By Rhysdux and Ginmar
The door opened and a mini-troll bounced in. “Bounce” was the correct term, as this particular mini-troll was the shape of a basketball, provided you could imagine a green, two-feet-tall basketball that had horns and fangs.
“Hello, Angle-less,” said Rhysdux calmly.
“Head of Personnel wants to see you,” said the mini-troll as it bounced rhythmically in place.
“Oh, blast. Can’t it wait?”
“No!” snapped Angle-less, giving an especially sharp bounce after each word for emphasis. “Right. Now!”
“All right, all right,” Rhysdux muttered. “I’ll be there, just give me a second, I’ll be there.”
The mini-troll spun about in mid-air--Angle-less’ equivalent of a nod--and then dribbled out the door. Rhysdux sighed, hauled herself to her feet, and headed out of her office and down the hallway toward a special elevator. It appeared to be an antique with a tarnished brass cage for a door, deteriorating flooring and a stink of decay, as if a mouse had crawled into the walls of the elevator and died there.
She wrinkled her nose as she tried not to gag at the stench and pushed the button for the elevator. The cage opened almost instantly, and Rhysdux strode in. The cage closed once more, leaving her in a sleek shiny ultramodern elevator that looked as if it could exceed the speed of sound while traveling in any imaginable direction, including sideways.
This elevator was one of several ways that agents who worked at the Official Buffy and Angel Fanfiction University could, if necessary, reach the administrative offices of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. No one really knew where the elevator (or the “special passages”) had come from; they had merely appeared one morning, each one surrounded by a Somebody Else’s Problem field so strong that students, canon characters and most of the teachers went out of their way to ignore them. Only those affiliated with the PPC could enter such places; those who were not members found themselves nauseated by the illusion of a vile smell and a headache that even bleeprin couldn’t cure.
The elevator stopped. As the cage opened, Rhysdux stepped out into a featureless hallway. Breathing a desperate prayer that Sandelfon, God of Corridors, would guide her, she began looking about for the Department of Personnel. After a short search up a hall, around a corner and in and out of a cloverleaf, she found herself in front of the office of the Director of Personnel. She entered quietly.
Well, I must say it took you long enough.
Rhysdux glanced at the bowler-wearing, grey-suited, human-sized daisy sitting at a solid oak desk and closed her eyes for a minute. She had never really gotten used to the more surreal aspects of working for the PPC--such as the fact that all of the upper managers and department heads were sentient plants. Even more troubling, some of them referred to themselves as the Powers That Be.
Rhysdux sometimes wondered if Joss Whedon knew about the PPC Powers That Be. It would go a long way toward explaining the evil Power That Was named Jasmine who had popped up on Angel during the fourth season.
“Sorry. Interdimensional travel takes a while, you know.”
Mmm. In any case, I have a new assignment for you. What you might call a cushy fic. The fic is a Mary Sue story, of course, but it’s not nearly as horrible as some you’ve seen. The author seems to be literate, and is at least capable of correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
“If it’s that good, why are we PPCing it?” Rhysdux folded her arms and scowled at the daisy.
Really, my dear. You should not be so suspicious.
“If your nickname wasn’t the Marquis de Sod, maybe I wouldn’t be!”
Oh, very well. The daisy sounded annoyed. If you MUST know, the prose is extraordinarily purple. Typical of humans who read too many romance novels, so I’m told.
“Romance--?” Rhysdux looked as if she were about to be violently sick. “I don’t know anything about romance novels!”
Then this will be a learning experience. Let it be a challenge to you.
She pondered a minute as she stared at the ceiling. Then she turned back to the daisy and smiled…well, bared her teeth, anyway.
“At triple the usual pay.”
“You want me to have to endure a Mary Sue romance? You’ll have to pay triple.”
The budget can’t handle that! We’re strapped as it is, between mechanical repairs and the new Asylum for Retired Agents…please be reasonable. Double?
“Double pay is not enough to make me sit through a romance. Least of all one with Mary Sue in it.”
You DO want us to be able to afford new agents, don’t you?
“Oh, all right. Double.”
Good. Your partner for this assignment will meet in your office back at the University. She will brief you in greater detail. And may I say, good luck?
That seemed to be the end of the interview. Rhysdux hurried back through the labyrinth of hallways, into the Interdimensional Elevator, and back through the corridors of OBAFU. As she approached her office, she heard a dreadful sound.
[BEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEEEP! BLOODY BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP, ALREADY!]
Rhysdux hastened in. The first thing she saw was a worried-looking woman in black yelling at the computer.
“Will you shut UP!” the woman was shouting as she glared at the monitor.
[BEEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEEEEP! DON’T YOU PEOPLE GET THE MESSAGE? BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!]
Rhysdux strode over to her desk and gently patted the monitor. “All right, all right, calm down. If you keep screaming like that, you’ll burn out your sound system.”
“Better.” Rhysdux turned from the quietly fuming monitor to the other woman. “Hi, I’m Rhysdux. Call me Rhys. You must be my new partner.”
The other woman shook her hand. “Yeah, I’m Ginmar. I work over in the DAVD. This is the first time I’ve ever worked with the Department of Mary Sues, though.”
Rhysdux stared. “Disturbing Acts of Violence Department? I thought this was going to be a Mary Sue romance.”
Ginmar gazed at Rhysdux with something like pity in her eyes. "You don't know? They didn't give you any warning? Man, that's cruel. We're going to the Babyverse."
This did not have quite the effect that Ginmar was expecting.
“The…Babyverse? You mean it’s an alternate universe in which everyone is an infant? YUCK!”
Ginmar raised one eyebrow. "I'm trying to decide if I should let you keep believing that, or telling you the awful truth."
"What else could it be?"
"Oh, just you wait. I'll explain on the way."
"I don't like the way you say that, for some reason."
"With good reason. If I tell you now, you'll lock yourself in your office."
"I knew I should have stuck it out for triple pay." Rhys took a deep breath, gathering her resolve. "Double pay. Protecting the Plot. I'm ready. Hang on a second. I'm going to go get a couple of backpacks. And my axe."
Rhysdux returned from the staff lounge a few minutes later, wearing a black backpack and carrying a large double-headed battle axe in her left hand and another backpack in her right. She handed the latter to Ginmar. “So what are we going as this time?”
“Background vamps, I think,” said Ginmar. “The place we’re going--it’s really a vampire’s city.”
“Vampires. Well, that’s simple enough.”
Each agent reached into her backpack, retrieved her disguise generator and programmed in her desired disguise. A moment later, the semblances of two vampires--one an elegant blonde twentysomething woman and the other a short, dark-haired thirtysomething man--descended upon them.
Ginmar regarded Rhysdux’s disguise for a few minutes. “Why are you a guy?” she asked at last.
Rhysdux--or at least the disguised face of Rhysdux--looked patient. “Because if we’re going to a vampire city, odds are we aren’t going to Sunnydale. A lot of vamps in Mary Sue fics tend to be sexist before they run into the Slayer--and often even after. And this is a romance genre universe, where there’s usually only one strong woman per story--the one who’s in love with the male protagonist. So…”
[EXCUSE ME? BEEEEEEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?? BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!]
Rhysdux sighed. “The computer’s right. We’d better get going. Ready?”
Ginmar punched the coordinates for the Babyverse into her hand-held portal generator and pressed ENTER. An oblong doorway formed in the air. “Ready.”
They leaped through the portal.
They landed in a room that resembled a scene from a colorized old movie. The room was dimly lit, causing dramatic shadows to lurk in every corner. The décor was odd as well--from one angle, it looked like the plush office of a wealthy businessman, while from another, it was starkly simple, the office of a man who possessed little and cared less. Rhysdux couldn’t decide who would have been more at home in the office, the Vampire Lestat or Philip Marlowe.
“Yeah, that’s the Babyverse for you,” said Ginmar as Rhysdux offered this opinion. “It’s sort of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer out of film noir by Anne Rice.”
Rhysdux scowled. “Anne Rice has a lot to answer for.”
The Omniscient Author spoke up at this point. At least, they assumed the author was speaking. All that either agent could hear was a low hum, rather like a weak generator that was about to burn out.
“What the hell is going on?” Ginmar demanded.
Rhysdux squinted at the Words. “Oh, damn. The author wrote the story in two-point type.”
“Way to make sure the story is read,” Ginmar commented, rolling her eyes up at the ceiling.
Rhysdux pushed a few buttons on her Character Analysis Generator. “Full magnification. On audio,” she said quietly. “Reboot Words.”
Something flickered for a moment, as if a tape were being rewound. Then the Omniscient Author spoke up once more:
Angel stared in concern at the woman sitting across the desk from him. She was just sitting quietly staring at nothing. It was the quiet that was bothering him.
Puzzled, Rhysdux glanced at Ginmar. “She’s just sitting there doing nothing and it’s bothering him?”
That was the problem, you see; she was never quiet. Ever. Not around him anyway. Spike's consort was far from his favorite person and her smart mouth tended to annoy the hell out of him but he'd trade that for this silence. This was just eerie.
“What's eerie is the way the author talks a lot about nothing,” said Ginmar. “Okay, got the point. She's sitting. She's quiet. Moving right along…"
Rhysdux pulled a pen and a notebook from her backpack, opened the notebook, scribbled, “First Charge--Redundancy” in it, then stuck the pen behind her ear.
He didn't think she'd moved in an hour; just sat there with one hand clutched in the beads hanging on her breast, waiting. He'd have thought her a vampire if not for the occasional blink of her eyes, the soft beat of her heart, and the rise and fall of her chest. Heartbeat. Breathing. The only things separating her from him at the moment.
Ginmar rolled her eyes up to the ceiling. "Well, that and the fact that she's still alive, not possessed by a demon, not being a drinker of blood and---I should shut up now, shouldn't I?"
“Oh, and brain waves.”
Rhysdux’s voice took on a pedantic tone. “Vampires are animated corpses. Therefore, their organs don’t work. No heartbeat. No automatic breathing. And no automatic brain function. Obviously their minds work, but I doubt if the organ that is the brain operates.”
Ginmar rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “That would explain why so many vampires seem to be so dumb. On the other hand, this is a Sue. We shouldn’t assume that a Sue has a functioning brain.”
"Baby?" he asked. His soft voice sounded too loud. It seemed to echo out of his office and into the emptiness of the Hyperion. He fought the urge to whisper. "Can I get you anything? Would you like some tea?"
The two agents winced as the echo of Angel’s voice resonated from his office with the power of a sonic boom.
Her body had jumped at the sound of his voice but her face remained still and her fingers didn't loosen their hold on the red and black crystals of her necklace. "No, thank you."
Rhysdux stared at the woman before her. “Okay…her body jumped, but her face and her fingers didn’t…which means, I guess, that her face and fingers aren’t part of her body. Definitely a charge of bad biology.” She removed the pen from behind her right ear, made a note of the charge, then put the pen behind her right ear once more.
His head snapped back up, the concern blossoming to irrational fear. She never called him by his name of preference. He was always 'Angelus' or 'Peaches' or 'Angel-Cakes' or any of half a hundred equally irritating monikers. Never just 'Angel.'
"And once again," Ginmar tsked, as she made a few notes of her own, "the author takes three sentences to say what she said in one."
"Do you still feel like I haven't forgiven you? Like I still hate you?" Her voice was so soft only a vampire could have heard her. So now she was telepathic? Probably not.
Rhysdux glanced at Ginmar. “A Mary Sue with limitations?
“Now that’s an oxymoron.”
"I don't. It's just sort of a game. I've sniped at you for so long, I don't know any other way of talking to you. But I need to. I need to talk to you now. Would you do me a favor? For all the years we've been not enemies?" The hand clenched in her beads had tightened until her knuckles were white.
His dead heart contracted.
“What?!” Rhysdux spluttered. “That’s just stupid! If Angel’s heart could contract and expand, it would be beating. He’d be alive.”
"When I'm gone, promise me you'll take care of him." He wondered how much pressure the bits of red and black glass could take before they shattered under her small fingers.
"Baby, don't be silly. We're not gonna let anything happen…" The standard words of comfort trailed off as she finally turned her face to him. He wished she hadn't. He wished she'd continue to stare at that spot some two feet down and three feet to the left of him that she'd been staring at all afternoon. The cold, borrowed blood in his veins chilled.
"How can he tell that she's staring at a spot two feet below his office and three feet to the left of him?" demanded Ginmar. "He got a yardstick and measured it? I can just see Angel jumping up and measuring in the midst of this Very Special Moment."
“I’d like to know when the blood in his veins became borrowed,” retorted Rhysdux. “He drinks blood; he drank the blood of Darla when he was almost dead, and that was what made him a vampire. But the blood in his veins is his own. The digestive system is not connected to the circulatory system!”
