Title: What is Human
Part: 1Disclaimer: I own my lappy and my car. If I owned these characters I would have a much better lappy and car.
Summary: The boys Harry and Ed of ‘Hell House’ asked each other WWBD (What Would Buffy Do?) I decided to find out with this little story. That started out as a one shot and has grown into an actual story—hate it when that happens.
Buffy gazed up at the dilapidated house and shook her head as she pushed open her rental car’s door. Her new boots sank into the mud and she glared down at the ground as if it could comprehend her ire.
She closed the car door with a swing of her hip, wincing as the windowpane rattled. Still trying to think in the positive, she passed a sleek black car that looked vaguely familiar. Buffy inclined her head before shrugging to herself and continuing up the mud filled excuse of a driveway. Glancing up at the house once more, her nose wrinkled in distaste before she stepped onto a porch in dire need of a good sanding and some varnish. With a frown she slid her car keys into one of the many pockets of her leather jacket and made a mental note to stop hanging with Xander while he fixed things.
The front door opened surprisingly quiet as she wondered when in the hell the Watcher’s Council followed up on leads from Andrew’s friends. Especially friends with web sights called Hell Hound’s Lair—even if they grew up in Sunnydale and the Coven said there was a tickle of activity here. Absently she knocked her shoes against the doorframe to remove some of the excess mud before stepping over the threshold and then proceeded to roll her eyes at the pointless gesture as she closed the door.
A finely shaped brow arched at the chicken feet nailed over the entryway into what she guessed was the living room. Walking forward, Buffy paused as she caught faint echoes of movement; maybe Ed and Harry weren’t complete losers. Her head inclined as she heard the faint clicking of a cell phone impersonating a camera. Her eyes widened and she stepped into the room at the sound of a familiar voice.
“Looks like old man Murdoch was a bit of a tagger in his day.” Speaking of losers.
Buffy’s gaze was drawn to Dean as he gazed around at the feeble excuse for a haunted house but her attention flicked to the other male as he spoke. “And after his time too. The reversed cross has been used by Satanists for centuries, but the sigil of sulfur didn’t show up in San Francisco ‘til the sixties.” Huh, he was taller and smarter than Dean. Go figure.
She watched Dean send the other guy a strange look before snarking, “That is exactly why you never get laid.”
Buffy’s lips pulled up halfway into a smirk and she couldn’t help but ask, “Then what’s your excuse?”
Dean Winchester and the tall guy spun toward her and Buffy’s head shook at their slightly raised fists as she stepped into the dank room. Her eyes traveled over the symbols on the wall as Dean relearned how to speak and said her name in surprise.
“That’d be me. Accept no substitute.”
Tall smart guy was flicking his gaze between her and Dean, his head quirked to the side in a way that made Buffy think of a confused puppy. Her once upon a crush stepped forward.
“What the hell are you doin’ here?”
She continued to gaze at the symbols as she answered, “Apparently, wasting my frequent flyer miles. Oh, and hello to you, too.”
Tall smart guy cleared his throat causing Dean to turn toward him and raise a brow, amused as his companion’s head did a tilt in the blonde’s direction. Dean turned back to her and proceeded with introductions that consisted of, “Sammy, Buffy. Buffy, Sammy.”
He then gave her a tight-lipped smile and turned back to the walls. Sam sent him a look of confused annoyance and stepped forward. His smile was far more welcoming as it revealed two very cute dimples and he offered her his hand.
“I go by Sam, actually.”
“Sam, huh?” Buffy took the handshake and her smile widened as realization dawned. Her gaze flicked to Dean, “As in little brother Sammy?”
Dean made a grunting noise that could have been an affirmative or a who the hell knows. Sam sent him a glare before turning back to Buffy, still frowning and answered as he let go of her hand. “Yeah, we’re brothers.”
Her brows fell together as she looked up and up at him, “I thought you hated the family business?”
