Lebowe-L?”
Lily smiled, “It’s Lebowski, people tend to add a vowel where they think one should be. You can call me Lily if it’s easier.”
Buffy took the woman’s proffered hand, “So you’re the grief counselor?”
“After a fashion.” Lily said. “The post isn’t official yet.”
The two women walked in silence for a minute as Buffy followed the after-a-fashion counselor to her office. “So,” Lily said, after they’d both sat down in the comfortable room, “How are you feeling.”
“About as well as can be expected,” Buffy said, trying her dead puppy tear-mantra again in hopes of a least a little puffiness. “I guess it just hasn’t sunk in yet. Spike, William and I were only together for a little while, but I really love, loved, him.”
Jordan walked past Lily’s office and heard the woman talking to the girlfriend from the previous night. Making a mental note to talk to Lily about her opinions of the woman later, Jordan walked to the elevator that led to the freezers in the basement. Just before she was able to get in however, her beeper went off. She held the offending device up to eye level, and seeing a dispatch notice, went back to her lab, grabbed her equipment bag, and, unwittingly, left Spike trapped in his basement drawer.
After two of the most excruciating hours of her life, Buffy smiled at Lily as the counselor lead her back out to the reception area. “Are you sure you don’t need me to identify the body?” She asked.
The brunette shook her head, “What with you having been at the site of the accident and still working through the very beginnings of the grief progress, I don’t think it’ll be necessary.”
Listening to Lily, Buffy clenched her teeth. Coming in she hadn’t noticed any holes in security, and she wasn’t seeing any on her way out, plus, she didn't even know where to find the vampire. She really hoped that when she finally was able to spring him from this unintentional prison, he didn’t just kill her on principle. As Lily led her through the brightly lit hallways and out to the exit Buffy found herself wondering if she’d even be able to get Spike out in the next few days. Their plane left at the end of the we-
Buffy spun around, “Spike!” She yelped, relieved that he’d somehow managed to free himself on his own. Finishing her rotation however, she found herself nose to chest with a body that was most certainly not her boyfriend’s. A body with dark hair, a slightly receding hair line, and an odd look on its face.
Lily rested a hand on her shoulder in what, Buffy assumed, was meant to be a comforting gesture. “Buffy,” She said in a kind tone, “This is Dr. Nigel Townsend, one of our forensics experts. And this,” she continued, gesturing to the Indian man standing next to him, “Is Dr. Mahesh Vijayaraghavensatyanaryanamurthy,” The complicated name rolling off her tongue, “our entomologist.”
Buffy tried to be as polite as she could while inwardly kicking herself for her stupidity, “I’m really sorry about that, it’s just your accent is so much like my boyfriend Spike’s. Or like it did, or what ever I’m supposed to say now. It was nice to meet you Dr. Townsend, Dr. Vjaragstnamurthy.”
The Indian man’s mouth quirked as Buffy stumbled over his name, “Just call me ’Bugs’,” he said with the voice of someone who’d been over this topic more times than he ever wanted “It is a bit easier.”
Buffy smiled back, “Alright then, it’s good to meet you, Bugs.”
After the two men walked away Lily pulled a note pad from her back pocket. “If you’d like,” She said almost timidly, “I’ve got time if you want to talk again tomorrow, it seems like you need to.”
Doing the Scooby dance in her head, Buffy nodded, “I think you’re right.”
One little, two little, three little bags of blood, four little, five little, six little bags of blood, seven little, eight little, nine little bags of blood, ten little bags of yucky cow’s blood.
After eight hours of lying still, Spike was getting very antsy. No one had come down to open the drawer; no one had even come down just to say hi to the dead people. Any more time spent doing nothing and he was afraid he’d start thinking linearly, logically, boringly.
Ten little, nine little, eight little bags of blood…
He was getting a little hungry too.