Chapter One: The Last Mistake
Surprise! New chapter! I hadn’t forgotten this story. I had writer block for this story for a long time. The ideas are coming back, but I’ll forewarn everyone that the updates will be slow. My first priority is going to be Winter’s Child. However, a couple scenes in the next chapter for that story are giving me problems so I worked on this story to prevent me from hitting my head against the desk in frustration.
I would like to thank everyone who had reviewed. It means a lot to me. I would also like to thank sapph and Shaybo for the recommendations.
Forewarning, this chapter has not been beta. Please forgive the mistakes that I missed.
Enjoy!Chapter One: The Last Mistake
Buffy leaned her left hand heavily against the corner of an old brick building, staring at the burning apartment complex near Stanford University where Sam Winchester lived—not that Bobby told her that. It was too late to be of any help, she decided, angrily clenching her right hand. From the front entrance a well-built man in his mid to late twenties dressed in a pair of jeans, shirt and a leather coat dragged his taller, struggling companion out of the building.
Buffy closed her eyes, struggling not to get lost in her own memories. The fire would have taken the victim first. It forced her into the position of a specter, unable to prevent her loved one from being painfully killed before her. It almost seem like the demon made it into a taunt--if she had been faster, if only she hadn’t left her sister alone than Dawn would still be alive. Mentally, she knew there was nothing she could’ve done, but her heart still argued that she should’ve been able to prevent Dawn’s death on August 4, 2004.
“Dawn! No!” Buffy yelled as the flames started consuming her sister. She reached out towards Dawn only to yank it back when the fire singed her hand. A frantic scan around the room informed her that there was nothing she could use that could help save her sister. The fire spiraled down towards her and she dunk. “Dawn!” She yelled again before the sound of crying reached her ears. Glancing to the far end of the room she spotted the fire heading toward the crib with the infant lying inside.
With a glimpsed back at Dawn, Buffy barely pushed back the choke sob rising in her throat at the dead look in her sister’s eyes as the fire swallowed her whole. “Dawnie... I’m sorry.” She darted to the crib and grabbed the infant while a small, agonizing cry fell from her lips. Buffy quickly fled from the house, the fire licking at her heels, barely escaping to the front yard as the upper floor of the house exploded.
Time passed in a dark haze while she sat against a tree. Minutes or hours had gone by since she had exited the house--she couldn’t tell which—didn’t care. Slowly, Buffy blinked as the kneeling paramedic shined a light into her eyes. He was saying something. Buffy frowned. It sounded garbled--like sound did when underwater. She stared at the moving mouth that was surrounded by a small reddish beard, trying to focus on the words. It didn’t help by much, but slowly she was able to make out the words. Barely. Buffy swatted the penlight away while shaking her head.
“She’s in shock.” The red haired paramedic stated as he glanced over his shoulder at his partner. “Take the infant, but be careful, her hands are burned--second or third degree.”
“No!” Buffy snapped when the older paramedic tried to take David from her arms and pulled him closer to her chest. “I couldn’t...” A tear slipped down her face. “I won’t.... There wasn’t a way.” She clenched her eyes closed in grief. “God, I wish...”
“Ma’am?” Questioned the distant, baritone voice of the older paramedic. She shook her head roughly. “Ma’am, it’s alright.” The paramedic stated again. “We’re here to help.” Buffy blinked before she shook her head again, trying to push past the last portion of the haze surrounding her mind.
Looking around Buffy finally noticed the firefighters trying to put out the fire and the police that were redirecting what little traffic there was while more firefighters and paramedics were arriving on the scene. Looking back at the red headed paramedic, she whispered brokenly. “You can’t. It’s too late, there’s nothing you can do. She’s dead and nothing you could have done would have changed that.”
“Miss, was there another person in the house?” The older paramedic questioned urgently.
A tear slipped down her face. “My sister.”
