Title: Life Shifted On A Cosmic Scale
Author: Ragna (afteriwake)
Fandom: CSI: NY/Supernatural/Buffyverse
Disclaimer: None of the characters from any of these shows belong to me.
Author's Notes: Aaaand…Flack’s in for a nasty surprise…
There was a knock at the door the following afternoon. She knew it wasn’t Jessica; the detective had had to postpone getting her book until the next morning. And as far as she knew no one else knew she was back. Her mind thought that the worst it could be was Sam Winchester tracking her down to interrogate her, but then she realized he would have found some other way of getting her rather than simply knocking on her door. She was getting rather tired of people knocking on her door, though.
She went to the door and looked through to the other side before opening it with a sigh. “Yes, Detective?” she asked Danny. She opened the door wide enough to face him but not wide enough to let him in.
“So…I know you’re not a demon,” he said.
“We established this last night, yes,” she said, resisting the urge to roll her eyes at him.
“What I’m trying to say is we could use your help. Buffy and Hammerback agree.”
“And what makes you think I’d be inclined to help?” she said, tilting her head slightly.
“I don’t know. I’m just the messenger,” he said with a shrug. “Hammerback would like to meet with you tonight.”
She was quiet for a few moments. “Where?” she finally said with a resigned sigh.
Her eyes widened slightly. “Why on earth would he want to meet there?”
“He’s the head coroner for the city of New York,” Danny said with a slight grin. “And he’s the only one on shift tonight from seven to eight, so he can talk freely there.”
“So you would like me to be there at seven, I take it?” she said.
“I’ll even pick you up, if you want.”
She started to protest and then stopped. “All right. I shall attend this meeting. But I doubt you’ll want to hear what I have to say in it.”
“As long as you show up, I did my part.” He looked at his watch. “I’ll be back by around six thirty.”
“I’ll be anxiously awaiting you,” she said with a sarcastic tone before slowly closing the door in his face. She leaned back against it and shut her eyes. She had always done things on her own. It was easier that way, and safer too. Less risk for her, mostly, but there was also the well earned sense of knowing that no one would be inclined to use her if she worked alone. She did not want to be used again, not by anyone.
She pushed away from the door and went into her bedroom. When she got there she stripped out of her clothing and went into her bathroom. A long, hot shower might help to clear her mind and keep the crowding thoughts at bay. She was running on caffeine and what almost felt like adrenaline. She had yet to get more than two hours of sleep at a time, and it was wearing on her.
She went into her shower and turned the water on, beginning to relax under the spray. There were things she had to think about, and now was the time to marshal those thoughts together. First, she needed to figure out exactly how to tell Detective Messer and his friends that she wanted nothing to do with this fight. She kept trying to think of how to get it across when her phone began to ring. With a sigh, she turned off her water, grabbed her robe and quickly hurried back into her bedroom. Very few people had her home phone number, and none would call without a good reason.
Caller ID said it was Angell, and she picked up promptly. “This had better be important,” she said.
“It might be. I got confirmation that Dean was brought back from Hell, too. No one knows where he is right now, but a hunter friend of mine met up with him recently, and Bobby was around. So if Bobby is hanging out with him then this means it’s the real deal.”
Bela felt something inside her ease a bit. “So the chances are good that Sam may not be looking for me after all?”
“They’re better, but there is still that chance,” Angell said. “But I figured I’d brighten your day a little.”
“Well, your timing was great. I’ve been asked to meet your coroner for a little chat at the morgue tonight.”
Angell chuckled slightly. “That’s going to be an interesting meeting.”
“Yes, I’m quite looking forward to it.”
There was a pause. “Are you being serious or messing with me?”
Bela smiled slightly. “I was being sarcastic. I’m trying to come up with a more or less polite way to tell them to bugger off.”
“Just tell them you work alone,” she replied.
“Perhaps,” she said. “We’ll see.”
“Anyway, I have to get back to work, but I figured I’d let you know,” Angell said.
“I appreciate it, Jessica. Thank you.”
“No problem. Tell me how all this turned out tomorrow morning, okay?”
