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Spanderverse: Hunting Our Needs, chapter 1 of 10

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: Eleventh story in the Spanderverse-universe, following “The Risks of Glory”. 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.

More Notes: BIG thanks to Joss, the ME creative team and the crew of one of the best shows on television. WE MISS YOU!

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Hunting Our Needs

Ch 1- Distance

 

Buffy stared through the windshield as she navigated the Cherokee Sport toward Sunnydale General Hospital. In the passenger seat, Joyce was rubbing at her temple; her eyes remaining closed against the morning sun.

 

Outside, the day was cold; the skies clear. Birds sang gaily as they went about their morning business, making a mockery of Buffy’s own turmoil. She couldn’t stop glancing at her mother even though she knew her eyes should stay on the road. If I get in a wreck, she thought, mom’s going to kil--

 

She cut the thought off. There was nothing about death or dying that seemed flippant this morning. Her mind was on Dawnie, too. Her ‘sister’ was back at the house, probably going crazy, but Joyce didn’t want to drag her to the hospital. There was going to be plenty of waiting around later when she actually went into the procedure; right now there’d just be getting her a room and running the pre-tests on her blood pressure and so forth. She was adamant that there was no reason for either girl to waste their mornings waiting around. She’d even tried to make Dawn go to school for at least half a day, like nothing unusual was going on, until Buffy herself had intervened on her behalf.

 

Again, she couldn’t stop her eyes from darting to her mother hunched down against the pain. She wasn’t allowed to take any of her medication this morning, but the doctors assured her that she’d get something after she was checked in. At least, she thought while biting her lower lip, she didn’t do one of her freaky babble-fests this morning.

 

Buffy had already started putting two and two together. Somehow her mother was also aware of Dawn’s unusual-ness when she was going through one of her fits. All that talk of 'light and air' was suddenly making a weird sort of sense.

 

“Stop staring at me, Buffy. We can’t afford another accident.”

 

“I-I wasn’t staring. And that accident wasn’t my fault! Besides, how do you know that I was looking at you at all? I could have been keeping my eyes straight ahead.”

 

“Mother’s intuition,” Joyce said, flashing an all too brief smile.

 

“Is it bad?”

 

“Not very. Like a little man with a sledgehammer is banging over my left eye, but at least he hasn’t invited the driller to help him out yet. Don’t worry; I’m sure the nurses will waste no time drugging me up once we get there.”

 

Joyce sighed and took in the scenery. A short drive to the hospital never seemed so long. Of course, that could be because Buffy drives so slowly, she thought as she noted they were going under twenty miles an hour. She’d be more amused if her brain wasn’t trying to break through her skull and make a run for it.

 

“I still think Dawn could have gone to her morning classes,” Joyce said to fill the uncomfortable silence. There were a lot of those lately around the Summers’ home. “The surgery isn’t ‘til two and you could have picked her up at lunch.”

 

“Maybe, but do you really think she’d actually get any knowledge seeping in?”

 

“What about you, Buffy? I suppose you’re skipping classes again?”

 

“Fridays are a light day, mom. I had a quiz, but when I explained the situation, I was able to schedule a make up exam for next week. My professors know why I’m absent, so it’s not going to be a problem. I promise. Besides, there’s no way I’d get anything out of today either.”

 

“I just feel badly for you girls, having to sit worrying for hours on end.”

 

“We’re your daughters; it’s our job to worry. Besides, we’ll be busy with my stuff today. The gang is already at the dorm room packing boxes to load in Giles’, Xander’s and Tara’s cars. We should be packed up in no time, but I’ll keep Dawn occupied by dragging out the unpacking.”

 

“Do you know what time you need to be there,” Joyce asked as the Jeep finally pulled into the lot.

 

“Yep. No visitors to your room after 1:45 and we’ll see you in the hallway for a minute or two before they wheel you in.”

 

“I hope I don’t start… you know… babbling. I hate making you cry, and Dawn.”

 

“We’ll be okay, mom. We’re Summers women; they’re bred to be strong.”

