Fic Title: The Rose Remembers
Summary: Death isn't done with Sandford, but a Slayer and a vampire on the run have something to say about that.
Rating: Eventually NC17
Warnings: Violence and sexual content.
Banner number: 47 by athenamuze
Setting: About 2 1/2 years post-NFA
Disclaimer: Not ours, as much as we would like them to be.
Author Notes: This is a crossover with the movie, Hot Fuzz, but honestly, you shouldn't have to be familiar with the movie to be able to understand the fic. However, by reading the fic, you *will* get spoiled for the entire movie. Just so that you know.
Previously on Buffy: Buffy had a Slayer dream where Giles was killed, and in an effort to stop it from happening, went with him to Sandford, the town where her dream took place...
The story begins here.
Nicholas settled behind his desk with a steaming cup of coffee and a fresh pen, ready to begin the paperwork he had left the night before. He needed to fill out several forms for each body that had been excavated and identified. He needed to fill out different forms for the ones that had not yet been identified. He needed to fill out a form for Gabriel. But his mind kept wondering back to Rupert Giles and his younger companion. Buffy the Psychic.
His concentration was not helped by the incessantly ringing telephone.
“Where is PC Thatcher?” Nicholas finally demanded, his tone a bit sharper than it needed to be. It wasn’t necessarily Doris’ job to answer the phone, but somehow, the task was always left to her. Probably because she was the department’s only female officer.
“She said she’s coming in a bit late today,” Walker volunteered, his words nearly indecipherable.
“Will somebody please get that?”
Fisher picked up the phone, and Nicholas looked back to his desk, only to be interrupted by a knock on his door.
“Chief?” Doris Thatcher’s voice pulled his attention back to the door, but it didn’t sound like her usual brash tone. In fact, she almost sounded subdued.
“Oh, Doris. Where were…” His question died on his lips when he noticed her pallor. “Are you all right? Come in.”
He stood up and lightly touched her shoulder, guiding her towards the chair while he shut the door behind her. She almost looked normal in her skirt and jacket, with her brown hair pulled into a pony-tail beneath her cap. But the sly light in her dark eyes was gone, and her full mouth wasn’t pulled into its typical amused grin.
“Did something happen?” Nicholas asked.
“I’m sorry, Nick…” She blew a lock of hair out of her face. Doris always looked very smart when she came to work, not a strand of hair out of place. Her tousled look worried him more than her tardiness. “It wasn’t a big deal. Nothing happened. But I didn’t get a lick of sleep all night, and I didn’t even have a guest over.”
“Tell me what happened,” Nicholas invited, leaning on the edge of the desk, stretching his legs and crossing one foot over the other.
“I was out with the girls last night, looking for a spot of fun. And we got separated because Rhea had to pee.”
“Well, they all went into the loo with her, but I was chatting up this bloke, you see? And he bought me a pint or two, then I looked away and I swear, I was only looking away for a second. When I turned my head again, the bloke was gone and she was there.”
Nicholas shook his head, perplexed. “She? Who?”
“That’s just the thing. I don’t know.”
“Well, what did she do?”
“She told me she thought I was a pretty poppet.”
“Yeah. So I thanked her for her compliment and then she told me she wanted to eat me up. So, of course, I told her I needed to be really drunk before that would happen.”
“And she started to do this weird swaying thing, like she was a snake. She touched my cheek and it was like she had talons. Very, very cold talons.” She shuddered as she spoke, and her disgust was plain on her face.
“Did she do anything else to you?”
“No. I decided to go home. Alone. But I heard the strangest sounds all night.”
“Was there a prowler outside? Doris, you should have called.”
“Well, normally I don’t mind when something goes bump in the night. But that’s why I’m late.”
“But you’re sure you’re okay?”
“Well…just don’t let it happen again.”
Doris nodded smartly. “Right, chief.”
“If you see the Andys, tell them I want to talk to them.”
Her prompt exit was cut short by her near-collision in the doorway, and Nicholas frowned as Mr. Giles apologized and stepped out of Doris’ way. By the light of day, the older gentleman certainly seemed respectable, but so had most of the members of the NWA. As Nicholas straightened, he made a mental note to see if there were any Giles connections in Sandford.
“Good morning,” Mr. Giles said, with a small smile. “Sergeant Fisher directed me back here when I asked to see you.”
“Good morning, Mr. Giles.” Nicholas gestured at the chair Doris had just abandoned. “Would you like something to drink? Tea?”
“No, I’m fine, thank you.” Though Nicholas kept a careful eye on him, Mr. Giles remained perfectly relaxed as he took a seat. “I thought I’d make my interest in the catacombs a bit more official,” he continued. He pulled a thick envelope from an inside pocket and held it out. “Some of my references in London. I don’t want you to regard me as anything but sincere in my desire to help.”
Nicholas accepted the envelope as he settled behind his desk, extracting the sheets of paper once he was sitting. Mr. Giles regarded him calmly while he skimmed over their contents. He was impressed that the other man had thought to bring references at all, but he was even more impressed when his eyes fell on a certain name.
