Style, Charm and Abs
“Where are we going?” Buffy yelled above the blaring radio, whilst keeping her death grip on the door handle.
Faith glanced at her, a curve of a smile hinting at her lips. “The Labyrinth.”
“That place with David Bowie?”
“Never mind,” Buffy mumbled. “What is this place and why are we going there?”
“Holding cell for all sorts of nasties. Well, more like a whole jail but whatever,” she shrugged. “Bad guys who are waiting on execution, caught by the cops, slayed by…well, us.”
“Why don’t the police just slay them? Since they’re so in the loop now.”
Faith smiled. “They don’t have the authority. Only a Slayer does. A visit to The Lab always cheers me right the hell up.”
Buffy sighed and looked out of the window. “You need a hobby, Faith.”
The town of New Sunnydale whizzed by looking all very normal, all very not thirty years in the future. The houses were no longer designed in a Spanish style, she noted, more modernised but nothing she would deem ‘futuristic’. Such a letdown.
Faith fiddled with the radio, berating Spike’s taste in music and Buffy found herself silently agreeing with her. Even after so many years he was stuck on those old British rock bands.
Finally Faith found a song that she deemed the perfect song for their outing. It was ‘Man, I Feel Like a Woman’. Buffy rolled her eyes when Faith cranked it up even louder and began to wail along with it. Faith a country fan? The undead thing was easier to believe.
“Come on, B!” She whooped. “Sing it!”
Buffy just gave her a look and she shrugged with one shoulder then began to bounce along to the beat, one hand on the steering wheel. Buffy feared for her own safety. Death by Shania.
Despite herself Buffy could feel her feet itching to move. She suppressed it and the song ended, Faith grinning cheerfully to herself.
“So how long you been rooming with The Saviour of Vampire Kind?” She asked, casual.
Buffy shrugged. “Couple of days.”
Faith smirked. “Just like old times, huh?”
“What would you know about old times?” Buffy glared.
“Heard a few things, a lotta things actually,” she said. “I just had to know why Spike was suddenly such a broody Angel-a-like. So, I wasn’t too surprised when I was told you two had a thing.”
Buffy resisted the urge to stick a stake in her. “You say that as if you knew Spike before the soul.”
“Met him. Once.”
“He never said,” Buffy replied, almost growling.
Faith smiled. “I was shorter, blonder and a lot flatter up front at the time.”
“Ah, when you stole my body.” Buffy scowled. “Misty water-coloured memories.”
“…of the way we were.” Faith nodded.
Buffy shook her head in scorn but couldn’t help but wonder what had gone on between Faith and Spike on that first meeting. And on every meeting since then. She wasn’t sure she believed Spike’s assurance that Faith hadn’t thrown herself at him. So she asked.
“Did you try and jump him too?”
Faith answered matter-of-factly. “When I was you? Yeah, a little. He was in to it.”
Buffy folded her arms. “No. After.”
Faith turned and looked at her. “No. Dude was broken, you know? There’d been no point.”
The Slayer didn’t know what to say to that.
“So, are you and Spike making up for lost time or what?”
Buffy threw her hands up. “How is that your business, Faith?”
“So that’s a negative,” She took a sharp left. “Sucks to be you.”
“Whereas being an undead ho is so much better”
Faith laughed. “Glad you agree. We’re here.”
She screeched the car into a vacant parking bay as Buffy goggled at the building through the windscreen. Like a lot of things in this future Sunnydale, it didn’t look very impressive.
It just looked like another fairly large office complex, from the outside at least. Of course Buffy knew that not everything was what it seemed. So, as Faith climbed out of the car she followed suit but was on the ready for trouble.
The vampire stomped across the road in the bright sunlight, carefree. Buffy figured she had on some of the Vamp Sunscreen. But Spike had said that didn’t last longer than an hour and they had been out for at least thirty minutes. The Slayer hoped Faith knew what she was doing.
She caught her staring. “What?”
“Nothing,” Buffy snorted, looking away. “So, how exactly does this work?”
“We go in. We find the Slay of the Day, we get rowdy. Then we bail,” Faith shrugged easily. “’Course he’ll probably put up a fight. I damn well hope.”
They came to the entrance of the building and Faith opened the door but motioned her through with a courtly wave of her arm. Buffy eyed her suspiciously and slipped through the doors into the lobby. The dark-haired vampire stepped in behind her. There was a set blast doors in front of them. Heavy duty blast doors. And yet, Buffy could still hear the sound of an enormous roar.
She turned to Faith, wide-eyed. “Faith, what the hell do they keep here?”
“All sorts of things,” she grinned wickedly. “Big bads.”
“I thought we were here to slay a vampire…”
“We are,” she nodded and started towards the doors. “But, hey, if something else gets in our way…”
Faith placed her hand onto a scanner and the doors slid open.
+ + +
Spike looked at Norman steadily. “She was fifteen. That contract can’t have been legal.”
“It wouldn’t be,” Norman nodded. “Except for the fact it’s a contract of magic. The Council is something that was…apart from the laws that governed the world at the time Buffy signed it. The contract is binding because the fact that Buffy was a child at the time holds no weight in matters of magic. The Slayer’s power is rooted in magic, in demon energy. Being fifteen doesn’t matter. If it did, then Slayer’s wouldn’t have been called into their power at such a young age.”
