|Story Title:||Miles To Go Before I Sleep|
A quick pit-stop back in Sunnydale to find out how Warren’s plans for world domination are going.
Music Referenced: World Domination, The Belle Stars http://youtu.be/aoKGiZ7hfMM
|Thanks:||Giant thanks to Anona for betaing this chapter, including her grammatical and punctuation corrections, wonderful commentary, and final review. Also thanks to Capella42 for her insightful suggestions that made the whole story better and epd4 for her help with the initial beta. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.|
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.
(Pre-dawn, early the next morning) Thursday, May 5th, 2011, 3am, Sunnydale:
“Tara?” Willow’s voice was weak. She seemed disoriented and confused, as if she’d forgotten who she’d called.
“Willow! What’s wrong?” Tara replied into her cell phone, suddenly jerking wide awake. The white witch stood up from the easy chair she’d been curled up in. She hadn’t intended to fall asleep, but apparently she had. She began looking around for Buffy, but the great room was empty save for her.
“They’re gone!” Willow exclaimed, panic rising in her voice. Willow leaned back against a wall in the communications room of the ship. Her knees wobbled and she tried to keep her head tilted back to stem the blood that flowed from her nose. It wasn’t really working. The bright red river dripped off her chin, covering her white shirt with stripes of crimson, making it look like a candy-cane had exploded on it.
“What do you mean ‘gone’?” Tara asked, becoming more alarmed. “The octopus ate them too?”
“No … gone as in … gone! Bess, Angel, Spike – even the octopus, they’re all just gone!” Willow explained frantically. “I saw the harpoons coming – they were aimed perfectly, I could see it was gonna work and then … boom!”
“Boom?” Tara repeated.
“Boom!” Willow confirmed loudly. She started speaking quickly now, almost hysterically, her voice several octaves above normal. “There was a huge explosion when the harpoons pierced Casper and then hit the demon … it was … I don’t know,” Willow paused a moment, trying to gather her thoughts and calm down.
Tara could hear her wife take several rapid, shallow breaths and sniff, as if the blood was coming from her sinuses and not broken blood vessels in her nose. Willow didn’t sound any less frightened when she continued, “It was like a big hot-air balloon full of hydrogen getting hit by a … a cruise missile or something! It knocked me out – literally. It ejected my astral self from Casper and tossed my body back against the wall. A medic on the crew had to wake me with smelling salts! How embarrassing … some great witch I am,” Willow moaned the last words, rolling her eyes. “When I tried to find them with a locater spell I got nothing! They’re gone!”
Tara’s gut tightened in a knot and tears of frustration and exhaustion and worry gathered in her eyes. She headed out the door into the garage and then down the curving driveway towards the street. Buffy had been going to take the garbage cans to the curb last Tara had talked to her – how long ago was that? A minute? Five? Tara pulled the phone back from her ear and looked at the time. An hour ago!?
“Buffy!” Tara called as she got within sight of the Slayer, who was standing in the middle of the street, looking towards downtown.
Buffy turned and looked at Tara, then took several purposeful steps forward as the witch approached.
“Buffy! Spike and Bess and Angel are missing! There was an explosion … even the octopus is gone!” Tara exclaimed quickly, still holding the cell phone to her ear.
Buffy tilted her head and considered this news. “You’re Tara. You’re a lesbian and a witch. You have a son, which is incongruous with your sexual preference. It is possible that you are bisexual. Do you and your partner also have sexual intercourse with males?”
Tara’s jaw dropped open slightly. “Uhhh … no,” she said slowly. Her stomach churned. Buffy had finally lost it completely. This news had sent her over the brink.
“Buffy, did you hear me about Bess and Spike?” Tara asked, trying to keep her voice calm.
“Yes. Bess is my daughter. She’s a Slayer and a vampire. Spike is my husband. He’s a vampire. A big demon ate him, but not in a good way.”
“Right …” Tara agreed slowly. “Willow, I’m gonna have to call you back,” Tara said into the phone. “I think Buffy’s …” she turned her head and covered her mouth and the phone with her hand, “… had a complete mental break. Keep looking for them. Call me if you find anything, ok?”
Tara didn’t wait for an answer. She disconnected the call and turned back to face Buffy, dropping the phone into her pocket.
“So … what were you looking for down the street just now?” Tara asked, motioning with her head towards the spot where Buffy had been standing when she ran up.
Buffy smiled brightly. “Warren. He said he’d be back, but he didn’t say when.”