Buffy shook her head while opening her eyes, banishing the horrible memory to the back of her mind. This situation was too similar for it to not trigger the memory of her sister’s death, but she didn’t have time to deal with the anguish and fury that warred in her heart. Not when she had come so close to catching up with the bastard responsible. Faith and hers theory had been correct—the demon was going back after his original targets. But why? What made these people so special? She frowned, watching as Sam leaned heavily against the black car before he stared back at the burning building in grief. Perhaps the better question was why now. Was there a reason why the demon had to wait for the victims to reach adulthood?
Should she approach them? The signs had pointed her here. Her visions had been no help except to project that something was coming. Would it rival the First? She wasn’t sure. Regardless, Buffy was unsure if these two could help her. Would they know anything that she hadn’t already discovered? Things like the cattle death, temperature fluctuations, and electrical storms that followed this demon or other past victims. She doubted it. Their father might be able to tell her more if she could confront him face to face, but tracking him down was nearly as impossible as tracking the demon.
Buffy grimaced as she recalled the past conversations with John Winchester—he hadn’t been happy with her questions. He ordered her to stay off the case when he had actually bothered to answer his phone. Like hell she going to leave the matter alone because he told her too. She ignored Bobby when he basically told her the same thing.
One way or another she would kill the demon responsible. Several people thought that was impossible while others thought she was chasing windmills again. Neither was correct, but this wasn’t the first time the Scoobies had doubted her judgments and her new acquaintances didn’t know about the Slayer’s Scythe.
One year ago, August 11, 2004; Cleveland
A tear slid down Buffy’s face. One week had passed since the night her sister was murdered. Roughly, she wiped the tear away. “The gang is looking into your death, Dawn. The police and the firefighters are saying that it was an electrical short in the ceiling or walls... But you and I both know that’s not true.” She choked back a sob and continued, “But hey, Cleveland’s law force is almost as good at denying the supernatural as Sunnydale’s was. The whole insert blindfold when there’s no logical explanation. They should make a t-shirt for it really.” She angrily clenched her hands before wiping the tears away again. “The little boy, David, he’s safe Dawn. I got him out for you. The patrolling schedule was altered and we’ll make sure that whatever this thing was trying doesn’t happen.” Kneeling, Buffy gently traced Dawn’s name before standing up. “I swear, I’ll make this thing pay. I’m going to find it and kill it.”
“It’s been slow going.” She clenched her left hand. “We have no leads on this. Not what it is. Not what it wants.”
“Hey, B.” Faith greeted as she stopped beside Buffy, tossing her a set of keys. Buffy raised an eyebrow in question and Faith shrugged. “What? You’re gonna need a pair of wheels if you’re going to travel. Just do me a favor, yo, and don’t crash my truck.”
Buffy ignored Faith’s smirk, muttering, “I’m not that bad.” Turning the keys around in her hands she frowned. “Why do I need to travel?”
“I did a little digging to see if I could find similar fires. And yeah, I’m no Red, but I drag Andrew into helping.” Faith rocked briefly back onto her heels while giving Buffy an amused smirk. “You ignore about three-fourths of what he says and he’s pretty useful.” Faith ignored Buffy’s snort as she continued. “Anyways we found a couple of cases that matched what happen to Dawn. Each of them had a person die in a nursery fire.” She handed a thin folder to Buffy. “And dig this, each of the tikes were six months old.”
Buffy snapped her eyes away from the document she was reading to meet Faith’s serious brown eyes. “Like David?”
Faith nodded. “Exactly like. The way I figure, this thing is going after the babies and those who died are...”
“The ones who got in the way.” Buffy interrupted as she flipped through a couple of papers. The three previous infants targeted were Tina Berry, Steven Mescal, and Samuel Mathews. All three lived in different states and were born in different months but in the same year. What was this thing’s objective? “Why is it going after the children? What is it? Did it leave any traces?”
“Don’t know.” Faith shrugged. “Willow is working on that.”
Buffy frowned. “If it is after the kids, why did it leave them behind?” Absent mindedly, she tapped the paper with her right hand. Was it some type of ritual? Was the killing a part of it or would an interruption cause the ritual to fail? Were the killings intentional or a punishment for those who had interfered with his plan and caused it to fail? But had it even failed?