"I'd like to know when and how he's going to return it." Ginmar punched a few keys on her Character Analysis Device. "Is there an interest rate to borrowing blood, or is it---Oh. Figures. It's an Anne Rice concept and according to her, all vampires have been drained of their original blood."
“Love the fact that it’s cold.”
“Mmmm. I have this mental image of little ice cubes in the bloodstream.”
Rhysdux considered. “I thought vampires were supposed to warm up when they drank warm blood.”
Ginmar sighed. “Rhys. You’re being logical. Stop it.”
"We've tried to kill each other often enough to be honest, don't you think, Angelus?"
Rhysdux shook her head violently, as if to clear it. “Did she really say that? And if it did, what the hell did it mean?”
“Well, I suppose that means the hostility's overt." Rhys rolled her eyes, and Ginmar cleared her throat, embarrassed. "Leave me alone. I had a moment of optimism, there. I think we're going to need those moments."
He nodded and she continued, "Cordy's having visions, Dru's having visions, Spike's had the same dream every night for over a week. I'm going to die. Just like in the dream. Something's going to stop him from turning me. No happily undead ever after. I'm going to die. Soon."
"Trust me, hon, not soon enough," said Ginmar, smiling evilly at the Sue. "Not soon enough."
Dark brown eyes met golden green ones. "Probably."
"He won't handle it well."
Angel didn't have to ask. He knew she meant Spike. With her everything came down to Spike in the end, what he wanted, what he needed. It always came down to Spike.
“Oh, God,” said Rhysdux, her voice and expression saturated with disgust. “Could Baby possibly be any more Marabel Morgan?”
“She’s the Rules Girl, with fangs!”
The two agents high-fived each other.
Rhysdux hummed “Stand By Your Man” as Baby convinced Angel to “look after” Spike when she was dead. Ginmar muttered something about that being a slash story just waiting to happen.
"Everything shows the Slayer killing me?"
He nodded even though she wasn't looking at him. They'd been over this fifty times. They all knew the details of Cordelia's vision, of Spike's dream, of Dru's prophecy. A bolt from the Slayer's crossbow in Baby's chest, strong chains holding Spike away from her while her life swiftly bled out, stopping him from turning her, the walls of the Hyperion running red with blood, a sword in Cordy's midsection, Wes' head lying two feet from the rest of his body, bodies scattered and broken, a strange demon laughing.
“We’ll have to get her before the prophecy comes true,” Ginmar said thoughtfully. “Otherwise, we’ll get Spike sobbing at Baby’s deathbed and everyone saying sweet things like they didn’t appreciate her enough and…” She shuddered, grimacing. “Last words. They’ll never escape her power then.”
Rhysdux appeared to be thinking of something else. “This story seems to be taking a long time to get started. I wonder how long it is.”
For a moment there was silence as she stared at the magnified Words. Then a look of desolation swept across her face. She squinched her eyes shut and shook her head repeatedly in violent denial. “No,” she moaned. “No, the author COULDN’T have been that cruel…”
“What’s the matter?”
Rhysdux let loose a howl of purest misery. “Six chapters! And an epilogue! It’s sixty-six pages long!”
“Sixty-six--? Jesus. Can we skip?”
“We’ll have to. For the sake of our sanity, we have no choice.” Rhysdux squinted at the Words once more. “Uh-oh. Sue clue coming up--and a serious Temporal-Spatial distortion. The first of many, I’m afraid.”
Baby told Angel that Spike had not turned her yet because he was afraid he would kill her. Fortunately, neither of them heard Ginmar’s sardonic comment, “Why, yes, dying IS part of becoming a vampire.” She also noted Baby’s “wedding rings” glinting “in the lamplight, the vestiges of a civil ceremony held because Spike wanted the human world to know she was his in the same way the demon world did.”
“How the hell did Baby marry a dead person? Spike’s been dead, physically and legally, for over a hundred years! Not to mention that he never went through any kind of vampire wedding ceremony with Dru!”
Nor could Rhysdux keep silent when Angel told Baby that he thought that she was “born to be a vampire.”
“ ‘Baby,’ ” she said, mimicking Angel’s voice and tone, “ ’I think you were born to die and become a soulless yet animated corpse that is possessed by a blood-drinking demon.’ Doesn’t sound very flattering that way, does it?”
Finally Baby spoke up again. "Oh crap. Angel. If you're going to help him there are some things you need to know. So I'm gonna tell you a big ol' honking secret. Something that nobody else knows. Just me and Spike."
Angel and she bantered for a few more minutes, establishing that she was Southern, although that had already been discussed several times before. Finally, though, she revealed her secret.
"I'm not from this reality."
Ginmar snorted. “Sweetie, you're not from any reality, except the author’s mirror.”
Baby continued to speak. “You remember?" She was looking at him now. "When Anya brought a Willow who was a vampire back from another reality?"
"Well, it's like that. Spike, too."
Angel felt an eyebrow climb his forehead. "What do you mean? Spike's always been here."
"Not the Spike who's here now. He's from some place, some time else."
"Some time else?" Ginmar snorted. "How precious."
"So the two of you are from some alternate reality."
"No, just me. Spike sort of made this one alternate. It's complicated."
The two agents exchanged glances.
“So,” Rhysdux said in a very calm and controlled tone, “Spike is the creator of this universe? And he made this universe be an alternate reality? I think we have a definite charge of godplaying here.”
“How did she get from one universe to another?”
“I have a feeling we’re about to find out…”
"You remember that night I hit you with the fire axe? That was my first night in your world. I had a friend with way too much time on her hands. Let me just say for the record that mixing viewing spells and particle physics is a bad idea. We were supposed to just, well, see something. Instead, we ended up in the middle of the Sunnydale High School library. That's the night you were hunting Jenny Calendar. God, it's a wonder Giles didn't kill us on sight. We were absolutely manic. Two scientists and a businesswoman dropped right into his library. It took a bit but we got it all sorted out and were about to head home when Spike appeared. I've always had a fondness for Spike, you see. For years before I even before I met him."
Angel wondered if she had snapped already. "And how could you know Spike without meeting him?"
"Okay. This is the weird part." At his raised eyebrow, she sneered. "Okay, the weirder part. Believe me, Angel-Cakes. The reality I'm from? Well, you're all fairly famous. Oh, chill your ego. You're famous because you're fictitious. You, Spike, Buffy, everyone you know are fictional characters. How do you like that? I've spent the last 15 years of my life with a someone who doesn't really exist."
Ginmar rolled her eyes and sighed. "Tell me about it, babe, tell me about it."
“Uh-oh.” Rhysdux glanced at the Words and shivered. “Get ready. Temporal
Spatial Distortion about to hit…now.”
Nauseated and disoriented, the two agents collapsed onto the sidewalk in front of Sunnydale High.
"Ugggh," groaned Ginmar, bowing her head and covering her eyes with her hands. "That was bad. Vodka in Hungary bad."
Rhysdux gulped convulsively a few times and glanced blearily at the analyzer in her hand. “No wonder. We made a non-linear temporal jump. We went from Los Angeles in 2014 to Sunnydale in 1998.”
Ginmar blinked. "We traveled sixteen years into the past?" She glanced down. "So how come my butt's the same size?" Rhys shook her head at the other agent, and Ginmar pulled herself to her feet, grimacing. "Hey, humor is how I cope. The big question is.. Sixteen years into the past?"
“Yep. And it looks like a fairly serious rupture has already happened.” Rhysdux pointed her analyzer at the area between the sidewalk and the school steps. Giles was there, as was Xander both were regarding three women with wariness. Two of the women--“scientists,” according to the words--“were involved in drawing a relatively simple protection circle on the ground.” The third was “fidgeting” and “looking about.” Giles didn’t seem to be “entirely sure he believed the alternate dimension explanation” but he “had checked, double-checked and rechecked the spell and every aspect of the ritual used.” It “only used residual Hellmouth energy and didn't offer any danger of opening the hell portal or disturbing its balance.”
One of the scientists had just announced that they just had to boot up the laptops and do the spell when Spike appeared, eating a small cup of ice cream. This ordinary action threw the scientists and their companion--who was clearly a somewhat younger version of Baby--into a sexual frenzy. Baby was the most peculiar in Rhysdux’s estimation--she said she wanted to be Spike’s pants.
"They won't fit, honey," Ginmar drawled. "Well, not with you and what looks like a whole sock drawer in---Oh, sorry. Anyhoo---"
This, apparently, turned Spike on. There was a bit more conversation that was probably meant to be sexual banter. As Baby stepped closer to Spike, Giles protested.
"Get back! You have no idea who that is!" Giles warned. Her next words convinced him she was utterly mad.
"Oh yes I do! I know exactly who that is." She looked at the man before her with undisguised lust and a huge smile. "THAT is William the Bloody, one quarter of the Scourge of Europe, scion of the Order of Aurelius, master vampire, slayer of 2 Slayers, the Big Bad, commonly known as Spike, and just incidentally, the sexiest male to ever walk the face of the planet."
“Uh, no, NOT one quarter of the Scourge of Europe,” murmured Rhysdux. “Angelus held that title all on his own. And in formal writing, you’re supposed to write out the names of numbers. ‘T-W-O’ Slayers. Not the numeral two.”
“What the hell is a master vampire?” demanded Ginmar. “I know it’s Anne Rice crap--but what exactly IS it?”
“Beats me. Some fans say that master vampires are created by master vampires, or by very old ones. Others say it’s a social thing.” Rhysdux shrugged. “It’s an Anne Rice concept, so Joss wouldn’t have used it on the show anyway, except to de-romanticize it.”
Spike grinned and she tilted her head back to look directly into his eyes. "That, like the song says, is 'the dream we all dream of.'"
Rhysdux sighed. "Baby, you have no appreciation for true hotness. You're ignoring the only sexy man in this scene!"
"Xander?" said Ginmar in horrified disbelief. "There's stuff in my fridge that's older than---"
"Are you mad? Giles!"
"Hm," Ginmar said thoughtfully, eyeing the librarian. "There's an argument to be made, definitely."
Spike hugged Baby close to him and bit her on the neck.
"It's too casual for Spike," Ginmar said dryly. "One minute he's eating ice cream, and this gushy creature hits on him?" She exchanged looks with Rhys. "Character rupture, I think. Ouch. This is going to hurt."
Giles and Xander rushed forward.
Before they were halfway across the expanse of grass, the mystic symbols on the ground began to glow softly. Arches of blue energy flashed from the ground and traveled over the two locked in their deadly embrace. A stray bolt clipped the ground before Rupert, sending him and Xander sprawling and stunned. The other women cowered on the ground, arms wrapped around each other as lightning flashed around the vampire and the suit-clad woman for a few more seconds.
“Lightning strikes when they kiss?” muttered Ginmar. “Give me a fucking BREAK.”
The lightning kindled Spike’s and Baby’s erotic interest in each other even more. Xander, desperately trying to save Baby, made a run at Spike, only to get punched so hard that he was knocked into Giles. The two “ended up in a tangle on the ground.”
Then Spike started making references to things that hadn’t happened yet. The school exploding. Anya. “Rupert” returning to “the mother country.”
Ginmar stared at Spike. “This is the night Jenny Calendar died. Second season. How is he remembering any of this?”
“Wait,” Rhysdux said in what was probably supposed to be an ominous voice. However, she sounded tired rather than sinister.
He found alien memories flooding his thoughts. Memories that didn't rightly belong to him. He jerked the woman against him painfully, and snarled, "Why don't you tell me, luv? I seem to be remembering some awfully odd things. Things I saw and things that I couldn't have seen. Like you said, things that happened when I wasn't even there. And I know an awful lot about you all of a sudden; birth date, social security number, what color your underwear is.”
“Okay,” said Rhysdux grimly. “Color of underwear? Too much information.”
She started to say she didn't know what he meant when she suddenly realized that she did. Her own mind was full of memories that weren't her own. Death, destruction, love, blood, hate, insecurity, pain, heartbreak, joy; everything that made up William the Bloody was flowing and flashing through her head.
"How should I, the author, make Baby and Spike learn all about each other?" mused Ginmar. "Long, passionate conversations? Stressful events which torture the characters' emotions and link them together? Sensitive character analysis? Nah. I'll use a lightning bolt!" An even more horrifying possibility presented itself. "Does this mean you get a little insightful if I tap you with a cattle prod?"
"Focus, Gin, focus."
"Oh, I'm focused all right. It's starting to hurt, that's all."