Sam titled his head at her again. “How did you…”
Dean interrupted them. “Hey Sammy, what ‘bout this one? You ever seen this one before?”
Sam frowned at Dean’s sudden loss in manners, especially with someone who was pretty. Giving Buffy an apologetic smile he moved toward his brother and snapped a quick shot of the symbol of a cross with an upside down scy’. He shook his head even as he voiced his negative response, “No.”
Dean’s jaw tensed as he tilted his head toward her, “Buffy?”
The blonde raised a brow at the challenge in his tone but she swallowed her retort and turned her attention to the symbol. “Nope, can’t say that I have.”
Sam glanced at her curious, “You know ‘bout this stuff?”
She shrugged. “A little.” With Dean’s snort she glared at the back of his head. “Something you wanna share with the class?”
Dean shrugged and turned around to meet her glare head on. “She’s the Slayer, Sam.” He cast her title out of his mouth as if it tasted bad.
Sam’s brows rose and glanced back to her, “I thought that was just a legend.”
Buffy shrugged. “That’s me, legend girl.” She rolled her eyes. “I prefer the term destiny-stricken.”
The younger Winchester’s smile stretched. “That’s amazing! You’re real.”
“Last time I checked.”
Dean blew out a loud sigh and shoved his hands deep into his pockets. “She’s a peach. Lets move on.”
“Lets not.” Buffy stepped forward, green eyes meeting and keeping Dean’s glare. “Since when do you and I have an issue?”
Dean’s brows lowered into an instant frown, “We don’t.”
“Then why the ‘tude, Mr. Begging-For-An-Ass-Kicking?”
“Try gettin’ over yourself, sweetheart.”
Buffy flinched away from the acid in his tone. “Dean…”
Sam’s gave flicked between them, confused by the open hostility in his brother’s face as Dean asked, “Were you ever goin’ to tell me?”
Buffy blinked, baffled. “Tell you what?”
Sam tried to intercede. “Dean, why don’t we…”
Once again he interrupted. “That you’re a demon.”
Buffy stilled, her eyes narrowing. “I am not a demon.” Dammit John. She was so never sharing anything in confidence with the oldest Winchester ever again.
Dean smirked, “Oh, I’m sorry. Part demon.”
Sam’s eyes widened and he flicked his gaze toward the blonde as she shook her head at the stupidity of his brother. “That’s not how it works.”
“Then how’s it work?”
Buffy opened her mouth and then closed it with a snap. She moved past him toward the door behind the guys. “I so don’t need this.”
Her clipped tone made Dean’s eyes narrow and he moved forward grabbing her forearm. “We’re not done here.”
Dean felt the muscles tense beneath his hand and he tightened his grip. Her eyes flicked down to where he held her before they traveled up the offending limb to meet his glare with one of her own.
“If I’m such a demon should you be touching me?”
His hand flexed but he held firm. “Answer my question.”
Sam’s eyes danced between the two and he frowned. He was working his way through understanding the open hostility but there was an undercurrent of something else. He stepped forward and then paused, unsure who exactly to back at the moment.
Buffy watched the clenching and unclenching of Dean’s jaw. “Answer you? You asked a question in all the accusation?”
His lips pulled further downward and Buffy wondered when the hell her teenage crush had turned a glower into an art form. Jerk.
“Were you ever going to tell me?”
She blinked, thrown. That wasn’t the question she had expected. “Truthfully? No.” Shadows chased their way through his gaze as he dropped her arm and gave her his back. It was Buffy’s turn to give chase, “Dean.”
His body tensed when she touched his shoulder, turned him toward her. She sent Sam and apologetic glance before trying to salvage a friendship. Her eyes flicked around the feeble excuse for a haunted house and nearly snorted with the absurdity of their situation. Her life.
Dean steadily avoided eye contact, causing Buffy’s voice to become a low with frustration. “Your reaction right now is exactly why I didn’t give you the sitch.” She dipped her body, invading his space and catching his lowered gaze. “Dean, you hate demons. Hate spirits. You live very much in a black and white world.”
