Very little Rascals...Part I

PG13

Archived at the Buffy Rebecca verse, www.geocities.com/buffyrebecca

Disclaimer: All BTVS characters remain the property of Josh Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all other owner/creators of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series...


Nope, definitely not a BR story...And as I still writing three BR stories at once...I apologize if this one is rushed...

Summary: In season 6, the nerd boys continue their sinister scheme of securing the Slayer...Sorry...Couldn’t resist it...



Very Little Rascals theme (Rocky and Bullwinkle)

Jonathan, Warren, and Andrew deliberated their strategic situation in the campaign for Sunnydale in Warren’s parents’ basement...Their fortress of...well...semi-solitude...

Jonathan scanned their list of strategic objectives glumly...The first and foremost being the most impossible of missions...Even for the new Masters of the Sunnydale universe...

“Look guys...This hypnotize Buffy thing...I see problems...”

“I mean everybody knows you can only be hypnotized to do things you really want to do deep down, right?...And well...I dunno but I don’t think she wants to boink us....Deep down...”

She hasn’t even met me yet, Andrew thought...

“Speak for yourself, Johnny-lame-boy...” he told Jonathan...

Warren however...Having met Buffy and seen her in action...Thought Jonathan’s point had much to recommend it...However...

“Well, what do you want to do?...” Andrew quizzed his partner...If he knew Johnny-lame-boy, he knew the answer...Nothing...Or something utterly...

“Well?...Love spell, maybe?...”

Arrgh...Love spell?...

“John, my man...that is the winner of the lamest of the lame award...” Andrew presented him with an action figure...

Warren interrupted...

He had done considerable thinking on the problem, himself...Especially after seeing Ms. Summers so sad the night before...

When they’d followed her on her patrol, and watched her via telescopes from a safe distance...

She was sad...Jonathan agreed...It was a shame...Someone should help her out...Make her smile, you know...

Maybe...He went on...Maybe we oughta...Rethink this whole...

“Well...You want her to be happy, right?...” Warren broke in...

We all want to make Buffy really happy, right?...He noted...

“And boinking us?...That would make her happy?...” Jonathan looked at him...

Well...Warren paused over the obvious and depressing answer...

Well...Andrew and Jonathan hesitated over the obvious and depressing answer...

They looked at each other...

“Sure it would...” they all agreed, nodding...But...Warren resumed...

What would really make a troubled Slayer happy...he paused...

Is...No trouble...

No trouble...No slaying... No problems...No little brat sister...

Just having to cater to our every whim...

Like a bot...

Arrgh...The boys have heard the merits of bots done to death...He wants us to dump the Buffed one for a bot?...

“No way...We decided on the Slayer...She is our target of choice...Our Holy Grail...Our...” Andrew strived for a bit...

“Our resurrected Spock...”


My friends...Warren waved his hands...I didn’t say a bot...I said...Like a bot...

Jonathan vaguely began to catch on...Like a bot...No problems...No worries...No thinking...

“You want to hypnotize Buffy into thinking she’s the bot?...”

Warren nodded, giggling nervously...

Man...Andrew told him...That...Is Genius...Sheer...Unadulterated...Genius...

“But what if she doesn’t want to be a bot...Deep down?...” Jonathan asked...

“What if she gets...Mad...At us?...” Well...Actually...

“Mad at you...Cause you know, this is your idea, after all...” Jonathan noted...

“This would take some doing, Warren...” Andrew was sliding back to the other side of the Force...

Warren frowned at his foolish minions...Did the Jedi return in a day?...he asked...

But...

“Listen, guys...This will work...All we have to do is make Buffy realize
she’d be much happier as a mindless bot serving our every
whim rather than a Slayer nearly getting killed and watching her friends die
saving the world on less than minimum wage...”

Hmmn...Food for thought there, Andrew thought...

And he had something to back it up...Make it worth her while...

Cash?...Jonathan asked brightly...

No...Moron...Warren swatted him one...Listen...

We hypnotize her so that she thinks she’s the bot...With no slaying or family or problems to worry about...And arrange it...So that every time she’s a good bot and does what we tell her, she gets...A reward...

A reward?...Asked Andrew...Sounds expensive, he thought...And she looks preety high maintenance...

No wonder she’s broke, he thought...

A reward...Warren leered...

What...Reward?...Jonathan asked...

You’ll see, Warren said mysteriously...

Nerds on the Loose (Naked Gun Theme)
***


Very Little Rascals...Part II

***
An exhausted Buffy wished Spike...Who’d accompanied her on this next night’s patrol...A good...er day...

A quiet night but still...

“Are you all right, Buf?...You look like hell warmed over?...” Spike asked...

Spike...In gracious mode...Buffy thought...And he really is trying at that...

Hmmn...Let him call me Buf once and he’s my bosom companion...Still...

He has been trying...

“I’ll be fine Will...Just need a leetle sleep...”

“You can’t look for work all day and Patrol all night, Buffy...” he told her seriously...

Will?...She called me...Will?...

She grinned at him...My second Giles...Vampiral version...

“And where’s the idiot brigade, anyway?...How can they let you run around all night like this?...” he groused...

They’ve been covering the other half of town, remember?...she reminded him...

Most of the night, too...

Well...They should do the whole lot...With me around we got the job done while you...Were away...he told her...

“While I was dead as a doornail, six feet under...And I counted every inch on the way up so I know...” she grinned again, a bit wanly...

Well...he sighed...Enough of this for now...


“Go home...Get to sleep...” he wagged a finger...

Sure...Giles...she teased...Turning to head out...

She stopped and looked back at him, hesitating...He sensed her and turned back to her...

“What?..” he asked...

She shook her head...Nothing...Just...

Ummn...Thanks...

“For all the help, I mean...”

He nodded...Glad to do it...

Anything to make the Nibs happy...Like protecting resurrected sis...

“After all, you know...I still may have a chance...With her...” he grinned...

Hmmn...she frowned...But...Seemed to be making a decision...

In her usual ponderous Slayer manner, Spike thought...

Yes?...He looked at her...

Ummn...

“Spike, would you...Like to come...Over to our house for dinner this Friday?...”

Ummn...He blinked...

Dawn’s idea...Buffy told him...But one she heartily seconded...

“Is chicken ok?...I think I can do chicken...” she asked him...

Ummn...He blinked...Ummn...

“Sure...Yes...Chicken...Great stuff...Haven’t had a good one in a century...My mother used to make a mean one, I think...” Spike swallowed nervously...
Great...Buffy told him...Sevenish, ok?...That is if the sun is fully down then, otherwise...Eightish...

Hmmn-hmm...he nodded, a bit dazed...

His mother?...Buffy thought as she walked home...

I never even thought about it...But...He must have had one...The whole family thing...Once...

Hope we have enough cash for dinner left in the bank...she thought...

Well...Maybe we can do chicken...Pot-Luck...
***

Electrodes?...In her brain’s pleasure center?...

Warren nodded...The perfect supplement to the hypno instructions...Courtesy a feedback loop circuit...

She’s the bot and when she obeys...She gets a happy jolt...Just part of her programming as far as she knows...

Ummn...Jonathan hesitated...

“Wait...Maybe we shouldn’t do this...I mean what if we screw it up...We could get lobo-Buffy instead of robo-Buffy...”

Relax, man...Warren told him...That’s why we’ve got the PET scanner...Patting the scanner on its side...

No problemo...Andrew agreed...

Except...

The hypno part...he noted...Still not quite clair on that, Herr Commissar..

Well...We just need to do a leetle research, get a leetle practice...Warren insisted...

“Lets rent ‘Revenge of the Stepford Wives’...” Andrew suggested...They do the mind control thing there...

Step-Buffy, here we come...

Excellent...Warren nodded...

Hmmn...Jonathan thought...The key word in that title, guys...Revenge...

***
Very Little Rascals...Part III

“How was Patrol?...” Dawn asked her weary-looking sis...

Hmmn-hmm...

“And how was...Blondie?...”

Hair continuing to improve...Buffy noted...With a slight grin...

And Operation...Humanity?...

Stage one completed...Buffy grinned a bit more...

Dawn smiled back...Nice to see her a little happy...

But...She was clearly all in...

“Go to bed...” Dawn commanded...

She nodded and dragged herself off to bed...Stopping on the stairs...

“Chicken’s ok with him...” she smiled...

Thought he’d be a chicken man, Dawn noted...

“His mother...He said his mother used to make chicken...” Buffy paused... “It never even crossed my mind before...That he must have had family...”

“When he was human...” she glanced at Dawn...Rubbing her hands together...

“Are we doing the right thing, Dawn?...Encouraging him...Maybe...”

“Maybe the kindest thing to do is let him have...Peace...” she looked intently at her sister...

I don’t know Buffy...Dawn told her...But as long as he can control himself...And we can’t quite make ourselves kill him...And he keeps trying...

We oughta try to make him feel a little welcome...

Buffy nodded...

“I wish Giles hadn’t left...” she said simply... “I’d of liked to have talked to him about Will...”

“He’ll be back...After he settles things with the Council...Gets you back on the payroll...” Dawn told her confidently...

They all go away...Buffy noted sadly...And leave me...Here...Almost forgetting Dawn below...

She smiled at her nervous sis...

“Just in brood mode...probably caught it from Angel when we met...”

Dawn nodded...But...Time you got to bed, sis...

Will?...Dawn wondered...Will?...

Buffy started up the rest of the stairs...Dawn stopped her apologetically...

She had to ask...

How’d he take it?...

Buffy looked blankly at her...

Spike...Dawn told her...Asking again...How’d he take the rendevous with Angel news?...

Oh...

“He hoped it made me happier...”

She went up...

Dawn looking after her in astonishment...My God...

He loves her...He really does love her...
***

Nerds on the Loose (Naked Gun Theme)

So...Jonathan noted...We have the source materials...

He nodded at the weighty tomes on their table...

The Complete History of Hypnosis and Mesmerism...

Experimental Studies on Hypnosis and Mind Control Techniques at Auschwitz...1942-45...

The True Story of CIA Mind Control Studies...

Annals of the KGB...Mind Control and Manipulation...

The Human Mind and Its Manipulation...In three volumes...

Psychotropic Drugs and Behavioral Techniques...In four volumes...

“This is it...The essential piece we’ve needed...” Warren exulted...

Jonathan and Andrew came over...To where their Fearless Leader was reading from a comic book back page...

“Hey Guys...” the ad said... “Get Girls Through Hypnotism...”

I’ve tried that one before, Jonathan noted glumly...It’s no good...

“But look at the address on this one, my boy...” Warren noted, grinning...

Sunnydale?...Here in Sunnydale?...At the Hellmouth?...

PO Box 666?...

Hmmn...Well, can’t hurt to try it out...

***
Very Little Rascals...Part IV...

It still smarted...Just a little...

Not that Buffy hadn’t been completely kind and gracious about it...

And it had seemed...Well, about time to get back to normal...And with Giles gone...

Tara had been more than fine with it...She wanted to get back to their own place anyway...

Still Willow couldn’t help feeling a twinge of resentment...Buffy had clearly wanted them out...

Course to be fair...Neither of them could pay much toward the mortgage in addition to what they’d promised to contribute from their savings in dorm room and board...Especially embarrassing with this semester’s payment being...Held up...

UCal-Sunnydale preferring to hold refunded room and board fees until the last possible moment...Though only too happy to redeposit them immediately when they requested reinstatement in their old dorm...

But...Geesch...She’d saved her friend from some dimension of Hell no less...Buf could’ve cut them a break...

Well...It was, after all, all in the interests of restoring normalcy...

And yet...Buf was clearly avoiding her...Had Giles groused to her about his concerns?...Ratted on her little burst of witchiness?...

Hmmn...Probably not...Not Giles’ style...

Still...Hardly the kind of gratitude one might expect...

Maybe...Maybe the Slayer needed to learn...Who...Had the Power in Sunny...

No, gosh...No...What the heck?...Where did that come from?...

Hmmn...Willow thought nervously...Wish Giles were back...I think I need to talk to him again...

***

The junior Masters awaited the results of Fearless Leader’s field test in their lair...