He tightened his grip, wanting to hurt her. "If I didn't have this chip, you'd regret this spell you've…"
“Chip?” Rhysdux checked the Words once, then twice. Then she re-checked the Canon Analyzer, frowning. Finally she glanced up at her partner. “Internal inconsistency. Two, in fact. Baby said in the first chapter that she and her friends ended up in the middle of the Sunnydale High School library on the night that Angelus was hunting Jenny Calendar. Second season. Now, here we are in front of the library, not IN it, and Spike is talking about his chip, which he didn’t get till fourth season.”
Baby started dancing around and cheering that she had fixed Spike.
Having the impression that he was in two different time periods at once was even more disturbing. But if what he thought she was saying was true, he felt like shouting. Or maybe crying. Perhaps a bit of both. Somehow, someway, she had deactivated the Initiative's chip.
“She couldn’t deactivate it, Spike--you don’t have a chip yet! You just remember having one!”
Whatever else she was going to say was pre-empted by a scream of terror from the school building. Chip or no chip, habit is a wonderfully powerful thing and Spike had gotten in the habit of saving people who screamed in the night.
“Not in second season!” chorused both agents as they crept after Spike into the school.
Spike heard the dark-haired woman running toward him before he saw her. He caught her as she rounded a corner and rebounded from his chest. He quickly pushed her behind him and braced himself to face whatever was chasing her. "It's alright. Old Spike will take care of it. Nothing to be afraid of now."
“Old Spike,” said Ginmar in a thoughtful tone. “Reminds me of Ol’ Yeller.”
“And when did Spike turn into John Wayne? I thought that he started hunting demons because, thanks to the chip, he couldn’t kill humans. He wasn’t acting out of altruism.”
Swift, decisive footsteps clicked on the linoleum behind them. The agents dodged out of the way just in time to prevent Baby from colliding with them. Literally.
Angelus appeared in the hallway, searching for Jenny Calendar. On spotting her, he ordered Spike to break her neck.
Spike clicked his tongue. "You know, I love murder as much as the next bloke but I just can't do it this time, Peaches." He sighed, exasperated with himself and his unlife. "Can't let you do it, either." He was truly surprised by his own reaction. "Well, bugger me. Guess I'm still batting for the other team."
Rhysdux pulled a bottle of Bleeprin from her pocket, opened it, and swallowed about two dozen capsules. “If Angelus is about to kill Jenny Calendar, then it is second season! Spike hasn’t STARTED batting for the other team yet!!”
The two vampires began to fight.
Angelus was older and larger but Spike had spent nearly three years sparring with the Slayer
“How many times do I have to say that it’s second season?” asked Rhysdux patiently. “Spike’s only been in Sunnydale for a few months. He’s never sparred with the Slayer. Fought her a few times. But sparred? Never.”
and fighting every kind of evil the Hellmouth could throw at him.
Ginmar rolled her eyes. “Yeah, it’s not as if Spike was doing anything remotely bad in the second season, like helping Angelus awaken a demon who would suck the entire world into the Hellmouth.”
However, the body Spike currently inhabited was not yet completely healed from having a pipe organ fall on it.
“Hallelujah!” Rhysdux smiled. “That did happen second season.”
"But Spike was still pretending to be crippled. That's what the Scoobies would have thought. And what's up with---'the body Spike currently inhabited'?" Ginmar shook her head. "Makes no sense."
“Anne Rice again. Lestat switches bodies with the Body Thief in The Tale of the Body Thief, and so does David. A demon named Lasher takes over the body of an embryo in The Witching Hour. I think that Memnoch, in Memnoch the Devil, switches bodies too.”
“You READ Rice’s books!?”
“When I was fourteen!”
Spike began to feel his strength flagging with each hit he gave and received. Soon he was pinned beneath the other vampire's considerable bulk.
"I'm gonna twist your head off, boy." Angelus smiled coldly. "Now, would you be wanting to send any message back to Dru? Hmm? Maybe I'll just spread your dust over the bed before I fuck her in it.”
"Hope Dru has a good Dustbuster," said Ginmar, smirking. "Otherwise, that stuff gets into every--Okay, okay," she muttered, as Rhys eyed her again.
He gasped in pain as a fire axe was buried in his back. He jerked away, unintentionally helping his attacker pull the weapon from his body.
"Leave Spike alone," the businesswoman ordered.
Spike pushed Angelus further away and scrambled to his feet. He took the bloody axe from the woman's unresisting hands.
Faced with an armed Spike and a badly injured shoulder, Angelus shook his head. "Some other time, childe."
“No. Vampire. On. Buffy. Or. Angel. Was. EVER. Called. ‘Childe,’ “ said Ginmar through gritted teeth.
“I don’t know where the author got that one,” said Rhysdux in bemusement. “Some of the other expressions are from Rice, but no character from the Vampire Chronicles used the term ‘childe.’”
At this point, Buffy showed up. As Buffy raised the stake in her right hand, Baby informed Buffy that she, Baby, wasn’t going to stand for Spike being hurt on her watch.
"Back off, girly," she ordered. Spike might have the axe, but she had a heartbeat and Slayers weren't supposed to kill the living.
“Hi,” said Ginmar in a lethally perky tone. “Have you met Faith?”
At this point, Jenny Calendar walked in.
Rhysdux blinked. “Huh? Wasn’t she over behind Spike and Baby, being protected by both of them?”
Ginmar nodded grimly. "I need a scorecard."
Jenny, flanked by Giles and Xander, who were both wielding crossbows, told Buffy not to kill Spike because he had saved her life. While Buffy was still dealing with that one, Spike told her that the reason Angelus wanted Jenny dead was because she had found a way to give him back his soul. He also advised Giles to start training Willow in magic--just keep her away from dark magic and addictions to avoid problems later.
His voice was soft and weary when he continued. "Look, go do your spell, fix the great poof. Let him and the Slayer play at Romeo and Juliet for awhile. I've had it. I'm out of this town."
Buffy ordered him to hold it. Spike responded with an incoherent speech about how he was always helping her save her mother, her sister, her Watcher, her friends or the world, and how she never appreciated his efforts, giving the chip credit for everything. Buffy, who had never heard of Dawn or the chip at that point, quite logically asked Spike if he were drunk.
Rhysdux swore. “The author knows what she is doing and she’s doing it ANYWAY.”
That seemed to be the end of the crisis. Spike left the school, followed by Baby and two PPC agents. The vampire and Baby Sue chattered a bit about how they understood each other better than they had ever understood anyone, and how they could best test to see if the chip in Spike’s head was not working.
“He didn't have a chip in the second season, you git! He didn't have a chi--”
Rhysdux smacked Ginmar. Hard.
Ginmar took a deep breath. “Thanks, I needed that. I'm calm now.”
After some discussion, Spike decided that hunting was the best way to test the nonexistent chip, since biting Baby didn’t count--“something weird with your blood, girl.”
After Baby accepted, Spike “laughed. "Alright then, a-hunting we will go." He bounced a bit more.
"You look like Tigger when you do that."
Ginmar snorted. “Yeah, if Tigger were a one hundred-and-twenty-something-year-old English vampire with fangs and vamp face. I totally see the resemblance.”
Rhysdux rubbed her temples. “Ginmar, stop rolling your eyes into the next county. You're making me dizzy.”
The two agents waited for a blast of Spiked sarcasm that never came. Instead, Spike told Baby that she was strange.
"I get that a lot."
“Not surprising,” said Rhysdux sardonically. “You know, I once read this great description on a site about psychopaths and their victims, and this was what it had to say about women like you--‘Using her false mask, this charming "Southern Belle" schemer appears helpless or needy, pitiful, inept or emotionally unable to cope. Even total strangers give her things she gratefully accepts. Falsely claiming to be the victim, this passive parasite lures and abuses the normal protector/provider instincts in her male target. When her mask comes off she is cunning, ruthless, predatory, and loveless.’ Sound familiar, sugar?”
Her memories quickly flashed into his mind. "So you do. Well, I meant it in a nice sort of way. Not that I'm ever nice, mind you."
She smiled. "You don't have to do that. Remember, I know all about you. Everything. Of course, I knew you had a nice streak a mile wide before I ever met you. So, don't do the whole, 'I'm so horribly nasty' thing because I happen to know that you, William Arthur August Roxton, are a decent, honorable man. In a serial killer kind of way."
The two agents stood stock-still for a moment, paralyzed with shock. Rhysdux opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.
Then Ginmar, seething, exploded with rage, shouting at the top of her lungs. Had Baby been less intent on seducing Spike, she would have noticed that the yelling was not coming from a TV in a nearby house.
Ginmar's jaw dropped, and her eyes narrowed. "Oh, that's it! I've only been here a few minutes, and it's like the Dead Sea Scrolls of Mary Sue-dom. In the dictionary next to Mary Sue, it's got Baby's picture. And why, oh, why does an allegedly adult woman permit herself to be addressed in public by such a coy name? But this---‘A decent, honorable man in a serial killer kind of way’? Who the fuck wrote this? Ted Bundy's prison bride? Ugh," she shuddered. "The thing about Mary Sues is that the story's too thin to conceal the writer peering through the gaps in the writing." She shuddered again. "Get me out of here. When's the next break in canon?"
Rhysdux scanned the magnified Words. “Spike takes Baby hunting with him. There’s two more temporal-spatial distortions between now and the hunt--from here to 2014 Los Angeles to here in 1998 Sunnydale--but we can skip those. There’s a romantic sex scene in 2014 between Spike and Baby, but that’s not important--“
“Oh, great,” said Ginmar, a determined glint in her eyes. “Well, I want to see exactly what this author has done, because this ought to be really good. There ought to be licenses to write sex scenes, I swear.”
“We’d better remove the vampire disguises for human ones, then. We’re going to a private hotel room.”
"Didn't I tell you about thinking logically in Mary Sue Land?"
With a couple of clicks of their disguise generators, the agents became a pair of maids. Then Rhysdux opened a portal to Spike and Baby’s hotel room in 2014 Los Angeles. Spike and Baby were already going at it. Blushing furiously, Rhysdux averted her eyes and concentrated intensely on the Words. Ginmar gazed at the couple in horrified disbelief, like an engineer forced to witness a train wreck.
"Love me. Right now, you're going to love me. You're going to take care of me just like you always have." She kissed his chest again. She had always loved the silky feel of his skin on her lips. The way his voice rumbled up from deep in his chest when he spoke. The intoxicating smell of him. Lying with him like this was one of the chief pleasures of her life. This was the time when they could talk unfettered by interruptions. When they could simply be together. Sometimes they would lie in soft silence for hours simply holding each other, just being. "Do you remember the first time we did this?"
"Unfettered by interruptions?" Ginmar said dryly. "Oh, I see somebody got a thesaurus for Christmas. Shame it makes no fucking sense at all. And just....being?" She rolled her eyes again. "Oh, please, I need a bucket. This makes romantic novels look sincere. I'm surprised there's no throbbing manhoods or---hm, what was it again? Oh, yeah, cores and centers. Coy euphemisms. Amateurs."
Silently, Rhysdux passed her an extra-large bottle of bleeprin.
She felt his chuckle against her cheek. "Yeah. The first time you kissed me I thought you were going to suck my tonsils out through my teeth." She could feel his grin against her hand. "Then later I thought you were gonna suck 'em out through my dick." He jumped. "Damn, woman, don't hit me there. That hurts. Besides that was a compliment."
Ginmar glared at Spike. “Oh, really? Ew. Thanks SO much for sharing.” She turned to Baby, speaking in a tone somewhat lower, but still furious. “And if it hurts---and he's a vampire, it shouldn't----that's not a good sign.”
"Hey, you were bloody good. Why do you think I've kept you around all these years? The flipping sex has been fantastic." He grinned wickedly.
“So he'll say ‘dick,’ but not ‘fucking,’ presumably,” Ginmar said, looking and sounding more disgusted by the minute. “He sounds like a housewife trying to sound tough. This is not Spike. This is pod Spike.”
“He won’t use her real name, he calls her by a generic non-name and he’s kept her around all these years purely for sexual purposes,” Rhysdux interjected. “Explain to me how being treated like an inflatable doll is romantic?”
"That's because I perv on you constantly. It feeds your ego. Nothing gets you going like having your ego stroked." She did something with her hand that made his eyes cross. "Though there's something else I can stroke that gets you going, too."
Ginmar sighed mightily and counted to ten. “Bitch. Please.”
"Yeah?" He knew this game and loved it. "So tell me, what's got your engine revving this time? What's going on in that head of yours? What's making my sweet dove so…" He gasped as her hand did that thing again. "Hot?"
“As her hand did what thing?” demanded Rhysdux, honestly puzzled. “I can think of an awful lot of things you can do with hands.”
Ginmar shivered. “That is so coy, it’s ugly.”
She licked his left nipple before she answered. "I was remembering that night. You're right. I did damn near suck your tonsils out. Both times. I had never been that turned on before in my whole life."
