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05/18/17 04:16 am
pj! I remember wishing one of your stories would be finished seriously about a decade ago. Amazing. I just tried an old password I used to use and amazingly got in too. Memories!
03/20/17 01:20 am
10 yrs later, i finally rem my username and password. Pari, you rock. Hope you are well.
12/23/16 01:12 pm
I donate every month. Please donate to keep this site up!
10/06/16 08:34 am
Great post.
08/31/16 03:45 pm
And anyone else who loves this site, it's worth mentioning there's a nifty little "Donate" option just below the shout box here! ;)
08/31/16 03:43 pm
Just wanted to take a moment to thank Pari and all the mods for maintaining such a great site!


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Buffy’s eyes scanned out the grimy window of the passenger side of the car as it rambled down a seemingly empty street – a street that had been abandoned to the lowliest of demon drug dealers and vampire whores. Buffy vaguely remembered that it used to be called Ravello all those years ago -- when boys, having a social life, and passing biology were all-encompassing to her.

Xander steered the car down the road, wary of their surroundings. Sure, there was a little bit of light left, taking the threat of vampires out of the equation, but humans hopped up on whatever the demon drug ring was cooking up this week was a constant concern. Half the time they were more vicious and carnal than actual demons.

Then they past it. 1630. Xander was making mindless small-talk, the way he did when he felt she needed distracted, but Buffy heard nothing but meaningless murmuring as she continued to zone out the window – the only window still fully intact that hadn’t been hap hazardously fixed by Xander or Giles. Home. It used to be home. Her mom. Her sister. Home.

Looking out, Buffy stared at the shell of a house. Since evil had risen up and overtaken the town and they’d been driven from 1630 Ravello Drive, half of her childhood home had been burned to the ground. Willow was buried somewhere in that rubble, her friends having to make a makeshift grave for their fallen friend like they had the others. Buffy was thankful her mother had died before the demon rebellion had occurred and had gotten a proper burial in a cemetery although it was hard to find the headstone anymore, the ground was so tore up from rising vamps. She was doubly thankful that she and Giles had had the foresight to send Dawn far, far away early on. Buffy racked her fuddled brain; Dawnie had just turned nineteen sometime in the last few months. What month was it anyway? Communication was nonexistent. The phone lines and cell phone towers were gone and God knows what happened to the mail system. Buffy hoped her sister was doing well, but rarely ever allowed herself to dwell on it.

Buffy spared a glance at Xander’s hands sliding over the dented wheel. Even now Buffy still didn’t formally know how to drive, though she’d driven plenty of times during emergency getaways. Not like it mattered much anymore. The local DMV was now a demon bar anyway so you couldn’t get a license even if you wanted one. And it was pointless to own a vehicle because it was either stolen from you or vandalized to the point that it didn’t even look like a car anymore. One of the few left in running order belonged to Giles, which Xander was currently turning into a littered parking lot.

As she slid out of the car, Buffy instinctively looked to the sky. Sundown would be in about an hour. That gave them a small window in which their operations would be relatively safe. There were barely any electric poles still standing so you had to learn to judge time by the sun, if there was one at all, just like the monsters they fought.

Early on the government had tried to step in and help – a group called the Initiative had been sent in to set up underground headquarters when the demon rebellion had really gotten underway. But even the depths of Sunnydale proved too corrupt, and the government operation was destroyed within a year. Buffy painfully recalled a certain agent leaving on a helicopter – he and his remaining agents fleeing, leaving her and the few friends that were still alive stranded.

That was when Giles took over as the head of what was left of the legal system and he, along with Buffy and Xander, the only ones remaining of their group, created a small section of the city that housed those that hadn’t fled or been killed in vampire and demon attacks. But even their attempted safe-haven had been plagued with corruption.

Those that were left in the city were trapped in at all sides. Even if a remaining human tried to make a run for it, they’d never get a few blocks in any direction without being slaughtered. Many had gone crazy and tried. All had failed. They knew that because only minutes after they fled they would hear the screaming. It was never quick either, but torture that lasted days, making an example out of them. With no sound to drown it out, Buffy and her friends were left to do nothing but lay at night, listening to it. They used that pain to fuel the little fight that was left in them.

