Genre: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Word count 1595
I see you.
Buffy Summers spun around, her fists up even before the words finished forming in her head. She relied upon her instincts to keep her alive and so far they had not failed her. However, there was nothing there. Certainly, there was rubble and garbage strewn everywhere, but as far as she could tell, she was alone.
She turned back and frowned. It was odd when her spidery-senses, as Xander was wont to call them, let her down.
I still see you.
This time, she resisted the impulse to turn. In her head, she heard a giggle, but when she looked – nothing.
“Did you hear something?” Willow’s brows had furrowed until they were nearly hidden from view. She was holding onto Xander as if he was a lamp post in is high wind.
You can’t find me. It was sing-songy, a little kid’s voice.
“That!” Xander was pointing at the doorway, which, as far as Buffy could tell, hadn’t changed from the same doorway it had been a moment ago. They were in the wreckage that had once been their high school. The city hadn’t decided whether to tear it down or rebuild it. Since it sat over the Hellmouth, Buffy was opting to the building of a swimming pool full of holy water over it. Sadly, they never asked her, they just expected her to clean up whatever mess crawled from it.
“What is wrong with you two?”
“G… g… g…” Xander was stammering now, his hands flapping in useless gestures.
“Now we’re going to play charades?” Buffy looked from Xander to Willow and back. A noise made her glance to her left and Giles came half tripping, half walking into the room.
“Buffy… my word!”
“Has everyone gone full goose bozo?” Buffy demanded.
“Not everyone, luv.”
“I know you’re there, Spike. Stop lurking.”
“I’m not lurking.” Spike detached himself from the shadows. Here, in the wreckage, he could move freely, just as long as he steered clear of the library. When Giles had blown it up to kill the Mayor turned killer demon, he’d given that part of the building a skylight. With dawn as near as it was now, it paid to be cautious.
“What are you doing here?”
“This or that, seeing if there’s anything in here I can sell.”
“I imagine there is quite a market for burned textbooks and partially destroyed desks.”
“Could we focus on me here for a minute?” Xander yelled. “Me and that?! I’m supposed to be a knight in shining armor, but knights don’t do ghosts.”
“I’m afraid that Xander is right, Buffy.” Giles slid to a stop in front of her. “To have a ghost appear so readily is a bit disconcerting.”
“What ghost?” Buffy’s temper was slipping faster than a paper boat down a sewer.
Me. They mean me. You can’t see me!
“What the hell is going on?” she demanded and everyone stopped to stare at her.
“There’s a ghost of a little boy in the doorway, Buffy,” Willow said softly.”
“He’s dead, Red, I don’t think you have to worry about scaring him.” Spike lit a cigarette and took a puff. “For what it’s worth, Slayer, I don’t see him either.”
“How very odd.” Gilles paused to take out his handkerchief and polish his glasses. Putting them back on, he again focused his attention. “It’s a young child, perhaps eight--”
I’m ten! And I’m a girl.
“He says he’s ten and a girl.”
“How do you…?”
“I said I couldn’t see him… her… it. Hearing isn’t a problem.”
“Wait, what a ten year old kid doing here?” Willow shook her head slowly. “That makes no sense.”
“Yeah, but a ten year old kid?”
“Have you ever baby sat a ten year old? They can be worse than anything I’ve seen crawl out of there.” Spike dropped the cigarette to the floor and snuffed it out with the toe of his boot. He suddenly became aware that all of the humans were focused on him. “What? I wasn’t always a vampire.”
“Aside from the disturbing visual provided by Spike, the question remains.”
I was visiting. We came to watch my stupid cousin graduate. I got bored and came in here to see if I could find anything interesting.
“Sorry, Giles, look like she was in the building when it went up.”
“Oh my god.” Giles stumbled and swayed, nearly collapsing.
“He’s sorry,” Buffy said in the general direction of the ghost.
“I’m not. I love being dead.
“One of your kind, Spike. She loves being dead.” Buffy helped Giles down to the floor.
“Not helping,” Giles murmured.
“So why is it that I can't see the ghost but I can hear it and you can see it but not hear it?”
“No idea. Perhaps there is something back at the Magic Shop,” Willow suggested and headed for the door. Instantly, the ghost moved, a strange half-crawling, half flying motion.
