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Due to the encouragement of thepuddinhead and letsgetitdone I've finally managed finish this story! It was a WIP posted only on a locked com (spuffy_wonder) for, um, years, but now it's done and going public. I'll post new chapters here daily.

Title: Whose Torment Is This, Anyway?
Author: Rebcake
Banner art: okdeanna
Pairing: Buffy/Spike, with appearances from some of the gang from both AtS and BtVS
Word Count: 1085
Rating: PG13 (for possible cussin’)
Summary: Six months after the battle of the Hellmouth, Buffy brings her team to Wolfram & Hart on a legal matter and finds that she’s been kept out of the loop in some important ways.



Chapter One: Destiny’s a bitch and so am I

Buffy, Xander, and Willow strode into Wolfram & Hart unmolested. They passed a security guard who was too busy fiddling with his walkie talkie to notice them. They stood in the lobby, watching people and demons rush about, all apparently reacting to something dire. Phones were ringing, buzzers buzzing, and under it all, a far-off klaxon sounded.

“I’m starting to understand why we couldn’t raise anyone on the phone,” said Willow.

“Nice to know that the bad guys have bad days, too,” noted Xander.

“We don’t know that they’re bad guys, exactly,” said Buffy, trailing off as a red-skinned demon with horns, a tail, and a smart business suit trotted across to a set of double doors, his cloven hooves making a very distinctive clicking sound on the elegant wooden floor.

The reception desk was unattended. It took five tries before they got someone to stop and talk to them. Finally, Buffy corralled a petite woman holding a stack of files and waiting for the elevator.

“Angel? Wes? Cordelia? Anybody?” demanded Buffy. The small woman shrugged and shook her head, and tried to scurry away. Buffy grabbed her upper arm, whipped out a stake, and pressed it to the terrified woman’s — no, vampire’s — chest.

“Who’s in charge?” She gave the arm a little shake when all she got was a whimper. “Today.”

“Um. Counselor Gunn?” squeaked the woman.

“Oh! I know him! He’s one of Angel’s,” said Willow.

“Lead the way,” said Buffy to the quaking vampiress.

“I’m just from the steno pool,” she protested. “The higher ups don’t exactly let us know their whereabouts.”

“C’mon. Show a little initiative,” suggested Buffy with a little nudge from her stake. “Otherwise I might forget that this is a protected wildlife refuge.” She leaned in to speak directly into her captive’s ear. “Where I come from, vampire is always in season.”

“We could t-try the lab,” said Steno Pool.

“Great. Let’s go.”

Steno Pool gestured toward the stairs, and off they marched. Nobody paid any attention to them. Xander muttered, “Be vewy, vewy quiet.” Willow rolled her eyes.

After wandering down one hallway and another, they pushed through the double doors into the lab. Half a dozen people in lab coats hurried about, or hunched diligently over various pieces of equipment. A thin, pretty woman walked toward them.

“Fred!” cried Willow.

“Willow! What a surprise! What are you doing in LA? Who’re your friends?”

“We came to…oh! This is Xander and this is Buffy! Guys, this is Fred Burkle!”

“So happy to meet you both. I’ve heard all about Buffy, of course, but nobody mentioned you had a Nick Fury-type on your team.”

“That’s what I keep telling them,” said Xander, beaming at Fred.

“Not everybody appreciates the Fury,” said Fred with a serious nod.

“Fred. You’re the science gal, right?” asked Buffy. She let go of Steno Pool in order to shake Fred’s hand. “Nice set up.”

“Thanks. I’m still amazed at what we can accomplish with the right resources. Which might be part of what you’re here for, right?”

“Right!” said Willow, snapping back from her interested perusal of a particularly arcane device. “We came to pick up some Slayers that our mystics located in the greater Los Angeles area. But we ran into a hitch.”

“Hit a snag,” said Buffy.

“Screwed the pooch,” added Xander.

Charles Gunn walked in just as Steno Pool reached the doors. He nodded. “Hey, Tamika.” She gave him a brilliant, if surprised smile before making good her escape.

“Charles! You remember Willow. These are her friends, Xander and Buffy,” said Fred, Just in case he’d missed it, she gestured meaningfully with her eyes as she again mouthed “Buffy” with exaggerated care.

“Buf-?” He caught himself. “Hey, Willow. Xander. Buffy. Nice to meet you. Finally.”

