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Bubblegum Girl

by Kat

Author's Notes:
I'm English so you're going to have to deal with the spellings. This is also my first Buffy fic. So, you're going to have to deal with that too. The poem is owned by Sneak Technique - marvel at his talent.

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Bubble gum girl wake from your sleep.
The big bad World is not so sweet.
Boy band romance left for dead.
A faded smile above your bed.

Time moved on and so must you.
Something old, battered and blue.
With your mum's good looks and ya dad's despair...
Pierced naval, nose and vacant stare.

Unstable, disable attention craver.
Bubble gum girl has lost her flavour.
When the world around you lost its head
you turned your back. You stayed in bed.

Excerpt from "Bubble Gum Girl..." $neak Technique


I came for a holiday, or something. I kissed Riley's cheek and then packed my bags. Pants, shirts, tees, socks - the usual, toothpaste, a hair comb...

I told Willow that I wanted to get away for a while. I grabbed my camera, and some books on Mexican geography. I planned out my route. I chewed bubble gum on the greyhound to San Diego. The charter plane was small. I met some guys, one of them said I was pretty, I smiled back.

I am pretty.

I arrived at the hotel. I'm somewhere near Puerto Penasco on the coast. The hotel smells of sweat, and old sandals...some sand and fresh fish. The woman who runs the place smiled at me. She's very maternal looking. She said I have beautiful hair, leaning over her thick wooden desk she asked me why I'm here alone. She has a beautiful accent and wears flowers in her dark hair. I like her, she's warm, she shouts fractured sentences at her husband and has this wonderful shrill way of saying 'Carlos.'

I told them I needed to get away. I went out onto the beach. Beautiful beach, really great waves as well...I wondered why I didn't invite Riley to come with me. We could have sat on the beach...maybe, I don't know, it felt wrong. Riley's got a whole bunch of stuff he has to deal with on his own.

So, I enjoyed the scenery. I ate sandwiches and drank cola from glass bottles. It was good, wholesome, you know? I don't know really, but it sounded right. At least it felt someway self-indulgent, like I was doing this for me.

The sun set on the beach. I took a couple of pictures with my camera and then headed back up the hill to the hotel where I was staying.

I don't know what surprised me more, the fact that everyone was dead, or the fact that I was so shocked.

My initial reaction spun along the lines of: Oh my God, everyone's dead.

Which, routinely enough, was replaced by a Slayer one, number three eight six in the handbook to be exact, : Everyone's dead. Why? Because you're the slayer. Deal with it. Kill vampires. Kill!

I killed the vampires who were left, the others had made it out into the night. They disappeared into little dust mites on the floor. I called the local police and practised my broken Spanish. I was very professional - they wondered if I'd done it, but then I don't look like a mass murderer.

My name is Buffy Summers, Officer. I attend UC Sunnydale. I'm pretty.

I don't know, but somehow I can spin a line that anyone'd buy. Guess I'm gifted, huh? Is it one of my super powers? But the fact is - you can't sum up my life in a few sentences anymore. I'm this whole barrel of subtext fun, because what you see on the outside, is nothing compares to what goes beneath.

I'm going to have to find somewhere else to stay. The next flight out isn't until tomorrow.

The morgue's a real weird place, you know? I mean, first of all it's exclusive. You either have to be dead, or interested in dead people...or just really, really sick and in need of some serious head-case therapy to get in here.

Secondly, it has no smell. I expected formaldehyde or just that dead smell that you get off of vampires. You know, mothballs and cleaning fluid. Anything, just any kind of smell to make it more human, make it more like a place on Earth.

But then I don't really walk on the Earth at all, do I? I just skirt the edges. I'm getting old, too old. I come to these places and sit down, watch the bodies and think...that's going to be me. It's funny - most kids think they're going to live forever. Me? I'm just living before I die.