“I will,” Bela said before hanging up. She looked around her bedroom and decided not to step back under the shower. There was no point, really; in a blinding flash on insight, she’d finally figured out what to say.
Danny, true to his word, was outside her apartment door at six thirty. The ride to the morgue was punctuated with stilted conversation, mostly on Danny’s end. It was obvious that there was no real chance for conversation because Bela was intent on staying silent, or at least as silent as she could with Danny’s attempts at conversation. By the time they got in the elevator and Danny pushed the button for the basement it was with a sense of relief, she thought to herself.
When the elevator doors opened and he lead her into the sterile room, she was surprised to see that the gentleman there was silver haired and older looking. “You must be Bela,” he said, extending his hand.
“Yes,” she said, shaking it.
“British, I see. No one mentioned that,” he said with an amused grin, looking at Buffy and Danny who had sat down next to her. “I love the accent. Makes me miss Peyton a lot more.”
She looked at him, partly curious who this Peyton was, but mostly wanting this meeting to end as quickly as possible. She let the curiosity win out, though. “Who is Peyton?”
“She’s a coroner that worked here a while ago. Absolutely lovely woman, and very good at her job.” He rubbed his hands together slightly. “But enough about that. I’d like to talk to you about what’s going on.”
“I don’t really feel like entering this war even more than I already have,” she said, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “I’ve retired from being a thief, and I want to enjoy my second chance at life without having to worry that I’ll lose it fighting a demon or a ghost or some other nasty thing that goes bump in the night.”
Hammerback looked at her and then nodded. “Okay then. It was nice to meet you.”
Bela blinked. “That’s it?”
“Well, you don’t want to be involved, and I can’t make you. And besides, Bobby Singer informed me that you weren’t the most trustworthy person on the face of the planet, so…”
“Bobby would know,” she said. “Did my apology get delivered to him?”
“Yes it did,” Hammerback said with a nod. “I can’t tell you whether he believed it or not, though.”
“Most likely he did not, but I can live with that. I just hope he was able to pass it on to Dean, and that this will be the end of it.” She looked at the others. “I think I would like to return home now.”
Danny nodded. “We can do that before patrol.”
“Oh, Bela?” Hammerback added as they all walked towards the exit.
“Yes?” she asked, turning around.
“You may not want to be involved in this, but if you find yourself needing help, please contact me,” he said, moving over towards her and handing her a business card. “My cell phone number is on the back.”
She looked at the card, flipping it over, and then looked back at him. “Even though I don’t want to help you, you’re still willing to help me?” she asked quietly.
“There’s no way you got pulled out of Hell with no strings attached, and I get the feeling that there may be more people or things than Bobby who want to find you. I don’t think it would feel right to leave you defenseless.”
She smiled slightly, grateful for the help even if she wouldn’t show it. “I will keep you in mind if I need assistance,” she said with a nod before turning back and leaving the morgue with Danny and Buffy. Hammerback watched them leave and after a moment went back to the drawers and pulled out the next body to autopsy.
It was about ten minutes later in a car ride of silence that Buffy finally spoke up. “I figured you wouldn’t help. You seem like someone who’s been on their own a while, and you like it that way.”
“I do,” Bela said quietly, nodding.
“Can’t blame you, though. I got pulled out of Heaven a long time ago, and it changed me. I’m sure being in Hell changed you, but not enough to change who you are fundamentally.”
Bela said nothing in reply for a moment, and then spoke up. “What was Heaven like?”
“Peaceful,” she said. “After all the crap I’d gone through in my life, after everything I had lost and being burdened with the amount of people I just couldn’t save, it was the first time I’d ever been truly at peace.”
“How did you come back?”
“My best friends performed a spell over my grave,” she said with a slight shrug. “I was angry for a while after that, but now…now I can understand why they did it, why they needed me back. I’m still not completely over it, though.”
“God pulled me out of Hell,” Bela said. “And he’s stuck me with prophetic dreams.”
“I have them too sometimes,” Buffy said. “They’re a pain in the ass, aren’t they?”
Bela smiled slightly. “Yes, they are.”
“Hey, not to interrupt here, but I think we’re being followed,” Danny said, glancing into his driver’s side mirror.
“Can you lose them?” Buffy asked.
