All About the Mission, Chapter 1

This entry is part 1 of 3 of the story All About the Mission

So, my plan was to keep working on this story and hope to have enough to begin posting on one of the free for all days at the end of the month, but I think I’ll put the first chapter up here today, and add the rest during the last free-for-all days.

It’s a sequel to/part of the verse I Would Still Have Loved You in which Buffy and Spike have been sent back (separately) to change season 5 so that Buffy doesn’t have to jump, or, if she does, that Willow does not bring her back. Her resurrection having caused the First Evil to rise and inflict much destruction on the world. They more or less willingly accept their mission, the situation having been sweetened by finding each other much earlier than expected.

This story begins as they near the end of summer and prepare for the arrival of both Dawn and Glory.

Title: All About the Mission
Author: Slaymesoftly
Era/season: Season Five
Rating: R – NC17

Part 2 of IWSHLY

ALL ABOUT THE MISSION

CHAPTER ONE

Summer passed even more tamely than usual. Buffy managed to avoid going to see her father in LA, pleading extra classes during the summer to make up for missing some in the spring–although that hadn’t actually happened in this timeline. On her way home from a boring patrol one evening in August, she thought about the coming year, telling herself she should be grateful for the last few relatively easy months. Between not having to worry about Adam, and with Spike around to help with the slaying, she wondered aloud if she was losing her edge.

“I really need to get myself into a good fight,” she muttered. “I’m going to get slow and sloppy.” She ignored the little voice in her head saying, “Be careful what you wish for….”

“Buffy? Could you stop here for a moment before you go in?”

She glanced up to see Max waving at her from the office doorway. With a smile, she jogged up the steps, taking them two at a time.

“What’s up, Max?” While Buffy and Spike hadn’t let Max in on their secret, they had learned to trust him and enjoy his company. It was relaxing to be around someone who knew what they were and was comfortable with it. Someone who wasn’t a Scooby or a watcher.

“Nothing important, just a package someone left for you.” He handed her a small, tightly wrapped package and glanced behind her. “Where’s Spike tonight? Were you on your own?” He almost sounded concerned.

Buffy’s laugh was a little forced. “I spent most of my time as a slayer on my own, Max. Having Spike here is nice, but it’s a bonus, not something I have to have, you know.”

“My apologies. I didn’t mean to imply that you weren’t a very capable slayer. I just had hoped to… It doesn’t matter. I’m sorry. Of course, you’re fine on your own.”

Buffy’s expression softened. “He’s playing cards tonight with Clem, and as long as I’m not with him, I can pretend I don’t know they’re using kittens for poker chips.”

“Ah. No doubt a wise decision then.” He smiled as she turned to go down the stairs. “I’ll just walk out with you, if you don’t mind.” He locked the door behind him, muttered a few words Buffy couldn’t hear, and followed her down the stairs.

“Do you need an escort tonight for some reason?” Buffy asked, her curiosity piqued by his unusual actions. Max lived in the back of the building on the second floor, and she knew he accessed the stairs to his apartment from the back of the office. And she was fairly certain he had just muttered a spell over the door.

“Um, not exactly. But if you wouldn’t mind standing here with me until my ride arrives, I’d appreciate it.”

“Sure, no problem,” she agreed, extending her senses but not detecting any evil vibes. “Is there a problem I could handle for you?”

“Nothing in your line of work,” he said. “I would hate to get you involved. I was actually hoping Spike would be here.”

Buffy stiffened and narrowed her eyes. “You think Spike is better protection than I am?”

“No, no, not at all! I didn’t mean for that to come out quite that way. It’s just that when dealing with … people… he—”

“You mean humans,” Buffy said, knowing Max was well aware of Sunnydale’s population of vampires and demons.

“Yes, humans.” He sighed. “To them, you would appear to be a very beautiful, but rather small and normal-looking young lady. Whereas Spike….”

“Can be intimidating even when he isn’t showing his fangs,” Buffy said with a sigh. “I get it. But I’m just as capable of making someone wish they’d never met me as he is.”

“I’m quite sure you are. However, my goal, if possible, is to merely frighten these particular humans rather than actually injure them. They’re quite young, and I suspect a conversation with the right person would serve to change their thinking.”

“I guess we’ll find out,” said Buffy, pointing down the street where a group of teenage boys were prowling menacingly toward them. Buffy set her package down on the bottom step and waited beside Max.

“Hey, old man,” the leader said as he approached. “Do you have our money for us?”

“I believe I made it very clear that I am not willing to pay you for not vandalizing my building or harassing my tenants,” Max replied. “I really wish you had listened to me.”

“Are you asking Max for protection money?” Buffy gaped at them. “What are you, the Sunnydale teenage Mafia?”

“Stay out of this, blondie,” one of the boys said. He turned back to Max. “Who is she? Does she live here? Your daughter maybe? Maybe instead of roughing you up, we’ll just take her for a little walk. What do you think?”

Before Buffy could respond, Max, who had obviously just spotted Spike striding up the sidewalk, said, “I think that’s an incredibly bad idea.” He shook his head. “You can’t even imagine what a bad idea that is.”