They exchanged pleasantries Apologies were made for the disarray of the office. They all trooped down to a more comfortable conference room and ordered coffee. When everybody was settled, Willow explained the situation.

“We’ve pretty much rounded up everybody, but one of the girls is in a secure psychiatric lock up, and I don’t think we made the best impression when we tried to visit before. I thought they were going to forcibly admit Andrew for a while there. I could probably magic us in, but we’re trying to keep a low profile. We thought this might be a job for the legal eagles. So Buffy decided to try Angel. Where is he anyway?”

Charles cleared his throat. “Well, I’ve got a pretty good idea, but we might want to get started on this without him. I’m sure he’d want the firm to extend every courtesy to the Slayer’s organization in his absence. Who knows when he and Spike will get back from questing after the ‘Cup of Perpetual Torment’? Vampires, man.” He shook his head and chuckled.

“Excuse me. Did you say ‘Spike’?” asked Buffy.

Willow and Xander exchanged worried glances.

“Yeah. You know, William the Bloody? His ghost popped out of an amulet Angel got in the mail, a few months back. Fred here has been working on getting him back into solid shape ever since.”

“Charles…” began Fred, watching Buffy’s face drain of color.

“It’s not your fault nothing worked, Fred. We got some great R&D out of it, at the very least. Don’t worry about it,” he said, completely oblivious to the affect his news was having on their guests. “So this morning, Blondie gets a package of flash, and instant undead! Right away everything goes haywire, and it turns out the Shanshu prophecy is having feedback problems due to the presence of two souled vampire champions on earth. Our archivist said that the mixup will be resolved when one of them drinks from the Cup of Perpetual Torment. Fun, huh? So they took off for the desert to find the thing. My money is on Angel, but Spike got a head start.”

He smiled companionably around the table, and only then noticed the shocked looks and dropped jaws of the visitors from the Slayer’s Council.

“Angel didn’t tell you,” he realized.

Three heads shook in unison.

“Spike’s one of yours.” They nodded.

“He’s- he was mine,” whispered Buffy. “My champion.” Under the table, she rubbed her left palm. It was unmarked but tingled at the memory of their last moments together: clasped hands bathed in mystical flames.

Willow and Fred looked at her sympathetically. Xander studied the tabletop.

“I guess I’d better start at the beginning,” said Gunn.


Continued in Chapter Two: Are we there yet?


This entry was originally posted at http://rebcake.dreamwidth.org/26708.html. Please comment here or there using OpenID.

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
zanthinegirl
Oct. 3rd, 2012 12:40 am (UTC)
i'm just so excited to sit down to catch up with LJ and find New Fic from you!

Great set up. It's the perfect time in season 5 for Our Heroes to have a chance, though I assume you'll make them work for it all at least a little bit.

Looking forward to the next few days, and suddenly more hopeful for the San Francisco fic!
rebcake
Oct. 3rd, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
¡Yay! When I saw the artwork, I immediately thought, like you, that this was the perfect time for them to be reunited post-Chosen. That part was easy, but finding obstacles past a certain point was a bit of a challenge for me. I'm still not sure I got enough of them, but you can be the judge!

I definitely plan to finish the SF fic, since I know how it ends, but I've been doing a couple a chapters for each seasonal_spuffy, and then next one hasn't been announced yet. Maybe I'll have to branch out on where I post it.

Thanks for commenting, sweetie!
shapinglight
Oct. 3rd, 2012 08:35 am (UTC)
Ooh, Angel is in such trouble (I hope).
rebcake
Oct. 3rd, 2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
Heh. Possibly. Though Spike is going to have to face the music as well. ;-)
hello_spikey
Oct. 3rd, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
\o/

Love the premise, love the title, love the classic Scooby banter. YAY! I feel like I've been waiting for this fic forever and didn't know it. :D

rebcake
Oct. 3rd, 2012 03:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's a lovely comment. *huggles* Maybe you've been waiting because it was a WIP for 2-and-a-half YEARS? Tsk. Anyway, just to warn you, it gets into some fairly shippy territory by the end, and, while the term "slave" does get bandied about, there is no actual slavery or torture. Can't have everything, I suppose. ;-)
waddiwasiwitch
Oct. 3rd, 2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
Oh this was wonderful. The Scoobies walk right in during the middle of this madness. I enjoyed Fred trying to hint to Gunn about Buffy, and Gunn missing it all and shooting his mouth off. Hee. Great start.
rebcake
Oct. 3rd, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you're enjoying it. Thanks for letting me know. A lot of credit goes to OKDeanna, who came up with the banner art that inspired it.

