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Dead Reckoning

Title Dead Reckoning
Author brutti ma buoni
Rating PG13
Words 780
Setting long post-series, sequel to Heading North by North East, which you should probably read first
Prompt Zombie attack

Buffy's a little distressed by how much Spike is enjoying this. Okay, the sun set three days ago and won't come up till February, so this is as much his world as hers. And, okay, it's just the two of them, together again, on a mission to save the world, and Spike's a traditionalist in this stuff, so she knows he'll relish that.

But, Buffy Summers-Ray isn't the Slayer he used to know. She's had a whole other life, where Slaying was something she did as a summer locum, where she had two sons and hasn't so far messed with their heads too much. Yes, she finally left Rick, but only because- Well, only because of a cumulative decision-making process, and not, say, directly on account of Spike and his occasional irresistible vampire lure. Which, yes, she's never completely broken free of, marriage notwithstanding. But he's been secondary for so long; he knows that.

(He did know that. It's possible Spike is taking this end of the world sitch as some kind of flirtation. Like Buffy needs that kind of prop these days.)

Also grating in Spike-terms is that Buffy is very, very cold. This shouldn't be news, but Svalbard has still knocked the breath from her, and sending a two man team with only one functioning body thermostat means she can't absorb and reflect his body heat. (She may have asked about getting a cat. Or a husky. Apparently these aren't welcome in the ecosystem. Damn vampires. Damn rules. She needs better gloves.) Vampire sidekicks suck.

There is a groan outside. Oh. Also, the zombies suck.

It had seemed like a great plan, back at the Council. Let them go to Pyramiden. Abandoned city, still just about functional thanks to tourists and a maintenance crew. Great operations base, once the permissions are in place. No civilians in their way. Unfortunately, Pyramiden came with its own problems.

"They really shoulda mentioned this," she says, listening to the rising groans outside. Apparently, the former inhabitants are still territorial about the city. And this house isn't built super-strong or anything. Just a regular home, with way too many windows and doors.

"Told you the rent was too low," Spike shrugs. He looks unhappy, for a second, though it passes fast enough that she understands he still basically loves the job. Even this part.

Buffy remembers a conversation, a long time ago, before Anthony was born most likely, let alone Brady. So, basically, before the modern era. But she hasn't forgotten his "I hate zombies" line. It was a shock. Spike usually likes the killing of evil things. Dead or alive. I hate them. They're dead. They remind me of everything I should be. He was covered in zombie parts as he said it. Stinking and rotten with corpse juice. Some heads were still groaning, just. That eternal groan of a brain sunk down to barely a couple of emotions. Spike shuddered. She dragged him off to a shower and a bourbon, and then to bed, where he ran his mouth until he switched track and sank it into her, ate her out till the sun rose. Like he was proving himself something other than dead. Like she might have doubted it.

So, Spike and zombies: a bad mix. On the upside, Spike, zombies and a pump-action shotgun: a better mix. His eyes gleam gold the moment she gets out the arsenal. Buffy still doesn't approve of firearms among Slayers per se, but this kind of small mission in tough territory warrants it. Also, she's aware that she has a rep as Slayer 1.0 among the kids. Slayer TOS. Slayer from the past, barely back in harness, she has no right to query the way Council management has changed. And she does enjoy watching Spike blasting heads away with a grin and a quip.

After a while, she fetches her personal scythe. Just in case something gets past Spike. And because she hasn't ever lost the love of movement and the thrill of the ending something. And, this time, because it gets her blood moving and fends off the cold. Just a little bonus.

Spike casts her a glance from his post at the door. His mouth curls at the sight of her, moonlight flashing from the scythe.

Buffy's breath catches. Seems like old times. Seems like old times made new.

The zombies and the cold won't keep her down. And Spike will help to keep her up. This isn't where she would have expected to be, if you'd asked her ten years, five years, even two years ago. But she is, and she'll relish finding herself again this way.



( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 18th, 2014 09:35 pm (UTC)
Gah, I'm so happy! I wanted a sequel for the first ficlet and you did it!

I love everything about this. The fact that I can imagine the cold and the general landscape, but most of all Buffy and her previous "normal" life finally coming back to Spike. This is one of my all time favorite tropes and you did a great job in developing it. Hope there will be more.
May. 19th, 2014 06:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I haven't really played around with Buffy leaving for a different life, and it's turning up some interesting things. There may be more, if I get some more ideas!
May. 18th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
Marvelous sequel. The way the truth pokes through the cracks of Buffy's self-talk... wonderful!

May. 19th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! There's an intriguing texture to coming back to each other like this, rather than from a context of Slayer-based parting for a mission or whatever.
May. 18th, 2014 11:42 pm (UTC)
I like it!!
May. 19th, 2014 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
May. 18th, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC)
Slaying to keep warm - love it! And I get why he would hate zombies.

Very nice setup.
May. 19th, 2014 07:00 pm (UTC)
Is very healthy exercise, you know. Very warming.

Glad you're enjoying this!
May. 19th, 2014 02:54 am (UTC)
Well, Connor did point out the similarity!
May. 19th, 2014 07:16 pm (UTC)
This is true. I'd forgotten, actually. But it's still a good point. Lumbering smelly undead pfft.
May. 19th, 2014 11:39 am (UTC)
Love that grin! There's something irrepressible in Spike that makes a good counterweight to Buffy's weariness.

Also, "everything I should be." Neatly succinct. Of course the beautiful undead would shudder at the sight of the rotting undead.
May. 19th, 2014 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I think zombies are potentially vampire nightmares, right?
May. 20th, 2014 02:16 am (UTC)
Maybe master vampires tell their fledges, "and if you stay in vamp-face too long, your parts will start to rot and you'll become... A ZOMBIE." :-D

May. 19th, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
Great fic, I can only hope you continue writing stories in this verse. Buffy grown older, but she is still Buffy... Guess many of us can relate after 10 years.
May. 22nd, 2014 08:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! And yes, can't we just relate... I'm hoping to get some more inspiration for this one, definitely.
May. 21st, 2014 11:14 am (UTC)
Lovely mature (but always self-questioning) Buffy and never-changing Spike. Still a team, still with that thread of antagonism. Mmm, juicy contrasts. Really enjoyed this and the previous fic. More would be even better, but thank you for these.
May. 22nd, 2014 09:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm hoping that more will... emerge. *g* It's fun to explore them like this, for sure.
May. 22nd, 2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
Yay! I so hoped that first ficlet was the start of a series.
May. 22nd, 2014 09:22 pm (UTC)
*g* I hope so too. Will see where they head off to next.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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