He bit his lower lip as her blunt teeth sank into his flesh. "Shit! Baby!" His brain was starting to shut down. "Yeah, well you'd never seen the Big Bad hunt before. How could you know I was so bleeding sexy when I kill things? You were all over me before that poor sod's body hit the ground."
Ginmar shook her head. "Spike's a bit more ironic about his appeal---the thing about 'bleeding sexy' is just not something he'd say with the rest of it. He's also noted for being intelligent and perceptive. Baby is neither. She can't even talk dirty with any degree of fluency." She shrugged. "Blah."
"Hey, that 'poor sod' was trying to kill me."
“Well, yeah,” said Ginmar as she rolled her eyes, “that always gets me hot.”
Rhysdux glanced at the Words. She cringed. “Brace yourself. Temporal-spatial distortion about to hit…now.”
A few seconds later, the two were stumbling into an alley. It looked odd, and after a second or two, the agents realized why--the alley had no features at all. It wasn’t clean or filthy; it wasn’t made of two brick walls, or one solid brick wall and a fire escape; it contained neither trash cans nor street people. It was simply a blank, colorless passage between buildings, no more, no less.
“Now where--ah, there they are,” said Rhysdux, after they had both switched back to their vampire disguises. She pointed toward the other end of the alley where Baby stood paralyzed at the sight of an armed mugger.
Baby stared transfixed at the knife waving before her face. She was absolutely sure that she had never been this terrified before.
“Let’s see,” said Rhysdux thoughtfully. “She helps cast a spell that hurls her into another dimension, gets bitten by Spike, a powerful vampire and self-confessed Big Bad, gets struck by lightning while being bitten by said vampire, helps Spike defeat Angelus, who is notorious for being a sadistic psychopath, goes off alone to hunt with Spike--who she herself compares to a serial killer--and she’s scared of a little ol’ mugger? Puh-LEESE.”
The fear was so great she could feel nothing else. She couldn't think.
“At least she’s being honest.”
Rhysdux glanced reprovingly at her partner. “Gin. Much. Too. Easy.”
The thug's voice droned on with horrible, unintelligible persistence, matching time with the knife's back and forth sway.
From the darkness, a slim white hand appeared and stopped the sway and a rich, breathy baritone silenced the drone.
Faster than her eye and brain could follow, Spike twisted the assailant's arm back and up.
“Nope,” said Ginmar, crossing her arms firmly. “Not gonna touch that. Nuh-uh.”
“I wonder when Spike had a sex-change operation…” Rhysdux mused as Spike briefly morphed into a hermaphrodite.
“Very impressive. What, are they doing drive-through sex changes now?”
Staring directly into her eyes, his irises flowed from blue to blazing gold. Her breath caught deep in her chest. He was glorious. Without a further word, he opened his mouth wide and sank his fangs deeply into the man's neck, piercing skin and flesh until he reached the artery itself.
Rhysdux gagged. “Yes. I too find it glorious when my dates decide to eat muggers. Cannibalism is SUCH a turn-on.”
Ginmar squinted at the Words. “Flowed from where to where? And irises don’t flow, anyway. They aren’t made of water. It sounds like his eyes are dribbling down his cheeks.”
Soft growls and rumbles accompanied sucking sounds as precious blood flowed down his throat. She had never seen anything so compelling, so awe-inspiring.
Ginmar rubbed her chin. “So, she’s obviously never seen that Crocodile Hunter guy then.”
Spike was a great lion frozen on the throat of a helpless wildebeest and she knew he would not be dislodged till the last vestige of life twitched from his prey.
A nostalgic look swept across Rhysdux’s face. “I can almost hear “Born Free” playing in the background.”
Ginmar smashed open her extra-large bottle of bleeprin and emptied it in three handfuls. “Okay, wildebeest? I know it’s a real animal, but it still sounds like something you make 'roast beast’ from. And ‘frozen on the throat’? Like a giant goiter or something? ‘Twitched from his prey’? ‘A vestige of life’ is not really specific, and it's not descriptive, either. And what vestige of life--blood? If it's blood, blood doesn't twitch---well, unless it's that weird mutant space carrot blood from The Thing.”
"It's just too specific." Rhys said dismissively. "All I see is Spike and a wildebeest. No lion. No desert. Just the Big Bad, getting far too close to bestiality. Just Spike and this nervous looking thing, kicking at him occasionally, like he's a really big fly. Don't wildebeests use their tails to brush away flies?"
Ginmar shuddered. "Great. Just great. Thank you very much. I'm also envisioning a less than impressive defense by the wildebeest, in which it dances around with Lion! Spike attached to it, while the wildebeest wiggles and kicks in an effort to dislodge him." She closed her eyes briefly, then opened them again. "I used to know this lady who had this horny little poodle, and he was always clamped to somebody's leg. You'd have to kick to get the damned dog to let go. Sometimes if you kicked too hard, he'd go flying."
Rhys scrutinized Spike, who was still clamped onto the neck of the mugger. "Well, thank you, too. Now I'm picturing a wildebeest with a poodle attached to it." She sniffed. "I'm not impressed."
Her feet stumbled on the corpse as she launched herself at the vampire, her mouth finding his easily. He opened his lips under her assault, allowing her to pull his tongue into her mouth. She sucked on it greedily. The salt taste of the blood mingled with tobacco and bourbon in a heady combination. It teased her taste buds, making her want more. She released his tongue and forced hers deep into his mouth seeking more of that taste, more of him.
“She likes the taste of blood?” Ginmar frowned. “That’s seriously disturbed.”
“She really doesn’t come across as a human being at all, does she? Everything she’s done so far has been either violent or sexual. Like a vampire-in-training.”
She was peripherally aware of his arms coming around her, lifting her over the dead body so he could press her closer. With her body and mouth hot against his and the robber's blood hot in his veins, he crushed her to him, his body singing with the heat and vitality.
Rhysdux pondered. “Didn’t the author say earlier that Angel had ‘cold, borrowed blood?’ Why is Angel’s blood cold and Spike’s hot?”
“Probably because the author thinks everything about Spike is hot. Can we skip the rest of this?”
“Sure. They’ll be going to a hotel just down the road. We can portal in there.”
The two switched back to the maid disguises, then stepped through the portal.
Unluckily for them, time dilation hit while they were portaling. When they arrived at the hotel room, Spike and Baby were already going at it.
Rhysdux sighed heavily as she avoided looking at the speaker. “Yes, Baby. I agree with you. This entire fic is disgusting.”
“No one should look that good at six in the friggin' morning. You are just absolutely, positively the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen. Makes me wanna just gnaw on ya." The accent was as thick as honey but he had no trouble translating the look in her eyes.
“Yeah, gnawing and sex,” said Ginmar. “Gnawing just makes me think of rodents. And how thick exactly is honey, anyway?”
'Okay, that's different,' he thought. He couldn't help but grin as she crawled down his body.
Ginmar shook her head. “Spike's a hundred-odd years old. It's safe to say he's had blowjobs before. The writer is telling, not showing. And the writer seems to be trying, far too hard to convince the readers of Baby's sex appeal.”
Rhysdux studied Baby for a moment. “I’m not convinced.”
“You’re supposed to be.”
“I know. But she hasn’t shown one ounce of personality. As Gertrude Stein said about Nebraska, ‘There’s no there there.’ ”
"So, sexy thing, you wanna play?"
Her own grin could only be categorized as feral as she damn near swallowed him whole.
“Uh, yeah,” Ginmar said, scratching her head and looking puzzled. “Isn't it hard to grin while you're---oh, never mind.”
"Oh shit yeah. Oh baby."
"Spike doesn't seem the sort to say 'shit' oddly enough," Ginmar commented. 'Bloody' is the word that comes to mind. 'Shit' is a Southern thing, not an especially English thing. They'd say shite."
Rhysdux sighed once more. “Spike is a lot more articulate than this. And a lot more manipulative, even when he’s talking to someone he cares about. What’s more, he’s always on his guard, especially with people he doesn’t know or trust. He just met her a half hour ago, and he wound up with her memories inside his head. Tell me he wouldn’t be wondering what kind of spell this was and what the consequences would be. This is the Hellmouth.”
Ginmar frowned. "Tell me he wouldn't analyze those memories--or jeer at them. He's literate, perceptive, witty--Baby is none of those things. She's displayed no finger tendencies at all, and as a matter of fact, quite a few of the lower ones." She sighed. "Pod Spike."
A small time dilation rippled through the room. When it ended, the agents discovered that they were in the same hotel room as before. It was impossible to tell how much time had passed, but it could not have been long, as Spike and Baby had stopped snogging and were now hugging.
It felt good to lie wrapped in warm arms. He couldn't remember the last time he had awoken in someone's arms, warm or otherwise.
“Ugh,” growled Ginmar. “Now I’m picturing Spike being held by two disembodied arms.”
“I don’t know why he can’t remember the last time he woke up in someone’s arms,” said Rhysdux thoughtfully. “If this is the night that Jenny Calendar originally died, then this would have been the episode Passion in the second season. So it’s approximately February 28, 1998. And Angelus showed up around January 20 to January 21, 1998, right after Angel had sex with Buffy on her birthday. If we assume that Dru stopped having sex with Spike when Angelus showed up, Spike hasn’t had sex for five weeks. Not exactly a long period of time--and, again, that’s assuming that Dru wasn’t having sex with both him and Angelus.”
“And there’s no WAY he would throw over Dru for Baby! My God, he’s crazy about her! They’ve been together for a hundred and twenty years!”
Felt damned good. He looked into warm golden green eyes. It was friggin' great to have a woman he had just had sex with not look at him with disdain-filled eyes. It felt so good when they didn't kick him out of bed or call him disgusting.
“Uh, Spike? One hundred and twenty years with Dru?” Rhysdux gazed disbelievingly at the vampire. “I don’t think she kicked you out of the sack, or called you disgusting.”
He ran his hand over her face while double-checking. No, not a hint of disgust or regret. In fact, this one was looking decidedly…soft. Pleased. It was damned nice.
Rhysdux groaned. “I can’t picture Spike being insecure in bed.”
"Only a thoroughly emasculated Spike would fall for Baby. Baby's not interested in the real Spike, just in what he looks like. She wants to dominate him." Ginmar sniffed. "She's already warped his personality enough so he'd fall for her, which wouldn't even be possible in canon. And to add insult to injury, it takes what? A few hours?"
“Did I thank you yet?"
She made a soft amused sound. "Yes. Seven times before I lost count. I had no idea that you could…That whole being a vampire thing really works well for you."
Rhysdux spoke in the aggressively perky voice of a narrator from a detergent ad. “Spice up your sex life! Become a walking corpse!”
Cuddling. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had a good cuddle. Couldn't remember when he last just lay in bed holding someone. Must have been before Dru left him. Harmony wasn't much on afterglow and the Slayer was likely to break his arm if he tried to hold her afterwards. Afterglow for the Slayer pretty much consisted of getting up, calling him names, slapping him around a bit, and leaving. '
“It's second season!” Rhysdux said. “Dru hasn't left! He hasn't had sex with Harmony OR Buffy.”
“I hate that this author is demonizing Buffy,” Ginmar said grimly. “That’s not the way it happened at all.”
'Damn, I'm fucked up,' he thought. 'My entire unlife is completely and utterly fucked up beyond belief. When did it get so out of control? When did I get so out of control?'
Ginmar stared incredulously at Spike. "Okay, that's so OOC I can't even be sarcastic. He sounds like some pseudo-sensitive Soap Opera Stud."
"Spike does not think in those terms," Rhysdux said firmly. " I've seen him depressed twice and crying once. And then he was angry."
"His depression does tend to do that. And then he gets sarcastic---and honest."
Was that actual concern he could see in her eyes? Damn. He couldn't remember ever seeing a woman's eyes filled with concern for him. It just didn't happen. He had the oddest feeling somewhere deep inside.
“Aside from Dru, who just nursed you back to health after a roof fell on you and crippled you?”
Ginmar exhaled. “Now the author’s pitting herself against all other women. I can't decide whether that's conceit or insecurity. She's got to feel that she's better than every other woman out there.” She rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “I'm leaning toward jaw-dropping arrogance, though.”
Care shown from her face. Care for him. For what he was thinking. For what was bothering him. That odd feeling grew, twisting his insides into painful knots.
‘It’s called ‘nausea,’ Spike…” Rhysdux called helpfully.
“Yeah, Spike. You're fucking a fortysomething trailer-trash ho with no wit and imagination, and a taste for blood. And you're the vampire, remember?”
“Also, she gets turned on by seeing other humans getting killed, which indicates severe mental illness. What’s normal in a vampire is not normal for a human. Vamps have an excuse, with the whole ‘possessed by a demon’ thing. Baby doesn’t.”