“Who knows,” Faith replied. “Maybe, it decided to cut its losses and hightail it out once it’s interrupted.”
“Maybe.” Buffy glanced down at the pair of keys in her left hand before studying Faith’s expression. Spotting the indecision, she ordered. “Out with it. There is something else, isn’t there?”
Faith briefly bit her lip before she shook her head. “Nah, it just a little disagreement between Giles and me. No big.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “He thinks I should stay, doesn’t he?”
“Yeah.” Faith replied, slipping her hands into her back pockets. “But we got this front covered. No offense, Buffy, but you’re not needed here.”
Pushing passed the disappointment at Gile’s reaction, Buffy smiled slightly. “Thanks for understanding, Faith.”
“No problem, B.” Faith stated as she rolled her left shoulder back before shoving Buffy towards the truck. “Go. You’re fully loaded and I even managed to sneak the scythe in.”
Buffy smiled gratefully before she shook her head and frowned. “Sure you won’t need it?”
“We’ll be five by five without it.”
November 15, 2004 Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas
Buffy glanced down at the list before checking the house number. This was the last place on the list Faith had given her a month ago. “1481. We made it Toto. Let’s see what we can find.” She wasn’t sure why she bothered coming to these places anymore. All the others places had turned out to be dead-end and a pattern didn’t seem to be forming. It seemed that this evil had targeted children in three separate years. It started in the year 1983 and had gone after four children from what they had managed to piece together; Sam Winchester, Max Miller, Scott Carey, and Andrew Gallagher.
Two years later in 1985 the same thing occurred only this time three babies were targeted; Tyler Heartson, Annabelle Collins, and Jason Sweets. But then it went quiet for nineteen years until the year 2004 when it had gone after four children so far; Tina Berry, Steven Mescal, Samuel Matthews, and David Wilson. Every time this thing attacked, someone had died—usually the mom. But why did it wait nineteen years to continue? Why did it leave the children alone after it attacked? What was it real purpose? Was the true target the children or those who he killed? So far they couldn’t find a ritual to explain either scenario.
Buffy sighed, walked up to the door, and briefly looked into the dark window. She cocked her head to the side and muttered, “Here goes nothing,” and knocked three times. When no one answered, Buffy took a quick glance around before twisting the door handle hard, forcing the door to open.
“What do you think you’re doing, young lady?” A voice behind her made her jump. How did she miss her?
Buffy turned around and nervously smiled at the older woman that was approaching across the block. “Taking a tour?”
The older woman paused before her and her firm expression melted into a sad one. “Oh, honey… I’m sorry about your sister.”
Buffy tensed. “How did you know about that?”
“My name is Missouri Moseley. I’m a psychic, Buffy.” Missouri paused a moment before she continued. “You’re here trying to find a clue to what kill your sister.”
Psychic? Buffy thought. Sure, after every else I seen, why not?
Buffy slowly nodded. “Do you know what happen here?”
“Evil visited here.” Missouri sighed. “But I think you already known that.”
“It went after a six month old baby.” Buffy confirmed. “Why?”
“I don’t know.” Missouri looked past Buffy at the house. “The father of the little boy came to me for a reading a few days after the fire. He took me to this house. He was hopin’ I could sense the echoes—the fingerprints of the thing.”
“I…” Missouri shook her head. “I don’t know what it was, but it was evil. There was no mistaking that feeling for anything.”
Buffy slumped against the house. “Another dead end then.”
“Maybe not, hon.” Missouri pressed her lips together. “I don’t have the answers you seek, but I might know a couple of people who do. I sure, the father of that little boy is still looking for the thing that took his wife. Now I don’t know where he is, but Bobby Singer may be able to help.”
Buffy smiled. Maybe things were looking up a little. “Where do I find him?”