The hypnodisk equipment, ordered from...Hell?...Enhanced by dark magic, seemed impressive...But...

A periscope sweep revealed a large car pulling up...Fearless Leader Warren emerged...

With a most attractive, if rather ancient...At least thirty-something...Lady...

Is he wearing the you-know-what’s?...Jonathan asked nervously...

The hypnoglasses, you moron?...Of course he is...Andrew, bopping him one...

“Oh-oh...Danger, danger, Will Robinson...” Andrew called out from the scope...

What?...Jonathan asked...Is Buffy...About to kill us?...

Warren’s mom has locked on to target and is closing fast...

“Hi, Mom...” Warren giggled a bit nervously...

Such a delightful laugh he has, Ms. Crestwell, senior vice-president of the largest cybernetics firm in the area, noted...

Well...As long as he was out for a field test...Warren had figured he might as well hunt up some good job prospects...And he did have a flair for cybernetics...

He introduced Ms. Crestwell to his mom...The junior Masters continuing to watch from below...When they weren’t fighting over the scope...

“Your son is a genius, Mrs. Mears...A true, God-touched, genius...We hope to see him rise to the very heights...I just hope our firm will be graced by his presence for whatever little time he deigns to allow us...”

Warren giggled nervously...

His mom was pleased to see that his potential new employer liked him...About time he got another steady job...Though she’d never insist on it...


“I was going to show Ms. Crestwell some of my cybernetic projects downstairs, Mom...If that’s ok with you...”

By all means...

***
“Guys...Ms. Crestwell of Barnes-Crestwell Cybernetics...Ms. Crestwell, the guys...” Warren introduced his new ‘friend’...”

Any friends of this God-kissed genius...she told them...Smiling happily...

Hmmn...Well, she’s no Buffy...But in a pinch...Jonathan thought...

How do we know this isn’t a put-over?...Andrew was skeptical...And had experienced many, many put-overs in his past...

“Right...” Warren nodded... “We need to be sure...Ummn...” he turned to poor Ms. Crestwell...

“Emma...How much money is in your saving accounts?...And what’s your credit limit?...”

All told...about $300,000 immediately available, more or less...she told him...

“I assume you’d want it immediately, right Warren?...” she asked brightly...

No rush...Later this afternoon is fine...he told her...

Emma used to be against all material possessions...When she was a student...Warren explained...

Plus she secretly hates the kind of hard persona she’s had to acquire as a vice-pres...We had a long talk about it over lunch...

Emma nodded...She just wanted to give and give...Possessions are meaningless...

“I kinda released her old self a bit...Plus having her recognize my potential...”

“Well, you better getting going to the bank, Emma...” Warren told her...Oh and can you leave us the car?...I’ll tell Mom it’s an incentive to sign with your firm...”

Title’s in the glove compartment, she nodded happily...I can sign it over on my way out...

“Cold, dude...” Andrew told him... Make sure she has cab fare home...

***

“Right, Giles...Yes...Yes...I understand...It’s fine...” Buffy told him...

Dawn watched her on the phone...Does not sound good...

And she slept through one job interview this morning...At the interview...

“Bye...See you...” she paused... “Please come home soon, Giles...”

Buffy carefully laid the phone down...Looking at it...

“Ummn...Bad news?...Council said no dice, eh...” Dawn asked carefully...Trying to be chipper...

Buffy looked at her...And burst into tears...Which did not stop...

Despite Dawn’s most desperate efforts...

But, she gathered in the brief pauses before the flow resumed, it was not about their finances...The Council had...Rather eagerly, it seemed...
Agreed to pay her a reasonable stipend which should...Not only allow them
to hold on to the house...But even let her consider resuming
college...

Clearly they wanted their Slayer back and Giles had held them to the fire...

No, that wasn’t the trouble...It was...

Giles...Whose return would only be temporary...
For one thing, as always, the Council felt they were too close to continue working together on a daily basis...For another, there was an issue involving the battle with Glory...Something about that jerk, Ben...Dawn gathered...Giles had had to face some kind of hearing about that...

They’ve taken him away from me...The only one I had left...Buffy was sobbing...My...

Father...Dawn finished in her mind...

She tried a little comfort and support...

“Buf...We don’t have to take this lying down...They want you back, make them send Giles back...”

He...He’s coming back...But he won’t be able to stay...It’s part of the agreement they’ve
worked out...They’ll help us...And they won’t turn him over to the police...He can visit
...Once in a while...But he can’t stay with us...

Police?...Thought Dawn...What?...

But she had an idea...Magic had helped Buf once already...Maybe it would be pressing things but...

“Lets speak to Willow about...”

Buffy glared at her...All dark side...Enough so to make Dawn tremble for a moment...But Buffy got hold of herself and calmed...

“Willow can’t help us here, Dawn...He has to do this...And he will be around when he can...”

She smiled a bit...I shouldn’t get so teary...I’m sorry...

Dawn was desperate to ask about the police thing, but wisely held off...And left Buffy to have some space...

It’s Hell...And nothing but hell...What else will You take from me?...Buffy thought...

I mustn’t...I mustn’t do this...It will get better...It has to...she thought...And looked up the stairs towards Dawn’s room...

And I mustn’t let myself...Hate Dawn...My artificial sister...

For being the only thing really holding me here...
***

Very Little Rascals...Part V...

All the pieces in place, the Masters of the Sunnydale Universe were ready to move...

Hypnotechnique...Field tested and ready...Of course the Slayer would require the full disk treatment over a few hours...Not just a quick once over with the glasses...But they had that covered...

Electrode feedback system...Tested on a mouse and a cat...PET scanner did the trick just fine...Well...After three rather gruesome practice runs...

Lair...Cleaned up, private room ready...Jonathan's idea, seconded by Andrew with reluctance...

Hey, she'll want a little space at times, man...

And the method of capture...Which would allow for the several hours' hypnotherapy...A tranquillizer gun...Tested on a couple of dogs and an annoying former cheerleader vampiress from their Sunnydale High days...Who'd just come home to Sunnydale from LA on a quick visit...Homesick for the old place and family...

Only thing remaining...The scene of the crime...

But they'd been following Buffy and her weird blond boy around at night for a couple of weeks now...And had a reasonable idea of when best to catch her...Alone...

***

Patrol completed, an exhausted Buffy was wearily wending her way home...

"Target spotted..." Warren noted...Looking at the returning Slayer through night vision binoculars...

Nerds on the Loose (Naked Gun Theme)

Ummn...You know...Jonathan noted...That's a preety hefty dose of tranquillizer...

Andrew fired...Hitting Buffy in the leg...

She turned and looked wildly around...No...One...A...Round...?

"Hey?..." she called ...Rolling her eyes skyward and...Falling...

Jonathan was a leetle worried...

But even more so when she got back up...Staggering a bit...

"The Beast lives..." Andrew intoned...

Warren fired...Hitting her in the arm...
That one did the trick...She was down...

She's definitely gonna kill us...Jonathan thought...Definitely...

No problemo...

***

The Bride of Nerdsenstein...(Everybody wants to Rule the World

"So...Are you like, even premed?..." Jonathan asked the scrubbed and prepped Warren...Electrode system at the ready...Unconscious Buffy in strap chair, eyes forced open and staring at hypnodisk while earphones played their bot instructions to the background tune of what they assumed was some kind of Hellchant...Music to enslave by...

Relax...I've done this five times...The last two successfully...Warren assured him...

Yeah but those first two mice and that cat...

They were too small...And we hadn't figured out the PET scanner...Warren noted...

"Hey, Johnny-lame-boy, show a little faith..." Andrew poked him...

This will be a piece of cake...Buffy is even gonna help us...Warren insisted...

"If she's ready?...Andrew?..." Warren nodded...

Andrew checked the tape...And took off the earphones carefully...Buffy still staring at the hypnodisk...

"Buffy...Do you hear me?..." Andrew whispered... "Buffy..."

"Round...and round...And round...And round..." Buffy mumbled, watching the disk...

Hmmn-hmmn...Right...Round and round...Andrew noted...

"Now, Buffy...er Buffy-bot...We are fixing you...Just installing a leetle new head equipment...And we...That is...Warren, here...Warren Mears, here..." Andrew paused...

Warren glared...Right, put it all on me...Twerp...

"Warren needs you to tell him when the new...Piece is in the Right Place..." Andrew told her slowly...

"Right, Warren?..." he nudged his Fearless Leader...

Right...Yeah...Ummn...Buffy...Bot...Just tell me when you feel something and how it feels...

"And that will mean the piece is in the right place...Which is good...Or the wrong place..."

"Which is bad..." Warren noted...

Very bad...Jonathan thought...

"Pieeece in the ri...ght pllllace..." Buffy repeated...

Exactly...Warren told her...And began the insertion...

"Oh...ooh...You f—ing maniac, you little c-ing m–ing...demon head!!!!..." she shrieked...

Whoa...Warren pulled back...

The Masters of the Sunnydale Universe prepared for a strategic withdrawal...

"Pieeece not ri...ght...No..." Buffy whispered...

Demon head?...Jonathan wondered...Do any of us look like a demon head?...he asked his fellows

I think she's just reliving a memory, Warren noted...Like she said...not the right place...

Must have been a preety rough one...Jonathan noted sympathetically...

"Well, you gonna get on with it?..." he asked Warren...

Or are you wussing now that you're actually in there...

"No way..." Warren insisted, returning to his task...

The things we do to make our Buffy happy...Andrew thought...
***

"Gentlemen...Behold...The Sacred Chamber of our loving Step-Buffy..." Andrew spoke solemnly, as befitting the occasion...

Let no man trespass on pain of...

"I thought the goal was to boink her?..." Warren noted...

Ummn...Yeah...Well...Sure...
If she's ok with it, of course...

"Which is your department, my man..." Andrew noted to his Fearless Leader...

Is she ok in there?...Jonathan asked anxiously...Buffy did save my life a few times...You know?...Ummn...

Uptown Girl

"Warren?..." Buffy emerged, looking...Quite...Pleasant...

"My systems all seem to be functional..." she noted...Looking...

Even...Content...

"Hi fellows, can I get you anything?..." she asked...

"Warren?...Should I get them...Something?..." she asked, happily...

Hey...I thought we were sharing here...You never said you were signing the title in your name only...Andrew groused at Warren...

Whoa...thought Jonathan...Oh...We are so dead...

Buffy beamed at her owners...Contentedly...Awaiting orders...
***
"Are you guys all set?..." Buffy asked brightly...Beaming at the Masters of the Sunnydale universe...

Where they sat, lounging in bean bag chairs, Buffy-made drinks at the ready, Buffy-wiches at their sides...A pile of Buffy-made snacks on their coffee table...

My new girlfriend, Buffy...Warren had briefly introduced her to his Mom...On getting her settled in his parents' kitchen...After instructing Buffy to play along...

Which she did quite contentedly...With plenty of praise for her dead...er dear...Boyfriend...

His Mom was quite pleased to see that her boy had...Finally...Found another girl...An old fashioned type...

Like that nice April he used to date...

The Masters of the Universe grinned at their girl...

All...Set...They grinned at each other...

"Great...Well...I have to go now...See how Spike is...I'll be back later...Bye..." she smiled, waved, and hurried out the door before any of them could climb out of their bean bags...

WARREN?!!! Andrew and Jonathan glared at their chief...What the hell is she doing?... Where the hell is she going?...

Who the hell is "Spike"?....

***

"I...Built the original Buffy-bot for him...He had this, like, weird fixation on her..Strange guy, you know?...Kinda the obsessed type...Actually...Ummn..."

He's the weird blonde guy who's been hanging with her at night...

Warren was sheepishly explaining Spike's role in his past to his minions...

Obviously Buffy believed she was the bot...Spike's bot...

"You never said you knew him..." Jonathan groused...Great just great...

Competition...And from a former owner...

Disturbing...Andrew thought...I wonder what the legalities are here?...If this guy Spike tries to keep her, claiming she's his robot...Can we sue?...

Guy sounds a leetle loco to me, Jonathan noted...Maybe we should let her go...If the original bot was his, after all...