“God, and this is supposed to be the heroine…”
"Spike? Honey?" She sat up so she was looking directly at him. "What's wrong, sweetheart?"
No one cared about him. They never had.
"What's the matter, baby? Let me help you."
And William the Bloody, conscienceless killer of thousands, soulless harbinger of mayhem and destruction, feared across an entire continent, buried his head in her lap and cried, for his heart was broken.
“Oh, stop me right now!” exclaimed Ginmar. “Christ on a pogo stick!
This is not Spike---this is some soap opera dude with blonde hair and an
English accent. And some of this is a slam in a passive-aggressive way
at Buffy, without mentioning her directly. Buffy went through a lot of
stuff, and Spike was always sympathetic. Spike would never say stuff like
this about her, think about her, but here the writer's got him bashing
her. It's so out of character that the author's agenda is showing here
quite clearly, and it's scary.”
The Omniscient Author spoke up:
“I’m getting very sick with all of these time changes,” groaned Ginmar as they stumbled into--well, a grey featureless room, somewhere. That was about all you could call it, since the author hadn’t bothered to describe it in any way, not even to the extent of mentioning where in Los Angeles they were. Just a grey box of no particular size with no furniture, windows or doors.
Spike stared at his hand. It rested lightly atop his thigh, his fingers curled protectively around Baby's. He tightened his clasp slightly and was rewarded with a return of gentle pressure. He pulled her hand further into his lap and wrapped his other hand around hers so it was sandwiched between both of his. He wanted to do that to all of her. Cover her with himself so she'd be safe. He finally moved his gaze to his grandsire.
"I can't keep track of the hands," complained Ginmar. “Are there three of them? And covering her with himself is just clumsy."
“I was picturing a Spike-shaped quilt,” Rhysdux admitted.
“Oh, and that sire thing? It’s getting really, really old.”
"So, what did you want with us then?" His tone was harsher than he intended. He knew Angel was trying to help. He just hated waiting around while something out there was looking to kill his wife. He needed action desperately.
Angel paused his pacing long enough to look at Spike. "Wes thinks he may have found something."
“Yeah? About time." Damn. Spike didn't mean for it to sound like he was blaming Wesley. Nothing was coming out right today.
"It's a Klackshov demon. Cordelia was positive in her identification." The ex-Watcher held out a huge tome bound with iron for Spike to see. It smelled old and evil to the vampire.
Ginmar blinked. “How does evil smell?”
“I never heard of a Klackshov demon before.”
"Shov is spelled wob in Russian. It's a suffix for a name. And...Klack? Wow, way to make it sound real there, babe. There's so much wrong with this, it's not funny."
The text that Wes was reading said that the “Klackshov demon” had the ability to hide and that it fed on grief. According to the text, it settled “on a single host, causing said grief by killing the family and loved ones of the host and then feeding until the host is used up." Wesley looked up from the text. "I would assume that means until the host either feels better, which is highly unlikely, or until it dies." He straightened his glasses and returned to the book. "Afterward, the demon enters a dormant period storing up its reserves until it can find a new host."
Ginmar scowled. "This is just stupid. That sounds like what Baby does, anyway."
“I heartily agree.”
"So how do we find it and kill it?" Cordelia asked.
"Killing it won't be difficult. Apparently it isn't particularly tough. Decapitation is recommended though stabbing it in the heart is also a viable option."
"Both good ways," said Rhysdux absent-mindedly as she stared at Baby. There was something feral about that stare.
Wesley looked up with as bleak an expression as any Spike had ever seen. "Finding it is going to be very difficult. That 'hiding' ability that was spoken of seems to be particularly effective. According to everything I've been able to find, no one has ever been able to find this demon before it attacks. All kills have been made after a victim has died and the demon begins feeding on the host."
Ginmar cried out in agony. “Can we skip past any of this?”
“We ARE skipping, believe me.” Rhysdux checked the Words for the five billionth time. “They just natter on about how no one is going to take the consorts of the Scourge--the author seems to have gotten Angelus the Scourge of Europe mixed up with the demonic race called the Scourge--Spike stands in a patch of sunlight and doesn’t get burned to a crisp, and then Angel and Spike have a little heart-to-heart talk. We can skip all but the end of that talk, but then we have to head back to Sunnydale. Listen.”
Spike addressed Angel. "Do you know that in a very weird, could-only-happen-in-Sunnyhell way, you're what brought us together, Peaches. If you hadn't hurt her, I'd have left after that one night.”
The agents were being badly affected by all of the temporal-spatial distortions. Sick and dizzy beyond words, they collapsed onto the floor of the same hotel room that Spike and Baby had been sharing before. Ginmar leaned against a nightstand, in an evident attempt to brace herself. Rhysdux was hanging on to the edge of the bedspread for dear life. “Bleeprin…doesn’t seem…to be working,” she moaned.
Ginmar fumbled in her backpack, passed Rhysdux a glass of what looked like a glass of water, then grabbed one for herself.
Rhysdux regarded it doubtfully. “What is it?” she whispered.
Ginmar was already swallowing the last of hers. “Bleepka. It’s a mixture of Bleeprin, Bleepto-Dismal and vodka. Drink up. You need it.”
Rhysdux pushed the pause button on the fic and began drinking.
Five or six bleepkas later, the agents felt more prepared to deal with the Babyverse. They switched to their maids’ disguises. Then Rhysdux unpaused the fic.
Baby woke up alone. The clock told her that sundown was hours past. So he was gone then. It had been a nice fantasy. One of the best. Twenty-four hours of pure unadulterated Spike fantasy. The sex has been unbelievable. The man actually lived up to his reputation. It had truly been a dream come true. But in the end, that's all it had been, a dream, a fantasy. Not real. And now it was time for that much vaunted reality check.
Ginmar rolled her eyes. “There's so many things wrong there, that I don't believe it. Season Two Spike had a reputation for being an utter villain.”
“And an accomplished one. He wimped out of summoning Acathla, ultimately, but he and Dru both willingly brought back the Judge. He killed dozens of people, tried to kill Buffy three times, tortured Angel, set up a bunch of wannabe vamps to be devoured...he was evil. And he was proud of it.”
“Are we to assume that she went back to Season Two after watching the whole series?”
“Up to season six. There’s a reference to Dark Willow.”
“These Mary Sues always twist Buffy till she's an utter bitch, and then they self-righteously use that character assassination to justify their 'comforting' of Spike.”
“Except that this is Season Two Spike, and he doesn’t need to be comforted.”
“Right. This isn’t just stupid, it’s confusing.”
Wet from the shower, she looked at herself in the bathroom mirror. A face half-hidden by too much salt and pepper hair stared back. It wasn't a bad face but it sure wasn't anything to write sonnets to. True, it was unlined and her skin was still good but there was nothing striking, nothing to compare to women like Drusilla or Buffy.
“Why does she have salt-and-pepper hair?” asked Rhysdux. “That’s grey and black hair, and I thought she was a redhead.”
The flesh under her eyes was darken and puffy from lack of sleep. There was a hint of looseness to the skin under her chin. Time lived in her eyes.
“So where did Time vacation?” inquired Ginmar curiously.
With honest appraisal she had to say that she looked pretty good for a forty-one year old who had just spent a full calendar day having the most intense sexual and emotional encounter of her life. Who had been granted the most intimate knowledge of someone else's life. Who had spent twenty-four hours acting like she was twenty-five. Feeling like she was twenty-five. But still when all was said and done, she was forty-one. And he was… perfect.
“Wasn’t there a Weird Al Yankovic song called ‘Pretty Fly for a Dead Guy’?” Rhysdux asked.
“No, it was ‘White Guy.’ But I like your version better.”
"What did you expect, stupid? Did you think he'd stay? That he'd sweep you away somewhere? How dumb are you?" she asked her reflection.
"Why can't we have something like a thermometer that measures intelligence in negative numbers?" lamented Ginmar. "Then I could answer that question."
"You knew it was a one-nighter going into it. He's not even real, for God's sake." Trouble was, it had felt real. It had felt very, very real. Fuck! You do not get emotionally wrapped up with fantasies. That would fall into the 'needs to be taken away by men in white coats' category.
Ginmar snorted. “Obviously they lost her address, because here the Sue-writer is delivering that eerie monologue about herself TO herself. He is fictional, and she put herself into the story. And she ruined his character.”
Come on, she told herself. Time to get back to real life. Call Giles; see if he can get you back. You've got a job that pays damn good money and people counting on you. "Get it together, why don't you? He loves Buffy. Has for years. What, you want to play rebound girl? Aren't you a little old for that kind of shit?"
“He. Does. Not. Love. Buffy,” said Rhysdux between clenched teeth. “He. Loves. Dru. It. Is. Second. Season. Get it through your thick SKULL.”
“Yeah, and it took a chip and a couple years of exposure to the Scoobies, plus his grief at Buffy's death to make him love Buffy. She doesn’t have a hope in Hell of being more than a Happy Meal with legs.”
Baby had finished getting dressed and “was attempting to coil her hair into something resembling a French knot when Spike strolled in.”
Spike informed Baby that her scientist friends had already left. Baby revealed that her husband and two daughters had died in a car crash and that she had no reason to go back to the real world.
She drew a long shuddering breath. "What about you? What are you going to do?”
"I'm leaving. I'm gonna pick up the DeSoto tonight and head out. Probably Vegas. Make myself a bit of a stake and just ramble for a while. Get my head together."
She smiled. "It sounds like a good plan. Just you?"
He gave her a tiny hint of a smile in return. "Yeah, just me. Dru can do whatever she wants. She probably hasn't even noticed I'm gone." That wasn't what she had meant.
“He would have been away from home for one night,” snapped Rhysdux. “Dru would have noticed. She was crazy, not stupid.”
"He'd never dump Dru like that," Ginmar said. "Not after one night."
Spike asked Baby to come with him while he got his car, offering her
a ride to Giles’ afterwards. Baby agreed, not looking at him.
The two materialized in the Generic Alley where Spike had killed the mugger a few scenes before. It was as featureless as it had been earlier. Aside from the PPC agents, Baby was the only person in the alley. There was no sign of the mugger’s corpse, or even of any bloodstains, so presumably the Sunnydale police had swung by and taken the body to the morgue.
Baby stuck her hands in her pockets to warm them. Spike had only been gone five minutes and she was already crawling the walls. She stared hopefully toward the opening of the alley, know it was impossible for him to have made it to the factory, gathered the few things he wanted, and gotten back to her. Even though she agreed that a possible confrontation with Drusilla would be dangerous for her and a second meeting with Angel was to be avoided at all costs, she wished now that she had gone with Spike. Even the assurance that his bite mark would keep any vampires away wasn't as comforting now as it had been when he left her here to wait.
“Okay,” said Rhysdux in an even tone. “She’s a woman standing in the middle of a dark alley at night in Sunnydale, Home of the Hellmouth. What’s wrong with this picture?”
“How is his bite mark going to keep every other vampire away?” demanded Ginmar. “Are vamps just going to look at it, note the impressions of vampire fangs and check dental records to see who bit her first?”
What little comfort she felt disappeared when a soft voice spoke from the shadows.
"Well, well. What have we here, then? My childe shouldn't leave you out all alone." Angelus eased from the darkness, that voice terrifying in its gentleness. "There are all sorts of monsters out at night, girl."
He stopped her with an outstretched arm before she had run more than two steps. "I mean look at me; I'm the worst monster you'll ever see, sweetheart."
Rhysdux scowled. “Why is Angelus still Angelus? He was captured twenty-four hours ago by Baby and Spike and was turned over to Buffy, Jenny and Giles. Giles was told about the ensoulment spell that Jenny found, and was advised to let Willow help him and Jenny cast it. There’s no WAY that they would have put that off--not when ensouling Angelus would eliminate a sadistic and homicidal psychopath from the streets of Sunnydale.”
Ginmar muttered something about “Suvian logic.”
He grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed her against the brick wall. "I'm really glad he did, though." He flung her against a dumpster, just hard enough to cause her to see stars. He wanted her conscientious.
"He wanted her diligent and paying scrupulous attention to detail?" Rhysdux asked.
"It couldn't possibly have said that."
"Did too. See?"
"Oh, my God. I don't even want to KNOW what kind of details he wants her to pay attention to."
"I owe you, girl. I owe you so much." Angelus lifted her easily and pulled her close to him. "And paybacks really are a bitch, honey." He sniffed slightly. "Mm, you smell like Spike. Got my boy's smell all over you. Looks like you've been taking good care of him. How about you take care of me for a while." He reached out and ripped her blouse open. "Nice. Let's see what else you got."
Baby tried desperately to fight back but he was too strong. His hands were bands of steel holding her against the dirty brick. She could feel the rough masonry skinning her back even through her clothes.
