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In Pieces

By Ariel Dawn

Summary: Buffy makes her way to LA

Disclaimer: Joss said we could.

Author’s note: Beta’d by the fab Bloodytearsoflife.

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Chapter 9: B like

Buffy tapped her nails on the door of Spike’s Desoto. She couldn’t tell how close they were to LA because of the stupid blacked out windows. The car was moving though, that much she could tell.

Glancing over at Spike, she wondered just how much of an inconvenience this was for him, dropping everything to drive her to LA.

She never doubted that he’d drive her though. He pretty much would do anything for her nowadays. Oh yeah, this trip would be difficult for him. Angel probably was still mad about the whole torture for the Gem of Amara thing. Not to mention the whole jealousy thing.

Spike was tapping his fingers against the steering wheel in rhythm to the latest punk noise they were listening to.

Angel so had reason to be jealous of Spike.

Jealous vampires. Great, just what she needed.

This could go very, very bad.

But she had to find Anya.

Maybe it would be better if Spike didn’t leave the car.

There was no guarantee that finding Anya would be easy, even if your ex honey was a private detective, which was why she was going to see him first.

“Why do you listen to this?” Buffy asked, nagging, or making conversation. “Be in the now.”

“Punk is in the now, Slayer. Never gets old. Universal.”

“Pfft. Hardly,” she responded.

“Got a plan for when we get there?” he asked, retuning his attention to the road again.

Buffy shrugged. “Angel’s the one with the whole investigator thing. I figured he‘d tell me where to go.”

“What if he tells you to get out of his city?” Spike argued.

“Then he’s a poop head,” she said with a pout. “Do you think he won’t help? Do you think if I arrive with you, looking like this, he’s going to try to beat me up?”

She waited for him to respond, and when he didn’t, she turned to stare at the blacked out windshield.

This was going to be a fantastic day.

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“And why the hell should we drop everything, all of our veryimportant cases, cases that pay money, I might mention, to find someone for you?” Cordelia ranted from the other side of her desk at Angel Investigations.

Buffy stared back at Cordelia. Angel wasn’t at the office; he was on a case. Cordelia had taken one look at Buffy and asked why she had brown hair. The office really hadn’t changed a lot since the last time she was there, for all of five minutes.

Spike had wisely followed Buffy’s request to stay in the car, and Buffy counted her blessings that it was only Cordelia she had to deal with at the moment, though she was going to have to talk to Angel at some point. Would he smell Spike on her? Would he believe it was her at all?

“Look Cordy, I didn’t come to chat. I need to find someone and I’d much rather talk to Angel than you,” Buffy noted with a smile. “I don’t deal well with secretaries.”

“Setting aside the fact that I am not just a secretary, don’t you think that Angel is busy with far more important things? We have a direct line from The Powers That Be, you know. What we do is just as important as what you do. Don’t you have your own group of Scoobies to take care of this kind of thing?”

Buffy sighed.

“When is Angel going to come back Cordy?” Buffy asked tapping her foot.

Body language said a lot, and Buffy and Cordy faced off, each on their own side of the desk, staring each other down.

“Why do you have brown hair anyway? Did you get a nose job? ‘Cause it looks terrible. And I’m not just being me. Really, ick,” Cordelia countered, smiling only the way Cordelia could having gotten off a good stinging remark.

Buffy sighed again.

“No, no nose job, no I didn’t dye my hair. It’s a spell. A spell that really doesn’t concern you. Where’s Angel?”

The tapping foot continued.

Buffy heard the door to the office of Angel Investigations open. As she turned to see who it was, she found herself tackled to the ground.

Buffy groaned under the weight of the man who’d tackled her. The weight, and the fact that he’d come through the door, where there was sunshiny death for the vampirically inclined, were all clues that this was a human. And it turned out to be a human named Wesley Wyndham-Price.

“Um, please get off?” Buffy asked, lying flat against the floor.

“Not until we have you safely bound and gagged,” the former watcher declared, struggling to maintain his position, pinning Buffy‘s limbs to the floor.

Cordelia laughed. From her position on the floor Buffy glared at the former cheerleader, vowing to someday be able to wipe that smug smile off of her face.

Buffy groaned. “Please get off,” she asked again. “I’m not Faith.”

“As if we’d fall for that,” grunted Wesley pressing her into the floor.

With a shove, using slayer powers, Buffy pushed Wesley off and rose to her feet.

Wesley stared back at her, his mouth agape, Buffy’s brain leapt naturally to its most logical tangent under the circumstances. Where was Spike in all this? Was he out there in the car laughing his undead ass off? Or had he fallen asleep in the front seat?

“No, Wesley, it’s Buffy,” Cordelia explained. “Apparently there was a spell,” she concluded with air quotes.

“I’m starting to look like Faith, it’s a whole thing. Faith looks like me,” Buffy noted, her voice uninterested. She was really getting tired of the whole explanation thing.

“Faith is alive?” Wesley asked. “As in not in a coma?”

“And blond now even,” Buffy offered, nodding. “Is Angel coming back any time soon?”

As if on cue, Angel appeared from the downstairs, his hair perfect, brood full on.

He took a long look at Buffy before saying anything. Buffy knew that this would be hard. His eyes and his other senses were sending conflicting messages to his brain.

“Buffy?” he greeted tentatively.

“Ya, it’s me,” said Buffy smiling that he’d recognized her.

“Why do you look like Faith?”

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Faith was getting better at the whole Buffy thing. She’d spent quality time with Xander and Willow cheering the boy up and it didn’t seem so hard to be friends with them again. Of course, that assumed that she had been friends with them in the beginning. Right now she wasn’t sure about that.