And so why am I in the mortuary? This is the question that keeps coming back to me. Why am I in the mortuary? Because that nice woman, with the flowers in her hair, is going to rise and I'm going to have to drive a stake through her heart. That's why.

Which is why I wished these places smelled, so I could tell one apart from the other. Because, if I really look, my life tends to be one death and destruction snapshot after the next. You get tired you know, exhausted?

Maybe I'm this way because Willow isn't here. Yeah, that must be it.

She rose. I drove a stake through her heart. I feel dead. I feel just as dead as Conchita with the flowers in her hair and Carlos her husband, wrapped in death-affirming body-bag plastic.

I hate when I get this way.

Empty. I'll phone Giles and he can pick me up - right after I go after the sons of bitches who did this, which is kinda predictable in a 'I am the Chosen One' kind way.

But my life is predictable. It's like last week. Willow had gone out with Tara, probably somewhere nice, probably house hunting. I don't know. I didn't ask. So I was rooting through some of her stuff and I came across this ouiji board. Sure, I think, wouldn't hurt to give it a try. I ask silly questions: is Liz Hurley naturally that thin, what exactly is lint...and then, God knows what possessed me, I asked it how old I would be when I died. It tells me twenty-five. Twenty-five.

And what do you know? Looks like it was dead on. There's some spirit out there with Buffy Summer's number, and he's pissed as hell.

Mexicans have a Day of the Dead too. Ironic, huh? Maybe I belong here.

My life is this whole nasty stream of consequences. I broke into the police house and got some files - some 'suspicious characters' to investigate, some leads. I tell Giles he can pick me up next week. Everything was in Spanish, but I managed; I always do.

I went North, took an over crowded bus. I threw away my bubble gum. Guess the bubble burst.

I got off at this dead end town, real Spaghetti Western deal and walked the long street up towards this suspicious looking warehouse. It's too quiet, but then I realise that I've never liked that cliché.

The sun's beating down on me, Mexico in July - not the wisest of vacation destinations.

I get to the nest, but she's already there. Covered head to toe in glistening sweat. I help her take the last one out. She stands and grins at me, hands on her hips. Seems she's been following the police reports, and worked out where I'd be. Says in that jagged, low tone of hers that she got sick of waiting and just dived on in.

She asks me how I am. I shrug, 'Five by Five,' I smile.

I finally know what that means. It doesn't mean anything. I'm just waiting, waiting for the lucky vamp who gets to take this slayer out. I am nothing. Five by five's nothing too. Faith and I are nothing - just pawns in some bigger game. I take her picture with my Kodak and then I punch her in the stomach.

She grabs my hair and throws me to the ground, kicks me, spits, all the usual stuff.

I push her against the wall, hard. I wanted to kill her, first time I saw her at Angel's I wanted her dead. But I guess I know now that's she's always been dead, like Angel, like me.

But me and Faith, we're living on borrowed time.

I slap her across the face. She smiles at me. 'You can't kill me,' she says.

She'd be right.

'I know the location of another nest,' she tells me.

I nod and then drop her from the wall. She sees the glint in my eye, she knows I mean business. I wonder why the hell she waited for me. I wonder how long she spent in jail last time, or if she busted out and headed South, freedom in Mexico. Part of me, something I haven't wanted to face for a very long time, is glad she's here.

'Take me there,' I say.

We catch another overcrowded bus. I'll never be Faith, and as much as she wants it, she'll never be me. But there's a bond, we're two of a kind and I'd never kill her, as we're living on borrowed time.


This place says "dead". In a way that graveyards, floral wreaths, parsons and sobbing little Sarah clutching her Mom's skirt never do.

In fact, dead isn't wholly accurate. More like never alive. Inanimate. That was it - inanimate.

There are humans here. The check-out clerk, the pump attendant, the mildly sociopathic jerk who sings Madonna at the back of the diner. The waitress, wearing a pink that's never looked less innocent, and lipstick that almost drips off her pursed lips.

And the woman who sits opposite me in this cute little 'booth.'