“You know the Chief Inspector?”
Mr. Giles nodded. “We went to university together, but he’s actually been a longtime supporter of the organization I represent. He worked quite closely with my predecessor, as well.”
“And which organization would that be, Mr. Giles?”
“We’re privately funded. We’re involved in training young women to defend themselves, and then taking those skills into the public in order to protect the populace.” He smiled. “Every little bit helps when you’re dealing with evil, after all.”
“Yes, it does,” Nicholas agreed. He appreciated it when the public took an active role in their own protection, rather than placidly waiting for somebody to come and rescue them. Sandford was a perfect example of what could happen when a population became too complacent. “Well, Mr. Giles, everything here looks to be in order. But I hope you know I still have questions about why you’re here.”
“Oh, of course. Whatever you wish.”
“As you can imagine, we’ve attracted all sorts of attention over the past six months, and people have been coming out of the woodwork. Some of them have been mostly harmless. Some wanted to drag Sandford even more into the public eye. But the villagers here do not need that sort of publicity. And they don’t need two strangers poking around the graves for their own purposes.”
Mr. Giles’ small snort accompanied the shake of his head. “The public never understands the true gravity of such atrocities, Inspector. The last thing you have to worry about from either Buffy or myself is undue attention.”
Nicholas nodded. He didn’t quite trust the other man, but he didn’t view him with complete suspicion either. “What would you like to accomplish while you’re here?”
“Stop any more deaths from occurring,” came the swift response. “Regardless of how it must have appeared last night, Buffy is one of the most valuable members of our organization. She’s highly skilled in a wide variety of weaponry and an expert in assessing dangerous situations.”
Nicholas’ resolve to keep a very close eye on both of them only strengthened, but he was accustomed to reading people, and he didn’t sense anything insincere about Mr. Giles.
“I can’t reveal any sensitive details about the case,” Nicholas said slowly. “But the victim was only fifteen. And we still have not ascertained the weapon used.”
“I think something bit him,” Danny volunteered from the door.
Nicholas glanced up. “Good morning, Danny.”
Danny beamed at him. “Morning. But it did look like a bite. Right on the neck.”
Mr. Giles visibly straightened. “How long has he been dead?”
“His body was discovered three nights ago.”
Danny folded his arms and stood just behind Nicholas’ shoulder. “He was still pretty fresh when we found him.”
He’d never seen anybody stand so fast before. “Where’s the body being kept?” Mr. Giles had gone from calm and collected to brusque authoritarian in the blink of an eye.
“The coroner released it to the funeral director yesterday afternoon,” Nicholas said, standing as well. He almost said he couldn’t just let some stranger view the body, but Danny, caught up in the excitement of the moment, was already walking out the door.
“It’s not far from here,” Danny said. “I’ll show you.”
Nicholas sighed, falling in step behind Mr. Giles as Danny led him out of the temporary station.
“We’ll be right back,” Nicholas threw over his shoulder before stepping out of the trailer.
The funeral director, like everything else in Sandford, was within easy walking distance. And it was a distance Nicholas had walked often in the past six months. Danny let them in through the side entrance they routinely used, and the interior was startlingly dark after the bright summer day. Nicholas’ eyes were still adjusting when Danny stopped suddenly.
“Where is it?”
The coffin in the main display room was empty, long scratches around the edge of the lid. There was still a depression in the pillow where Gabriel’s head had rested. At his side, Mr. Giles immediately swore under his breath and reached into his coat pocket, extracting his cell phone.
“He was fifteen, you said?” He looked to Nicholas as he lifted the phone to his ear. “Any other distinguishing characteristics?”
Nicholas stared at the empty coffin for a beat before responding to Mr. Giles’ question. Were they dealing with some sort of body snatcher? Who would take a dead body? Who would take a child’s dead body?
“What? Oh. He was about this tall.” Nicholas held his hand up his chest. “Slight build. Longish blond hair. Why? Do you know what’s going on here?”
But Mr. Giles was no longer talking to him. He was speaking into his phone.
“I’m sorry, Buffy, I know you wanted to sleep, but…oh. Really? Well, you didn’t—no, of course, I’m not saying that. When was the last time I questioned your methodology?...That doesn’t count, and you know it. I only did that because Andrew said you…” He sighed, rubbing his eyes. “Yes, as soon as that came out of my mouth, I realized what it sounded like. Listen, I called for a reason. The latest victim was bitten when he was killed, and now his body has gone missing from the funeral director…” He relayed the information Nicholas had given him and, after another brief exchange that disparaged this unknown Andrew even further, disconnected from the call.
“What is going on?” Nicholas demanded.
“It’s vampires, isn’t it?” Danny asked.
Nicholas sighed. “Danny.”
But the sergeant ignored him. “It all makes sense, doesn’t it? The bite on the neck, and the body was pale, and now it’s gone. He’s a member of the undead, isn’t he?”