“Warren? Who’s Warren?” Tara questioned.
Tara’s mouth opened and closed a few times in an imitation of a landed fish, then she swallowed hard. “Your … b-b-b-oyfriend? W-w-what about S-s-s-spike?” Tara stuttered out, the announcement from Buffy throwing her completely off-kilter.
“Spike’s my husband,” Buffy informed her, the wide smile never leaving her face.
“Right,” Tara agreed, regaining some of her composure. “Which generally means you don’t also have a boyfriend.”
“Monogamy is seriously over-rated. It’s for sexually repressed old fogies that wouldn’t know a good blow job if it bit them in the ass,” Buffy declared brightly.
“Oh.” Tara frowned and shook her head as she tried to figure out if Buffy really had a boyfriend or if this was some residual hallucination left over from the unpronounceable demon’s venom.
“I should go find him,” Buffy announced suddenly. “His very large and impressive penis will be erect again soon and he will need me to have sex with him. We’re trying every position in the Kama Sutra; we’re up to ‘Congress of a Cow’. I can’t wait for him to mount me like a bull and...”
“Ok, waaaay too much information,” Tara interrupted her, holding her hands up. “Buffy, I don’t think…” Tara started, reaching a hand out to stop the blonde from moving away.
Tara’s fingertips had barely touched the sleeve of Buffy’s jacket when the Slayer brushed the witch’s hand off like she was nothing more than a mosquito, and began striding purposefully down the center of the street.
“Buffy!” Tara called after her. “What about Spike and Bess?”
Buffy stopped a moment and turned around, her face contorted in thought. “Spike’s my husband. Bess is my daughter. I am the Slayer,” she rattled off the facts.
Tara walked up to her. “Right, sooo …” Tara prodded, her brows rising in question.
Buffy thought another moment, then the bright smile returned to her face. “So, as soon as I’m done having crazy cow sex with Warren, I’ll come back and save Bess and Spike. Then I can have sex with Spike. I’m looking forward to cow sex with a hairless bull; it’ll be a change from Warren. He’s quite hairy.” She nodded confidently, turned on her heel again and marched away from the stunned witch.
“Oh boy …” Tara muttered. She considered using magic to stop her, but if Buffy was mad about them giving her a sleeping pill, just how mad would the Slayer be about Tara knocking her out with magic? That could get really ugly.
Tara turned around and started walking back towards the mansion as she pulled her cell phone out. She needed help. Spike, Bess, and Angel were missing, Willow was in a panic out on that ship, and Buffy’s last marble had just rattled loose.
“Giles? Sorry to wake you, but we have a problem…”
Three hours later, 6:00am:
Giles, Xander, and Anya sat bleary-eyed at the research table, sipping coffee and yawning. They hadn’t wanted to wake Billy to put JJ in his normal sleep-over bed, the top bunk in Billy’s room, so the boy slept on the couch nearby. As the adults watched, Tara did the locator spell for the third time, and for the third time, nothing happened.
“You’re obviously not doing it right,” Anya informed the witch, giving her a tired frown.
“If you’re so smart, why don’t you do it?” Tara snarled back through gritted teeth at Anya. It had been a long day … a long week and was approaching a long month, Tara’s patience was threadbare.
“I’m not the witch – that’s your job,” Anya countered with a huff. “I’m the perplexingly literal ex-demon who voices the politically incorrect thoughts that everyone else is thinking but too embarrassed to say out loud.”
“Look,” Xander interjected, holding up his hands to stop the two women. “Everyone’s tired and on edge, let’s just all relax and breathe here a minute.”
“I was perfectly relaxed, sleeping like a very peaceful rock after several wonderful orgasms, when she called us here in the middle of the night. I don’t know what you think we can do, anyway,” Anya protested. “If Buffy wants to go boink some hairy bull, it’s not really any of our business. Unless, of course, you think it’s a Minotaur. If you think she’s having sex with a Minotaur, now that would be worth knowing.”
“A Minotaur that goes by the name of ‘Warren’?” Giles questioned. “Doesn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of mortals, does it?”
Anya shrugged. “Back in the twelfth century, I knew one named Norbert. Trust me when I say you shouldn’t judge a Minotaur by its name.” Anya shivered slightly at the memory. “He was quite the specimen, a real animal in the sack,” she sighed nostalgically.