A fierce frown pulled down his brows and Buffy rushed on before he could interrupt. “Do I have demon in me? Yes. Am I ruled by it? No. I’m still the girl you met on her eighteenth birthday and saved from a vamp. Of course, now I can definitely kick your ass.”
He snorted. “You wish.”
Buffy relaxed with the instant retort. “Please, you have Nancy-boy hair and everything.”
He jerked back and then glared at Sam as he laughed. “Shut up.” He turned back to Buffy, “Nancy-boy?”
“Ah, hell.” She flushed and cursed the hours spent with Spike.
All three turned at the faint scratching they heard and Buffy rolled her eye as both Winchesters moved in front of her. Once a man, always a caveman. They stepped ahead moving to either side of a decrepit door. Dean shot her a glare worthy of Willow, motioning her to the side. Cocking a brow, she complied and watched as they pushed their way through the only door leading from the room. Both flinched back as a flashlight was shinned in their faces and Buffy winced at the sounds of the nerdy duo.
“Cut! Just a couple of humans. What are you guys doing here?”
“What the hell are you doin’ here?” Did Dean even know of another way to greet people?
Sam seemed to be having the same thought as he glanced behind them to smirk at Buffy. She rolled her eyes and listened as Ed annoyed Dean. And anything that annoyed Dean took her to a happy place.
“Uh, we belong here. We’re professionals.”
She snorted—she couldn’t help it. Sam coughed to try and cover the sound but Dean turned around and sent her a wink before moving into the room. Buffy winced as Ed’s bespectacled gaze fell on her and a look that was very near to hero worship entered his blue eyes.
Harry stepped forward next to his boyhood pal, brown eyes filled with eagerness as they too landed on the petite blonde. His hands flexed as he worked them nervously over a small handheld device.
“We knew you were suppose to come. Andrew said you’d come, but we never thought that he actually knew you, knew you. You know?”
She blinked and Giles said she was hard to understand. Sam glanced down at her in confusion. “You know them?”
A glare was shot in Sam’s direction for his use of the term know in any form past, present or future. Taking a page from Dean’s book she introduced the pairs. “Dumb and Dumber meet Pinky and the Brain.”
Sam arched a brow and muttered under his breath “Nice,” before smiling at Ed and Harry.
Ed frowned at Buffy before focusing on the less rude member of the other pair. “We’re professional paranormal investigators.” He reached into his pocket and flipped out two business cards offering them to Sam and Buffy.
Sam took the obligatory card and watched as Buffy simply raised her brows and Ed slowly pulled his arm back, her card still nestled within his palm. Dean glanced back at them, shook his head and continued to look through the cabinets along the far wall.
With a shrug Sam glanced down at the card and frowned at the names. “Ed Zeddmore and Harry Spangler. Hell Hound’s Lair dot com, you guys run that website.”
Ed smirked; proud of the recognition even if the info was printed on the card. “Yeah.”
Dean glanced over from his corner of the room, “Oh, yeah. Yeah, we’re huge fans.”
The sarcasm was lost on the pair as Harry gained Buffy’s attention. “Do you wanna see what we’ve uncovered so far in our investigation?”
Ed nodded, “Yeah, leave the amateurs here and we’ll give you the tour.”
Buffy’s lips quirked with anyone calling the Winchesters amateurs but she quelled the urge to laugh and said, “Okay, lead me to the cellar.”
Ed and Harry exchanged a glance and the Ed pushed his glasses closer to his face before stating, “Well, we haven’t actually been there.” Off her look he quickly added, “Yet.”
Harry nodded, “Yet. We were waiting for you.”
Buffy sighed and crossed her arms. “I’m here. Lead away.”
Ed fidgeted with his camera and flicked his gaze to the amused faces of Dean and Sam. “We need to finish up here, first. Ah, if you want we can show you where the cellar is…”
Sam laughed and Dean shook his head catching Buffy’s gaze, “Us, amateurs are gonna head out.” He strolled toward her, ignoring the glares from both nerds and stating, “We need to finish our talk.”