Rhysdux closed her eyes in evident pain. “She’s being sexually assaulted and NOW she notices the scenery?”
Her clothes… Angelus was ripping and tearing, destroying her clothing as he sought to get at her skin. His hands were everywhere. Holding her down while running over her body. She had never known such terror.
Ginmar stared as Angelus’ hands duplicated. One--the set still attached to Angelus--held Baby down. The new set hand-walked out of the alley. They re-entered it a moment later, driving a pink Cadillac that had no business being narrow enough to enter a cramped passage between buildings, and promptly ran over Baby. Neither Baby nor Angelus appeared to notice.
She felt his hands, his hateful, hateful hands pushing her skirt up, tearing her panties away. She could smell the asphalt under her and the sour smell of garbage near by.
“Asphalt doesn’t really have a smell, not unless it’s a hot summer day and the asphalt is melting,” said Rhysdux in an irate tone. “And it makes absolutely no sense to do a rape scene and then focus on the environment instead of the emotions of the victim, not to mention the actual rape.”
She could feel tiny bits of debris and gravel digging into her back, her hips. She could even hear the buzz of the nearest streetlight. But over everything else was the feel of Angelus' hands and the sound of his soft, gentle, hateful voice.
“The buzz of a streetlight?” inquired Ginmar, her tone one of contempt.
“Fluorescent streetlights do buzz,” said Rhysdux with disgust. “But not always, and never loudly. And again--why the hell is she paying attention to things like streetlights in the middle of a rape?”
"There's no emotion here at all. This is starting to get weird," Ginmar said. Rhys gave her a skeptical look. "Okay, weird-er. When was the last time this character felt an emotion? Or expressed it? All this overkill with the description is a substitute for it." She shivered.
Nothing had ever hurt so much as Angelus entering her body. Nothing. A pain, a degradation like no other.
She stopped struggling and waited to die.
“’A pain, a degradation like no other’?” said Rhysdux with disgust. “That’s IT? Wow. Talk about descriptive.”
“It’s like someone told the author that being raped is agonizing, physically and emotionally, but she just couldn’t empathize with the victim--and did you notice that there is no specific mention of anything sexual happening? Angelus’ hands are all over her; Angelus enters her. That’s it.”
“And the author tells us it hurts. She doesn’t show us the pain wracking Baby’s body or devastating her mind.”
"Ah darlin', I'm gonna leave little parts of you scattered all around for my boy to find," he said, Irish cadence matching each excruciating stroke of his body into hers. "I'm gonna rip you in half, sweetheart. I'm gonna…"
“Excruciating? Why is every stroke of his body hurting HIM?” Ginmar glared at the Words. “And Irish accents do not have a cadence--not that Angelus HAS an Irish accent. He didn’t have an Irish accent even when he was alive. He had some weird kind of speech impediment.”
Spike grabbed the larger vampire by the shoulders and flung him across the alley. Baby saw his body silhouetted against the dim glow from the mouth of the alley. He had come. After all, he had come.
“’He had come’?” said Ginmar incredulously. “In the middle of a rape scene?”
“I think the author meant, ‘He had arrived.’”
“God, I hope so. It’s so melodramatic and non-specific. Where did he arrive from, anyway?”
“From the abandoned factory where, according to this author, he and Dru and Angelus are all living--as opposed to Angel’s mansion in the show. Spike’s leaving town, so he had to go get his car, pack his possessions, say goodbye to Dru…”
“Oh, I can so see that happening. Not. Well, that’s another charge for the list--forcing Spike and Dru to behave in a manner completely out of character.”
"I'm gonna kill you this time," Spike said. He advanced on his sire with murder gleaming in cold blue eyes.
"Shouldn't have left your pet all alone. Things happen if you don't take care of your belongings." The older vampire grinned. "But then, you never could take care of anything."
“Are you two boys going to fight over li’l ol’ me?” said Ginmar in a mock-Scarlett-O’Hara accent. Abruptly, she switched back to her normal voice and tone. “Shoot me now.”
As Spike began trying to choke Angelus--a rather pointless exercise, as vampires don’t breathe--Rhysdux hit the pause button.
“I think we can skip the next scene in 2014,” she said. “Baby is relaying a message to Wes and Cordy. Spike has offered to turn them. Cordy says that she doesn’t think she needs to be turned to stay young, because she hasn’t aged since being demonized. Wes mentions that he’s thought about becoming a vampire. He’s gone so far as to get himself an Orb of Thesulah and the ensoulment spell from Giles, whom he calls Rupert--“
“And I can so see THAT happening. Sure, Giles would just tell Wesley to go off, be a bloodthirsty, demon-possessed, animated corpse with a soul, have a nice day.”
Rhysdux nodded. “But that’s it. Nothing happens to Wes or Cordy. At least not in this story.”
Ginmar stared at her. “They become vampires?”
“I’m not sure,” Rhysdux admitted. “Let’s check the Canon Analyzer.” She tapped a few keys, then pushed ‘audio.’
[Working. Insufficient data on Chase-Angel, Cordelia.]
[Data on Wyndham-Pryce, Wesley James Stewart. Turned in 2016 at the age of fifty. Sired by Baby Roxton in New Orleans--at his own request--on his fiftieth birthday during a sexual encounter. Is the first Childe Baby--A.K.A. the NOLA Slasher--created. Known Aliases and titles: Master of Dallas/Fort Worth, the Aurelius Mage, the L.A. Slasher.]
“Oh, please,” muttered Ginmar. “Even Dark Wes wouldn’t fuck Baby. And even Dark Wes certainly wouldn't consent to being turned. And the whole serial killer-wannabe obsession is creepy. Baby thinks of serial killers as nice. She becomes a slasher. Wes becomes a slasher. We have got to kill this bitch.”
“When!? We have more than enough things to charge her with!”
Rhysdux smiled evilly. “I’m waiting till she gets turned. We can grab her before she gets re-souled. I think that someone who admires vampires so much should find out first-hand that there are a couple of drawbacks.” She whispered her plan to Ginmar.”
“Oh, that’s just evil,” said Ginmar, grinning maliciously. “I like it.”
Ginmar glanced at Spike, who had been frozen in the useless act of trying to choke Angel. “What about him? The others might snap back to normal, but he’s suffering from complete character degradation.”
“We’ll take him back with us. The Department of Fictional Psychology can take care of him. He’ll be in good company; Thranduil and Boromir practically live there these days.”
Ginmar nodded. “So what comes after the Wes and Cordy scene?”
“Post-rape exam of Baby in 1998,” sighed Rhysdux. “And therapy sex, of course--I’ll have to skip that scene. If I don’t, my head will explode. Baby hammers in the head of the now re-souled Angel in revenge--I think we can skip that too. Spike asks Baby to come live with him and be his love, so that they can a thousand pleasures prove. Then--back in 2014--Demon Buffy meets Spike and Spike realizes how much he loves Baby. Baby is shot by a crossbow bolt. Angel turns her. That’s where we come in.”
The agents slipped into their maids’ disguises. Ginmar activated the portal that would take them to Spike’s and Baby’s hotel room.
They leaped through the portal.
Spike placed Baby under the warm shower carefully. He didn't want her to slip and add to her injuries. She hadn't protested at all when he'd offered to help her clean up. Just looked at him with big solemn eyes and nodded. She was having trouble standing, one knee swollen and obviously painful though it wasn't broken. He'd already stretched her out and searched for cracked bones and open wounds. There didn't seem to be any.
"Pod Spike strikes again," muttered Ginmar. "Real Spike would be yelling at her for getting him worried, demonstrating whatever affection he felt for this creature by being annoyed with her. Well, if she wasn't this creature."
“Angelus seems to have been oddly restrained,” commented Rhysdux. “I remember him torturing Giles a LOT more. I mean, what was all that about a pain like no other? She has a wrenched knee! That doesn't even qualify. A sadistic psycho would do a hell of a lot more than that.”
The only fang mark was the one Spike had made. Angelus hadn't bit her.
“Bitten,” corrected Rhysdux. She retrieved her pen from behind her right ear, got a battered notebook from her backpack, recorded the mistake in her notebook, and then put both notebook and pen back where they belonged. “And why wouldn’t he bite her?”
“He would, actually, if he were the real Angelus.”
But there were plenty of bruises and scratches. And blue-black suck marks, hickeys. It looked like Angelus intended to enjoy himself before he killed her. Bastard probably went easy, wanting her conscious so he could enjoy hurting her more. So she'd be aware of what he was doing to her and what he planned for her later. Angelus liked for his victims to fully appreciate his efforts.
“Except hickeys?” said Ginmar in an incredulous tone. “He'd have tied her up and tortured her, torn her clothes off, taunted her with his wit and his sadism.”
Rhysdux nodded. “Yep. He would have grabbed her, taken her someplace private where no one could have heard her scream and commenced to torture, rape and degrade her. She would have lost her mind before she died. After all, that's what happened to Dru.”
“Good point. The author couldn’t possibly be playing favorites now, could she?”
Spike took a washcloth and soap and began to gently cleanse away the dirt and grime from her unresisting form. The insides of her thighs were stained red-brown with blood. Spike was reluctant to touch her; he didn't want to hurt her. He didn't want to bring back any of that pain.
Ginmar snorted. “Spike wouldn't do this for anyone but Buffy, and even then only after she came back. That changed him.”
"Baby? Look at me, luv." When her golden eyes met his, he brought one of her hands to his lips and kissed her knuckles softly. "Pet, this may be hard but I need to clean you there. I don't want you to be frightened, alright? Just hold my hand. Squeeze hard if it hurts. Alright? Can you do that? I won't hurt you, I promise."
“Christ," Ginmar muttered. "Baby is a fool who wandered into the zoo, and taunted the lion. She got bitten. She didn't earn this kind of response from Spike. And it is so damned insincere.”
“And just to make me hate that paragraph completely, the author is using the word ‘alright’. That’s a substandard word, like ‘ain’t.’ As my English teacher used to say, ‘Alright is not all right.’ “
When she was bundled in towels, he placed her on the edge of the bed. "Pet, you're still bleeding. I'm… I'm afraid that bastard hurt you badly. Please let me take you to a doctor." He said something about how her bleeding to death would be a waste of good blood.
She didn't smile at his attempt at humor but some of the bleakness softened. "Please, Spike. Don't make me. I don't want some stranger touching me. I don't think I can bear that. If it had been someone human, someone the police could deal with, it would be different. There'd be a purpose to it and I'd go without hesitation. But since it was him there's not.
“I just don't get it. First she's catatonic, now she’s not? And what was the point of that speech?” demanded Ginmar.
“To explain why she doesn't want to go to the police or the hospital, I guess.”
“It's ringing really false. I mean, everything in this story does, but...”
“Yeah. It doesn't make any sense. She should go to a doctor, if only to deal with any physical damage.” Rhysdux pondered for a minute. “Since she doesn't have a mind, I doubt if there would be any emotional impact.”
“Well, she's a psychopath. The author told us that much already, even if she didn’t use the word. The description was enough.”
“I think the term ‘malignant narcissism’ fits Baby. So does ‘opportunistic parasite.’
He nodded in understanding. He didn't want to do anything that would increase her distress, but he wasn't going to let her die from lack of proper attention either. "Luv, would you let me check, then? Make sure you're not all ripped up?" His sapphire eyes reflected his own distress. "I'll have to touch you."
“How would Spike know if she was ripped up inside or not?” said Rhysdux, looking puzzled once again. “It’s not as if he has medical equipment available. Are we talking Fantastic Voyage time?”
“This is exhaustingly stupid. He’s not Dr. Kildare.”
“Or a doctor at all. And a vampire doctor? I wasn't aware that Harvard Medical School was accepting cadavers as students. Known cadavers, anyway.”
“Yeah. This whole scene is just...ew. The author is trying to make him cuddly, but he's not. Only with Dru.”
She kept a death grip on his shirt cuff where he leaned his weight on his right hand. Aside from that white-knuckled clutch, she never betrayed the tension she had to have felt during his examination. When he finished, he sighed with relief. It wasn't bad, not at all. Physically, she should be all right in a day or two. Nothing worse than could be accounted for by rough sex. He'd feared much, much worse.
“Rape is not rough sex!” snarled Rhysdux. “I can’t believe that a woman author could possibly argue that a rape by a sadistic psychopath could be no worse than rough sex. We’re talking beyond denial here.”
"Baby's really weird about all this. Her attitude toward Spike is just bizarre. He's the trophy, but he's not written like himself at all. He's like a generic Soap Opera sensitive guy. Baby doesn't like Spike for Spike--it's like she just wants him so nobody else can have him. She's got the hot guy, and she might not even give a shit about him at all. She sure doesn't know his personality at all. She doesn't care about it. As long as she's got what other women want. That's the kind of coldness the story is accusing Buffy is---oh, but Buffy's a demon, so it's okay." Ginmar smacked her forehead.