Dead, all of them. No, I'm forgetting myself, inanimate.

'You want a cigarette?' she asks.

'Sure.' I take one, light a match on the underside of the table and, once lit, take a life affirming breath of the nicotine goodness.

'I didn't think you smoked. Thought it was too 'bad' for a prissy good-girl like you.'

'It is,' I return, darkly. But I gave up trying to be prissy good-girl - maybe I even gave up trying - a long time ago. But then again, I'm not into this self-pity shit.

I look up. 'But I figure everyone starts at some point. Either you grow up to realise that they aren't good for you, or you get so old that you wonder why you never tried. Anyway,' I snort, 'it's not like I'm about to die from lung cancer.'

'No,' she laughs back, a hollow chuckle. 'Maybe I had you planned out all wrong, B.'

'B,' I smile, mimicking her, 'it's been a while.'

She winks at me, 'Sure has,' she grins. 'Fuck girl, where you been?'

Dying. That's where I've been. Not in the literal sense of course, merely metaphorically.

The light in the diner swings slowly, and its shadows adjust, change. It's not enough to brighten the coffin though; the pine walls just shine the light back as it looks for some kind of exit. And if I wasn't already dead, figuratively speaking, then I'd help it out of here.

'Nowhere, everywhere,' I say distantly. 'Fucked Angel yet?'

The grin turns half sober. In the background, someone's coughing up 'Ma's 'hotter than hotter' burger relish that may as well be arsenic for it's reaction to the stomach lining.

'Nope,' she even manages a hurt look. 'I'm picking my life up. I'm moving on. Anyway, I wouldn't want to mess with the broody one's moment of happiness crap.'

'Like you could give him one,' I mumble. This is what she reduces me to - mumbling. Something apathetic takes hold of me again, and I don't particularly care if she's been screwing around with my undead ex. I also don't care if she gave Riley the best fuck of his life. Because it's not what she does that bother's me. And it never has been. Faith's far too gone to the happy lunatic asylum in the sky to ever do any collateral damage, just took me a while to realise, that's all.

I take another deep inhale. I wonder what time Giles'll be here to pick me up. I wonder if she'll laugh at me when I tell her what I realised. What dirty little secret I have sitting under my, how'd she put it, 'prissy good-girl' dungarees?

'Been here long?' I inquire, resting my hand against the table, cigarette held and smoking quietly away, adding to the oppressive heat mix that death always seems to stir up. My gaze fixes outside, old gas pump, old burnt out car, motel that probably smells of sex and disease.

'Long enough. I was wondering when you were gonna show down here. I thought we should have at least one last tango in Paris.' She plucks a cigarette herself and lights it quickly, placing it, prop-like, against her glossy lips.

She's not wearing as much make-up now-a-days, more natural, more like the country hick wild child than that urban gothic shit she was trying to pass off back in Sunnydale. I don't know if it suits her better, but then I'll never want her as much now as I did then.

'You've changed,' she tells me.

'Yeah,' I smile back. 'Chanel Number Five. I borrowed it from Cordy. She sends her utmost venom by the way. In fact, I think she asked me to run your trailer trash ass down. Now, tell me Faith, why'd she want me to do that? Not that I mind the feel of a little road-kill under my goodyear...'

'Damn B, someone got to you.'

'Maybe I got to me.' I say blankly.

Her stare is confused but she lets it fly, she always lets it fly.

She takes a long puff of her cigarette. The waitress, who I'll call Nancy, gives a little disgruntled sigh and moves to the phonebox. Maybe her Prince Charming hasn't called. I can relate.

'Nope,' she says, carefully. 'It ain't him. I'm guessing you spaced him into nice little pieces. It's me, isn't it? I managed to fuck with 'Miss Pretty'.'

And yeah, she's right.