She nodded. “I think I have your new cell number.”
Dean shrugged, “I have yours.” She raised her brows. “Just in case.”
Her lips quirked, “I needed slaying?”
He didn’t smile at her quip. “We’ll talk tonight.”
Ed frowned and said, “Goodbye,” To hurry the pair along.
Sam nodded to them and smiled at Buffy before following Dean out of the house. Buffy turned back to the pair and prayed for patience. “So where’s the root cellar?”
Sam glanced at Dean out of the corner of his eyes as they made their way to the Impala. He waited until they reached the car and their respective doors before asking. “So she’s the Slayer?”
Dean nodded, “Yeah,” as he unlocked the driver’s side and slid behind the wheel.
Sam waited a beat before following his lead. “And you saved her life?”
Dean frowned as he started the car and ran his hands over the wheel before pushing the car into drive and pulling away from Mordechai’s crib. “Yeah.”
Sam rolled his eyes, “Wanna tell me how and why I wasn’t let in on your little adventure?”
His shoulder’s dropped and Dean let the Impala crawl onto the main road to head back toward town. “Happened right before you…left.” Sam winced but Dean was already pushing on. “You had finals that you couldn’t miss and so Dad and I followed up a lead on demon or spirit that caused whole towns to turn into nut jobs. Made’em hurt or kill their kids. Accusing’em of witchcraft. Think Salem with less laughs.”
Sam nodded, vaguely remembering them leaving but his brows rose with the demon’s ability to create such chaos. “Okay, that’s new.”
“Not really.” He shook his head and steered the conversation as easily as his baby. “Dad was following up a lead with some librarian. I was checking out the town. Heard a girl screamin’ for help and found Buffy running from a vamp.”
“Vampires? I though they weren’t real.”
Dean laughed, “Just like you thought Slayer’s weren’t real.”
He glared at the side of his brother’s head. “Exactly. If Buffy’s the Slayer, shouldn’t she have been…well, slaying?”
Dean nodded. “Yeah, she should have but her employers had this wicked little test for Slayers that hit eighteen. Take away their strength and speed and make’em face the nastiest demon or vamp they can find.”
Sam winced, “That’s barbaric.”
“To say Dad was not pleased is an understatement.”
Sam frowned at the thought of John Winchester finding out a group of people put some poor girl intentionally in harms way. Especially one that looked as small and helpless as Buffy. “So, what? You helped her and kept in touch?”
Sam shook his head, “Why do I get the feeling there’s more to it than that?”
“’Cause you’re a nosy bastard.”
His lips pulled up to either side and Sam leaned back against the seat. “Did something happen between you and…”
“What?” Dean turned look at him, “No. Why would you even…” He trailed off and shook his head, “No.”
Sam watched him more amused than before. “Really? Never?” At the second shaking of his brother’s head he said. “Huh.”
Dean’s hands gripped the wheel. “What?”
Sam’s smile stretched with growl to Dean’s voice. “Its just…Buffy’s attractive.”
His frown deepened. “Yeah.”
“And you usually…”
“I usually what?”
Sam’s brows rose with waspish interruption. “If I keep finding out that you can have actual feelings towards girls I think my heads gonna implode.”
He laughed. “You have a crush on her.”
Dean glared at the road and slowly unclenched his hands from around the wheel. Rather than deny the accusation he reached over and flick on the radio. He also did his damnedest to ignore the fact that Sam was singing the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song under his breath.
Dean shifted and picked up his Miller taking a swig before placing the bottle back to the water-ringed table. The booth he had chosen sat in the far back of the bar, a low watt bulb hung bare above him as he watched each person that entered. He saw her push open the door and pause, letting her eyes adjust to the dim before flicking them over the crowd.