The agents skimmed the Words as Spike mused that “Angelus must have been planning on playing for a long time, probably for hours, maybe even days. Multiple rapes, torture, the whole schema.”
“I think the author meant ‘scheme,’ ” said Rhysdux, making a note. “A ‘schema’ is an outline or diagram, a syllogistic figure in logic or, in Kantian philosophy, a conception of what is common to all members of a class. A ‘scheme’ is a systematic plan for doing something.”
Spike was angry enough to go out and stake Angelus. “But the girl needed him now. He couldn't leave her alone. Not yet. However, the blond vampire promised himself he'd deal with Angelus properly later.”
Rhysdux hit the pause button. “Okay. Baby stays in this room, being fussed over by Spike. She decides, after three days, that she ‘needs to be close to Spike. Needs it with a nameless desperation.’ Spike--showing a glimmer of intelligence--can’t figure out why a woman who has just been raped wants to make love. She tells him she wants to and that he’s been good to her. Spike tells her she doesn’t have to prostitute herself. She gets very dramatic and starts talking about how she knew that he couldn’t want her after Angelus made her dirty, and manipulates him into having sex.
“About four days after that, she takes a hammer to the head of the newly-re-souled Angel. Who, by the way, never once screams or tries to defend himself. There is no lasting damage, because Angel is like an Anne Rice vampire--he can’t be permanently hurt. So he recovers just fine.” Rhysdux grimaced. “The author appears to have forgotten that Spike spent months in a wheelchair.”
Ginmar frowned, apparently trying to figure something out. “So what happens after that?”
“The Klackshov demon shows up at the Hyperion--in the form of Buffy.” Rhysdux glanced apologetically at her partner. “This section contains the schmaltziest part of the story. You might want to have a couple of shots of bleepka first. And some insulin.”
Ginmar’s scowl deepened. “Let’s just get on with it.”
“All right. Just giving you fair warning.”
The two switched back to their vampire disguises. Rhys scanned the room
with the Canon Analyzer. When Ginmar asked why, Rhysdux replied vaguely
that she needed to gather a few plotholes for the Sue’s execution. Finally,
Rhysdux unpaused the fic, and Ginmar activated the portal. Without hesitation,
they stepped through.
The Omniscient Author spoke up as they materialized on an all-but-deserted floor of the Hyperion Hotel.
Spike woke up with a splitting headache. Felt as if the bleeding chip was back, it hurt so bad. When he tried to move he found he was wrapped in chains. Bound upright against a wall. Bloody Hell! It was the frigging nightmare again. It had to be. However, the smells around him were stronger, the textures sharper. The chains bit into his flesh more. And his head hadn't hurt in the nightmare. Somehow, he knew that this time he wasn't dreaming; he was awake.
This was the damned prophecy coming true.
“Did the chip hurt Spike before it started to deteriorate?” Rhysdux asked.
"No, it didn't but who cares? He shouldn't be thinking about the chip anyway. In this reality, he never got chipped."
He had thought such a thing wasn't possible but he broke out in a cold sweat. He tried to remember exactly how the dream went; maybe if he did something different then the outcome could be altered. Unfortunately, the only thing he could remember was seeing Baby hit by a crossbow bolt, seeing her fall, and bleed, and die. The VCR tape in his mind was stuck in a relentless loop. It made his head hurt worse.
"The VCR tape in his mind? Beta or VHS?" Ginmar asked dryly.
"Angel! Angel!" He felt disoriented but he knew he was still in the Hyperion by the scent of the place. Age and old wallpaper paste and crumbling plaster. He was somewhere on one of the vacant floors from the musty smell of disuse and dust and mold. His grandsire had to be nearby. "Angel! Goddamn it! Angelus!"
“He was on one of the vacant floors that smelled of disuse, dust and mold, so Angel had to be nearby?” said, Rhysdux, frowning. “Now that’s a total non sequitur.”
“I told you to stop looking for logic in a Sue story.”
“Sorry. I came under the influence of Mr. Spock at an early age.”
If his head would just lighten up for one Goddamned minute he'd be able to think. The room was dark, gloomy. Even with vampiric eyesight he could see no more than a few feet around him. His brain felt mushy and cloudy but not so much so that he didn't recognize the deep foreboding that gripped him. Every instinct he had was screaming 'Danger!' at the top of their figurative lungs. Half were screaming that the danger was directed at him and the other half were screaming that the danger was for his mate. He could sense her but he couldn't pinpoint where she was. That scared the shit out of him. He should be able to locate her down to the square foot she occupied if she was within a city block of him. All he could tell was that she was nearby. And if she was nearby then she might be chained up like he was, she might be hurt, she might be dead. 'No! Not visiting that place. Not going to even think about that!' he told his subconscious. He couldn't think that.
"Why would he be able to tell where she was down to the square foot? Angel couldn't tell where Buffy was. Spike couldn't tell where Dru or Buffy were. There aren't any shortcuts to finding people in the Jossverse, even if you're a vampire and you have an emotional connection to someone. He got one of those pet microchips put in her butt, didn't he?" Ginmar stopped in disgust. "Let me guess. Anne Rice thing?"
When Buffy stepped from the dense shadows, his heart nearly leaped from his chest. If it hadn't already been dead, he could have sworn he felt it stop beating and die. He knew it was over. They'd lost. They'd failed. He'd failed. Again. With a cry of "No!" he banged his head back into the wall again and again.
Ginmar gazed sympathetically at the chained vampire. “Spike, believe me. I know exactly how you feel.”
Spike tried not to listen as the Klackshov demon, disguised as Buffy, tried to make him feel guilty.
"Why did you leave me, Spike?” she said, giving him a wounded look that would have done credit to a cocker spaniel. “It was so hard without you. You knew I needed you. What do you think your leaving did to me? You were all I had.”
It was so obvious that the agents were alternately laughing and gagging. But Spike felt that he “wouldn't be able to bear it if she cried. Buffy's tears had always burned his non-existent soul.”
“Her tears burned something that wasn’t there?” snapped Rhysdux. “Oh, please.”
With sad, pleading, lonely eyes, Buffy asked Spike if he didn’t love her and want to be with her. Spike admitted that he did--more than anything.
“Obviously he still has some taste if he prefers Buffy to Baby,” muttered Ginmar.
“Gin, a tree would prefer Buffy. I’ve seen sequoias that were less wooden than Baby.”
She smiled softly. "Good. That's so good," she said as she stepped back. The gloom shrouding the room lifted a bit and he could see more. Could see Drusilla chained as he was, hanging suspended a good foot above the floor. Unconscious, her dark hair concealing her face. Could see Baby, her hands bound behind her, staring directly at him, tape obscuring her lips, heartbreak shining from her eyes.
"No!" Not that. He hadn't wanted to hurt her. Not ever. He'd sworn never to hurt Baby before they'd ever left Sunnydale together. Had sworn it again when he put a wedding ring on her finger.
"Baby, I didn't mean it. Not like that." But he had.
Buffy spoke to Spike. “You want me more than you want her. You always have. You know that's true." Moreover, she told Spike that she knew that Baby “was just a substitute. I know that I'm the one you really love.”
"It's so simple, Spike. Just say the word and I'm yours. Just like you always wanted. Yours to love just like you've always wanted. I need you, Spike. I need to feel alive. I need you to make me feel alive. To make me happy." She looked so lost, so beautiful. She needed him so much.
“Oh, shoot me. Just shoot me now,” said Ginmar. “This sounds stalkerish to me.”
He couldn't believe it. He pulled his eyes from Buffy to look at his consort. He couldn't bear the look in Baby's eyes. It cut him. He'd made her cry. He'd hurt her so badly. His wife hadn't even entered his mind when he'd considered Buffy's offer. Christ, what sort of man was he?
"His wife?" Ginmar said, looking as if she were two seconds from being physically ill. She coughed violently. "Ack. Ack. Sorry, hairball. Vampires don't marry--Spike never married Drusilla who was, you know, the love of his life. He never acted this stupid around her. This doesn't sound like Buffy at all, demon or not. And the writer is still telling us stuff, too, instead of showing us."
He hadn't thought of her at all. He hadn't considered the oath he'd whispered on Baby's sweet skin before he'd pierce her with his teeth, burying himself deep inside her, body and fangs. Drinking from her, having her drink from him, marking her for all time as his consort. An oath he'd repeated as she lay quietly in his arms after, his blood carmine on her lips.
“Quick! Syringe! Smarm over dose! Help! God, who swallowed a thesaurus?”
“I did warn you,” said Rhysdux sympathetically.
“But I had no idea it was going to be this saccharine,” Ginmar said. She fished in her backpack for more bleepka, found two sealed glasses, opened them and swallowed each in one gulp. “Ew!”
You're mine now. Forever and ever. And I'm yours. Not even Death can part us now. Body and soul, you're mine.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," said Ginmar said impatiently, making moving-right-along motions. "We get it already. We got it quite a while ago. You are still Soap Opera Spike."
And body and soul he'd shaped her into what he wanted her to be. She was his now. She allowed him domination, allowed him control of their world.
"Yuck," Ginmar said. Then she mimicked Spike's sing-song at Angel, when he failed to awaken Acathla. "Somebody read the Rules too many times."
He hadn't consider the vows he recited before a justice of the peace, before the childer and their few mortal friends. Vows he'd been so secretly pleased about because they soothed the Victorian deep within him that insisted it was just wrong to take a lady to your bed without marrying them. Silly, sentimental claptrap that had meant the world to him at the time.
“Rhys? I need that damned syringe again, please. First off, a Justice of the Peace? What, did they point a gun to his head to make him marry at least one dead person? If so, I expect some mention of it.”
“Louisiana has some particularly stringent sex laws,” Rhysdux agreed. “California is a bit more--laid-back. Even blood tests aren’t required for civil ceremonies in California. So it’s marginally possible in California, provided Spike had a sufficiently well forged birth certificate. And provided that the Justice of the Peace didn’t notice that the groom wasn’t breathing.”
“Marriage doesn’t make any sense with regard to Spike, though. He rebelled against his Victorian background and upbringing long ago. After all, he’s been shacking up with Dru without benefit of matrimony for a hundred-and-twenty-odd years, and that never bothered him. Somebody’s got wedding issues.”
Wilt thou have this Woman to thy wedded wife, to live together in the estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall exist?
“I need a bigger syringe,” Ginmar muttered. “Got anything in the bucket range? Is there anybody over the age of twelve who doesn't have a basic idea of what wedding vows are like? I just get the mental image of SoapOpera!Spike watching his wedding video over and over, sobbing into a lace hanky, because that's what the stereotypical sensitive guy does.”
Where was the comfort now? Where was the honour in expressing his love for another woman right in front of her?
He hadn't thought of anything but Buffy and a love that should have died years earlier. 'You utter bastard,' he castigated himself.
“Huh? And he's talking to himself?” Ginmar blinked. “Will he be having conversations with himself now too?”
“I think he picked that habit up from Baby,” said Rhysdux.
Then Baby straightened and a new look settled into her eyes alongside the heartbreak. The link they sometimes had reached out to him and he knew what she was thinking. Just the way he always knew what she was thinking. Just as he always knew what she was feeling.
Ginmar rolled her eyes. "Yeah, telepathy is such a good substitute for actually talking, something Spike likes to do. This isn't the first story that used telepathy as a shortcut to a good relationship, but it really is one of the more heavy-handed. Part of the allure of Spike and Buffy was the honest way they tried and failed. It was...human. This is just a gimmick. You have to wonder why it's being used, too---it's also a shortcut to getting to know the characters."
'Do what you need to. Do what makes you happy.' The message couldn't have been clearer if she'd spoken.
“Uh, because she just sent him a mental telegram? Ouch. That was so stupid it hurt.”
When had she ever cared about anything but his happiness? When hadn't she put him first? And in exchange, he'd broken her heart.
Rhysdux looked disgusted. “This sounds like the sort of stuff that gets shouted when a husband and wife are fighting.”
Ginmar grabbed an imaginary microphone and spoke in an insanely cheerful tone. “SoapOpera!Spike, now with KungFu! grip. Accessories, like his sharp tongue and his balls, have been discontinued.”
And, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her.
"Oh, Jesus Christ," said Ginmar as she began pounding her head against the Hyperion's wall. "Enough with the frickin' marriage vows already. They’re being substituted for substance and knowledge of the character."
Just as she had kept herself only unto him. God damn it, the woman had taken on Hell itself for him.