"She's our bot..." Warren was outraged at Jonathan's wimpy attitude...The idea of letting someone walk off with their property...er girlfriend...er...

Besides...Spike did a poor job of preserving the original...A true work of art, if Warren did say so himself...No way was he gonna get his hands on this one...

"Lets go get our girl..." Andrew angrily...Where does this "Spike" hang out?...

Ummn...Well...Warren hesitated...

***
A slight sound of gravel moving made Spike move to crouch position...Nothing too threatening in case it was just the Nibs skipping school...Again...

Really have to take that girl in hand now that Buf's back...Remind her yet again of the importance of schooling and education...

After all, he would hardly be the charmingly dark and exciting figure he was without his through human grounding in the classics at Cambridge...

Buffy entered...Looking...Rather surprisingly content...

"Buffy?...Anything...Wrong?..." Spike asked her...She seemed a little...Just a little too...

Happy...

"Hello, Spike...It's so nice to see you again..." Buffy smiled at him...

Oh...No...Spike sighed...The bot's back...

Well...Maybe Willow wanted to give Buffy some time off...

"Gee, Spike..." Buffy told him, brightly... "My but your pecks are looking exceptional today...If you're interested I don't think I could contain my raging hormones..."

Warren and Andrew came cautiously into the crypt...Buffy turned to face them, smiling...

"Warren..." she said, brightly... "I'm so glad to see you...I'll come back with you right after I see if Spike wants sex..."

Spike glared at Warren...And his little nerd boyfriend...

"Spike..." Warren said brightly... "How you doin', man?"

He came forward, hand extended...A former satisfied customer...

***

So the little twerp repaired the Buffy-bot...Spike thought...

"Sod off..." Spike shoved Warren back...

"Hey, man..." Andrew assumed the proper pose of a Master of the Universe... "That bot is our property..."

"Oh, no...Spike commissioned me...I'm his property..." Buffy explained, brightly...

Thought Red had taken all that out of her programming...Spike thought...Well...

"Hell, take her with you by all means...Just get her out of here..." Spike told them...

No...Problem...they replied...

"Buffy...er bot...Spike doesn't want you anymore...You really should come back with us now..." Warren told her...

Is that true Spike...You don't want me anymore?...You and your humongous pecks and virile physique?...Buffy asked...

Spike considered a mo...She was preety Buffy...Wait...Buffy...And the Nibs...

He sighed...Well...

"Look, love...It's over...You go back with young Warrenstein here and don't come back unless I call you..."

He glared at Warren...

"See she gets over to Willow in one piece...Or I will be paying you a visit..."

Warren gulped and nodded...No problemo...

Say, he asked Spike brightly...Would you be willing to let me use you as a reference?...


***
"Come on, Buffy...er Buffy-bot...Time to go..." Warren told Buffy...

Who smiled brightly at Spike, waved, and followed Warren and Andrew out of the crypt...

Strange thing, Spike thought...Her skin seemed different somehow...More realistic...

Well...ole War must have done an upgrade...

***
Very Little Rascals...Part VI...

Addicted to Love

Warren and Andrew had returned with Buffy from Spike’s...

However...There was now a leetle problem...

Everything in their scheme had held up...All was well...In fact...Better than well...But...Now...

What to do with her...

They couldn’t very well just send her home...As she was...And if they reversed the hypnotherapy and pulled out the electrodes...Well...Her reaction was not likely to be...

Problem was...

They’d never actually considered...What if the plan succeeded?...

No problemo...Warren insisted...We keep her...We’ve got the room for her and everything...

And look at her...See how happy she is?...

But what about...Her sister?...Her friends?...Especially that weird one with the cemetery job, Spike?...

No problemo...We had our dear bot write a note for the sis this morning...
Now we just have our girl write a few more...

That she’s gone off to live...In...

Canada?...Andrew suggested...The peaceful solitude of the Canadian wilderness where Man has not yet trampled...

Have you been watching the Geography Channel again?...Warren asked him, irritated...

God, what an embarrassment to be seen hanging with a lamester like this...

But Canada did sound good...Peaceful...Just right for a troubled Slayer to seek contentment in...And all they had to do was hack a copy of a legit Canadian postmark and see that the letters reached Sunnydale in the right time sequence...

Piece of cake, Warren noted...

“Why is she just sitting there?...I can’t stand seeing her just sit there...” Jonathan asked, looking
nervously at Buffy...Who quietly beamed at him...

“So...Tell her to do something...” Andrew told him...Make her happy...

“I don’t think we should keep that up...” Jonathan noted... “I mean what if the electrodes start frying her brain or something...”

Well...Why don’t you give her something to do that’ll take a while...Warren noted...

“Hey...Buffy...” he called... “See that auto manual on the shelf...Why don’t you read that for while?...”

She nodded pleasantly, got the manual, and began reading...With a look of intense concentration and profound contentment...

Guys... Jonathan stared at her...This is not exactly the sort of thing I was expecting when we began this little project...

Well...We could boink her...Andrew noted...

I mean...If she’d be ok with that...

I don’t know, Jonathan told them...I kinda wanta hold off on that...Ummn...He looked at the others...

Just...Til later...

“Well...I’m ready...” Andrew declared...Looking at the others...

Warren looked around the room, nervously...

“Well...Ok...So I guess...She’s all mine...” Andrew noted...

They looked at him...

Andrew looked at the very happily reading Buffy...

Very happily...She paused to smile questioningly at him...Any orders?...Then returned to her task...

Ummn...Well...She seems kinda wrapped up in that book right now...he told his fellow Masters...

And...Well...Maybe...We should see if the electrode circuit is working ok before we try to do too much...he noted...

Test it out a bit longer...

Don’t want her to blow her brain out from too much happiness too quickly...

His fellow Masters of Sunnydale heartily agreed...

***
Dawn dropped by Spike’s crypt early that evening...

Had he seen Buffy?...Was she?...By the remotest chance?...Here?...

“No, Nibs...Not since last night...” he was immediately alarmed...

The Slayer was not given to staying away and wandering about without letting her Nibsness know...But in her present state of depression and despair...

***
Buffy had actually left a note...A rather strange one...Which Dawn had found stuck in the front door mail slot that morning...

“Dawn...My sister,

I have to get away for a few days as I am very, very sad and depressed which you probably knew.

Here is some money for the house and food. I will call you when I feel better.

Your sister,

Buffy Summers...”

Well...Looked like the Slayer’s handwriting...Spike noted...

“She’d never leave like that...Never...” Dawn was getting a touch...

She’d thought...Maybe...Buffy just needed to get out for the day...Think things over...But now...

Well, ok...She’d called Willow and Tara half an hour after finding the note...And Xander after that...And was trying to reach Giles in England...But the Council people said he was again on his way back to them...So...

Having run out of ideas...She’d tried his place...Besides...She added hastily, not wanting him to feel slighted...

She’d known he couldn’t help until dark anyway and saw no reason to alarm him before then...

“It’s fine, Nibs...But the others all came up empty?...Did Willow?...”

She didn’t want to try locating Buffy by magic...At least last time we talked, Dawn noted...

Maybe...By now...She’d changed her mind...

“Oh...Spike...Do you think maybe...On her way home?...Something...”

The note, Nibs...he pointed out...

“But what if...It...Whatever...Made her write it...It is preety unBuffy, you know...”

What if she’s vamped...And wrote the note to keep us from tracking her down?...

Possible...Spike thought, catching himself before thinking out loud...

“Not a chance, Niblett...This is The Slayer we’re talking about...”

What are you trying to do?...he teased...Ruin my reputation?...Let people think William the Bloody was whipped by an ordinary, run-of-the-mill, vamp-susceptible slayer?...Please...

***
The gang met at the Magic Shop a little later...

Not a hair of Buffy about town, Xander noted...

And her hair was preety easy to...A glare from Dawn...And Spike...

“Dawn...Did she say anything last night?...Was she?...Depressed?...” Tara asked...

I mean, more depressed than she’s been seeming recently...

“Depressed?...Why would she be depressed?...” Willow cut in, anxiously...

“Why is everyone so convinced that Buffy is depressed?...Maybe...Maybe she’s just...So overjoyed to be back...”

Tara patted her sweetie’s hand...

Well...Dawn noted...She was kinda down...About Giles...

“Giles?...” Willow asked, a hair nervously... “Did something...Happen?...To Giles?...”

Remembering their leetle...Argument...Over the resurrection spell...

One never knows what one’s subconscious might be trying to pull during off-guard hours...

Just a problem with the Council, Dawn explained...But he may not be able to come back to stay...

“Oh...Well...That’s preety depressing...Even to me...” Willow noted... “That’s gotta be what she’s so down about...Not coming back to life...Which is a cause for joy...Not...Depression...”

“Well...” Noted Xander... “It doesn’t matter why she’s depressed...The question is...Where is she?...”

Willow?...He turned to her...

“Ummn...well...I think I’ve sworn off magics for the present...” Willow noted...

If possible...

“We’re engaged...To be married...” Anya told them...

Just a bit of happy news during a dark and serious time...Though not yet dark and serious enough to merit total fixation on the unhappy event, she noted...

Good a time as any, I guess...Xander sighed...
***

Very Little Rascals...Part VII

The gang had summoned what enthusiasm they could for Anya’s announcement...

Even Spike had offered a comment...

They were a perfect couple...Would probably breed...Like rabbits...he grinned...

Anya glared...

“Guys?!...” Dawn snapped “My sister?!...The missing Slayer who’s saved us all so often?!...”

Not that she didn’t think it was wonderful...She paused to note to Anya...Who smiled gratefully...

And nudged Xander...

“See they appreciated hearing...It’s lightened what might otherwise be a sad and tragic evening...”

Anya...Xander hissed...

Well...Buffy is so depressed...Anya looked at the teary Dawn...

Not suicidally depressed, of course...Just run away and live in a cardboard shack, drinking rot-gut and panhandling for life, depressed...

Dawn looked at her and got up, pacing desperately...Spike got up, taking her hand as she walked...

“Anya...” Willow glared...Idiot former demon...Making stupid, insensitive remarks...

And taking our Xander away from us...she thought...

Someone...Ought to...Gosh...no...No!..Geesh...God, I wish Giles would get home...Willow thought...Rubbing her forehead...

Tara patted her hand...Alright?...she asked...

Yeah...Just a little absolute power corrupting problem...I can deal...No problem...she thought...

“I’m fine, sweetie...” she looked over at Anya’s uncertain face...

She’d only said what they all felt...

“Anya...It’s great, really, about you two...Congrats, Xander...” she smiled at him... “But you know...Dawn is worried...And Buffy may need us...”

Anya looked at her...

“I know that...What I’m trying to say is...I understand it...I’ve been...Away...You know...”

A really, really long time...she smiled, wanly...

Willow and Tara looked at her...Xander looked at her...

Spike looked back at her from where he was holding Dawn’s hand...

My gosh...Willow thought...We never even...

And she had...Nobody...No sister, no old friends...Every one she knew...Her whole world...Was gone...

“It wasn’t...Easy...And I understand how Buffy feels...But...” Anya paused...

“She will find a way to deal with it...In time...”

We should try to find her, of course...But really...we just have to give her some time...she finished, about as close to tears as they’d ever seen her...

Dawn ran over and hugged her...

Ummn...Spike came over...Looking at Anya...And Xander who’d taken her hand...

“Congrats, Harris...” he offered a hand...

Quite a lady you’ve managed to land...he noted...

Willow help you out on that one?...

***

“Warren?...” Buffy had come over to where the Fearless Leader of the Masters of the Sunnydale universe was considering the next item on their battle plan...

Miniaturize Fort Knox...

We really oughta think about the Shrink Ray first, Jonathan noted...Still, after Buffy...This should be a piece of cake...

She didn’t mean to interrupt his profound ruminations, she apologized...It was just...She’d finished the manual...And...

“I think...My batteries are running down...A little...” she told him brightly...

Batteries?...Oh...Well...It has been quite a day for her...Warren thought...

“You should go to bed...Ummn...Where we can hook up your recharger...” Jonathan suggested, helpfully...

Should I plug myself in?...she asked...Brightly...

They looked at each other...Ummn...