Buffy slowly pulled the truck into the lane of Singer Auto Self Service Salvage Yard and studied the area around her. There were several different makes of cars in various conditions. A few models she could name but most of them she couldn’t. Approaching close to a small beaten up house, she carefully placed the truck into park. Looking out the window she spotted a gruff older man sitting on the porch step with a beer in his left hand.
She blinked as her phone rang and she answered, “Yeah?”
“Did any of the leads from the attacks in 83’ and 35’ panned out?” Faith questioned over the phone.
“Not exactly, but I might have a new one.” Buffy paused as she leaned her head back against the seat. “Well assuming that I can get him to talk.”
“Is he hot?”
She barely withheld a groan. “Faith, ew, he’s old enough to be our father.”
“So? Never stop you before.” Faith snorted. “Seriously, B, you are wound way to tight. A little beer, little flirting never hurt anyone—could even help with the talking.”
old enough to be our father.” Buffy replied, stressing a few words as she gritted her teeth. She glanced out the window towards him again. “I don’t think alcohol is going to be a problem.”
“One down then.” Faith countered. Buffy could practically hear the smirk in her voice. “Anyways, Red, just handed me some more info. Turns out every targeted tike that we managed to find in 83’ and 85’ are still alive today.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “This thing just left them alone? It didn’t bother to go back?”
“Looks like it, B. I’ll send their current locations over through email. Doubt they know anything, but who knows. You might want to think about shacking up with some of them for a bit. Some seem to be built pretty fine—Winchester boy certainty.”
Buffy rubbed her forehead. “Faith I’m not shacking up with anyone.”
“Shame.” Faith stated before she paused. Vaguely she could hear Willow’s voice. The words were muffled as was Faith’s reply. She was willing to bet that Faith was firmly keeping her hand over the speaker to ensure that effect, but the general tone told her enough. “We’re going to keep digging for information on our side, B, I promise.”
Buffy closed her eyes. “Thanks Faith.” Closing the phone, she tossed it into the next seat. It was starting again. The Scoobies wanted her to return to her ‘duty’ in Cleveland and stop chasing the windmills. She wasn’t stupid. She predicted that they would do this once no leads panned out. Just how many Scoobies wanted to lecture her for ‘duty abandonment’ this time?
Exiting the truck, she noticed a large dog tied by the right side of the house. Four feet from the man, she stopped and questioned. “Are you Bobby Singer?” The Scoobies would just have to get in line and wait, because she wasn’t returning until she succeeded in her objective—to kill the bastard who murdered Dawn.
He took a slow drink of his beer. “What do you want?”
Buffy frowned, slightly irked. That hadn’t answered her question. “My name is Buffy Summers. Missouri Mosley said you might be able to help be with me with my not exactly normal problem.”
Bobby raised an eyebrow. “What’s the problem?”
Buffy paused. How was she supposed to explain this? She couldn’t exactly say she wanted to destroy the damn thing that killed her sister—actually she could. “I want the monster that kill my sister dead.”
“You have an idea what this monster is?” He questioned as he leaned slightly forward in his chair.
Buffy sighed. “No.”
Bobby took another gulp of his drink before he questioned her with a slightly doubtful tone. “You sure it wasn’t a human?”
Buffy‘s eyes narrowed, her hands clenching angrily at her side. “She was on the ceiling. There was no physical means of holding her there.” She paused briefly to prevent herself from yelling, but the cold fury was clear in every word. “She was bleeding from her stomach as she was swallowed by fire that started from behind her. Yeah, I’m sure it wasn’t human.”
Bobby studied her for several moments before taking another drink. “You want to kill this thing yourself.”
Bobby scoffed. “You’re in over your head, girl.”
“Excuse me?” Buffy snapped as she took several steps forward. “This isn’t the first time I fought the supernatural.”
“Even if that was the case, you go after this thing half assed and you are as good as dead.” Bobby shrugged. “Those better prepared than you have tried and died.”
“That’s my problem then.” Buffy replied, annoyed, crossing her arms over her chest. “I’m not asking you to fight this battle for me. I just need a little help getting pointed in the right direction.”