No. I am lonely. You are staying. You are all staying.
“Bugger that, I’m not.” Spike started to walk away and a length of wood flew through the air and caught him on the back of his knees. With a cry, he went down and Buffy was instantly there.
“Are you okay?” she asked, then suddenly seemed aware of who she was talking to. “I mean…”
“Yeah, I’m fine, Slayer, but you! You are a menace.” He shook his fist at the door.
“She’s over here now, Spike.” Willow motioned to a window, mostly obscure by debris.
“Fine.” A sudden ray of sunlight appeared close to Spike’s hand and he yanked it away. “Hello, Vampire!” He tried to move out of the sun’s path, but a book flew and slammed into his head. He fell back, dazed and Buffy inserted herself between the ray of sun and the vampire.
“Okay, whatever your problem is, get over it.”
“Yeah, so what?” Buffy glanced down at Spike. “You okay?”
Spike picked up a book and smirked. “Fahrenheit 451. Irony, much?”
“I don’t get it,” Xander admitted after a few minutes.
“It’s a book about book burning. That’s the temperature that paper burns.”
“And vampires,” Spike added, getting up. “So, you’re a bored little spook. Leave.”
I can’t. You have to stay and play with me.
“We’ll die if we stay here. Well, some of us will, at least?”
“Have you ever seen a starving vampire? It’s not pretty.” Spike tried to move toward the window, but was cut off by another piece of flying debris.
“Stop it!” Buffy used her sternest voice.
A sudden flurry of debris flew at them, but Buffy was ready now. Taking up a position in front of Giles and her friends, she spun, kicking and knocking pieces away. They became larger and flew with greater forces. Suddenly Spike was there, trying his best to anticipate the paths. Another book slammed into his stomach and Buffy looked. That split moment let a piece of desk hit her in the temple and she dropped, her vision swimming.
ENOUGH! A large black shape exploded into the room.
Everyone jumped, Buffy looked around, still slightly dazed. “Who’s this now?” she murmured, wincing.
“I won’t!” The little ghost’s voice became audible.
“You can’t make me. You’re big and stupid and I hate you.”
“Tell me something I don’t know. Now leave these people alone.”
“Excuse me,” Giles said. “I hate to interrupt, but this seems counterproductive. Who are you, please?”
“Her father, I’m sad to admit.”
Giles paled. “Another death caused by me?”
“Caused by the mayor, Giles, not you.” Buffy wiped the blood from her head, ignoring the openly wanton looks from the vampire. He was practically drooling.
“Neither of them. If this little monster hadn’t run off, I wouldn’t have had to follow. Her mother wouldn’t shut up. “Go get Amy! She’s lost and scared. You’ve never been scared in your life.”
“No, not really.” The little ghost kicked a bit of garbage. “I just wanted someone to play with.”
The black mass sighed. “All right, I’ll play with you. Go hide.”
With a giggle, the ghost vanished. “Go now. It will be a few minutes before she realizes I’m not going to look for her. I’m sorry about all of this.”
“Please. If I’d known dying was as good as this, I would have done it years ago. Life is over-rated. Remember that.” He spoke to Spike, who looked a bit confused by the advice. “Now leave before she comes back. You, um, might want to post no trespassing signs around the exterior. I might not be able to stop her next time.”
“Nice enough fellow for a haint.”
“Never insult a ghost when he’s still in hearing range.” The black shape was suddenly in Xander’s face.
“I…ma…ma.. yes, sir.”
Willow stifled a giggle as the ghost vanished again. “I think Xander needs new armor.”
“Come on, Xander,” Buffy said, taking his arm. “Let’s get you away from the scary ghosts before something really bad crawls out of the Hellmouth.”
“Um.” Spike’s voice made them pause and Buffy gestured.
“You, too, Spike. I’ll find you a blanket of something. There’s nothing here to.”
Carefully, they picked their way out of the room, unaware for the figure that watched them. She smiled at their backs as she picked her way carefully through the debris.
“Your beautifulness, be careful”
“Shut up, worm!” Glory’s voice was cold, but her eyes blazed. Her quest had ended.