 

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Buffy passed Tara in the dorm hallway, carrying two suitcases. The girls smiled at each other as they passed and Buffy wondered how far along the gang had gotten. When she walked into the room, she was surprised to see more junk lying around than she thought she owned. Where had she kept all this crap, anyway?

 

“Ah, Buffy. Have you seen your mother off, then?”

 

“Yeah, Giles, she’s all set for now. Hey guys…, thanks for helping out, like this. I’ll feel a lot better being at home until my mom is back to a hundred percent.”

 

“No problem, Buffster,” Xander said, all false cheer. She really did love him; he was a rock in hard times. Or a clown…, something like that. “And you know I’m always looking for a good excuse to skip work at the new site. It’s like I’m flexing my sorta-kinda-boss muscles.”

 

“That’s not very industrious of you Xander,” Anya said. “However, I am happy to help, Buffy. Just, you know, not as often as your closer friends should have to.”

 

Willow shared an eye-roll with her as the red head left the room carrying a box of books. As Buffy crossed the floor and started to unload school detritus from a desk drawer, she noted that a lot of Willow’s things also seemed to be missing.

 

“Is Willow moving out too?”

 

“Apparently,” Anya complained. “She and Tara received a new room assignment on the first floor. Something about it being larger… or some nonsense. And she thought we’d love to help her move all of her things, too.”

 

“Really, Anya,” Giles tut-tutted, “People should be glad to help each other with this sort of thing. It’s what we’re here for, after all, to help each other out in times of need.”

 

“Uh-huh,” Buffy quirked a brow at Giles. “Though I notice Giles, your level of help seems to involve standing in a corner and watching.”

 

“W-well, I could make a snappy Watcher pun right now. But the fact is, I thought of myself as more of a supervisor. Managing and uh, keeping the horseplay down to a minimum and such with, uh, an occasional stern glare.”

 

Tara and Willow came in giggling and eliciting a smile from Buffy. Maybe she wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about her best friend coming out, but she had to admit that they did make a really cute couple. Moments later, Tara left again. This time she was struggling to hold half of Willow’s dresses above the floor.

 

Once Willow was sure that Tara was out of hearing distance, she gathered her friend’s attention. “You guys are still on for next week, right?”

 

There was a moment of blank stares in her direction and then she sighed. “Remember? Tara’s twenty? She’s like, my older girlfriend… we need to make a lot of ribald jokes about her robbing my cradle and stuff?”

 

“Oh, right! I’m sorry, Will. With mom and Adam and now this super-blonde who’s not me… I just forgot.”

 

“You’re still going to be there though, right? For the party? I mean, I already reserved the tables at the Bronze and arranged a cake and everything…!”

 

“Of course, we’ll all be there,” Buffy assured her. “Tara is a full fledged Scooby after all. What about Dawn though? She’s going to be upset if she can’t attend.”

 

“I talked to Mr. Omart and kinda threw your name out. After all the times that you stopped those ‘wild L.S.D. gangs’ he was happy to let Dawnie pass without an age check. We just, you know, have to make sure she doesn’t get any alcohol on accident.”

 

“I’m sure that I find Tara a lovely and intelligent young woman, as every one does,” Giles interjected. “But is it really necessary for me to surround myself by horny, drunken young people? I c-could just send along a card and a gift.”

 

“It’s a Tuesday night, Giles,” Buffy said. “We won’t be out till dawn and I think you’ll survive an hour or two. Besides, maybe you could invite that Lavinia chick.”

 

“Yes, because the way to impress a woman is to deafen her by forcing her to listen to high decibel noise that’s pretending to be music.”

 

“C’mon, Giles,” Willow pleaded, “For Tara?”

 

“Oh, very well. One hour. And I will not be bringing that delightful woman. I might actually want to see her again.”

 

After Buffy handed Giles another box of books and pushed him toward the door, him sighing at actually having to carry, she turned to her dorm phone. “I might as well get in one last call on the old dial-o-matic before leaving this ancient technology behind for good.”