Spike pinched the bridge of his nose. “So, it would hold up in court?”
“Yes,” Norman sighed, sipping the cold coffee.
Spike leaned back into the couch and shook his head. If the contract had been null and void then they could have at least pinned the murder charge on the Council, on the fact that Buffy was an instrument of The Council. Barely more than a puppet. She wouldn’t like the comparison but she’d grit her teeth and bear it if it got her off the charge.
The image of Angel as a puppet flittered through his mind for the barest second, nearly making him grin, before it was replaced by frustration again.
“So, what can we do?” Spike asked, watching the young lawyer. “How can she get away with this? Dozens of people saw her do it. They have the ashes. Before I knew it was Buffy…when I was sent down to be the H.U. rep on the case, I thought it was an open and shut case. There’s no way she’s getting away with this.”
Norman looked as worried as Spike felt. “All I can do is keep looking through the laws for a loophole. If The Council steps up to help her then she could still have a chance. If we can make them understand about Buffy coming from thirty years in the past then obviously she can’t be blamed for following the rules from back then…”
“But then what’s to stop every loony saying they travelled forward in time and didn’t know the rules had changed?” Norman scribbled down a few notes on a piece of paper. “We’d have to get strong evidence that Buffy was trapped in that other dimension for thirty years.”
“And how do we do that? I mean, she hasn’t aged in thirty years, is that…?”
Norman shook his head. “Could be magic. Anti-aging spells. She does have a phenomenally powerful witch as a best friend. That’s how the courts would look at it.”
“So, again, I ask what can we do?”
“Well, if…if we can’t count on The Council’s backing –”
Spike snorted. “Which is more or less a given.”
“- then all we can do is damage control. If Buffy shows a modicum of remorse for killing him then she might have a chance at a lesser sentence.” Norman bit his lip.
“Lesser? What, a life in prison? Rotting away like Angel?” Spike threw his hands up in disgust. “She wouldn’t, you know. She wouldn’t show remorse. It was her job. It’s all she knows. Slaying vampires is in her blood.”
Norman paled. “Maybe not telling everybody that would be a good idea too.”
He stood up and paced the room. “What can I tell her?”
“That we’re doing all we can,” Norman said gently. “I think she’d understand. I mean, I, uh, I don’t know Buffy very well but she seems…I think she knows you’re doing all you can.”
Spike looked at him sharply. “And it’s not enough. It never is. I always let her down.”
Norman shook his head. “I don’t think she’d see it that way.”
Spike grunted and turned on his heel marching into the kitchen area to make himself a coffee. He slammed every cupboard door in a fit of infantile annoyance and felt much better having done it.
The noise did bring Mya out of her teenage slumbering coma and she padded into the kitchen bleary-eyed and in pyjamas.
“Having a tantrum again?” She yawned, gulping milk straight from the carton, when Spike only growled in response she spoke again. “Who’s the guy in our living room?”
Spike stirred his coffee viciously. “Buffy’s lawyer.”
“Oh,” Mya leaned her back against the counter. “I think I scared him. I don’t think he’s ever seen a girl in her pyjamas before.”
Spike tried to remain grumpy but chuckled a little at that. “Where are our wonderful guests?”
“Willow suggested they hole up in a motel,” Mya responded. “I guess she thought you didn’t want Xander around after his whole superiority diatribe last night.”
Spike nodded then frowned. “Mya, who the hell uses the word ‘diatribe’?”
“How did any child of mine turn out to be such a geek?”
Mya shrugged. “I guess I had to make up for your complete lack of brains.”
“Ah, right,” Spike nodded. “And in doing so you had to lose out on the style, charm and abs.”
She snorted. “The price I pay. Where is Buffy?”
“Out with Faith.”
Mya’s eyes widened. “Wow, okay. I thought you told me they didn’t exactly get on?”
“They don’t,” Spike sipped his coffee. “But they have more in common than they think. It might be a good idea for them to get together more often.”
Mya smirked. “Yeah, you would think that.”
Spike rolled his eyes and tried not to show that he’d been thinking exactly what she’d accused him of thinking. Okay, so he was a much more mature and responsible and suit-wearing Spike but he was still Spike.
Norman shuffled awkwardly into the kitchen pointedly not looking at Mya as he cleared his throat, fiddling with the handle of his briefcase. “I’m going to go back to the archives, see if I can find something. Anything. If you or Buffy needs to get in contact with me I’ve left my card on the coffee table.”
“Okay, cheers mate,” Spike nodded. “I appreciate what you’re doing for her.”
Norman inclined his head slightly and then turned and bolted out of the door. Spike shook his head and smiled. He really was a dopey git. But he was a dopey git with a heart of gold and Buffy had a soft spot for those sorts.
Mya nudged him with her elbow. “So how is the case going?”
“Not good,” Spike sighed. “Not good at all.”
Mya paused for a moment. “Well, if worst comes to worst you could always go on the lam. You and Buffy – the Bonnie and Clyde of the generation. It’d be a tale of two misfits just trying to make it in a world that wants nothing to do with them.”
Spike arched an eyebrow.
“Or, it could just be really hot,” Mya shrugged.
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