“No...Ummn...I’ve installed a new kind of charger...” Warren told her... “Just go to bed and it will be just like going to sleep...”

“I’ll plug you in myself in a bit...” Andrew cut in, happily...The others glaring at him...

Pervert...thought Jonathan...Say...She hasn’t had anything to drink or eat today...

“Ummn...Buffy-bot?...Before you go to bed...And recharge...I’d really like it if you ate a couple of sandwiches and drank some water...Just to show me...You know...That all the...Ummn...Imitation human systems are working ok...”

The others looked at him...Are you trying to score points with our bot?...

She saved my life a couple of times, man...Geesch...Jonathan noted...
She nodded...Brightly...And went over to the table...

“See...Jonathan...I’m eating just fine...” she noted...Quite happily...

Thoughtful, dude...Andrew admitted...We gotta keep up the maintenance...

“Better tell her she’ll have to use the bathroom at some point...” Jonathan noted...

You know...Tell her it’s...For the sake of realism...

***

They’d run out of options...Willow realized...

It was getting late...And Dawny...All of them...were more worried by the minute...

But she was more and more sure that it was a wise idea to give up her growing dependance on her craft...

Besides, what if Buffy didn’t want to be found...Dragged back...

Again...

Still...Maybe...Tara could do the locator spell...Just see where she is and make sure she’s ok...

The phone rang...

***

“Hello, Willow...Is my sister...Dawn...There?...” Buffy asked brightly...

A stroke of sheer genius had led Andrew to suggest that Buffy call in...Before she...”Recharged”...

Just to avoid a police manhunt...

And not finding her sis at home...They’d had Buffy “search her memory banks” for alternative places where the sis and gang might be holed up...

“Buffy?...Where the hell are you?...” Willow shouted into the phone, Dawn hopping up and over to her...

“Buffy?...” Dawn grabbed at the phone...Willow let her have it...And moved back to Tara...

Thank God...She looked around...And saw Spike...Shaking...Just a bit...In back...

She pretended not to notice and hugged Tara...

“Buffy?!...What’s wrong with you?...Why did you leave like that?...” Dawn shouted at the phone...

“I’m...fine...” There was a pause...As if she’d left the phone a moment...

“I was very sad and depressed, Dawn...”

“I know Buffy...But come home...It’ll be ok...We’ll talk about it...” Dawn told her...The others clustering round her but holding back a distance...

Another pause...

“I was very sad and depressed, Dawn...And I think I need to get away...To Canada...”

“Canada?...” Dawn asked...

Canada?...Willow thought...

Canada...Anya considered...Hmmn...It’s quiet there...Good place to think...

“Buffy...This is crazy...Come home...” Dawn told the phone...

“I just wanted to make sure you wouldn’t worry, Dawn...I will be fine...” Pause...

“And I will write you...From Canada...Bye...”

“Buffy?...” Dawn looked at the phone...And then the others...

***
Very Little Rascals...Part VIII

In the Magic Shop the gang members were trying to avoid looking at each other...

At least until they’d recovered a bit...

Buffy...Gone...Apparently to think things through...

In Canada?...

“That couldn’t have been Buffy...” Dawn insisted...

Or, if it was...She was definitely not all there...
“You know, it’s strange...” Dawn noted...Looking at Spike...And Willow...And frowning...

She kinda sounded like the Buffy-bot used to...

Like the bot?...Spike wondered...

Stilted, you know?...

Hmmn...That reminded Spike...

“Willow?...Did Warren ever get the bot over to you?...Is it at your place?...”

Warren?...The bot?...thought Willow...

***

“Well?...” Warren asked Jonathan...Who had been chosen by lot to check on the “recharging” Buffy...

She’s out like a light...Jonathan noted...

Poor kid...Andrew noted...She’s had quite a day...We should keep things down in here...

Jonathan nodded...

“You know...We’re like...Her caretakers now...” he noted...

Like her fairy godfathers...Striving to bring her happiness...

Andrew nodded solemnly...

Warren looked at them... “Fairy godfathers?” he thought...

Well...We have made her preety happy...he thought...

Wait...

“Guys?...We still are gonna boink, her, right?...” he looked at them...

That was the strategic objective, after all...

All in good time, my man...Andrew told him...First...And foremost...We see that our girl is happy...

Jonathan nodded...Say...

“You know...She’s gonna need some new clothes...She can’t wear that same dress every day...”

Especially when she’s likely to run into your mom a lot...he noted to Warren...

He’d considered that, Fearless Leader told them...No problemo...

Nothing that a leetle trip to the mall...The mall on I-87 of course, not the Sunnydale Mall...Couldn’t take care of...Considering our current cash situation...He nodded at Emma’s Express Mail pouch on the table...Is excellent...

Hmmn...Yeah...She’d like a trip to the mall...Jonathan thought....

“Great idea, man...”

And Warren had a still better one...Now that, courtesy of Ms. Crestwell, he had a steady source of income...As a home-based consultant to her firm...

It was time to consider a change of habitat...

And as long as they were going out tomorrow anyway...Why not check out a few condos?...

With the hypnoglasses on hand...To smooth over any haggling over prices or credit problems...

Man...You are the One...Andrew told him...

Shish...Jonathan nudged him...Our Buffed One...

Oh...Right...

“Sorry, Buffy”...Andrew called....

Moron...Jonathan whacked him...

“Guys...Lady present...” Warren noted...

A leetle decorum...

***

“Are you sure it was our old Buffy-bot?...” Willow asked Spike...

She was preety croaked last time we checked...Maybe Warren built a new one...

Having your specs...she frowned at him...

“She knew who I was...Said she was my bot...Must have been the same old bot...” Spike noted...

Hmmn...

Well...Must be a coincidence...No way that idiot Warren could have got his hands on...Er, got hold of...Buffy, Willow smiled at Dawn...

However...

The idea of Warren making out with the bot...Not a picture we can deal with...Willow noted...Grimly...

“Maybe I’d better pay my robodesigner a visit...” Spike noted...

Tell him I’ve reconsidered and will accept merchandise...

Spike?!...Willow glared, nodding at the Nibs...

Oops...

“It’s all right, Spike...It’d be nice to have Buffy-bot around...She can fill in for Buffy when she needs a break...” Dawn noted...

If she ever comes back...

Hmmn...Wonder if Warren keeps a variety of lines for customers to check out...Xander wondered...

Want some company?...He asked Spike innocently...

The others looked at him...

I mean, what with Warren being human and all...he noted...

“Better make it tomorrow evening, Spike...It’s after one...” Willow pointed out...

But...Early tomorrow evening...She noted...

Dawn should be getting to bed anyway...

“What about Buffy?...” Dawn asked... “We have to find out if she’s really ok...I’m not going anywhere till we do...”

Well...Willow hesitated...I could do a locator spell...

Or better yet Tara could...she noted...Brightly...

Good practice for you, sweetie, Willow told her...

Tara, for her part, was also hesitant...For different reasons...

After all, what if Buffy...Didn’t want to be located?...What if she really did just want to get away for a bit?...

Not that Dawn needed to hear that just now, Tara realized...

“How will we know if she’s ok though?...” Dawn asked...

Isn’t there someway we can see if she’s ok?...

“Yeah...” Tara had a flash... “We can...We do a mood spell...Find out if she’s happy or frightened or something...”

We don’t have to find out where she is just yet...So long as we know she’s not in danger or pain...she noted happily...

It can even tell us if she’s under some kind of spell influence...

Will?...She looked at Willow...Who considered and nodded...But...

“This one’s all yours, sweetie...” she told her...

***
Dawn was reaching crash point...It was nearly two am...

“Well?...” she asked Tara...Who’d done a mood sweep using a sweater of Buffy’s...

She seems...Tranquil...Tara noted...Her aura is very stable...

She’s probably sleeping...And sleeping pretty well at that...

“And no spells?...She’s not a zombie or a vamp?...” Dawn looked at her...

Well...There’s no obvious spell influence...That I can detect...Tara told her...

“So...Buf just couldn’t stand to be with us anymore?...” Spike put in, helpfully...

No great surprise there...he thought...

Maybe...Tara looked at Dawn carefully...Maybe...She really does just need some time away...

“No...Buffy wouldn’t just leave...Your spell is wrong...Or...Maybe she...Maybe she’s drugged or something...” Dawn noted, yawning a huge one...

Well...Tara looked at Willow...I can’t say as to drugs or things like that...But...She is the Slayer...Ummn...

Xander and Willow exchanged glances...Buffy did vamoose that other time...Maybe...

“Dawny...” Xander told her... “You’ve got to get to bed...We’ll see if Buffy calls tomorrow...For now...At least we know she’s ok...Alive and all...And aura-stable, right?...” he looked at Tara...Who nodded...

Very stable...

Actually much better than she’s been for a while...Tara did not say...

Assuming neither Dawn nor Willow needed to hear that...

“Harris is right, Nibs...” Spike told her... “We’ll probably find Buffy on the doorstep in the morning...”

They all looked at him...

What?...Oh...

“I mean standing on the doorstep...Apologetic and all that...”

This crowd has been hanging around cemeteries and corpses for much too long, he thought...

And Spike and I will check on Buffy-bot tomorrow evening...Xander added...

Spike looked at him...Oh...We will will we?...

Xander Harris, man of decision...Now that Anya’s carried him over the threshold...

Well, might need something to throw at Warren and his boyfriend at that...Spike noted to himself...

***
Very Little Rascals...Part IX...

Nerds and Their Girl at the Mall...(Naked Gun Theme)

Buffy was, of course, very pleased to accompany her owners to the mall next morning...

Jonathan, following up on his brainstorm of the night before, suggested they stop for breakfast...And requested that Buffy...er...-bot...Continue to demonstrate that her “imitation human systems” were in good working order by eating something...

“What would you like me to eat, Jonathan?...” she asked pleasantly as they sat at the IHOP on I-87...

The waitress pausing for her order looked at her, a bit...Andrew and Warren exchanged glances...

Hmmn..Quick session with the hypnoglasses called for here?...

“Ummn...Just order...What Buffy would like...” Jonathan told her...

Oh...Well...She smiled at the waitress...

“Buffy would like...”

Our friend Buffy likes to speak of herself in the third person...he noted to the waitress...She’s ummn...Foreign...Has trouble with personal pronouns...

Fortunately...The sheer magnitude of a breakfast order by the Slayer was enough to keep the waitress fully occupied...No need for the hypnoglasses...

Shame...Warren noted...Kind of a hot babe, that waitress...Still, can’t let anyone come between us and our girl...

Whoa...Andrew looked at the beaming Buffy...That’s what she eats every morning?...No wonder she’s got superpowers...

Thank God I’ve took that job with Barnes-Crestwell...Warren noted...If she eats like this at every meal...We’d be broke in a week...

Jonathan was curious to ask her...How could she stuff all that into that little body of hers?...But, as a gentleman, decided to refrain from any suggestion that their girl ate like three starved longshoremen...

After all...As long as our girl is happy...

And Buffy was clearly...Very happy...

***
They parked...poor Emma’s former BMW...at the I-87 mall...
And ran over the “program” for their happily attentive...er...bot...

“Ummn...Buffy...bot...Ummn...We’re conducting a field test of your Buffy-personality program, understand?...”

Jonathan hoped to preempt possible problems...

So for now...You’re...Our friend Buffy...Not a robot...If anyone should ask...

“Like when I was with Spike?...” she noted brightly... “When he commissioned Warren to make me be Buffy for him?...Should I run that program?...”

Exactly...

“Oh...Warren...Andrew...Jonathan...” she began...Looking quite...

Ummn...They looked at her and each other...

Here?...Now?...Ummn...

Not that they weren’t ready and able...But...

Jonathan and Andrew looked at their Fearless Leader...

Buffy?...Ummn...You oughta “delete” the constant sex invites...Warren noted...

Least whiles we’re at the mall...

She smiled pleasantly and nodded...No sex invites...For now...

“Dudes?...What if we run into one of her friends or something?...” Andrew noted...

Unlikely...But a Master of the Sunnydale Universe must be prepared for all contingencies...