Not that I've ever been in love with her, or even liked her, or even wanted to touch her. But she pisses me off, screws with my head to the extent that taking up smoking and swearing seem like the most sane ideals in my life. And she always wins our little game, our mind-fuck monopoly that we play every time we meet.

And what pisses me off? That it took me this long to realise it.

I take another long puff and then stub the cigarette out on the plastic table. 'You want to order waffles?' I ask.

She shrugs. 'I like to do my killing before my waffling, if it's all the same to you. Killing then waffling. Brings order to the universe.'

'Sure,' I say monosyllabically. Who am I to disagree with her hard fought philosophies?

I stand up, pull down my tee, run a hand through my hair and charge into the kitchen.


I look around, check for el bad guy and then run through to the backyard.


She's right behind me.


It looks 'vampy' enough, old warehouse, usual deal. I used to wonder why they couldn't get themselves anywhere less 1812. Stress on 'used.'


I'm running at the warehouse, kicking up the dust in these huge boots I picked up discount somewhere.

She's looking at me, smiling. She wants me. I love the fact that she wants me.


We're in the barn. Well, to be accurate we kicked our way through the rotten old door and then charged our way in, blasting the first few with sunlight. It's a little known fact that interstate members of the 'Not dead yet' brigade have little to no common sense. They're asleep, and there's no guard.


'Aww,' she says, standing next to me. 'It's no fun when it's this easy.'


I don't think I care whether it's easy or not. A long time ago slaying became a series of automatic responses, easy and natural, so natural I developed a count for them, a rhythm. A ten count, which usually gets lost right around the time I place my little wooden stick of tricks up against a vamp-ugly's chest. But still, it's one of those little panic button things I developed to stop me being sick post-kill. It's funny what fifteen year old 'chosen-one's' will do to keep sane, isn't it?


Ugly number one was simple, upper cut, left block, nice big thwack, comic-book style, in the gut and he's on the floor. He has a horrendous taste in clothes, I'm wondering if he's been dead since the fifties, and mommy used to dress him even then. I put the stake in his back and it's game over.


Number two ran at me like Cordy when there's a sale at Prada. Easy done, once in the chest - watch the yellow's of their eyes as they disappear into the dust. Sometimes, if I get too close it makes me sneeze. Geez, how ironic, on days like these, hot days, inanimate days, the closest they can get to me is a bad bout of asthma.

I often wish I were always this strong.

Number three was dispatched with a flick of my wrist. I resist the urge to pun; it's too dark in here and smells too much like cow shit for me to really want to stay long.

The last one grins at me as I come towards him. Eyes doing that weird yellow thing like he gorged on Florida Orange Juice at the WalMart. Teeth all nice and pointy. Grin like he's going to kill me where I stand.


He comes towards me, all practised elegance. I wonder if this guy's the real deal, some European vamp from some Czechoslovakian ditch come to play with the Californians, come to piss on our parade. But it's back, that part of me that keeps me sane, and flares out like the unfeeling bitch I can be at the worst times.

He's fast, dodges a punch to the head, flips me on my back quicker than anything. 'Slayer,' he breathes down on me.

'Nuh huh,' I grin back, doing the usual 'sarcasm' thing, 'although people are always confusing me for her.'

I go straight in, a kick to his stomach, it connects and he wobbles backwards. Behind me Slayer Numero deux is making slow work of his girlfriend, seems redemption's a bitch where Faith's concerned. She always was a better fighter than me, because she put her heart and blacker than black soul into it. Me? I always used to keep a perspective. Not anymore.

I go after him and he's on the floor, near the sunlight that's streaming in from the entrance. He covers his eyes and moans pathetically a little. As I get near he trips me up, sends me falling and landing badly, the all-too-familiar crack of some bone going in my arm. I jump back to my feet, gymnast style, and set my gaze on his blood-sucking behind. My arm is going to sting for hours. He won't get away.

A high kick from behind sends him back to the floor again, and as I use my arms as a counter balance I plunge my stake into his back.

Poof. No more vampy.


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