But they tried. Time and time again they tried. Every time a new Big Bad would rise up the ranks of Sunnyhell, they would come out to meet with it. Usually they secured an agreement allowing their small operation to continue to run. That’s what they were there for now.

“Think he’ll cooperate?” Xander asked, his voice breaking through the gusts of wind that threw paper and dragged debris around them.

“They never do,” Buffy answered, quickly approaching the warehouse. She halted at the door, turning to her partner, “Ready?” Xander drew his crossbow and secured the ax attached to his back and nodded. Buffy pulled her stake and threw open the heavy steel door.

Suspecting to surprise at least a few vamps and take a couple out early, they were slightly unnerved by the emptiness that met them. Cautiously moving further into the room, Buffy and Xander kept on the defensive.

“Sure this was the right place?” he kept his voice hushed.

Buffy nodded, “If you were the new baddie in town wouldn’t you want to reside in the center of the chaos?”

“I know I would,” a voice came from the side of the room off to their right.

Xander instinctively pivoted and shot an arrow in the direction of the voice, not heeding Buffy’s objection.

A swift, clean movement from the stranger had him further in the open, the arrow caught in his hands, inches from his chest. Nothing in his face gave hint to the fact that there had been an attempt on his life seconds earlier.

Instead, he sauntered over to them, “Don’t waste your arrows, boy,” he sneered, handing the weapon back to Xander who, dumbfounded, reloaded it back into his crossbow.

“We’re here to see Spike,” Buffy’s voice came out strong.

The man turned to Buffy, as if just noticing her for the first time, revealing his pronounced cheekbones, penetrating gaze, and a well-placed smirk. This must be Spike, she surmised. “Well, Slayer, was wondering when you’d be coming around. Supposed it was just a matter of time before you had to check out the goods for yourself.” He ran his hand from his chest down to his belt buckle, smiling in satisfaction when Buffy’s eyes followed his movements.

“Cut the theatrics, we’re here to make a deal,” Xander demanded.

Spike shook his head, keeping his tone casual, and shifting his weight to his back foot. He took out a cigarette and lit it. Taking a drag, he held in the smoke a few seconds before exhaling, “I know all about you white hats. Every time a new Big Bad rises to power you come breaking in wanting to make a deal. It used to work for you way back when. Problem is . . . you don’t have the power anymore. Face it; you’re city’s different now. There’s a new Big Bad -- best if you recognized it and fall in line before you find yourselves catching a nasty case of death.”

“You think you’re the first vampire to threaten us?” Xander asked.

“I think I’m the first vampire to not lie to you.” He took a step closer, “I think I’m the first vampire to know where the cards truly lie.”

“This town doesn’t belong to the sick and demented,” Xander affirmed.

The vampire almost chuckled, “You’re delusional. This town has always belonged to us, Goldilocks here knows it,” Spike gestured to Buffy, “You can see it in her eyes.” He approached Buffy, whose grip tightened on her stake but made no movement to use it, “She knows that if you don’t make a deal with me, you’re going to lose what small grip you have left on this city and the only reason it’s going to stay the way it is now is if I allow it.” His eyes never left hers during his speech. Spike backed away, “Now you go scurry home to your little Watcher and tell him there’s no deal.”

Buffy knew she should be more concerned then she was that this Spike knew so much about them, knew that Giles used to be called a Watcher, knew who she was and when they would be coming. Silence hung in the air until Buffy finally spoke, “Let’s go Xander.” She tuned her back on them, barely hearing the slap on the concrete as Xander ran to keep up.

As the outside air hit their faces Xander looked worriedly at Buffy.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, looking over at his stern partner who was storming back to the car.

“My shoe’s wet,” she complained.

“What? How?” Xander asked, looking towards the cloudless sky.

“From the pissing contest you two just had,” she spat. “And just for the record, Xander, you lost.”

TBC – Buffy returns to Spike’s lair to make a deal of her own

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