“Ok. That’s it,” Xander announced with a tone of finality. “Can we please stop talking about Buffy, or anyone else, having sex with strange, hairy, Minotaur guys, and focus on finding the Slayer, please?” Xander begged the group. It took him a long while to get used to Buffy being with Spike, but he was good with that now. Thinking about her with someone else? A big, hairy, minotaur-guy named Warren? Not really an image he wanted tattooed on his mind.
“Obviously, Buffy doesn’t want to be found,” Tara offered, sitting down heavily in the chair nearest her, folding her arms on the table in front of her, and laying her head down on them.
“Which supports the sex with Warren theory rather than the Slayer’s gone cuckoo theory,” Anya added.
“Buffy’s not having sex with some guy named Warren!” Xander protested vehemently.
“Not right now,” a new voice joined the conversation. Everyone turned and looked at the doorway. Buffy stood there, looking just as perky as when Tara had last seen her more than three hours ago.
“Buffy!” everyone exclaimed at once, jumping up from their seats.
“Where have you been?” Xander asked, getting to her first.
Buffy looked at Xander blankly for a moment then smiled. “You’re Xander Harris. The good-for-nothing, Spike-lover who would bend over and take it in the ass if he told you to. We went to high school together. I like you but we don’t have sex.”
Xander looked at her dumbfounded. “Oookaaay,” he let the word caress his tongue as he looked at the others with raised brows.
They all looked at him a little strangely.
Xander rolled his eyes and looked back at Buffy. “Right … but I don’t really think of myself as a Spike … lover. And there’s no taking of anything … anywhere. We’re just … friends. Man to man … it’s all very … manly.” Xander defended.
“I can say unequivocally that Xander will not take anything in the ass … despite finding pleasure in…” Anya started.
Xander cleared his throat loudly and then laughed nervously. “Not really the time, Ahn,” he ground out uneasily.
Anya rolled her eyes and turned back to Buffy. “You didn’t answer the question,” Anya reminded her. “We got pulled out of our comfy beds because you were missing. Where the hell have you been?”
Buffy smiled brightly and tilted her head to the side as she looked at Anya.
“Having sex with Warren,” she announced happily. “But I’m here now, ready to be the one girl in all the world who stands against the demons. Just show me the demons and I’ll stand alone.”
“Buffy,” Giles stepped forward. “Who is Warren?”
“He’s my boyfriend.”
“See – I told you,” Tara interjected, feeling slightly vindicated.
“And … ummm … what is his last name?” Giles wondered, still looking at Buffy.
Buffy tilted her head from side to side and furrowed her brow. “I do not have that information. Please submit a new query.”
Everyone looked at her, then at each other, confusion painted over their features.
As they stood there in silence, unsure what to make of their friend, JJ, who had been awake and watching for some time, walked between Giles and Anya and up to his aunt. He tugged on her hand and Buffy turned her eyes down to him.
“Who are you?” he asked Buffy.
“JJ!” Anya scolded. “What are you doing up?” she asked, taking his free hand and pulling him away from the Slayer.
“No – wait,” JJ protested, pulling away from his mother.
“Who are you?” he asked Buffy again.
Buffy smiled toothily as she looked down at him. “I’m Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.”
“And who am I?” the boy asked.
After a moment, Buffy said, “You are JJ Harris.”
“What does ‘JJ’ stand for?” he asked her as everyone else watched with fascination.
Buffy tilted her head to the side again and furrowed her brow. She got a faraway look in her eye for a moment, then the bright smile returned to her face. “Joshua Jacheal,” she answered confidently.
“And where did that name come from?”
Buffy again tilted her head and furrowed her brow. That faraway look returned for a moment, then the smile replaced it. “I do not understand that query. Please resubmit.”
JJ frowned and looked at his dad for help.
“Buffy,” Xander took over. “What did we use for inspiration for his first name … where did ‘Joshua’ come from? Like … was it the bible or … somewhere else?”
Buffy considered that question for a good thirty seconds. No one said anything, they all just stood and waited. “I do not have that information. Please submit a different query,” she said finally, looking at Xander as she waited for the next question.
JJ let go of her hand and turned to face the others who stood around them “That’s not Aunt Buffy, it’s a sentient android,” he announced to them matter-of-factly.
“A what?” Giles exclaimed.
“A sentient android,” JJ repeated. At everyone’s blank stares the boy sighed and rolled his soft brown eyes skyward. “Like Lieutenant Commander Data on ‘Star Trek’?”
When he was met with more blank stares, the boy said, “She’s a robot! Feel her hand – it’s too hot … that’s from all the robot stuff inside … like a computer? You guys do know what a computer is, right?”