Bobby nodded as he put his beer aside. “True.” Slowly he stood and headed inside the house. “Problem is, our mutual friend called earlier asking me to not let you get your fool ass killed.”
Buffy glared at him as she followed him into his house. She raised an eyebrow at the offered beer. He shrugged. “What?” Bobby questioned. “Haven’t had enough crap thrown at you to desire a beer on a few occasions?”
“More like the opposite.” She muttered darkly as she recalled the night she spent as a cavewoman before she accepted the drink with a quiet thanks. Cautiously she took a sip before she narrowed her eyes as she spotted Bobby relaxing slightly. “What did you put in it?”
He glanced back at her suspiciously before he shrugged and walked back around the desk. “Don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Slowly she reached behind her back for her stake as she briefly caught his hand reaching for a drawer. He might not be a vampire, but she could deal serious damage with one. If that didn’t work there was the silver dagger tucked inside her boot. She glanced towards the doorway. The slayer’s scythe would be the last option if he turned out to be an enemy. “You relax a bit when I took a sip, why?”
Bobby raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Sharp.” He pulled his hand away from the drawer and picked up a newspaper article from the top of the pile on his desk. “Holy water—your first question.”
She snorted, releasing her grip on the stake. “Done with your tests?” She glanced around the room noticing the books, papers, and other items scattered around the house. If Giles could see this, he would be in a tizzy. She smiled lightly at the thought. “It’s sweet of Missouri to worry and all, but I can handle myself.”
“Maybe.” Bobby commented, doubtful. “Prove it.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow as she crossed her arms. “Prove it how?”
Bobby tossed the paper towards Buffy. “Two eight years boys were found strangled and stabbed to death in an old abandon house in Williston. No traces of the murderer or weapon. Same thing happened two previous times. If I had my guess I would say it was a typical spirit case. It’s a fairly basic hunter’s case. You show me you can handle it and I’ll see about helping you catch the bastard that killed your sister.”
Reading the article, Buffy withheld a wince. A ghost? Why did it have to be something that she couldn’t physically hit? She had no desire of being possessed again. “And if you should deem that I can’t handle the case?”
Bobby shrugged. “Guess we’ll see when we cross that bridge. Now come on, we have work to do.”
Buffy leaned against the brick wall that surrounded the local elementary school. Across the road was the abandon building that the two boys were killed in a week and a half ago. ‘Police investigation’ was still on going and the local cops weren’t happy about ‘FBI interference’. Not that she or Bobby were actually FBI, but apparently part of being a hunter was finding out of many laws you could get away with breaking.
Nothing had jumped out at them at the house—if there was a spirit there, it was either not interested in them or sleeping during the day—she had left Bobby to retreat back to the school. It was recess time after all and the younger of the murdered boys had a sister that was in attendance.
She slowly entered the recess area and scanned the surroundings. Finding one little girl she had never met before should be hard to near impossible if it wasn’t for the fact that a little girl was on the swings by herself. The girl had stared at them before Bobby and she had entered the house and hadn’t seemed to look away since. Buffy started to walk over to her. Technically, she should go to the principal before talking to her, but she wasn’t in the mood for technicality.
“Hi there. I’m Ann.” Buffy greeted as she stop two feet away from the swings. “What’s your name?”
The young girl bit her lip and shuffled her feet. “Emily.”
“Emily, huh.” Buffy smiled. “That’s a pretty name.” The statement won a smile from Emily and Buffy knelt down in front of her. “How old are you Emily?”
“Wow. “ Buffy tucked some of Emily’s brown hair behind her ear. “I bet in a couple of years you’ll have tons of boys lining up to ask you out.”
Emily scrunched up her nose. “Nay-huh, boys are yucky.”
Buffy chuckled. “Boys are yucky… I tell you a secret.” She leaned in and whispered. “I once thought that too.”
Emily’s eyes widened as she denied. “No way.”
“Yes way.” Buffy paused a moment before she asked. “Can you tell me about your brother, Emily?”
“He’s dead.” Emily hugged herself. “It’s my fault.”