“Guess we’ve found your weak spot,” the boy crowed. He grabbed Buffy’s arm and pulled her toward him “Let’s go, baby. We’ll bring you back when we’re done playing.” Buffy allowed him to pull her away from Max, then resisted and planted her feet.

“I don’t think so,” she said, shaking the boy’s hand off with no effort. “And I think you need to leave Max alone.”

“Yeah, right. We’ll get right on that.” He laughed and reached for her again, not having noticed how easily she’d broken his grip the first time. This time, Buffy took the hand he’d wrapped around her arm, removed it, and began to crush it. Not until he tried to pull away, did he realize that she was now holding him—painfully. He threw a punch at her with his free hand, only for her to block it easily.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” she said, shaking her head and raising an eyebrow at Spike who, unnoticed by the boys, was now standing only a few feet away.

“Why not?” Another boy stepped up and grabbed at Buffy’s free arm.

“Because if you touch her again, I’ll kill you.”

Spike’s voice was cold as the grave when he lifted the boy into the air with one hand. He held him there long enough to see fear growing on the kid’s rapidly-purpling face, then grinned and let his fangs show.

The boy whose hand Buffy had finally released looked back and forth between her and Spike, realization and fear fighting for dominance in his eyes as he cradled his damaged hand. Buffy very obviously placed herself between him and his friends, blocking his path to freedom.

“What are you two?” he gasped.

The remaining three teenagers stared, not sure what to do. They hadn’t noticed Buffy’s ability to crush her attacker’s hand, but they had seen how easily she blocked his punch, and they could all see that Spike was holding their other companion by the throat without seeming to exert any effort to it.

“We’re friends of Max’s,” Buffy said. “And we don’t want anything to happen to him or to his building. We really wouldn’t like that.”

“Are we making ourselves clear?” Spike asked, somewhat rhetorically as the boys were already nodding and apologizing and promising to stay far away.

Spike tossed the almost unconscious boy he’d been holding at his friends, and Buffy stepped aside, allowing her would-be attacker to retreat to where they were edging away. A guttural snarl from Spike was all it took to send them running as fast as they could while still supporting the one who couldn’t stand up yet.

“Well, that worked out nicely,” Max said with a smile. “Thank you so much—both of you.”

Buffy shrugged. “You were right. Spike was a lot scarier than I was. I would have had to beat them up. All he had to do was look fangy.” Buffy bent down and picked up her package. “Will you be all right now?”

Max nodded, gesturing at the car pulling in to the curb. “Yes, thank you. My friend is here, and I’m fairly certain those would-be thugs won’t be back.”

Spike cocked his head at Max. “None of my business, but I’m pretty sure you could have taken care of them yourself.”

Max smiled and shrugged. “No doubt, but I prefer not to draw that kind of attention to myself if at all possible. Had they actually tried to damage the building, they would have found it more difficult than they expected, but that too could have attracted unnecessary attention to it. So, I appreciate the assistance. Let me know if I can ever return the favor.” He waved and got into the car, which then pulled smoothly away from curb.

Spike threw an arm over Buffy’s shoulder. “So, from what terrible fate did we save our landlord?”

“Those guys are wannabe criminals, I guess. They thought they could intimidate Max into paying them protection money to leave his building and tenants alone. He’d told them to forget it, so he knew they’d be back and looking for trouble.” She smiled up at Spike. “He was really hoping you’d be here to escort him out. Didn’t think I’d be scary enough.”

“Little does he know.” Spike gave an exaggerated shudder.

Buffy snorted and bumped him with her hip. “Well, I probably would have had to really hurt somebody, and he just wanted to scare them. Which is pretty nice of him when you think about it.”

Spike nodded. “It is. He’s an interesting guy. I’ll bet Winnie would like to meet him.”

Buffy shook her head. “He might, but the Watcher’s Council could be just the kind of attention he’s trying to avoid. As long as there’s no sign that he’s evil, I’m okay with letting him hide.”

They followed the steps around and down to their own apartment. Buffy unlocked the door and walked in, dropping her stakes in a basket on top of her weapon chest.

“I’ll wager we don’t need to actually lock that door,” Spike said. “Max probably has this building warded six ways to Sunday.”

Buffy nodded. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I saw him put a spell on the office door tonight. But we’re going to lock our door anyway.”

Spike shrugged out of his coat and dropped into a chair, TV remote in hand. He clicked it on and settled back to watch. Buffy settled beside him, snuggling into the arm he automatically put around her shoulders.

“How much time do you think we have?” he asked, muting the TV.

Buffy didn’t pretend not to know what he was talking about. She sighed and snuggled in a little more.

“Not long, probably. Schools will open in two weeks and Dawn’ll be here by then. I guess Drac‘s going to show up first, but since he isn’t going to get a taste of me this time—” Spike’s snarling scoff made her smile as she raised her head. “—and I know where he’s setting up house, I guess we can pay him a visit and send him home without all the drama.”

“You might send him home. I’m thinking turn him into dust for touching you.”