There was a cacophony of voices suddenly filling the air:
“Oh, thank God!”
“I knew it!”
Xander, who was closest to her, reached a hand out and touched Buffy-bot’s forehead. It was overly warm … even if she had a fever, it was too warm and kind of … plasticy.
“I am not familiar with this greeting,” Buffy-bot said, reaching her hand out and touching Xander’s forehead. “Is it a custom between friends that do not have sex?”
“Uhhh … no, it’s just … Who are you?” he asked her, his brows furrowed in confusion. It looked like Buffy, the voice sounded like Buffy, but the words weren’t quite right and the smile was definitely too wide.
“Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” Buffy-bot announced again proudly.
“Where’s Buffy?” Giles questioned. “The real Buffy,” he clarified.
“I am Buffy. I am real.”
“No, you bloody well are not!” Giles replied tersely, moving towards her.
He stopped short when a sad, forlorn expression washed over the Bot’s features.
“Good job, Giles,” Anya chided him. “You hurt her feelings. You made a robot cry.”
“It is not a her, it is an it!” Giles growled at the ex-demon.
“It still has feelings,” JJ informed him.
“Computers do not have feelings!” Giles argued.
“But she’s not just a computer. I tried to tell you, she’s a sentient android. She’s just like a real person. She can learn things and feel things and do everything a person can do. She’s probably just … new, so she hasn’t learned a lot of things yet.”
“Like where your name came from,” Giles sighed.
“Right. But I bet she can – just watch,” JJ said, then looked back at Buffy-bot. “My name was stolen from a band named ‘U2’ who had a music album called ‘The Joshua Tree’, which is pretty lame but my mom thinks is the best rock album of all time. My middle name is a made up name that my dad thought would be cool, but is really just … gobbledygook and dumb.”
“Hey!” Xander objected. “It is cool.”
JJ rolled his eyes and looked back at Giles. “Ask her,” he told the Watcher.
Giles looked at the Bot. “What was the inspiration for JJ’s first name?”
Buffy-bot smiled and answered enthusiastically. “It was stolen from the band U2. They had a music album called ‘The Joshua Tree’ which is pretty lame but his mother thinks is the …”
Giles held his hands up and stopped her. “Remarkable,” he murmured.
“This doesn’t really answer the question of where Buffy is, though,” Anya pointed out. “Or where this … robot came from.”
“I don’t think she knows,” JJ offered. “I don’t think she knows she’s a … droid.”
“Well, I think we should find this Warren character,” Xander suggested.
“And hope he’s not a Minotaur,” Anya interjected.
Xander shrugged slightly in agreement. “And, since he obviously sent droid-Buffy here to throw us off, he must know where our Buffy is.”
“You want to meet Warren?” Buffy-bot asked. “He’s my boyfriend. He’s waiting for me. In twelve hours and forty-two minutes we will have sex again. He was quite pleased with the bull mounting the cow! He said we would try the rutting deer next. It sounds very exciting.”
“Okey-dokey,” Xander announced, covering JJ’s ears and leading him away.
“Do you think you could take us to Warren sooner rather than later?” Giles wondered.
“Do you want to have sex with him too?” Buffy-bot asked, her too-white teeth gleaming in a wide smile.
“Uhhh … no, I rather think not. We’d just like to speak with him. Would that be possible?” Giles asked her.
“Oh, yes. He’s very intelligent. He enunciates quite clearly.”
“Wonderful,” Giles replied. “Perhaps we could go now?”
“First I must save Spike and Bess. The lesbian witch said that they were missing, so I must find them. It’s what I do. I’m the Slayer.”
“It’s okay, Buffy – Willow’s working on that now, so you don’t have to,” Tara assured her. “I think Mr. Giles is right, we should go talk to Warren now.”
“Oh,” Buffy-bot said sounding slightly disappointed. “Okay then. We’ll go see Warren. He’s my boyfriend.”
“What do we do now?” Tara asked Giles as they sat at the research table some time later.
Giles looked over at the Buffy-bot, who was sitting across from him. Her eyes were downcast and her bright smile was gone, replaced with a worried frown. He shook his head. “We need to determine what this Warren did with Buffy. Perhaps we can track him down some other way.”
“I’m very worried about Warren,” Buffy-bot said for perhaps the hundredth time since they’d gone to talk to him. “It is not like him to leave without telling me where he has gone and how to find him.”