He nodded. “But it means it’s going to take you longer to get back home.”
“As long as you lose whoever’s following us I can stand the delay,” she replied.
Danny started paying complete attention to the driving, and after about ten minutes he relaxed. “I think I lost them.”
“Well, we have bigger problems,” Buffy said, pointing to an alley. “My vampire sense is tingling. There’s at least one in that group of four that went into the alley.”
“Let me pull over, then,” Danny said, taking a moment to find a parking spot near the mouth of the alley. “You can wait here,” he said to Bela as he and Buffy got out.
Bela shook her head and got out. “If you don’t take care of all of them they may decide to come back out and drain me, and I don’t want to die like that.”
“Know how to kill a vampire?” Buffy asked as Bela joined her at the trunk.
“Shoot it with dead man’s blood to incapacitate it and then chop off its head.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow and then handed her a stake. “Shove that into its heart.”
Bela looked at the stake and then looked at the axe that Buffy was pulling out. “That’s a rather nasty looking axe.”
“It’s special,” Buffy said. “Used to be a scythe.” She glanced at Danny, who had a crossbow and bolts, and then shut the trunk. “All right, let’s go.” The three of them entered the alley and managed to catch the vampires unaware. “Hey!” Buffy yelled out.
The four vampires turned and looked at her. Three of them reassembled the vampires that Danny and Buffy had fought before, but it was the fourth one that looked to be in charge, and other than fangs he looked completely human. “Get them!” he shouted.
The three vampires went after the three in the alley, one after each person. Danny fired off a crossbow bolt into the heart of one of them, and Bela managed to stab the one that had gone after her in the heart. Both crumbled into dust. “That’s not supposed to happen,” Bela said, looking over to Danny.
But before Danny could get a word out, someone shouted “What the hell?” from the mouth of the alley. Danny looked and groaned. “Damnit, it’s Flack,” he yelled over to Buffy as he reloaded the crossbow.
Buffy took the time it had taken the startled vampire to turn its attention away from her to shove the handle of the axe through the vampire’s chest. “This is not the time,” she said, advancing on the last vampire. She got up to it and shoved the handle of the axe in. But the vampire looked down at the axe, then looked at Buffy, and then backhanded her away. She landed with a thud on her butt and watched as the vampire pulled the axe out of his chest and advanced on her.
Danny’s eyes widened. “Buffy, why didn’t it turn to ash when you staked it?”
“Never seen this kind before,” Buffy replied, standing up.
“Stake to the heart won’t work, I don’t think,” Bela said, grabbing the crossbow from Danny. “Move out of the way.” Buffy took a few steps back. The vampire looked confused for a moment, then saw Bela had the weapon. Bela opened a vial and poured some of the contents on it. Then she aimed the crossbow and fired a bolt into the vampire as he charged her. He stumbled and then fell down to the ground.
“What did you put on that?” Danny asked curiously as Buffy picked up the scythe.
“Dead man’s blood. It poisons them,” she said with a negligent shrug. “When you told me you hunted vampires, I figured it would be prudent to bring some along. I suggest you cut off its head.”
Buffy nodded and lifted the axe up before bringing it down and decapitating it. The body dried up as though it was a mummy. “Now what?” she asked Bela.
“Well, I just found out there were two types of vampires tonight, but even this is surprising, finding a third version. I didn’t think any variety of vampires did this. Certainly not the type of vampires I’m familiar with hearing about.” She thought for a moment. “I suggest you burn it.”
“Where?” Danny asked, running a hand through his hair. “Can’t do that in an alley in the city. Someone will call the cops before its done burning.”
“Sid’s the coroner, right? He’ll probably do the autopsy,” Buffy said.
“No guarantee,” Danny said, shaking his head.
“Well, it’s crumbled up into a husk,” Bela said. “I doubt they’ll be able to get an ID,” she said with another shrug. “They’ll most likely blame it on some twisted individuals who get their fun mummifying people.”
“Will someone please explain to me what the fuck is going on here?” Flack said, throwing his hands up in the air. “You just lopped off someone’s head.”
Everyone turned to him, having completely forgotten he was there. “Vampires,” Danny said.