“Ummn...Buffy-bot...er Buffy?...If we meet anyone you...Er...Buffy knows...Tell them...Ummn...”

Warren pondered...Ah, of course...

“You’re shopping...Before you leave for Canada...”

Buffy nodded happily...

“So...Buffy...” Jonathan was curious as they began their stroll...

“Did you...Ummn...Did Buffy...Ever?...”

Warren and Andrew looked at him...

Talk about me?...

“It’s not in my memory bank, Jonathan...But I will ask Buffy when I see her...” Buffy told him...

***
“Hello, I’m Buffy Summers...And these are my friends...Warren...Andrew...and Jonathan...”

Buffy pleasantly greeted the saleslady at Saks...Indicating her dark-sunglassed “fairy godfathers”...Who nodded...Causally...As befitting Fairy Godfather Masters of the Sunnydale Universe...

I am shopping...she explained...Before I leave...For Canada...

“And my friends would like to spend a great deal of their money on my clothes...” she told her...

Hmmn...

“I think between the two of us, we can help them my dear...” the saleslady smiled...

Can’t imagine any other way those three’d be with a girl like that, she thought...

***
Quite a spread, dude...Andrew nodded...

They were being shown around a rather palatial condo by an enthusiastic agent...

Whose doubts about them had been dealt with the hypnoglasses...

Not to mention his interest in their attractive girlfriend...er cousin...er...close pal...

Who smiled at his spiel, listening with the full attention Warren had requested...

His girlfriend, my cousin...And Andy here...Well, he’s a good friend...Jonathan noted...

“Good friend?” ...How come Warren always gets to be the boyfriend, dude?...Andrew nudged after the agent had gone to get forms...

“I think that guy likes our girl...” Jonathan told his fellow Masters...

Pervert...Who does he think he is?...Warren glared after the agent...

***

Although legal necessities would delay the Masters of the Sunnydale Universe from immediately
occupying the new digs, they saw no particular reason to hurry back to the old lair...

How about...A flick...Andrew suggested...

Would Buffy care to take in a movie?...he asked her...

They had some girl flicks playing at the Multiplex...

Warren and Jonathan groaned...

“Guys?...Our girl might prefer something with a little romance...”

I would be very happy to take in a movie if you would like me to Andrew...Buffy told him...

***

So that they were not at home when Spike and his partner appeared...Early...That evening...

Almost immediately after sundown...

Yes...Ms. Mears told them...She had indeed met Ms. Summers, her Warren’s new girlfriend...

Such a charming young lady...

They’d all gone out for the day...Shopping at one of the malls thereabouts she believed...

Was there anything...?...Noting with a shade of depression that both of Ms. Summers’ friends were rather acceptable in the boyfriend department...And seemed rather more interested in locating her than a favor for her twin sister might require...

Poor Warren...First April, then Katrina, now this nice Ms. Summers...He just can’t seem to hold on to them...

Boy really needs a bit more male influence in his life...Someone a bit more...Than his two friends, Andrew and Jonathan...

Not that they weren’t perfectly nice boys...

Someone a bit more experienced...Yet gentlemanly...Like this nice Spike fellow...If only Warren would spend a little more time with a friend like him...

***

Shopping?...Xander looked at Spike as they left Warren’s...

With the Buffy-bot?...

For the Buffy-bot?...

Well...he reflected...I suppose if I had a...Whoa...Triple-take...

Shopping?...For a bot double of my practically sister Buffy?...

“Spike?...Do you think those idiots are planning to...?”

Rather makes you wish the Slayer was around, eh Xan?...Spike grinned...

Would be quite a sight to see when she caught up with them...And their Barbie doll...

Guaranteed to raise her spirits...After the initial shock...

Xander grimaced...Buffy or no Buffy...There is no way I am letting those morons keep a copy of her...he thought...

And glared at the instigator of the whole mess...

“You idiot...” he told Spike... “That bot would never have been around for them to...Whatever...If you hadn’t ordered her up from Dr. Warrenstein...”

And our Dawny would have been bled dry by Glory...Or you clowns would have been killed while Buffy was pushing up daisies...Spike noted...

Harris continued to fume...As a student of human nature...And Harris’ less than human nature...Spike realized...There was clearly something behind his angry ranting...

Guilt, perhaps...?

“You never once thought about her...” Xander continued... “How she’d feel...The suffering you’d be putting her through...”

Ah, yes...Guilt...So...Harris...And no doubt, Willow and some of the others have realized...At least subconsciously that their little magic game may not have been an unqualified source of joy to our beloved Slayer...

It occurred to Spike that he could...If he chose...Spill the beans as to the true nature of Buffy’s little sojourn in the afterworld...

With emphasis on her friends’ role in dragging her out of whatever peaceful realm she had found...

Still...Buffy would be back, from Canada or wherever she’d gone...And would not be pleased to learn he’d violated her confidence...

Indeed...And it rather balanced letting Harris’ smug puss continue to glare at him...One day...When the truth became clear to them, as he’d no doubt it inevitably would...He would, if he could restrain himself, have the satisfaction of watching Xander and the others as they realized just who Buffy had confided in ...And how well he’d kept her secret...

Worth waiting for, that...

He smiled...Beatifically...

“Well...” he looked at Xander... “Buffy did forgive me for the bot...”...And grinned...

“One of the few things she can forgive me for...”

But you’re right...For once...he agreed...We can’t let Warren and the moron brigade keep a copy of Buffy on hand...

And after all, I am the actual owner...

Looks like it’s stakeout time...he noted...

Hmmn...Xander nodded...So...We just stakeout til they come in...

Sounds good...

Might be a good thing for us to keep out of sight, Harris...It’s the general idea in staking out...Spike noted...

***

Very Little Rascals...Part X

The Masters of the Sunnydale Universe had made a slight miscalculation in inviting their girl to the movies...

Bright flashing lights...Followed by darkness...Loud noises, particularly music...

Not good for maintaining a delicate hypnotherapy regimen...

Even worse...There was no more popular place in Sunnydale for vamps to cruise than the Multiplex...

Darkness, secluded corners, plenty of eager young happy meals, lots of necking...

Especially at the romantic flick the boys had chosen...Out of respect for their Buffy, of course...
***

“Jonathan...” Buffy whispered brightly...As they sat waiting for the start...

“I think there are vampires here...Should I go Slay them?...” she asked...

Ummn...

Hmmn...Thought Andrew...Never had a chance to see her in action...

“Go to it, Buffy-bot...” he told her...She being off in a flash after a rushed but pleasant nod to him...

Moron?!...Warren and Andrew looked at him...What the hell are you doing?...

What?...She is the “Slayer”, right ?...Andrew noted...Just wanted to see what she can do...

“What if she gets hurt, you idiot?...” Jonathan slapped him... “She thinks she’s the bot...Maybe her fighting edge will be dull...”

“Fighting edge?” thought Warren...And whacked Andrew in his turn...

If you get our bot...er girl...broken, moron...

“We’d better get her back before she gets hurt...” Jonathan insisted...

The Fairy Godfathers rose reluctantly to rescue their Buffy...

The things one must do for one’s girl...
***

Who had already locked on to a target...A lovely shy young dark-haired thing about to dig hungrily into her rather hefty date...

Who, poor fellow, considering his weight and some other physical drawbacks would probably not have minded allowing the vampiress at least a partial meal in exchange for being seen with her in public...

***
“Hello...” she lifted the vampiress by the throat off her date... “I am Buffy Summers...I Slay vampires...You are a vampire...Goodbye...”

Sorry about your date, she told the boy...You are safe now...Bye...

There was a notable movement towards the exits by a number of patrons...

“Come back, vampires...I am Buffy Summers...I am the Slayer...Andrew says I should Slay you...” she called, jumping up after them...

Hey, quiet down...A young man hollered...

“Sorry...” she whispered, scurrying for the doorway where several vamps were attempting to flee...

In vain...

Thanks to the time it took to slay her way through the rapidly dwindling group...Her Fairy
Godfathers had a chance to catch up to her by the time she’d reached the exit door...

“Hey...” an attendant came in...

What the hell are you doing...Can the noise...he looked at the ashes heaped about the exit door...

Jesus...What the...

“I have been Slaying vampires...” Buffy informed him pleasantly “I am Buffy Summers, the Slayer...”

These are Warren, Andr...

“Get out of here...You four are banned...” the attendant hissed at them...

No way, dude...Andrew groaned...Geesch...

What’d we do...

Buffy cocked her head at the attendant...Smiling..

Hmmn...Warren thought...

“Buffy...Would you?...Throw this guy out the door...”

Please...

She looked at the attendant...She looked at Warren...

Ummn...She blinked...

“Get out or I call security...” the attendant threatened...

Buffy?...Order given?...Warren noted...Rolling his hand around...

Get a move on, girl...

Ummn...Yes, Ummn...

“He’s human...” she noted...Looking at them...

Uh-oh, Jonathan thought...conflict...

“Better stand down, man..” he told Warren...

But Fearless Leader does not take disobedience lying down...

Buffy...What did I say?...

“You asked me to throw the man out of the theater through the door, Warren...” she said...Brightly...

The attendant was calling Security...

A couple of dweebs and some psycho-girl...

Must be a psycho to hang with those three...

“Man...Lets do the strategic withdrawal thing...” Jonathan suggested...

She doesn’t want to hurt him, Warren...Andrew noted...

You keep this up, you’re gonna break her...

Jonathan noted nervously that Buffy’s attention was increasingly drawn to the bright screen...

Where a fast-paced video was now in progress...

Mucho flickering lights...

Whoa...Wait a minute...

“Guys?...” he turned to his comrades...

Who were still engaged in a discussion of whether Buffy should be forced to deal with the attendant and his forthcoming backup or no...

Andrew taking the moral high ground...She doesn’t want to, man...

Don’t wanta force her to do something she doesn’t want to...

Warren the utilitarian...She’s a bot, man...And bots should obey...

Guys...Jonathan indicated the screen-transfixed Buffy...

Problems...

Hmmn...Maybe...We should...

“Head...My head hurts...” Buffy said...Rubbing her forehead...

“Warren?...I think I need...Service...” Buffy told him...A tad less brightly than usual...

Hmmn...Maybe...It’s better not to take on the Man just tonight, Warren agreed...

Lets go...Movie stinks anyway, Andrew noted...

***
Very Little Rascals...Part XI

“Buffy...er bot...You ok?...” Jonathan asked Buffy...Who was not her usual bright self as they drove back towards the lair...

Rubbing her forehead occasionally...

“Head...My head hurts...” she looked at Jonathan...

“I think I need service, Jonathan...”

Try the glasses, man...Andrew suggested...That should help until we get her home...

“I told you we should’ve taken it slower the first full day...” Jonathan insisted to his fellow Masters...

When did you?...Like fun, man...You never said that...Andrew told him, poking him in the arm...

“Buffy...” Warren called to her, putting on the hypnoglasses... “Look at me, Buffy-bot...”

Her condition improved within a few minutes...

Though she did still feel a service check was...

***

See...Warren noted to the nervous Jonathan as they turned onto his home road...No problemo...She’s happy as ever...

And indeed, Buffy...er, bot...Was again her beaming, pleasant self...

Who noted two old friends of Buffy’s...Sitting “unobtrusively” in their stake-out vehicle...

“There are Spike and Xander...Buffy’s friends...” she happily noted to Jonathan...Pointing them out where they sat...

“Should I go invite them to join us at home?...” she asked...
***

The Fairy Godfathers and their Princess waited in their car...Watching Spike and Xander watching for their return...

“Whata we do, man?...” Andrew...Asking the question on all minds but Buffy’s...

What would you like me to do now?...being the one on hers, thanks to the Masters of the Sunnydale Universe’s hypno intervention...

Say...Spike thinks she’s the bot, right?...So...We just take our girl and go on in...Warren noted...

“But why is he here, man?...” Jonathan asked...

Guy creeps me out...He’s like, you know...Rutger Hauger in “Blade Runner”...And he works in a cemetery...

“Blade Runner”, cool...Andrew noted...

Yeah...But he looks like he’s got the blade...And we’re gonna be doing the running...

“But what’s he want, man?...” Andrew asked...