Dear Fred, she just wants to break the news more gently, bless her.
brutti_ma_buoni
Oct. 3rd, 2012 07:18 pm (UTC)
!! Getting It Done !!

(Which is shorthand for OMG I haven't done community posting guidelines or a masterlist yet, but how fantastic you're finishing and posting a THING. Yay!)

Also, I liiike this setup. Yes. Thank goodness there's more coming soon.
rebcake
Oct. 4th, 2012 03:35 am (UTC)
I'm so pleased that you like it, and also pleased that I can finally put this one in the "finished" pile! Thank you letsgetitdone!
seapealsh
Oct. 3rd, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
The perfect time for reuniting - right after Spike becomes corporeal. I'm so happy to have new Spuffy to read. Already loving it.
rebcake
Oct. 4th, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)
When I saw okdeanna's artwork, I thought the same thing: perfect time for those two mixed up kids to meet up, before they can talk themselves out of it! So, let's see how hard they make it for themselves, mmmmm?

Thanks for commenting!
red_satin_doll
Oct. 4th, 2012 12:07 pm (UTC)
I haven't watched AtS but have read enough (mostly from other fics) to know pretty much what's going on. I like what you've got started here - the Scoobies are there and accounted for (yay!), nice banter, gorgeous banner artwork - this feels very plausible with canon already. I can't wait to see what happens when Buffy, Angel and Spike finally meet up. (I'm expecting major fireworks.)
rebcake
Oct. 4th, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
The episode that I'm riffing on here, Destiny, is one of my favorite AtS eps, probably because it's got fantastic flashbacks with Dru. I realized at some point that all my favorite AtS eps were the ones with flashbacks. Fanged Four Forever! Ahem.

Anyway, I'm glad that it works for you even without the familiarity with the source. Tons of credit goes to okdeanna, who came up with the art that inspired the story.

Thanks for commenting!
estepheia
Oct. 7th, 2012 03:11 pm (UTC)
Great beginning!!!!!!!!!!

Funniest bit:
“C’mon. Show a little initiative,” suggested Buffy with a little nudge from her stake. “Otherwise I might forget that this is a protected wildlife refuge.” She leaned in to speak directly into her captive’s ear. “Where I come from, vampire is always in season.”

I haven't read Spuffy in aaages, and this fic makes me wonder why.
Love it!
rebcake
Oct. 7th, 2012 06:08 pm (UTC)
Heh. Well, there isn't a huge amount of actual Spuffy in this part, so there's that. There is lots of great Spike/Buffy stuff out there, but there's lots of the other kind, too. I find Spike fascinating in all kinds of pairings, as well as in gen, myself. ;-) I'm really happy that you are giving this a chance, though!
kikimay
Oct. 7th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
I'm reading the fic just now! (Basically I'm late) and my only comment for now is ... GAH! MOAR! *O* Would love to see a nice face off between Spike, Angel and Buffy!
rebcake
Oct. 7th, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
Hey, c'mon by anytime! I'm glad you are enjoying it!
relurker
Oct. 8th, 2012 09:11 am (UTC)
You never disappoint!
I'll try to pace myself and not read it all at once...
rebcake
Oct. 8th, 2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I do sometimes disappoint, but it's sweet of you to be so nice! And, this story is more of a sprint than a marathon, alas. I hope you have fun with it!
red_satin_doll
Oct. 28th, 2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
Hey I saw that this story has been nominated for the Sunnyd fanfic awards, congratulations! This is such a sweet, well-done story, it deserves to be nominated. (Of course I'm not exactly objective here.)

I had never heard of the site before until today - my first little untitled thing got nominated in several catagories, and I'm like blushing and thrilled and bumfuzzled and WTF? at the same time.
mierke
Dec. 5th, 2012 10:24 am (UTC)
Great start!

It was unmarked but tingled at the memory of their last moments together: clasped hands bathed in mystical flames.
Love this line.
rebcake
Dec. 5th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for commenting and letting me know what stood out for you.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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