“Could you? I mean, not that you couldn’t, but I staked him three times and he still kept putting himself back together.”

“You’re prob’ly right, love. He’s got all those gypsy tricks going for him. And he’s a lot older than I am. I’d like to think I could, but who knows?”

“I don’t think we’ll need to worry about it. He might leave once he realizes I already have a vamp in my life.”

“He will if he knows what’s good for him,” Spike growled, tightening his arm on her.

“We need to think about the other stuff that happened this year,” she said. “Obviously, the big thing is that Dawn’s going to be here sometime soon.” She frowned up at him. “Do you think we’ll remember that she just got here? How is that going to work? We have to know we need to stop Glory, without going through all the finding out stuff.” She winced. “And, preferably, without letting her put me through that brick wall. That hurt!”

“If we can remember when that happened, maybe you could scamper off with the glowing ball of energy and take it home without fighting with the bitch?”

“And just let her torture that poor old monk to death?”

He stroked her hair. “Could be he was always fated to die at her hand, love. We can try to get there earlier, and prevent the torture, but you need to be ready to accept that his death may be one of those things we can’t change. I mean, if it was going to be that easy, you could just give her a few whacks with that hammer and….”

“We don’t have the hammer yet,” she said. “I can’t remember when Anya’s ex showed up, but it was after Glory got here.” She frowned. “I think my mom faints for the first time pretty soon too.” She leaned back and shut her eyes. “This whole year really sucked, right from the beginning, didn’t it?”

“It wasn’t a picnic, that’s for bloody sure. But we know what to worry about, what to avoid. We’re going to beat it, love. Not just her royal sluttiness, but all the things that went wrong.”

“What if we forget? What if the spells this year affect us just like they did back then?”

“Then we’ll deal with it until we work it out. Glory’s hiding in plain sight spell didn’t work on me anyway, so I’m ahead of the game there.”

“And Dawn?”

“Already got our memories of her, haven’t we? What are the monks gonna do, erase them and then replant? We’ll be just fine… but just in case, why don’t we write ourselves notes?”

“Good idea.” She got up and came back with a notebook and pen. “Let’s just start listing the things we know are going to happen and try to decide which ones are worth trying to change.”

“I didn’t mean right this minute,” he muttered. “I was looking forward to something a lot more exciting before we go to sleep.” In spite of his words, he took the notebook and pen from her. “Start listing, love. I’ll write.”

XXX

Getting rid of Dracula was surprisingly easy. When he appeared in the graveyard just as Buffy was disposing of the last vampire, he quickly noticed Spike leaning against a tombstone.

“William? What are you doing here? You cannot have this slayer. I have determined to make her one of my brides.”

“Is that right, Slayer?” Spike said as he ambled toward them. “Have you been cheating on me with this poncy bastard?” He draped an arm over Buffy’s shoulders and bared his teeth.

Dracula frowned and looked back and forth between them, sniffing.

“That’s gross, you know,” Buffy said. “That sniffing business. It’s gross.”

“This is not how this is supposed to go….” The old vampire seemed taken back by both Buffy’s lack of interest in him, and Spike’s apparent friendliness with her.

“Do you know who I am?” he demanded of Buffy.

“Yeah. I do. First time around, I was pretty impressed, but, FYI? I staked you anyway. Three times if I remember right. This time, I’m already spoken for and I have a hellgod to take care of, so you need to just pack up your dog pound castle and take yourself and your skanky little friends back to Romania or where ever. If I have to come looking for you, it’ll be to burn that place to the ground with you in it. Got it?”

He gazed as her with open admiration. “You truly are as magnificent as I’d been told. You’d make a wonderful—”

“She makes a wonderful Slayer,” Spike said, standing beside Buffy as she moved into a fighting stance. “I suggest you accept my word on that, and take yourself and your gypsy tricks out of here.” He paused as if thinking. “Unless you’ve got that eleven pounds you owe me? If you wanted time to go fetch that—”

Dracula vanished as suddenly as he’d appeared.

“Thought that would drive him off,” Spike muttered. “Cheap bastard that he is.”

Buffy huffed. “I couldn’t scare him off, but owing you money did? What the hell?”

Spike laughed. “Probably a bit of both, love. You can check the dog pound tomorrow and follow up on your threat if it still looks like a castle.”

“Do you think he caught what I said about the first time around?”

“He might have. I wouldn’t worry about it. He probably bends time himself on occasion. If he did realize what you said and what it might mean, it would just be one more reason to get himself out of here. You did say you’d staked him. I’m sure he heard that part of it.”

“I guess Xander doesn’t get to be his flunky this time.”

“Flunky? He made Harris a Renfield? Now that might have been worth seeing.”

“He also bit me,” Buffy snapped. “Did you want to see that too?”

Spike’s snarl was deep and loud. “If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have let him walk away.”

“It was no biggie. He did a thrall, it worked for a little bit, then I woke up and made him dusty.”

Spike was still growling and muttering about Euro-trash as they walked away.

Chapter Two
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/606694.html

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