“Andrew?...I think that Spike would like me back...” Buffy noted pleasantly...

What?...Warren exploded...No way...No returns, no refunds, and no test drives...

If he wants another bot, he can just put in an order and wait...

“You’re taken, Buffy...er bot...” Warren told her... “You stay with us, got it?...”

That’s your new...”Prime Directive”...Make it so...

Yes, Warren...she nodded brightly...

Whoa...Very Picardian, man...Andrew noted...

***
Xander emerged from Spike’s car...Headed?...In a direction which would take him past the Masters’ car...

Thank God Ms. Crestwell had had dark windows installed in her BMW...Jonathan noted as Xander passed them...Warren cautioning Buffy not to greet him...

Now what?...

Could we go over to your place, Johnny-boy?...Warren asked...

Don’t think my parents would like having the extra company, guys...Not to mention our girl...

Same here, dudes...Andrew chimed in...Say...

“We could...Like...Check in to an Econolodge...”

Hmmn...What about Buffy?...Can’t leave her alone in a room like this, man...Jonathan reminded them...

And no clerk’s gonna let us all take one room...

Well, Warren noted...I am the boyfriend...

They looked at him...You...And Buffy...Alone...

No way...
“Hey...It’s your house...Well, your parents’ house, dude...Go and tell those creeps to vamoose or you’ll call the cops...” Andrew told Fearless Leader...

You go...Twerp...Fearless Leader bopped him one...

“Say...Buffy..er bot...Why is that creep Spike so...Like...
Obsessed with...er...Buffy?” Jonathan asked...

Spike was an evil vampire...Who killed and killed and killed...But he
got a behavioral chip wired in his head and now he can’t
hurt people...And now he is in love with Buffy...she told them...

Or he thinks he is...

But she could not love him...Him being a vampire killer and all...So
he ordered me from Warren to be his Buffy for him...

Whoa...Andrew was open-mouthed...

“That’s like...Tragic, man...Love-lorn vampire, pining away...”

Deep...

“Hey...” he turned to Warren... “That makes you like what...The evil robotmaker dad Rutger asks for help...”

Hmmn...Warren thought a mo...Now that you mention it...

“Guys...Key word...Vampire...Killer vampire...” Jonathan noted...

“But she said he can’t hurt people now...” Andrew noted...

“Right Buffy-bot?...”

She nodded...Brightly...

So...We weren’t the first with behavioral reprogramming by electrical stimulus...Warren noted, a tad glumly...

Bummer...

Still our girl is a much better job...he brightened...

Hmmn...Jonathan was intrigued...

“How do you feel about Spike, Buffy?...” he asked...

“I do not feel anything about Spike, Jonathan...I am a robot...” Buffy noted pleasantly...

“Would you like me to run a program about feeling something for Spike?...” she asked...

Ummn...No...Thanks...But...Ummn...

“How does Buffy...the real one...Feel about Spike?...” he asked...The others listening intently...Some drool on Andrew’s anxious lips...

“I...Don’t think she knows...It’s strange...He was trying to help her and she...” she paused...

Died...She finished...Looking at them...Blinking...Hastily...

“It’s not in my memory bank, Jonathan...I will ask Buffy when I see her...” she finished...

Looking a bit...Confused...

Dangerous waters there, dude...Andrew noted...Back off a little...

Died?...Warren thought...

Hmmn...That would explain why she was so sad the past couple weeks...

But an idea had occurred to Fearless Leader...

If Spike was a vampire?...

“You could take him, couldn’t you Buffy-bot?...” Warren asked her...

***

Xander returned, passing the BMW again...

Again Warren cautioned Buffy...er...bot...To keep still...

***

“Ok, Spike...Delivery run...” Xander called...Pounding on the door...

Loudly...

“Got coffee, cannolis, bag of your blood...You want that first?..”

Spike rolled his eyes...How did Buffy ever defeat me with Harris around?...

Get in...Moron...he told Xander...Pulling him into the car...

“Any movement on the nerd frontier?...”

No...Spike told him...And not likely to be...With you advertising our presence to the neighborhood...

Nerd frontier?...Jonathan was indignant as he listened through headphones via their Sound Cannon 2000 eavesdropper...

Nerd frontier...Good one Xander dude...Andrew giggled...

Moron...He means us...Warren whacked him...

Oh...Well...Still a good one, dude...

We are not nerds...Warren insisted...

“Buffy-bot?...” he turned to the beaming, patient Buffy... “Are we nerds?...I mean, did Buffy think we were nerds?...”

“I believe that Buffy would have called you geeks, Warren...” she noted pleasantly...

She did not use the word nerd that much...Buffy smiled at him...

Hmmn...

Amendment to the “Prime Directive”...

***
Very Little Rascals...Part XII

“Hey, look...” Xander nudged Spike...Who gave him a cold stare and considered assuming “work-face”...

He looked up to see Buffy-bot standing in the street facing them...Beaming a happy smile...

“Hello, Spike...” she greeted him as he got out and came towards her...Xander following...

“Well, Buffy-bot...” Spike looked at her...

Must say ole Warren did a bang-up repair job...
Funny...I’d swear she lost some weight...Like Buffy...

Well...Warren must have to take a video or photo of our Buffy recently...When he repaired the old bod...Probably had to rebuild everything but the head from scratch...

“I’ve reconsidered and I’ve decided to take you back home...So lets get a move on, girl...”

She shook her head...Pleasantly...

“I am sorry Spike...I cannot come with you...Hello, Xander...It is very nice to see you again...” she beamed at Xander...

Spike frowned...Robo girl been reading Freidan or something?...

“Now look, girl...You are my bot...Well...Mine and Willow’s...I commissioned you...Willow programmed you...Now lets drop the negative attitude and come along with Spikey...”

No...I cannot, Spike...she smiled at him...

“You returned me..I am Warren, Andrew, and Jonathan’s Buffy robot now, Spike...” she told him pleasantly...

Warren, Andrew, and Jonathan...Who are unquestionably not nerds or geeks...

The coolest dudes in Sunnydale...She finished...Brightly...

She running taped ads for them now or what?...Xander wondered...

Spike’s frown deepened...

“So...Where are the ‘coolest dudes in Sunnydale’ right now?...” he asked her...

I think we may have a little property dispute to settle...

“I cannot tell you, Spike...You are a former killer vampire and might harm them...So I cannot tell you where Warren, Andrew, and Jonathan...the coolest dudes in Sunnydale...Are now...”

Hmmn...Xander thought...Worth a shot...

“Could you tell me, Buffy...ummn...Bot?...I’m human...And your old friend?...”

Well...We worked a lot together this summer, anyway...

Yes, Xander...You are human...They are in that car over there...she pointed at the darkened BMW...

Arrgh...Andrew groaned as he yanked the headphones...

Like...What were you thinking, man?...he told Warren...

“Why didn’t you tell her not to tell anyone where we were?...”

Forgot to ask about the Xander guy...Warren noted sheepishly...I figured anyone hanging with Spike had to be a vampire too...

“Thought I had it covered with the ‘don’t tell the vampires where we are’ order, guys...”

Guys...The Xander dude and the Rutger clone are heading this way...Jonathan noted...
Watching them on a TV screen fed from a camera atop the car...

“Time for a strategic withdrawal...” Andrew noted...Starting the car...

No problemo, guys...Our bot can handle this...Warren told them...

But...Noting the rapidly closing pair on the screen...

Maybe we should await the outcome...Elsewhere...

***
Xander jumped back as the car zipped off...

Well...So much for the ‘coolest dudes in Sunnydale’...Nerds...he thought...Picking himself off the ground...

Thank God I never sank so low back in high school...Hanging with geeks like that...Simply for the sake of having a single male friend...

Of course...They each have two male friends...

But hey...I had all my friends...All my girl friends...Girls who were friends...Who would not even consider the remotest possibility of...

And Giles of course...If one could count a male librarian-Watcher of ancient age...

My God, I was pathetic...Even against these creeps...

Still, present circumstances put me well ahead...Hey?...

Why are Buffy-bot and Spike?...Circling around each other?...

It’s as if they were going to...

Neat BMW those clowns had though...I guess the nerd professions pay well these days...

***
Spike had returned to the bot after her “fairy godfathers” had vamoosed...

Time to call it a day, girl...he told her...

“Lets head for the ole Magic Shop, Buffy-bot...”

No, Spike...she told him...Taking an unmistakably defensive stance...

A very Buffy defensive stance...

“You are a vampire, Spike...You tried to harm Warren, Andrew, and Jonathan...Who are unquestionably not...”

Yeah, yeah...I heard the commercial...he told her...But you’re coming home with me and Xan...Now...

“Not nerds or geeks...The coolest dudes in Sunnydale...” she finished...

I have to Slay you Spike...she told him...You are an evil vampire and I am the Slayer...

She pulled a stake from the pocket of the jacket she was wearing...

Hmmn...I think I may have a complaint to register with old Warren, Spike thought...

***
Very Little Rascals...Part XIII

Bad Moon Rising

So...Spike thought, carefully circling the bot-indoctrinated Buffy...Warren and his merry band have sicced the bot on me...

She circling in her turn...

Hardly what I would call good customer service he thought...Especially considering I’m his only paying customer...

They gradually carried their circling sweeps over to a field beside Warren’s parents’ home...

Rather interesting situation, this...Spike noted...

No doubt Buffy would call it poetic justice...

***
She rushed in on him...

He dodged at the last minute, hopping back and to the side...

Hmmn...Seems she’s improved since the repair...Speedwise, anyway...

“I don’t want to hurt you, love...” he called... “Couldn’t we settle this peaceably?...”

“Certainly Spike...Please stay where you are and I will Slay you...” she called...Pleasantly...

“Not quite what I had in mind, love...” he noted...As she moved in on him again...

He managed a leap and kicked her back but barely avoided the slashing stake as she hopped back up in turn and tossed him back...

He sprang up just as she leaped and was coming down on him...

And fell back...

She has definitely improved...Willow will be impressed...he noted...

Harris was running up to them...

Oh, Xander, old pal...he called...

Mind telling our girl here about my reformation?...

***
“Buffy-bot?!” Xander called...

She turned to him...Giving Spike a breathing space...

Yes, Xander...My friend who is like a brother to me...she replied...

But with whom I have never had a sexual relationship...she continued...

Great...Tell the world, why don’t you?...he thought...Glaring at Spike...

No doubt your biographical information...

Still...he sighed...Moving towards her...

Spike holding his ground, watching carefully for an opening...

“Don’t hurt Spike...He’s not an evil killer anymore...Right now anyway...”

I am sorry Xander...I must Slay him...He tried to harm Warren, Andrew, and Jonathan...Who are not...

“But we’re friends, right?...” he cut in... “So...Please do this as a favor for me...”

He was getting close now...Spike looking for his chance...If Harris could just keep her occupied a moment longer...

We are friends, Xander...You are like a brother to me...she noted...But...

She grabbed him...

You also tried to harm Warren, Andrew, and Jonathan...who are not nerds or geeks but the coolest dudes in Sunnydale...she told him...

My hero...Spike thought...Rolling his eyes...

***
“Buffy-bot...You don’t want to hurt Harris now, do you?...” Spike asked her...With a very slight air of hope...

Hmmn...Might be an up side to this evening after all, Spike noted

Oh, no...Xander is my friend...Who is like a brother to me...Buffy noted...I would never hurt Xander...

Not all that reassuring, botty...thought Xander as he choked a bit in her grip...

But I must not allow him to harm...she went on...

“Yeah...We get it... ‘the coolest dudes in Sunnydale’...”

She nodded brightly...

“I will secure him so he cannot harm my owners until they are safe and away...Then...I will Slay you, Spike...”

Please wait for me...she asked politely...Beaming happily...As she dragged the struggling Xander to a corner of the field...While keeping an eye on Spike...

Who held his ground...Looking her over as she tied Xander up with strips torn from her jacket...

Odd...She seems to be getting a kick out of all this...Spike noted...Happier with every minute...

But looking at Xander...Who was gasping a bit from her choke hold...She paused...

“You are fine, Xander...” she hesitated, making it a question...

