Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-
POV: Shifts Perspective
Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and Spanderverse: stories.
Notes: Seventh story in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Preludes”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.
People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.
Thanks to the authors of Fanfiction, wherever you may post. It’s probable that I’ve read at least one of your stories somewhere. I apologize for recycling concepts inadvertently from the plentitude of stories I’ve read.
Riley paced (or stalked) around town. He was in the lower-rent district of Sunnyhell and only a few blocks from his apartment. Not that Sunnydale really had a "bad" part of town per se. Most of the criminal element in town didn't last too long with all the vampires around, seeing as how most illegal activity required the cover of darkness. Still, this portion on the far west side of the town was where you found the warehouses and the crumbling and abandoned apartment buildings (well, really only two or three of them). This was also the habitat of those who frequented the rough bar on the corner.
The neon sign above the door blinked the word 'Willy's' into the night. It was a place that Giles and Buffy had said was mostly off-limits as far as demon dusting. Sort of a place they left as a neutral site in case they'd ever needed to get information. At first Riley had been a bit surprised and disappointed that Giles of all people would allow a demon haunt to stay open. Willow had set him straight one time, in unspecific but still clear terms, that the bartender would occasionally give them a bit of intelligence when he came across a situation that was of the world-ending sort. For reasons that Riley hadn't been able to guess at, Willy was able to operate around the vampires and demons and still keep his skin despite being human.
He shrugged to himself as he approached the door. So far, there'd been no obvious activity to stop tonight. Why not stop in the demon haunt and see if anyone wanted to try their hand at a brawl?
He flexed his arms, admiring the new physique he sported. He'd had another episode, this one nearly painless. Well, if you ignored the deep ache around his heart; he could probably do without that. Still, it was a small price to pay for this feeling of strength and power running through his veins.
Buffy crept down the alley next to a warehouse that had seen better days. The corrugated metal walls were rusty in spots and most of the chain link fence had been toppled over. Around her were wooden crates, most busted up, sitting against the warehouse. There were two large dumpsters and from behind one of them were the sounds of activity.
Her ears perked up at the sounds of moaning, a woman, and what may have been struggling. Taking the short run to reach the site of the attack in progress, she grabbed a corner of the large dumpster and yanked it with her Slayer strength, sending it rumbling across the expanse of concrete lot.
Raising her stake she prepared to strike out at the vampire feeding from a worn out woman in a micro-skirt. Her lipstick was smeared and she struggled to pull the too tight skirt down around her thighs. Buffy had glimpsed the definite lack of panties.
The guy she had been about to stake yelled in startled shock at the interruption. He tried to yank his trousers up, but his slick hard-on was getting in the way. When he noticed her stake held above her head, he froze.
"Hey, man, we don't want any trouble here. I got a few bucks in the wallet, just don't hurt us," the guy exclaimed, going even more pale than he already had been.
Buffy sighed in irritation and embarrassment. Both the woman and her john were clearly human. Stupid and gross, but just people.
"Sorry," she said, "thought there was some sort of problem here. Uh, not… uh, yeah... um. So, I'm just going to, um, run along and you guys can…. Um, but maybe you should splurge for a room, y'know? Sunnydale's not the safest place after dark. Especially, in alleyways."
The prostitute only glared at Buffy for the interruption while the guy had finally managed to do up his pants. His face now had splotchy red spots burning brightly on his cheeks. The face cheeks; thankfully from Buffy's perspective, his scrawny white ass cheeks were once again covered from the world.
The Slayer walked away, leaving the two to negotiate what was going to occur next. It would serve them both right to get eaten tonight, but Buffy didn't sense any vampires around at the moment. In fact, she'd been at this for nearly an hour and a half and so far a big fat zilch. It was annoying. And it was annoying that she was annoyed that she wasn't fighting for her life. Weird.
She groaned a little with frustration that this night seemed to be ending in a bust. She also wondered where Riley was. Since he wasn't at work after all, she'd expected to run into him already. Well, whatever he was doing, she'd stick to their pattern. That meant 'Restful Acres' cemetery was next on her circuit. She was really hoping a vampire conference was in town and hanging out there, because the lack of activity was really starting to blow.
At the Summers' house, Dawn was studying her geography while lying stomach down on her bed. She kicked her feet in the air above her, feeling one of her slippers bouncing on her foot, almost falling off, but not. She stared at the map of
She supposed she probably had a small crush on the vampire. She had a crush on Xander too, and she wondered what it might mean that both of the guys that she really liked liked her sister instead. And Buffy, being her self-absorbed self, remained completely clueless.
Dawn sighed, shaking her head. She was getting off-track again and there was no way she was going to pass this test if she didn't knuckle down or put her nose to the grindstone or something.
What does that mean, anyway? I mean, how do you knuckle down on something? Is it like, pressing down really hard with a fist? And the whole nose/grindstone thing… what was up with that? Wouldn't that just lead to a face with no nose?
"Okay," Dawn said to her self in a firm tone, "You're doing it again. We are going to study. We are going to memorize. We are going to get at least a B on this exam. Or, okay, we can live with a C-minus, but we have to concentrate."
She was just redoubling her efforts on studying the crude map on page 124 of her school book when she heard her mom groaning from down the hallway. Dawn froze for a moment to see if her ma was just turning over, or if it might be a nightmare. She refused to even let the possibility of another headache enter her thoughts. Dawn didn't need to be a doctor to know that the amount of headaches Joyce had been having wasn't normal, everyday type stuff. Thinking about it gave her belly-rumblings and made her eyes tear up.