 

She picked up the phone, the handset still bound and enslaved by its cord- the university had yet to catch up to the cordless age, and dialed Riley’s cell. Unfortunately, he still seemed to have it off or his service was cancelled. Next, she tried the apartment phone, but it rang and rang until the answering machine finally picked up. She left him a message reminding him of the gang’s meeting at the hospital for that afternoon and hung up with a sigh. She had really wanted him to sit with Dawn until she was done here.

 

(Sigh) Where the hell is he? I really need to find out what the deal is with his cell phone lately. Maybe I could help him with his bill if he can’t afford it, just till he gets back to work, she ruminated. Then she was distracted by Xander yelling as he dropped her weapon’s chest on his foot.

 

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Warren Meers had his attention focused on a small incision he’d made in the inert Adam’s leg. Using a probe, he lifted a small flap of skin and peered into the wound with a penlight. Trying to determine how the metal and flesh had been fused, a light sheen of perspiration dotted his forehead. He kept glancing nervously at Adam’s slack and quite decomposed face. He could guess that the vampires must have been using some sort of spell to retard the decomposition process, but Warren had to rely on ice until he could talk to Andrew or maybe Jonathan. Both of them dabbled in spell casting and maybe they’d be able to help him. Either way, the important part was the cybernetics. But still, his attention was continually drawn to the ruin of the face. The eyes had completely rotted out and Warren had found that deep in the sockets sat miniature cameras hooked directly into the optic nerve. He’d already cut away the droopy eyelids that had begun to obscure the cameras’ sights.

 

He wiped at the sweat that beaded his face. Warren tried to believe it was excitement, but it was hard to deny the fear. April reported that the cyborg was shut down, but since they didn’t know who’d built it in the first place, it was hard to take her word for it.

 

And speaking of April, she was starting to get on Warren’s nerves. Of course, it wasn’t her fault. She was just a limited toy with limited programming. Her single mindedness to please had been exactly what he had wanted when he’d constructed her, but now he found himself embarrassed a little bit by how… juvenile… it was.

 

He felt her hands once again squeezing his rear end before one of them snaked around to tug at his zipper. “Warren, are you ready for sex now?”

 

“April, please! Not now, alright? I need you to interface with the cyborg’s CPU. Give me a status report on its operational status.”

 

“I’ve reported on that already, darling. The CPU is non-powered at this time. In addition, there has been some minor damage which he appeared to have been in the process of self repairing when I disabled him.”

 

“I know… I get that. What I want is a report on its physical parameters. What type of processor is it? What sort of damage has it suffered? Can you access a list of programming imperatives? I need to know how the vampires managed to gain control over it so I can duplicate their success.”

 

Warren, of course I wish only to make you happy. Would you like me to perform a hand job on you while I’m scanning the cyborg?”

 

“No! No. April, try to understand… I don’t want sex right now.”

 

“But, Warren, it has been 72 hours and 14 minutes since we have engaged any of my sexual programming. I don’t understand. Am I not the perfect girlfriend? Am I not pleasing you?”

 

“Of course you are,” Warren said to her. Without being conscious of it, he stroked her arms up and down as if comforting a human girlfriend. “You’re wonderful. I’m just waiting to engage you’re pleasure programs until we finish… sort of like a reward for myself.”

 

April beamed her insipid, vacuous smile and Warren wanted to smash her face in. He’d thought he was so brilliant when he’d built her. He’d felt like a god when he’d written her response algorithms and had gotten her synthetic skin so close to a human’s. Now he could see that she was nothing: just a vain attempt at pretending to be a genius. Whoever had built this thing on his work table had been the true genius. April was just a pathetic child’s hubris next to that.

 

“What I need for you to do right now… uh… baby… is to give me a schematic of the cyborg’s circuitry and systems. Color code: green for unbroken linkages, yellow for damaged and red for any major system or circuitry failures. Download your scans onto my laptop under file Cyborg Body Scan Three, alright?”

 

“Of course, honey,” April replied all chipper and plastic and inane. “I’ll begin right away!”

 

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End Ch 1

 

Tags: btvs, buffy, fanfiction, harsens-rob, hunting our needs, spander, spanderverse
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