I would never harm you...You are like...A brother to me...

Spike watched carefully...Clearly...She was not quite...

Some safety feature of Willow’s kicking in?...

Don’t hurt the dear little Slayettes?...Or fuse blows?...Hmmn...Maybe a little enhancement is called for...

“Hey, Xander...” he called... “You look pretty bad there, pal...”

“Are you breathing ok?...I think you’re having some trouble there...”

Come on, Harris, you moron....Take your cue...

Buffy looked back at Spike...Then at Xander...

Who finally was getting the idea...And began gasping...Loudly...

“Xan..der?...You are...Not fine?...” she asked him...A note of confused...concern entering her voice...

Spike creeping up carefully as she gave Xander her full attention...

She whirled and rose to face him...And brightened...With stake in hand...

Oops...Back to square one...

Must learn to contain my enthusiasm...Spike thought...Will be the death of me...

Possibly right now...

Xander let out a truly magnificent groan and gasp...Just as Buffy was ready for a new charge on Spike...

She froze in mid-crouch...Xander?...She looked back at him...
Damn, Spike thought...Never thought to have Warren or Willow install an off switch...

Oh, well...He whanged the side of her head and she went down...

“Nice acting, Harris...” Spike noted to his partner...

Harris?...

Oops...Buffy-bot’s stake had torn a nice leetle gash in his throat when she whirled back at her opponent...
***
Very Little Rascals...Part XIV...

Buffy struggled to her feet...Seeing Spike with Xander on the ground...And quite a lot of Xander spilling into the ground...

Ohhh...Head...Head hurts...Xander?!...Oh my God...

“Spike!...” she yelled at him... “What...What have you done to him?!...”

Buffy?...he looked up at her in astonishment...

My God...Warren has outdone himself...he thought...

***
Spike reached a phone and summoned an ambulance while Buffy did what she could for Xander with the strips from her jacket...

Fortunately the gash was not a mortal one...The bleeding had slowed...But the blood loss had been quite severe...

“They’re on their way...” he told her...Approaching cautiously...

Her brief and garbled explanation of what had happened had by no means satisfied him...

Oh...Xander...she sobbed, stroking his head...Looking at Spike...Still a leetle uncertain herself...

He took off his favorite coat and reluctantly offered it to her...

Shock, he noted...Gotta keep the lad warm...

She took it gratefully and covered Xander...

Spike knelt beside them carefully...
“You are Buffy, aren’t you?...” he asked her...

Not the bot...

“Yeah...The one and..ow!...” she rubbed her head... “Only...”

“Care to tell me what happened?...” he asked...

Not that it was impossible to guess in hindsight...

The ‘coolest dudes in Sunnydale’...Indulging in a leetle mind-control...

She rubbed her head again...

“Hurts, love?...” Spike asked...

She nodded...And grinned a little at Xander...Stroking him...

Love hurts...And we oughta know, eh big brother?...She gently checked Xander’s wound...

“What did those bastards do to you, Buffy?...” Spike looked at her...

She shrugged...But thought a mo...

They gave me...she told him...What I thought I wanted...

Nirvana...Trouble-free, bliss...Mindless nothingness...

Or what I thought was..

Heaven?...

She frowned and stumbled a bit...

Hmmn...Looks to me like we’ll be needing space for two on that ambulance...Spike noted to her...

She grinned wanly...

***
From the Sunnydale Hospital ER they called the gang who’d been awaiting Spike and Xander’s return at the shop...

Presenting an edited version of events at Buffy’s insistence...

Great news...Buffy was back...Canadian trip scrubbed...She’d spotted Spike and Xander and headed over to Warren’s with them to inquire into the repaired bot...Unfortunately...

Slight problem in tonight’s activities...They’d ended up at the ER...Ran into some demon trouble...Or rather poor Xander...Poor heroic Xander, Buffy emphasized...did...

Anya had left for the hospital after Buffy mentioned “ER” and “poor Xand...”

Buffy needed a few stitches herself...But would be along with Spike after seeing Xander settled...

Who, she emphasized...Would be fine after a night’s rest...

***
“Well?...” Spike looked at the young neuro intern he’d corralled for Buffy...

How did this girl wind up with four electrodes in her hypothalamus?...the puzzled intern asked...

“It’s...Experimental...” she noted... “For seizure therapy...”

“What?...Who the hell is your neurologist...Dr. Mengele?...” the intern looked at her...

“I’ve gotta call the police in on this one first...” he told them...

Malpractice like this is a crime...Who’s the doc?...

Buffy frowned, looking at Spike...Not what I want just now, please...

Ok...doc...Spike put on a confidential air...It was a cult...My sis here fell into the hands of some wackos who stuck these things in her brain...They’re long gone but we think their agents are still around...And if she’s gonna testify against them...She’s gotta get these things out...But...We’ve got get it done before the crazies learn where she is...And start frying her brain again...

Actually...preety close to the truth, Buffy noted to herself...

Sis?...

Well, why not...She smiled at her heroic ‘brother’ who’d rescued her from the fanatic forces of darkness...

Uh-uh...the intern sighed...

God, the things people do to themselves in this town...the young intern sighed...Bloodletting, bizarre plastic surgery, weird drugs and herbs...Now this...Stimulation of the pleasure center...My God...

“Please help sis out, doc...We’ll be headed for the police department as soon as we know she’s safe...”

Yeah...right, the young doc thought...

Well...They clearly should come out asap...And it should be an easy thing to remove them...

“I still will have to contact the police...”

Naturally...Spike noted...But after the wiring’s out...
***
Hmmn...he watched carefully as the intern removed Warren’s handiwork...

A conscious, only locally anesthetized Buffy caught his intense fascination with the procedure...

***
No...no charges to press...My...brother...Really had nothing to do with this...Buffy informed the two police officers the intern had summoned...

A cult?...One cop sighed...

Well, we have had a few in town...the other noted...

Neither believed the...”brother”...as hero of the piece...However, if the girl wasn’t pressing charges...

“We’ll be by to give full testimony tomorrow...” Buffy promised...

These fiends must be dealt with...she noted to them...

And would be...she thought...Grimly...

***
The intern released them and they stopped by Xander’s room before heading out...

A frantic Anya...Pausing, clearly in the middle of denouncing Buffy’s uncaring, selfish insistence on dragging her poor Xander into the jaws of death to greet them...with him...

He was fine...he told them...Just a few pints lost...And replaced...

You scoop up any while you had the chance?...he eyed Spike...

No time I’m afraid, old pal...Spike noted...And the Slayer watching me...

“It’s me, Xander...” Buffy grinned...

So...What happened after Buffy-bot grabbed me?...he asked them...

A leetle unclear after that...

Buffy eyed Spike...

The bot’s...Out of commission pending repairs...she noted...

“I showed...We put BB out of commission...We’ll catch up to the boys later...” Buffy summarized...

Spike eyed her...

Well, well...My second confidence with Buffy Summers...

Wonder if ole Christ-boy in LA ever shared two secrets with her...
***
A frantic call from Dawn persuaded Buffy it was time to head over to the shop...

“I love you, Xander...My big brother...” she hugged him...

All yours, Anya...she grinned...
***
Say, she turned to Spike as they headed out to his car...What was that with all the staring into
my skull holes?...

Planning to learn all you need for work on your own chip?...she grinned at him...But with just a touch of nervousness...

“Just wanted my chance to see what makes you tick, that’s all...” he smiled back...

The chip and I have grown on each other...I think it’s a keeper...he noted...

She nodded...

Well, we’re members of two clubs now...the dead and the chipped, she noted...

Though my chip was a bit more pleasant in its jolt...

She grinned sardonically...Spike grinning back...

“Slayer...If I didn’t know better...And I don’t...I’d swear you were feeling better than you have in a while...”

Always nice to have a little vacation...she noted...Chance to think things through...

Though next time I plan it myself without my little trio...
***

She paused as they parked outside the shop...Wait a mo, Spike...she told him...Looking at him...

Checking her head carefully in the mirror...For...

For signs of brain surgery, Spike thought...

“Those bastards are dead...If I wind up in a home for lobotomized vamps from the chip frying...” he told her...

Leave the nerd brigade to me, Spike...she insisted...

And...Don’t say a word to the others...They’ve been through enough as it is...

I mean it...Or...Else...she grinned...

No chicken dinner Friday...

He chuckled...And nodded...

“Alright, Ms. Summers...” he grinned and nodded...”You’re the Boss...”

“Damned straight I am...” she told him...

Brother?...she grinned...

Hmmn...I may live to regret that choice of relationship, Spike thought...
***
Very Little Rascals...Part XV...

“Buffy?...Buffy!...” Dawn cried, running to her...

Buffy hugged her...Tentatively, then...Warmly...

Smiling at Willow and Tara...

“Is Giles?...”

Not yet, Willow told her...Delayed in New York...And asked in her turn...

“Is Xander?...”

He’s ok...Lettle problem with the bot...Lucky I’d caught sight of them on their way to Warren’s...

“We should get over to see...” Willow began...

Dawn pulled off and whacked Buffy one...A pretty good one...

True Summers there, Spike noted...

“What the hell were you thinking?!...Why did you leave?!...Buffy?!...” Dawn demanded...

One can only make so much allowance for the aftereffects of resurrection...

Let me catch my breath...Buffy grinned at her...A true Summers right hook there...

“I had to go and think, Dawny...” she told her...

I know...You were very sad and depressed...I got it...Dawn noted...But why the hell...

“And what was with the Canada thing?...”

Canada?...Oh right, Spike mentioned...Buffy thought...What the hell were those morons thinking?...Canada?...

Course...Canada would be a quiet place to get away, I guess...

“Just a leetle craziness on my part, Dawn...Guys...”

She grinned at them...A grin which included Spike...

“So...My twin is back...” she looked at him...

Wasn’t my idea, Slayer...he noted...Playing along...For the benefit of the gang...

“So you left her at Warren’s?...” Dawn asked...

Say did they...Warren and his friends...Send the bot out after you?...When she hurt Xander?...

Maybe we should go and get it now...Those jerks might come back...Send her back out again...

I doubt it, Dawn...Buffy told her...The way those clowns were running they won’t be stopping for the next two states...

But...What about the bot...Dawn asked

She’s secure...We’ll catch up with her sooner or later...Buffy told her...

No problemo...er no big deal...she corrected...Those idiots and their hypnotherapy, she thought...

Be nice to have the bot filling in for me on date night...Once we straight out her program...she told them...Now that Giles has gotten things settled for me...

Date night?...She is feeling better, Dawn noted...

Hmmn...Spike frowned...Date night as in...Competition?...

“As for my Watching One?...” she asked...A bit of shade creeping back into her voice...

He’s due in tomorrow...Dawn noted...

Ok...And tomorrow afternoon we reopen negotiations with my employers...she told them...
And get my Giles back...Permanently...

Looks like the Slayer’s rest cure worked wonders, Spike noted...

“Will?...We still on for Friday?...” she asked...Willow looking confused...

No, that Will...Buffy pointed at Spike, smiling...

Wouldn’t miss it...Spike grinned...

She nodded...Well, we’ll how it goes...

She turned to her sis...

“Dawn, I have to take care of something before I head home...”

“But...I will come home...” Buffy grinned at Dawn...

Hmmn...Dawn frowned...
“Go...Home...” Buffy told her...

Bed...Then tomorrow...We have some chicken recipes to look up...Your idea, remember?...

***
Just one more item of family business before she slipped off to speak with her Fairy Godfathers...

“Willow...Can I speak to you a mo?...Before we head out...”

***
Buffy looked at Willow...

“Well...Will...I guess you’ve gotten it that my feelings about...Coming back...Were a leetle mixed?...”

Ummn...Yeah, well...I guess it’s only natural, Buf...

Buffy cut her off...

“It seemed like Hell coming back, Will...Still feels a little like it...”

But...I think...I know...Now...

Heaven is here too...

She looked at Willow soberly...

“So...This is thanks, Will...The after-I’ve-thought-it-over-and-worked-it-out-Thanks...Not the, Know-you’re-expecting-it, thanks...”

Willow grinned...Buf is back...A little careworn and worse for wear but...