It was only moments later that Joyce moaned again. She sounded sleepy. Dawn got off her bed and crept down the hallway to her mother's room. The door was opened a few inches, or she probably wouldn't have even heard her. Peeking in, she saw Joyce had the sheets bunched around her. Her white nightie was disheveled and it looked like she'd been restless.
Dawn crept in, not wanting to wake her if she was sleeping. She tried to straighten the blankets back up around her. Joyce had been keeping the heat turned low at night to save on the gas bill. It wasn't really cold in the house, but it looked like Joyce had been sweating and it was chilly enough to maybe make her sick.
As she pulled the blanket back up around her and 'shh-ed' her, Joyce opened her eyes. She still looked disoriented to Dawn, like she wasn't really awake.
"It's okay, mom. It's just me. You can go back to sleep."
"Hm, okay." Joyce rolled over on her side, away from Dawn.
The young teen leaned over and kissed her mother's sweat-dampened curls. She was just leaving the room again, when she heard Joyce say low, "…a little ball, does not a daughter make…." She giggled softly; then fell back into slumber.
Dawn stood in the doorway a moment, pale and frozen. A chill went up her spine and she rubbed at her arms as she made her way back to her own room.
That was really creepy, she thought. It brought to mind that weird homeless guy outside of the Magic Box before Giles bought it. When the others were inspecting the body of the shop owner and the weird guy was telling her she didn't belong there.
Taking a shaky breath, she pushed those thoughts from her mind. Memories of the homeless guy gave her a scared feeling in the pit of her stomach. And her mom was just having a weird dream; that was all. Besides, she really did need to concentrate on her home work anyway. She just hoped that Buffy would come home tonight… soon… instead of staying at the dorm.
Riley walked into Willy's and took a seat at the bar. Behind it was a bartender he wasn't familiar with, one who was less human. Riley gave him a small smile, trying to put the… thing… at ease. He wasn't here to cause trouble, though he wasn't going to deny being ready for it.
The bartender, pink and jowly with a single short blue horn on his forehead approached him. He was jittery and Riley thought all of the demons who'd spent any time at all in Sunnydale probably knew all of the Scoobies on sight by now.
"Relax," Riley said to the demon-barkeep, "I'm not here to bust chops."
He pulled out his wallet and began to pull a ten out. The bartender seemed to relax a little now that he was on more familiar territory. It didn't really matter the species, serving drinks in exchange for cash was something he could handle.
Riley pushed the ten over the bar, "A whiskey, please. Double-shot."
To the left of his elbow, a young girl sat down. She was mildly pretty, heavily made up and wearing a dress that dipped a little bit too low around her breasts.
"Buy a girl a drink?" She said, before adding, "I'm
"Don't smoke, thanks."
"I haven't seen you here before," she said, gazing up and down Riley's muscled form.
Unfortunately she wasn't seeing him at his best, he was thinking. His super strength had again faded as quickly as it had come on. And again, it left behind that wonderful euphoria he could really get used to.
"I haven't been here much. Let me get you that drink. What'll it be?"
"A white wine spritzer?" She said, lighting up. "Do you have a name?"
"Thought the vampires would know me. It's Finn, but you can also call me Riley."
He gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "If I understand how this works correctly, we're sort of standing on neutral ground."
The white wine was delivered and before walking away, the bartender said, "Yeah. So, let's not have any attempts at biting and staking, alright? I just started here and Willy was pretty clear about getting pissy if I didn't keep a lid on things."
He then returned to the bottles behind the bar. Grabbing one, he poured what was certainly blood into a Tom Collins glass and headed toward the far end of the bar. A red-headed man waited there with a few bucks clenched in a fist. He was studiously trying to seem like he wasn't watching Riley.
"A friend of yours," Riley asked Sandy, the vampire.
"Huh? Oh, no. He's just nervous 'cause humans are always so tempting. I mean, nothing against blood from a bottle, but nothing beats fresh and hot. Uh, not that I'm tempted or anything."
Riley grinned, "No, of course not. That would be rude. Look, I'm sure you were perfectly nice when you weren't a killer, but I'm not looking for a hook up. Not that you were being trampy at all, I just want it clear, if that's where you were headed."
"Afraid, so. It's sort of against the Scooby code of conduct rules… unless you're Buffy."
"The Slayer. It's really creepy how just her name can fill me with dread and a desire to kill her. I mean, back in high school… this was before I got vamped and I didn't know about demons and Slayers and all. Anyway, she seemed like a nice enough girl. A little ditzy, maybe. Not at all the type that you'd think would be striking terror into the heart of the evil dead, but I'm telling you, if my heart still beat? She might just give me a heart attack."
"Wow. This is a little surreal. I mean, one of these nights we may be trying to kill each other, but here we are sharing a drink."
Sandy waved it off with an ironic grin on her soft, cold lips. "I've gotten used to weird, bizarre, and surreal since I died. Besides, what you said before was right. In here, it's strictly hands off, so we can relax a bit. Don't get any fuzzy feelings though. If it comes down to me or you, I'll snap your spine in half."
Riley returned her grin, "Unless I take an axe to your neck."
"Well, yeah, unless…,"
End Ch 5