“There’s no such thing as vampires! It’s made up! They don’t exist!” Flack said.
“Detective, really,” Bela said with an exasperated sigh. “You saw three of them turn to ash when they had stakes shoved into their hearts, and just look at this one,” she said, indicating the dead body in front of her. “Do you really think this is some elaborate hoax, that this is a massive joke?”
Flack started to reply, and then his shoulders sagged and he shut his eye. “It’s screwed up, that’s what it is,” he said quietly. “Vampires aren’t real.”
“Welcome to the land of denial,” Bela said.
“You. Shut up,” Flack said as his head snapped up.
She smiled slightly and spread her hands out in front of her. “Someone needs to tell you the cold, hard truth, and apparently your friends won’t do it. I took it upon myself to point out the facts.”
“Well, stop,” he said. He let out a sigh. “I just…this is too much. There’s got to be another explanation for this.”
Bela shook her head. “Sorry, Detective, but there’s not.” She turned to Buffy and handed her the vial of dead man’s blood.” “You may want to ask your coroner friend for more, but if you run into any more tonight, that should help.”
“Thanks, Bela,” she said, taking the vial.
Bela began walking towards the alley entrance. “Well, I believe I shall call it a—“ She stopped as a man came towards them. “Oh, bloody hell,” she muttered.
Buffy stared at the man. “You know him?” she asked Bela, gripping the axe a little tighter.
“Unfortunately, yes,” she said. “What does God want now?” she asked Malachi.
“You need to stay and fight,” he replied.
“No,” Bela said. “I got surprised by four vampires on a jaunt back from the coroner’s office, and right now I would prefer to go home and get some rest.”
Malachi tilted his head slightly. “But you intend to continue to help?”
“Yes,” Bela said with a sigh. “I have knowledge of the second type of vampire that would be remarkably helpful since there’s a similar but different third type of vampire, and since I don’t know if I was the target of this attack, I’d prefer to fight these creatures head on.”
Malachi nodded slowly. “I believe God will approve.”
“Personally, I don’t give a damn if God approves or not,” she said, starting to get angry. “I haven’t had a restful night’s sleep since you dragged me out of Hell because I’m having blasted vision after vision. God has my co-operation, but if I don’t get any real sleep I’m not going to be much use to him.”
“I will…see what I can do,” Malachi said, before turning and walking out of the alley.
“Okay, what the hell was that about?” Danny asked.
“That walking annoyance would be Malachi, the angel that ripped me out of Hell and gave me back my life. Or some semblance of my life, at the very least.”
“Hell?” Flack asked.
“Lucifer’s domain, a place of eternal torment. Yes, the very same Hell mentioned in the Bible. It’s a wonderful place, hope you never have to go there.” Bela said sarcastically before she sighed. “Hell is a terrible place. A few months here is almost an eternity there, and I was there for quite a while in regular time.”
“You were really in Hell? I don’t believe it,” Flack said.
“Frankly, Detective, I don’t care if you believe me or not. I was there, and I was tortured, and I tortured other souls, and I got a shadow of my life back because God decided I was important enough to be brought back,” Bela said, raising her voice. “So now I’m his little pet project, apparently, that he’ll trot out when he has need to. I have an annoying angel all my own who shows up at the most inopportune times and while it’s a nuisance it’s better than being in Hell. So, really, whether you believe me or not doesn’t matter in the slightest.” She turned and headed back towards the entrance of the alley. “You know where to find me, Buffy, if you need me.”
The three of them watched Bela walk off. “Okay, then,” Buffy said, turning to Flack. “What about you?”
“I want to go home and pretend I never saw what I saw,” he said glumly. “Can’t do that, though, can I?”
“Sorry,” Danny said quietly.
Flack sighed. “So she was right,” he said, looking at where Bela had walked away. “Excuse me,” he said, sprinting out of the alley.
“What the hell is he doing?” Danny said, shaking his head and beginning to follow him.
“Hey, hold on a second. I need some help with the body,” Buffy said.
Danny stopped in his tracks and went back. “Guess we’ll have to find out what he’s doing later.”
- NEW FIC: Life Shifted On A Cosmic Scale (3/6)