Buffy frowned. Had anyone bother to try to reassure the child that it wasn’t her fault? Had anyone realized that Emily felt this way? “Why do you think it’s your fault?”
“I was playing ball with my friends at recess, when Billy Tripe took it. My brother came over then and told him to give the ball back. Billy said if he wanted the ball to come and get it. He ran to building across the street.” Emily clenched her jeans tightly as she looked Buffy in the eyes. Emily’s blue eyes were pleading for her to understand. “We’re not supposed to go over there. The grownups say that bad things happen there.”
The adults were correct. In fifteen years there had been six deaths in that house. Four of the deaths couldn’t be explained, but each of the victims had been strangled and stabbed to death. Was there any reason why the community didn’t tear down the house after the previous deaths to the boys’ murder? It wasn’t like it was across the street of a school—wait, it was. She stopped understanding blind tolerance a long time ago. Really. And no, that wasn’t sarcastic by any means. Softly she asked Emily, “You’re brother followed Billy, didn’t he?”
Emily paused for several moments before she nodded slowly. Buffy gently rested her hand on top of Emily’s. “Did you follow the boys, Emily?” Emily bit her lip before nodding again.
“What happen, Emily?”
Emily shook her head. “You won’t believe me.”
“You saw something. A monster, but the grown-ups don’t believe you, right?” Buffy countered gently. She met Emily’s wide, blue eyed gaze. “We both know that they are real monsters. But there are also real heroes that fight the monsters. And that’s me. I promise you, Emily, I won’t let this thing hurt anyone else. But I need a little help. Can you help me?”
Emily hesitantly nodded. “It looked like a man, but it wasn’t. Mike kicked it but he just kept dragging him and Billy into the next room. Mike told me to run. I did.”
The story matched what Bobby and her believed to be the case. Fifteen years ago a drunken father nearly succeeded in killing both of his sons. The eldest son managed to kill the father before dying himself. The youngest son still lived in the area. Not that the youngest son was any prize being the town drunk. That conversation had been a blast. If he had grab for her assets one more time she would have smack him—professional appearance be damn. Why was the community allowing an underage kid to get drunk anyways?
So which one was the ghost—the father or the first born son?
Gently Buffy squeezed Emily’s hand again. “You couldn’t have done anything different, Emily. You did the right thing. Don’t worry…” Buffy glanced over and met Bobby’s gaze. He had joined her a few minutes ago. “I won’t let him hurt anyone else again.” Why was it that it took longer to drive here than it was to get the information needed to solve the case? How was she going to get rid of a ghost if, according to Bobby, salt and iron was temporary solutions?
“Couldn’t we just burn the father?” Buffy questioned as they approached the house again that night. “I mean, if the son had been cremated and you need human remain to stick around after death then wouldn’t that make the father the ghost by default?”
Bobby frowned. “Not if the ghost is anchored by an object.” Shifting the rifle and flashlight into his right hand he opened the door and entered. “Rather than risking any more kids’ lives I would make sure we have the correct ghost.”
“You’re a cup half empty type of person, aren't you?” Buffy countered as she entered after Bobby. She frowned as she shifted the gun in her hands. She didn’t believe that guns were useful after previous experience with the Initiative, but Bobby had firmly informed her she was either taking the gun with her or her fool ass was going to be left behind. If she hadn’t proven she could actually use the gun she still would have been left behind back in Sioux Falls. Apparently, Bobby had enough idjits to take care of.
The temperature dropped and Buffy could see her breath as she exhaled. This was certainly shaping up to be a different experience than her last involvement with ghosts. She peered out of the corner of her left eye as she clicked off the safety of her gun. The spirit look more solid than she had imaged it would. He was pale, young, and had deep bruising around his neck. Buffy frowned. It was the son? What was keeping him here? His remains were gone.
“Leave.” The spirit, Brandon Walson, ordered in a voice barely above a whisper. “It’s too late for the other one.”