“Have there been any other similar deaths or disappearances lately?” Mr. Giles asked, ignoring Danny’s outburst.
“Not in the past six months, no. There hasn’t been a single accident or fatality in Sandford since May.”
“Good. That makes this easier, then.”
Nicholas’ mouth set in a hard line. “It’ll make what easier?”
Mr. Giles only cast a cursory glance toward Danny. “Catching the vampire responsible.”
Part of Buffy was relieved when she heard about the teenager going missing. Vampires, she knew. Hell, getting sent after vampires these days was like taking a vacation. They rarely had plans that amounted to more than bite-drink-look for someone else to bite, and when they did, all it took to usually stop them was an itty bitty piece of wood. It wasn’t like hellgods wanting to rip apart dimensions or Immortal men with virgin sacrifice fixations. Find the vamp. Stake the vamp. End of problem.
Plus, the fact that this was about vampires increased the odds of keeping Giles safe. He wasn’t about to fall for any vamp tricks, and as soon as she staked whoever was responsible for the teenaged boy, the problem would be solved. That was a good, no matter how she looked at it.
As she patrolled the castle grounds, the air crisp and cold, she tried not to think about the cigarette butts she’d found the night before. Coincidence. That’s all those were. Plenty of vampires smoked. Plenty of humans smoked. Any one of a number of people could have left behind them behind, and there was absolutely no reason to think that a dead vampire could be one of them.
“Little ladybird’s far from home,” came a singsong voice behind her.
The hair stood up on Buffy’s arms, but she kept her responses smooth as she turned around to face the source. Like a wraith, Drusilla melted out of the darkness, a coy smile curving her crimson mouth. She wore a red velvet dress that hugged her willowy body, its scoop neck revealing pale scars along her throat and chest, and her black hair was pinned up at the sides with heavy, floral-encrusted combs. She looked just like she always had, and seeing her stabbed unexpectedly in Buffy’s heart.
“Nice to see you’re still embracing that cuckoo’s nest,” she commented dryly. “But I can’t say I really expected to ever see you again. What happened, Dru? Take a wrong turn at Albuquerque?”
Ignoring her taunt, Drusilla advanced another step. “I’m not the one who’s lost, but I suppose you can’t fly away, can you? Everything’s already burned. There’s nothing left but ash, ash, ash.”
Her blood ran cold. “God, I so haven’t missed your brand of wacky.” Pulling her stake out of her waistband, Buffy twirled it between her fingers, remaining wary of Drusilla’s proximity. She couldn’t let Drusilla get to her, either physically, or with her babbling, or that weird hypno thing she’d pulled on Kendra. “Let’s say we make this easy and cut straight to the fight, okay? This English weather is hell on my hair.”
A cunning gleam appeared in Drusilla’s eyes. “No need to clip my wings. I’m already home.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not.”
She swept her leg out, not really expecting to connect with Dru but unwilling to continue on with the bantering portion of the night. Ignoring the fact that just the sight of the vampire made too many memories erupt, she gave Buffy a headache every time she opened her mouth. How Spike had put up with it for a century, Buffy didn’t know. Well. She did know, but the less she thought about Spike and Dru’s sex life, the happier she was.
Dru leapt out of her path. Instead of retreating, however, she lunged forward, knocking the stake out of Buffy’s grip with a single clawed hand. Nails raked down the back of Buffy’s fingers, and she felt the sharp sting as the cool air met open flesh.
“Did you bleed for him?” Drusilla asked. She danced just out of Buffy’s reach, hatred curling her lip. “He bleeds for you, you know. He always did. Such a weakness.”
There was no doubt who she was talking about. “Hate to break it to you, Vamp Interrupted, but Spike’s dead.”
“Of course, he is.” She laughed. “Aren’t we all?”
Buffy ducked just in time to avoid Drusilla’s claws again, and she rolled over the damp ground to get away. Her head hit a thick root, stopping her in her path. With her ears ringing, she leapt back to her feet, but not before she felt a high-heeled shoe slam into the small of her back.
She flew forward, Drusilla’s high-pitched chortle ringing behind her. A thick, low-hanging branch gave her something to grab, and she used her momentum to swing up and over it, vaulting back to land in front of Dru again.
“Don’t tell me that’s the best you’ve got,” Buffy said.
She was ready for the attack, even wanted it. But as Drusilla swept forward, a blur of black erupted from the night, slamming into the vampire’s side and throwing her to the ground. Snarls ripped through the cold, but it was a flash of platinum that stopped Buffy cold.
Dru writhed beneath her assailant, talons scoring his face. She lifted them in triumph to Buffy, her pale skin now stained scarlet.
“I told you he bleeds for you, Slayer,” she sang.
It was that word – Slayer – hanging between them that made the world grind to a halt. The man holding Drusilla down slowly lifted his head, turning it in Buffy’s direction. Her heart leapt into her throat as she met eyes that shouldn’t have been so blue, and her mouth worked and failed to say his name.
It was still possible to think it, though.
To be continued in Chapter 4...