What she was sure about was that she almost liked it. Trust was beginning to form. That in itself was scary. If the scary would just take a road trip she’d be five by five with the whole sitch.

“I thought we’d all go out to the Bronze tonight,” suggested Willow as they made their way to one of their classes the next day. “I haven’t seen much of Tara in a while and Xander needs Bronzing.”

“Don’t you think it’s too early for Bronzing?” Faith asked, thinking about how down Xander had been the last time she saw him. “I mean, it wasn’t too long ago when the thing with Anya happened… at the Bronze.”

Not that it mattered one way or the other to her of course, she tried to convince herself. No way could she let loose at the Bronze while she was being all B like. The Bronze just didn’t seem like a good idea all around.

Still, B needed to loosen up. ‘Cause well it was B. B who didn’t have a man tied down as far as she knew. It would sorta be like a good deed, in that warped way her brain thought.

“Then again, maybe he needs to get back in the saddle,” Faith continued, her own selfishness coming to the fore. “Maybe he’ll meet someone that’ll make him forget about her.”

Willow smiled. “That’s just what I was thinking.”

The two women continued down the hallway, making their way through the mass of students. The idea of going to the Bronze still didn’t seem like a good idea to cheer up Xander. With another look at Willow, Faith had to come to one conclusion: Willow had a little selfish side too.

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“And you have to act like Faith?” Cordelia asked, for like the third time.

What exactly isn’t she getting? Buffy thought. Cordelia usually wasn’t this dense.

Buffy nodded. Her head had been in constant nod mode since Angel walked in the room. It was getting to the point where she was thinking about having pamphlets made: “I look like Faith, here’s why!”

“See the part I don’t get is why you are in LA,” Cordelia continued, “again. I thought you were all angst-ed out from the last time you showed up.”

Cordelia really needed a remote, or an off switch.

“Anya,” Buffy sighed, tried of verbally sparing with Cordelia. If she could just find Anya and convince her to come back to Sunnydale, she could take Spike and leave.

“Anya?” Cordelia asked while Angel and the former watcher remained conspicuously silent.

“She ran off to LA. It’s my fault, I need to find her,” Buffy tried to explain, looking between the trio of demon fighters. They didn’t immediately respond, nor did the habitual barb fall from Cordelia’s lips. Something was up.

Cordelia crossed her arms, finally breaking the uncomfortable silence. “That’s not what I heard. I heard it’s Xander’s fault.”

“And just who did you hear that from?” Buffy asked, curious and just a little bit angry. “Did Willow call you?” It was plausible, Willow could have called, they were in touch as far as Buffy knew.

Cordelia shook her head. “No, but it’s it always Xander’s fault, isn‘t it? He cheats. He’s a cheater. Once a cheater always a cheater.”

“That’s not fair,” Buffy defended her friend.

“No?” the former cheerleader asked raising her eyebrow.

“I need your help finding her,” Buffy continued, turning to Angel.

“No,” stated Angel bluntly.

“No?” Buffy questioned. “What do you mean no?”

“You don’t need my help finding her. If she wants to be found, she’ll be found. Right now she just wants to be left alone.”

“Wait, have you talked to Anya?” Buffy asked, her eyes wide.

“She’s staying with me, at my apartment,” Cordelia finally admitted with a sigh. “And she doesn’t want to see you, or Xander, or Willow. Angel’s right, she doesn’t want to be found.”

“And how are you going to stop me, Cordelia?”

“Well, I was hoping that you’d actually have some humanity in you, and just leave her alone, but then I realised that you’re Buffy, so not likely,” Cordy responded.

“Cordelia…” Angel warned. “Maybe it’s not good to get on her bad side?”

“I would listen to him, Cordy. I look like Faith, and I really should be acting like Faith,” Buffy noted with a smile. “And if I was Faith right now, I’d be kicking your ass.”

“Hey!”

“Buffy, I think it would be a good idea to calm down…” Angel started, only to be cut off by Buffy glaring at him. “And maybe you could tell me where Spike is?”

“Spike?” Buffy asked all innocently. “I don’t know what you are talking about Angel.”

“He’s most likely in the blacked out car parked down the street I observed when I came into the office,” noted Wesley.

“Mind telling me why you are all chummy with Spike all of a sudden?” Angel asked.

“Wait, is Spike the new boyfriend Willow told me about?” asked Cordelia.

That’s when Angel got really angry.

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Yes, it was cowardly to turn tail and run, but Buffy figured that’s what Faith would do in a tight spot anyway. So it all worked out in the end. Buffy ran from the offices of Angel Investigations and jumped into the car waiting for her, rousing the sleeping vampire in the driver’s seat.

“Uh, hasty get away needed like now!“ she yelled, slamming the car door.

“What?” shouted a startled vampire. “Bloody hell, why are you yelling?”

“Put the key in the ignition and drive Spike!” she yelled back at him.

Grumbling, he did as she asked, and drove away, screeching the tires. “There better be bloody bringers of the apocalypse on our tail,” he muttered.

“No, Angel,” Buffy answered back. “Why the hell were you asleep anyway?” she shouted.

“It’s the middle of the bleedin’ day!”

“Stop yelling!” she screamed back., sending the two passengers into silence.

Three blocks later, Spike and Buffy were still not talking to one another, when Spike turned the car around a corner and started down another street.

“How do you even know where you are going?” Buffy asked, annoyed.

“Well, if you would tell me, you barmy bint…” he shouted back.

“Pull over, I have to look in a phone book,” she answered semi civily. “I don’t know where Cordelia lives. And does my voice sound Faithy to you?”

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Tbc…

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