Buffy raised her eyebrow. She didn’t need Bobby to tell her that this was out of the ordinary. But was it? If the son had died protecting his younger brother was he still trying to do so? She shook her head. “Can’t.” She back toward the door that Bobby had went through a few minutes ago. The door slammed shut and a gunshot was heard.
She darted forward, twisting the door handle and pushed. It didn’t budge. “Bobby!” She yelled as she slammed her shoulder against the wooden door. It still didn’t budge. She glared at the door angrily. How could a regular door withstand slayer strength? She smashed her shoulder again against the door as another gunshot went off. “You could be helpful and get the mojo off the door that is preventing me from getting to my partner.” She snapped as Brandon suddenly appeared next to her. Buffy raised the gun between them, her finger on the trigger, ready to fire.
“The eldest is always the sacrifice.” Brandon tilted his head in confusion. “I save the youngest. Like the little girl. I kept the attention away from her.”
“By giving him other targets!” Buffy snarled as the pieces snapped together. “You dragged the boys to him!”
“I had to. The youngest and I had to be safe.”
“Save the oldest.” Buffy growled and pulled the trigger hitting the spirit with rock salt, forcing him to disappear. “I’ve already died twice and it spat me back out.” She slammed her shoulder against the door again and this time it broke opened. Apparently, the third time really was the charm. Buffy shot the younger spirit as he reappeared behind Bobby. “You’re already dead. See the light and move on already.” As Bobby dunked a flying lamp, he retaliated by shooting the older spirit again. As the spirit disappeared, she ordered. “Bobby, hurry up! We have a body to burn.”
Bobby pushed past her, shooting the younger spirit. “Two spirits? That’s unusual. The son has to be connected to an object.”
“Body first, object second!” Buffy countered as she ran toward the exit, jumping onto the desk to avoid being pinned to the wall. Twisting in mid-air she fired off another shot at the elder spirit, Scott Walson, as he appeared to their left.
The front door slammed shut seconds after they left the house. “Didn’t care for your first dance, princess?” Bobby questioned while he calmly made his way back to his truck.
“Shut it.” She snarled.
“I’m not use to dealing with things that I can’t hit.” Buffy stared at the fire consuming the corpse in the ground before her as she thought about the case. They had been lucky. The community had buried the father in the clothes he had died in. Apparently, he had been hated and received the bare minimum of care before he was shoved into a grave on the outskirt of the town. The clothes still contained the bloodstains of Brandon’s blood on it. It explained how the son could remain behind as the spirit as well. Burning the father had allowed them to kill two birds with one stone. They were going to go back and check afterwards. No unfinished business left behind to kill more people.
“The First was one of the few enemies I faced that lack a physical body, but its army was more of a concern and that I could hit.” She folded her arms across her stomach. “The thing that killed Dawn…I don’t know if it has a physical body. If I can’t hit it before it pins me or if its uses someone’s body, then you’re right, my strength is useless.” Buffy looked towards Bobby. “I’m not new to the supernatural world. I told you as much, but I am new to this side of it. I need help.” She turned towards him and made eye-contact. “I need someone to teach me what I don’t already know. Will you teach me?”
“It won’t be easy.” Bobby commented.
“When is it ever easy?”
“I’ll send you on different hunts throughout the training. Ones I think you’re ready for—some with me, some not. You’ll learn to con others and how to use different variety of guns. And you’re not allowed to go after this thing until I decided that you have a chance to survive it.” Bobby sent a sharp glance at Buffy when she opened her mouth to argue. “It’s not up for debate.”
Buffy pressed her lips together and tossed his words around in her head, before she reluctantly nodded. “I understand. I don’t like it. But I don’t need to. I can’t beat this thing yet and until I can…” She cocked her head slightly to the side. “It’s pointless to try. Rule one: don’t die.” Not that it will stop her from trying, but Bobby didn’t need to know that.
“Make sure you follow that rule.” Bobby stated, frowning. “I know too many idjits that don’t.”