But there is something else Will...she paused...And some of why I was still so down is because...I knew this was coming...

And I couldn’t...Deal with it, you know...she sighed...

“I agree 100 percent with Giles...You are getting out of your depth...And we...The three of us...Have to sit down and decide how you are going to learn to deal...Even if that means giving some of it up...Or, even worse...” Buffy smiled...

A sabbatical with the Council...

Willow nodded...A hair reluctantly...And Buffy caught her reluctance...
So...Willow noted...Giles spoke to you...About our leetle debate...

No...Buffy told her...Dawn overheard you...And told me...

She took her hand...

“Will...I won’t let this thing overwhelm you...And we...All of us...Will help you with it...”

She looked at Willow...

“I love you Will...I’d die again for you in a heartbeat...But...” A fierce look was in her eyes...The Dark Side...

If you ever...Ever...Threaten...My...She hesitated only for a second...

Father...again...

“You’d better be prepared to deal with me...” Buffy looked at her coldly...All Slayer...

Seizing up a potential...Opponent...

Willow eyed her...

The Slayer withdrew and it was again loving Buf looking at her...

“Tell me you’ll fight this, Will...” Buffy told her... “Don’t let this end...Like Faith and me...”

“I’ll try Buffy...But to have all this power...And not use it...For you...And the guys...” Willow hesitated, looking at her feet...

The price is too high Will...And you know that...Buffy looked at her...Sighing...

So much to deal with...So much Hell...And yet...

Heaven is here too...

***

And now...She had a leetle call to make...

On her dear Fairy Godfathers...

Whom she knew were by now awaiting their girl’s return at the lair...

Before they all went to live at the new place...Like...

Snow White and the Three Dweebs...
***
Very Little Rascals...Part XVI...Conclusion...

The Masters of the Sunnydale Universe had indeed returned...And were a tad nervous to find...

No one...Including their girl...Around...

For the moment however, they felt secure in their lair of semi-solitude...

Until...

A knock at the basement ground entrance...

“Hello...Jonathan...I’m back...” Buffy greeted him...Pleasantly...

You little...How many god-damn times did I save your miserable neck?...she thought

Warren?...Buffy-bot’s back... Jonathan called...
***
“Hey...Bot...You took your time...” Warren noted...

“Spike dead?...Or whatever...” he asked...

Kinda of a shame Andrew noted...They made a nice couple...Tragic, you know...

The love-lorn vampire and the Slayer who must kill him...

Warren frowned at him...

So...Buffy..er bot...Is the Blond one kaput?...Jonathan asked...

No...She told him...Pleasantly...

No?...What the?...Warren was a bit miffed with his bot’s performance...

Jonathan however...Had seen something...Less than pleasant...In her eyes...

Ummn...Guys...I...think...

“So...You three have been trying to help me with my emotional problems, I understand...” she looked at them...

Ummn...Warren gulped...

Dudes?...Andrew looked at his mates...

Think she blew a fuse, man...he noted to Warren...

Shut up, moron...Warren whacked him...

Oh..She’s...Like...Escaped our evil influence...Andrew looked at her...

Ummn...Your evil influence, he corrected...Looking at Fearless Leader...

Buffy regarded them coolly...

Aheh...aheh...Warren choked...

Hi...Buffy...Jonathan smiled feebly...

“Hi, Ms. Summers...” Andrew spoke up, brightly... “I’m Andrew...”

You know my brother, I think...

***
It was amazing really...How she managed to hold them...All three of them...At once...By the necks...

Very impressive display...

She set them down...And looked at them as they caught their breaths...

***

“Jonathan...Disappointed in you doesn’t even begin to cut it...”

She turned to Fearless Leader...

“Warren?...So this is what?...The third reason I’ve had to tear your spine out of your back?...”

Buffy looked at him...Calmly...

“Hey?...We were all in on this together...I thought...” Warren told them, looking nervously at the frighteningly calm Buffy...

It was your idea...Jonathan noted...

Yeah...Andrew chimed in...

***
She stared at them...

Why is she...Just staring like that, man...Andrew asked Warren...

It’s freaking me out...Tell’er to stop it...

Warren whacked him...

You know...She told them...I was actually happy here...

They looked at each other...Hmmn...Well...

Andrew grinned...Knew we could make you, he began...She glared...Balefully...

Shut up, Andrew...Warren hissed...

Or thought I was...she continued...

No problems, no Slaying...Nothing to do but...

Hmmn...She frowned at them...Thinking over the past two days...Carefully...

They looked at each other...

Fortunately for you, not that...she told them grimly...

But it had been...Almost...As peaceful and untroubled as...

Death...

And was...She continued...A bit of a revelation to her...

Buffy Summers was not made for calm and untroubled peace...

And she was beginning to wonder if an eternity of that could really be called...Heaven...
Maybe...Someday...With Mom and all her friends...When her true time came...But not now...

For now...

She wanted...And deserved...Life...

And for that revelation...Her determination never to take Faith’s dark road...And the fact that she was...Not permanently affected...

She would consider their fates...Carefully...

Sounds like a reprieve to me...Andrew thought...Perking up...

“Who’s Faith?...” he asked Buffy...

***
Really I should have you turn yourselves in...But I don’t need the hassle right now...she looked at them...

Turn ourselves in?...The boys looked at each other...

What’d we do?...

“Assault, kidnaping, larceny, attempted rape, surgery without a license...shall I go on?...” she paused...

Hey...Andrew noted...We never got as far as...She glared at him...

Oh...Attempted...

Right...

"First, you boys have some things that belong to a certain..." Buffy concentrated and frowned..."Ms. Crestwell?...I believe..."

Emma’s an old friend, Warren claimed...Giggling...

You’re gonna return it...Including her car...

Then...she went to the basement door and brought in a large carton...

And lifted out of it...

The head and torso of the Buffy-bot...

Warren, I have a leetle repair job for you...

“Oh...Well...I can see if I could fit it in...”

Glare...

“No problemo...” he paused... “I take it this one is to be a freebie?...”
She stared at him...

Hmmn....See it’s just that with a paid order you can get a few extras....

She raised an eyebrow...

Ummn...Well...Maybe I can just go ahead and put in those extras...As a...Special service...For a valued customer...

Hmmn...Say...

“How’d Spike make out?...Did you kill him?...” Warren asked pleasantly...

Fix her...By Monday...And no new programming...My friends have already taken care of that...

“And Warren...She’s recording every that goes on in here...So if you so much as stroke her hair in a way I don’t like...”

Hmmn...Right...

***

Hmmn...Buffy looked around...Quite a collection of stuff...

Must be a major plumbing job’s worth at least...

And no doubt acquired through means similar to her own kidnaping...

“I’d guess all this stuff...Is worth about what?...” she smiled at the Masters of the Sunnydale universe...

Your lives?...

Ummn...Bout that Jonathan noted brightly...

Hey...Warren interjected...You’re getting free bot service...Ummn...

A glare from Buffy disbanded the feeble efforts by Warren and Andrew to protest...

“Well...” she noted... “It’s late and we have somewhere to go..”

Go?...The Masters of the Sunnydale Universe looked at each other...

“Guys...There’s no way I’m leaving you here tonight...” she smiled at them

Couldn’t do that to such dear friends...I mean forcing me to hunt you down and kill you...
“Lets go...”

Ummn...Buffy-bot...Andrew began...She glared...

“Ummn...Buffy...Er...Ms. Summers...Ummn...I gotta go home...”

Not tonight, Andrew...

A big bad dude like you can stay away from home one night...she told him...

***
“Time to go, boys...”

The Masters of the Sunnydale Universe had spent the rest of the night as guests of the Slayer...

Bound and gagged in her basement...After sending Ms. Crestwell’s life-savings back...And leaving her car at the police station...

She had had little doubt they’ll try to pull something if she left them till tomorrow...

And with a stern warning to be quiet, had left them, bound, promising to return the next day...

Threatening to return the next day...

Which she did...In the early afternoon...

And took them back to the lair...

Where she greeted Ms. Mears with a friendly smile...

Sorry to have taken Warren out so early that morning...

Just so anxious to be with my feller...she noted...

Warren and the guys are going to help me with a charity project...she told Ms. Mears...

Right, guys...

Ummn...Hmmn-hmm...

After all, charity begins at home...
***
The Masters looked at each other...and the walls...

The lair was bare...


Buffy was facing them...

“Ok...Guys...As I said...You are not facing charges because I don’t want the hassle...And you’re not over...Lifewise...Because I don’t want to get into the human killing business...Not for the likes of you, anyway...But...two last things...”

“One...If you ever harm any human being again...In any way...I will consider you demons...And act appropriately...Or at least leave you to some of my victims ...As sort of a last meal...”

“Two...” she looked at Jonathan...Who gulped and turned away...

“As far as I’m concerned...You are not human...Nothing...Not entitled to any help from me...And that might be something to think about the next time you’re wandering about after dark in this town...”

So...

“Thanks, guys...” Buffy waved...Toting a last box of their stuff...As she went up the stairs...

No...She politely told Warren’s Mom...She couldn’t stay for dinner...

My ride’s here...She indicated the waiting Spike...Sun having fallen...Her trailer now loaded and attached to his car...

Had to get all the stuff Warren had donated over to the charity home...

Such a sweet guy...

“Warren...Your friend is leaving...” his mom called down... “Don’t you want to say goodbye?...”

A perceptive woman, Mrs. Mears was getting the unfortunate feeling that another Warren relationship had been torpedoed...Such a shame...Ms. Summers seemed so nice...

“That’s ok...” Buffy told her... “I really have to run...”

“Thanks Warren...Honey...” she called down...

“I’ll call you...”
***
So...Spike looked at her...Grinning...

Nice haul...

She was looking back at the house...

“You know...You should have killed them...” he told her...

That lot will always be coming back...Through whatever sewer hole they can rat their way through...

Least until something in the sewer eats them...

“They’re not worth my soul, Spike...” she looked at him...

Oh, god...He rolled his eyes and grinned...

“You’ll be saving their little necks by next week, won’t you?...”

It’s your nature...he smiled...

She shrugged...Probably...Jonathan at least has a knack for getting into life-threatening situations...

“I wouldn’t be doing it...If I ever do it again...For them...”

Just for me...To keep me what I want to be...

But....

“Don’t count too much on my sweet nature, Spike...It seems a few of us have been changing our natures recently...” she looked at him...

At least I hope so...she told him...

“Your nature never changes, Buffy...Not even Death...Let alone a therapy session with the Three Stooges...Can ever change it...”

Thank God...he noted...

After all...My redemption...Such as it may ever be...Depends on it...he smiled at her...

She stared at him...

Well...She shook her head and waved a hand...

We’ll see about all that...Later...

Besides...All the boys really need is some strong male guidance...She grinned at him...

A good role model...Somebody who’s walked on the dark side and now is striving for the light...

He looked at her...Incredulously...

She wouldn’t?...Me...And those morons?...

“You’re kidding, right?...”

“They need your guidance, William...” she grinned...

And you want to prove yourself to me, right?...She batted her eyes at him...

I’d say one night a week...Maybe two...

Sort of like...A Big Brother thing...

Oh, god, no...

Hmmn...Did she just call me William?...

He tried a desperate tack...

“You really shouldn’t let them off like this, Buffy...” he noted solemnly...

After all they did to you...he continued...

“I let you off, didn’t I?...” She cut him off...

For now, anyway...she smiled at him...
***

Say...You don’t...Actually think...She might call?...Warren asked the guys...

Jonathan rolled his eyes...Time for our Fearless Leader to be deposed, I’d say...

***
A sly grin stealed over Andrew’s face...

“She didn’t get...Everything...Guys...” pulling the hypno glasses out of his pocket...
And placing them on his nose with a grin....

“So...We commence regeneration cycle?...” Warren noted...

Andrew nodded...Jonathan nodded...A tad reluctantly...

But hey...Look how much they’d done for dear Buf...he thought...

The Masters of the Sunnydale Universe...Will be back...they vowed...

No problemo...
***
Nerds on the Loose (Naked Gun Theme)

Rocky and Bullwinkle Theme

Go Back