“Well, I think it’s safe to assume that he realized your cover was blown,” Giles told the robot. “He obviously has found a new place to stay.”
Buffy-bot didn’t look any less worried. “But he left my charging equipment in the hotel. If he was going to contact me and tell me where to meet him tonight for deer rutting sex, why didn’t he take my equipment with him?
“Did I do something wrong? Was I not a good girlfriend?” The Bot asked, looking forlornly from Tara to Giles.
Tara sighed and gave Buffy-bot a small smile. “I’m sure it’s not you. Guys do strange things sometimes.”
“Is that why you are a lesbian?” Buffy-bot asked sincerely.
“Uhhh … it’s a little more complicated than that,” Tara answered. “He’ll probably call you in a day or two.”
Giles rolled his eyes. “I can’t believe you’re mollycoddling her … it.”
“Willow hasn’t had any luck finding Spike, Bess, or Angel either … or the octopus for that matter,” Tara continued, ignoring his reproach. “I told her to just come back home … maybe she can help us with … Buffy-bot.”
Giles nodded, looking at the Bot. “You know, Buffy-bot aside, I can’t help but think that Buffy being missing is somehow tied to Spike and the others. It seems terribly coincidental.”
“There are no such things as coincidences,” Buffy-bot piped up, suddenly bright again.
“Indeed,” Giles agreed.
That night, Thursday, May 5th, 2011, 10pm:
Warren sat in the bulking black van and watched from a discreet distance as the witch and the Watcher searched for the portal in the Green Grocer’s parking lot. Through the parabolic microphone, he could hear their conversation…
“Annie swore it was right here next to the buggy corral,” Tara insisted again, reaching out with her hands and senses to try and locate it and determine if it had been opened recently. “I mean, I don’t know where else to even look for Buffy,” she continued as Giles watched her with a dour and worried expression. “We can’t find that Warren guy … the robot has no clue where to look for him.”
“Indeed … I’m quite at a loss myself,” Giles admitted. “Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe it was just coincidence and her disappearance is completely unrelated to that other dimension,” he suggested.
Tara sighed and shook her head. “Maybe. But if that’s the case, then I don’t even know where to start looking. The locator spell came up with nothing – not for her, or Bess, Spike, or even Angel. They’re all gone. Buffy was sure that octopus demon was from that other dimension. Annie said there was a guy named Warren in the other dimension. That can’t all be a coincidence … can it?”
Tara turned tired and worried eyes to the older man, and Giles removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose, then rubbed at his weary eyes. “Most likely not,” he agreed. “But where the bloody hell is the portal? Why won’t it open?”
Tara shook her head. “I don’t…” she stopped abruptly and knelt down on the pavement. The asphalt was new – put in when the store was built, and still had the smooth blacktop coating on it. For a parking lot, it was pretty clean … except for a fine black grit that covered the area around the buggy corral.
“What is it?” Giles asked as he knelt next to her, reaching down and picking up pinch of the sandy substance between his fingers.
“I’m … not sure,” Tara murmured, pulling a pinch of it to her nose and smelling it. It smelled like blacktop mostly, but there was something else – not plain sand … something fishy. “Dehydrated Paradoxophyla palmata maybe?”
Giles sniffed at the grit, then touched a bit to his tongue. “Dear Lord…” he murmured, looking at her with wide eyes. “Someone’s closed the portal … permanently. No wonder nothing happened when we poured Annie’s blood onto it.”
Warren smirked. “Yep, that’s one bitch that will not be back,” he muttered to himself smugly. He started the engine and began to drive away slowly. Now he could get on with his plans for world domination, starting with getting himself some real minions … the non-robotic kind.
Hot babes with guns. “Oh yeah…”
This doesn't look good. We'll find out what happened to Spike, Bess, and Angel, as well as Buffy, next.
World Domination, The Belle Stars
don't mind working hard
Not in it for the glory
But I just wish that someday something would come easy
How are your plans going for World Domination?
to something for nothing
It’s a cut throat world
Boy eat boy and girl eat girl
It’s a cut throat world
How are your plans going for World Domination?
We always make plans
They never come to anything
They never materialize
When are you gonna realize
All our hopes never come to anything
Where are you gonna realize
It’s a cut throat world
Boy eat boy and girl eat girl
It’s a cut throat world
How are your plans going for World Domination?
Tell me, what are your plans for World Domination?
What are your plans for World Domination?
Disclaimer: I couldn’t find the lyrics anywhere, so I had to guess on some of this …
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