Present--Palo Alto, California
It has been a year since she had taken her first case with Bobby Singer. Since then a small friendship had formed between the two despite the arguments they often had--usually dealing with what she could and could not do.
Slowly she approached the two brothers and paused to Sam’s right. “I’m sorry for your lost.”
Sam gave a tensed nod, before Dean stepped in front of him while giving him a concerned look. “We want to be left alone.”
“Of course. I understand.” She took a step back while she turned and paused. She really should leave it alone. It was unlikely they would know anything more than she did. Maybe they could get a hold of their father, maybe not. Goodness knows he had stopped answering her phone calls after the fourth time she call him to quiz him about the demon and proceeded to tell Bobby to keep her on a leash. The following debate with Bobby didn’t go over too well. Something about trying to get her fool ass kill and just as stubborn as the other idjit.
She glanced back at Sam. The grief was clear in his eyes as well as the determination. He was going after this thing too. Back when she had started, just to have a place to start would have been a comfort. “I’d wish...” Buffy shook her head and snorted. Wishes never went down well as Bobby got to discover in their joint case four months ago. “If wishes were horses we would all have what we want or the nightmare version of it.”
“Listen lady--” Dean started saying as he took a step forward.
“I’ll make the bastard who did this pay.” She interrupted while she turned toward them again.
Startled, Sam took a step toward her. “What are you talking about?”
“The demon.” Buffy paused as Dean narrowed his eyes at her. “It took my sister a year ago.” She gestured at the burning apartment. “Same way, except she was babysitting a six month old baby at the time. I wasn’t able to save her.”
“Damn.” Dean muttered. “Are you sure it the same thing?”
His question was half-hearted, she could tell by the tone. He knew it was the same demon. “It’s the same M.O. I’ve been tracking it since my sister’s death—much to the frustration of my uncle.” Buffy repressed a smirk. Bobby wasn’t her uncle, well, not in blood. It irked him to be called that, but secretly she was pretty sure he liked it. Sort of. Maybe. Regardless he was stuck with it. It was what he deserved for managing to successful ground her two months ago. He was lucky she didn’t start calling him dad for the lectures he gave her. “The signs led me here.” She shoved her hands into her pockets. “Too little, too late. I’m sorry I couldn’t prevent your pain. But I will make it pay. Well, if your father doesn’t beat me too it.”
“Our father?” Dean questioned. “What do you know about him?”
“Nothing much.” Buffy replied. “Never met him. Talk to him a couple times on the phone. He is the only other person that I know that has any real leads on this bastard. He stopped answering my phone calls eight months ago when he told me in no uncertain terms to get my noise the hell off this case before I get myself killed.”
Dean smirked. “Didn’t listen very well.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “I was supposed to listen?” She shook her head and started to leave.
“Wait.” Sam took a step forward. “What do you know about the demon?”
“I know how to kill it and roughly how to track it.” She answered. “I don’t know its end goal, though.”
“Let me come with you.” Sam half demanded, half pleaded.
“Sam!” Dean snapped. “Dude, we don’t even know if she telling the truth or blowing hot air.”
“Stay with your brother.” Buffy countered as she continued to walk away. “Take the time to get your feet underneath you again. I’ll call if I find something important in relation to the demon.”
“Don’t you need our numbers?” Sam questioned.
“Then how are you going to call us, sweetheart?” Dean question sarcastically. “Going to pull that out of thin air too?”
Buffy shrugged. “You’ll figure it out eventually, honey.”
Sam frowned. “How are we supposed to contact you?”
“Call Uncle Bobby!”
Buffy smirked as she turned the corner, risking a glance back and watched as the brothers looked at each other while Dean repeated her words. “Bobby? As in Bobby Singer? Dude, if Bobby had such a hot niece why didn’t he tell us?”
Sam stared at his brother in disbelief. “Seriously Dean?”
“What?” Dean smiled at Sam. “You can’t deny that she is hot.”
Sam shook his head. “And if it is our Bobby’s niece, he wouldn’t hesitate to shoot you if you flirted with her.”
Dean winced. “Good point.”