“Aw,” said Rhysdux sorrowfully. “And all he'd gotten her for their anniversary was a Dustbuster.”
He decided, then and there, that he was a fucking moron.
“Fucking!” A maternal tone crept into Ginmar’s voice. “I'm so proud. Look, Rhys, the author finally said ‘fucking’! And it rings like tin, too.”
“I agree with his assessment, though.”
"Go away, Slayer," he said softly. He never moved his blue eyes from Baby's golden ones.
"Are you sure?" Buffy sounded distant. Like she was moving away from him.
Ginmar snorted. “That's the sound of reality itself moving away from this story, like it's afraid it's going to get hurt.”
"Yeah, I'm sure." He smiled. "I've made my choice. I made it a long time ago." The tape on Baby's face twitched and he knew her mouth had curved in a smile. Her eyes were smiling, too.
Ginmar rubbed her chin thoughtfully. “Wouldn't smiling eyes kind of hurt, what with Time living in there? What if they meant Time/Life Books? Or Time Magazine? Or TimeWarner? Or---maybe Time finally took a vacation.”
"Fine." Spike didn't see the Slayer pick up the crossbow but he heard the twang/thump as the bolt left the mechanism. And nearly simultaneous with the sound he saw the bolt bury itself between Baby's breasts. Saw the pain blossom on her face. Smelled the sudden release of human blood into the room. Felt as though it had buried itself in his chest rather than hers as he watched her drop, watched her blood begin to well and flow from the wound.
Ginmar squawked indignantly. “No fair! I wanted to kill her!
“We will,” said Rhysdux in an eerily calm voice. “Don’t worry. We will.”
Everything after that happened in a bit of a rush. Angel choked the Buffy demon to death and--at the pleading of Spike--turned Baby into a vampire.
The agents skipped ahead three days. Baby still hadn’t woken up, and Spike wanted the ensoulment spell done.
Spike played with her hair for another moment. "Go get Wes. Tell him I want to do the ensoulment spell now. I'm not waiting any longer."
A few minutes later, Wes carried the Orb of Thesulah--which strongly resembled a crystal paperweight--into Baby’s bedroom. Angel, Dru and Cordy followed.
Something unseen snatched the Orb out of his hand.
“Nice retrieval, Gin,” a short, dark-haired male vampire said as he stepped out of the shadows. He was gripping an extremely large, sharp, double-headed axe.
“Thanks,” said a tall, blonde vampiress as she faded into the foreground next to the axe-wielder.
She was holding the Orb of Thesulah.
Spike was in front of her in two strides. “Give that back! That’s my wife’s soul!”
“Actually,” said the vampiress, “she isn’t your wife.”
“And if she has a soul,” added the axe-wielder, “I’ll bungee jump off of the Brooklyn Bridge.”
In accordance with the Narrative Laws of Comedy and Drama, Baby chose that moment to wake up.
"Spike?" Her tone was questioning, tentative.
Spike rushed back to her side, a loving and reassuring expression on his face. It was a Perfect Moment.
It shattered an instant later as the blonde vampiress spoke. “Baby Roxton--for lack of a better name--also known as ‘Spike’s Baby,’ ‘Mrs. William Roxton,’ and ‘the NOLA Slasher,’ you are charged with the following: Causing personality alterations and character ruptures, particularly with regard to Spike, and to a lesser degree with Angel, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce and Cordelia Chase; breaking up an existing canon romance between Spike and Dru and preventing the existence of a future canon romance between Spike and Buffy, in favor of yourself; causing Spike to act like a lovestruck fool over you; causing improbable romantic liaisons between canon characters, i.e., Wesley and Drusilla, and Angel and Cordelia-as-vampiric-consort; changing the physiology of a canon species by giving Jossverse vampires the regenerative powers of Anne Rice vampires; changing the social customs and structures of a canonical species by making Jossverse vampires 'master vampires' and giving them 'fledgling bonds'--“
The axe-wielding male spoke up. “Also, causing gratuitous time compression on at least ten occasions throughout this story; using unnecessary person shifts; bringing knowledge of seasons three through six to a Season Two Sunnydale; causing events to happen out of canon plotline order--implanted memories or not, Season Two Spike should not be reacting to things like Season Four Spike; causing events to eventuate solely for the benefit of the original character without regard to canon plotlines; use of bad biology; use of bad physics--particle physics and magic do NOT go together; use of an exceedingly bad plot device in the form of a lightning bolt that gave you and Spike each other’s memories without even BOTHERING to create a relationship first; turning Spike into a godplayer by crediting him with the creation of an entirely new universe; misuse of words--“
The blonde vampiress interrupted. “Publicly using the stupidest and coyest name I can imagine a fortysomething woman using; temporal spatial distortion--Jesus, woman, you jumped back and forth between 1998 Sunnydale and 2014 Los Angeles so often that you made me physically ill; employing melodramatics on every possible occasion; causing canon characters to be melodramatic on your behalf; for having the nerve and sheer, contemptible idiocy to say that a man could be decent and honorable in a serial killer kind of way--“
“For drinking blood when you were alive and enjoying the taste; for getting sexually aroused by witnessing a murder; for making Spike compare rape to rough sex; for making Spike say at least three death speeches for you about your wonderfulness; for making Wesley Wyndham-Pryce even consider becoming a vampire; for displaying extreme stupidity on every single occasion; for forcing canon characters to display extreme stupidity; for being the quintessential Mary Sue--“
“And for annoying the shit out of both of us for a very long time--“
The last sentence burst from both at once. “You are condemned to DIE!”
Baby whimpered. “Spike? I don’t understand. What’s happening? Who are these people?”
“I don’t know who you are,” said Spike, shifting to vamp face, “but nobody hurts my--“
Rhysdux glanced at Ginmar. “Sunglasses.”
As Spike lunged forward, the two PPC agents donned wrap-around sunglasses with mirrored lenses.
A flash of white light filled the room. When it vanished, Spike, Angel, Drusilla, Cordelia and Wesley were all staring very blankly into nothing.
"I love the neuralyzers," said Rhysdux, grinning.
“Cordy, Angel, Wes, Dru,” said Ginmar, “you’ve all had a very horrible dream, but you can’t remember any details about it, and you won’t want to. And you’ll wake up as soon as we leave with her. Spike, you’re coming with me now.”
“No one takes Spike away from me!” shouted Baby, trying to lunge at Ginmar from a semi-sitting position.
Ginmar delivered a karate chop to her neck just as Rhysdux hit her on the head with the axe-handle.
“Even vampire-Sues are weak,” said Ginmar, sighing. “I’ll take him to the Department of Fictional Psychology. I’ll be right back. Don’t leave without me.”
“I won’t. I know that you want to make sure she gets what is coming to her.”
Ginmar checked the coordinates for the PPC, then activated the portal. She shoved Spike through the portal, then stepped through herself.
She returned a few moments later. “Dr. Freedenberg says that Spike is going to need years of therapy. He says it’s the worst case of induced memory syndrome he’s ever seen.” She glared at the inert form of Baby. “All because of you, sweetie.”
Rhysdux set the coordinates for the portal generator very carefully, supercharging its batteries with the plotholes she’d gathered from the hotel room. “Step One,” she said, activating the portal. “Come on. Let’s push her through.”
The two rolled Baby off of the bed and shoved her through the portal, then stepped through themselves.
They materialized in a room made of highly polished mirrors of varying sizes, shapes and cuts. There was nothing else in the room, not so much as a stick of furniture or a thread of carpeting.
“You’re sure this is going to work?” said Ginmar doubtfully, smashing the Orb of Thesulah against one of the mirrors. It was, as they had both suspected, completely empty.
“I think so. She’s already spent a lot of time staring into mirrors in this fic, mostly admiring her looks and fretting about how old she seems to be compared to everyone else. I want to see how she reacts when she realizes that she can’t reassure herself by looking in a mirror. Not ever again.”
“Hope she doesn’t wake up hungry,” Ginmar said.
“According to the fic, she wakes up as a vampire and thinks that blood smells ‘icky.’” Rhysdux intercepted an incredulous glance from Ginmar. “Honest!”
“That’s insane. She liked the taste of blood when she was alive.”
“Remember what you said about Suvian logic? Anyway, we’d better remove these disguises so that we can be ready to go the instant she snaps.”
The agents had just switched back to their normal, everyday selves when the Sue woke up. “Spike?” she said, blinking. “Spike, where are you?”
There was, of course, no answer.
She stood up and began wandering around the room. The significance of the mirrored walls didn’t penetrate for a while--not until a very nervous Baby tugged too hard on her wedding ring. It flew off of her finger and rolled a good distance away from her, settling against one of the mirrored walls.
Baby bent down to pick it up--and noticed the ring’s reflection in the glass. The ring’s…but not her own.
She pressed her hand against the glass. Nothing. She stared in the mirror in front of her and still saw nothing. Slowly, she turned to face the ceiling, the floor, all of the mirrors on all the walls.
She turned from human to vamp. That didn’t work either.
She began punching, kicking, clawing and gouging the mirrors. “Show me my face!” she kept screaming. “Show me my face! I have to see what I look like, I have to know I’m real…”
The panicked, incoherent screaming--and the shattering of mirrors--went on for a long, long time.
Finally Baby collapsed into a whimpering heap on the mirrored floor. She looked shell-shocked.
“Don’t worry, Sue, you’re not going to have to live without your reflection for long,” said Ginmar. “Ready for step two, Rhys?”
“Ready,” said Rhysdux, activating the portal.
Ginmar walked over to Baby, half-dragged her over to the portal and shoved her through. Ginmar and Rhysdux followed a minute later.
They materialized in the middle of the Sahara desert at high noon. Neither a cloud nor a tree was in sight. Baby was lying in a heap on the desert sand, looking decidedly unwell. At the sight of them, she started screaming curses at them, telling them that her Spike would get them for hurting her, yes, he would, oh no question.
Ginmar smirked. “Do you hear a tiny little mosquito whining that it wants to be heard?”
Baby burst into dust. A hot desert wind blew across the dunes and scattered her ashes .
Rhysdux sighed with relief. “Finally! Let’s go home.”
They portaled back to Rhysdux’s office at the Official Buffy and Angel Fanfiction University. All seemed as it was when they had left it, except that a trenchcoated mini-troll was throwing knives unerringly at a small bullseye across the room and that a two-feet-tall, fire-breathing, bipedal reptile was building an enormous Lego tower in the eastern corner of the room.
“Gods, I thought we’d never get to kill her,” said Rhysdux, flinging herself into her desk chair and sighing in relief. “I’ve never seen a fic like that one. I’m going to make the Marquis de Sod pay me triple if I have go to his office armed with a Super-Soaker of weed killer.”
Ginmar appeared to be thinking something over. “Question. Where did that room of mirrors come from?”
“An old Spectre comic book. Around 1942, I think. The villain puts the heroine’s father in a room of mirrors to drive him crazy. I thought it would work well for our purposes.”
Ginmar collapsed into the chair opposite Rhysdux, leaned back and shut her eyes. “Mmm. I’ll tell you something. I’m never going on assignment again without my CD player.”
“I think I’ll buy a CD player. And a portable TV.” Rhysdux yawned. “But--not-- now. With all the running around we..did, I’m…very…sleepy.” She put her head down on her desk and closed her eyes as well.
The only response from Ginmar was a loud snore.
For a minute or two, the exhausted agents slept peacefully. Then the Narrative Laws of Comedy intervened.
[Rhysdux’s A/N--The Babyverse was suggested by seven or eight people as the suitable second target of the Buffyverse PPC. I had never heard of the Babyverse before I read those suggestions, and had no preconceived notions about it or the author, aside from the fact that I really did think, initially, that it was going to be about the Scoobies transformed into a pack of infants. (Not such a stretch, really. I once saw an A/U in which Buffy was a cocker spaniel puppy. If Buffy was an infant, at least she would still be the correct species.) Baby was an extremely creepy Mary Sue, and by the end of the fic, I was glad to see the end of her. Other, gorier ways of killing her were suggested (such as tap-dancing on her with ice skates), but Baby’s attraction to violence was so strong that we were repulsed by the idea of slaying her in a violent way. Hence the mirrors and the noonday sun.]
[Ginmar's A/N: I always liked these characters, and the more I read, the more horrified I got. I always thought the whole purpose of fanfiction was to illuminate them and examine things not explained in the Jossverse. Baby's warping of Spike was terribly cruel---and odd, considering he was the lust object. I mean, wasn't she supposed to be attracted to him? If so, then, why was he utterly unrecognizable? Don't know if I'd repeat this experience---most Mary Sues, I'm starting to think, are the result of teen angst, and their authors, hopefully, will grow out of it----but it certainly was interesting.]
Next up--a short short involving Spike's sister!