He raised his arm casually and resisted the urge to get up, walk her over as he would have in the past—hell he’d have done it only a few months before if Dad hadn’t told him the truth. Told him things that had been better off left unsaid. He remembered getting the call from Dawn that she was alive. His instant elation and the rush he had placed on himself to get back to Sunnydale, see her.
She made it to his booth and slid in across from him. She shrugged out of her jacket and laid it on the seat beside her before raising her gaze to his. “Hi.”
“Hey.” He nodded and took another pull from his beer. Trying to fill the small pocket of silence that followed the casual greetings he asked, “How was Mordechai Murdock’s?”
“Other than a waste of time?” She sighed and shifted back. “My spidy sense did get a rumble in the basement. Of course it could have been my stomach. I only ate peanuts during the overseas flight and took the rental straight to house.” She frowned. “Or would it be called a shack?”
Dean raised a brow but was saved from answering as a waitress made it over to them. She directed her gaze at Buffy, “Can I get you something?”
She nodded and moved off to gather more orders and hopefully tips leaving the pair behind. Dean smiled, “Still a teetotaler?”
Buffy arched a brow. “Me and alcohol are officially in the off part of our relationship.”
He opened his mouth but snapped it closed as the waitress dropped off the coke and straw. His gaze trailed her as she moved off after Buffy’s thanks. He turned back to see her watching him patiently.
“You wanted to talk?”
His lips thinned. “How is it that you’re part…” He trailed off and glanced around them. Noting that no one was paying them any attention and wishing he had listened to Sam’s advice and taken her back to their hotel, he continued. “How’s it you’re part demon?”
Buffy nodded and ripped the end of the paper covering her straw and drew out the thin plastic cylinder to place in her drink. “Cliff notes version?”
Her mouth quirked at the side with his instant gratification mindset, “The men that created the linage started by placing the essence of a demon in human girl. When she died the essence moved on to the next and the next. Giving each of us the ability to draw on its power and the memories, experiences—oh and lets not forget cryptic dreams—of the ones that came before us.”
Dean frowned, “Cryptic dreams?”
She shrugged and took a sip of her coke. “Not every Slayer gets them. Their usually about some grave danger that is in need of a thorough ass kicking.”
He nodded, gaze thoughtful at the thought of Buffy being able to help his little brother understand his new abilities. “Can I let Sam in on this info?”
“Sure, but why would you need too?”
Dean took another pull and replaced the Miller with a small thump. “His story to tell but he may have some questions for you.”
She shrugged and nailed him with a pointed glare. “Speaking of Sam, I thought he was off living the normalcy dream at college.”
“Is that a hint of jealously I hear?” Her eyes narrowed further and he chuckled. “Things happened that pulled Sammy back in.”
She frowned, “What things?” Dean shrugged and she sighed, “Let me guess. Not your story to tell?” He smirked. She rolled her eyes. “So why didn’t you just bring him along?”
“Asked’em too. He thought we needed alone time to work through our, and I quote ‘thing’.”
Buffy frowned, “Thing? We have a thing?”
“According to genius boy we do.”
She muttered under her breath, “Not that I’d mind a thing.” Her gaze flew to Dean’s, eye widening. “I didn’t mean a thing, thing. Not with you…not like…” She bit her lip and tried to clarify. “I don’t do things.”
He raised a brow at her and shot back, “Not the way I hear it.”
Her mouth dropped open. “You…you…shut up.”
His other brow rose high to meet its brother. “Nice comeback.”
“You wanted to talk so you could insult me?”
Dean shook his head, “I was just paying you back a compliment.” He mimicked her tone. “Not with you.”
She blinked, having forgotten that in her ramble. “You know what I think about you.”
He frowned and watched her, silent a moment as she took a sip of her coke. “No, I don’t.”
She paused, the straw still in her mouth as her gaze was drawn helplessly to his. She let go of the plastic and placed her drink down. “Dean…”
He raised a hand. “Never mind.”
“Dean, I’ve adored you since the moment I met you.”
He smirked, “Adored?”
Buffy rolled her eyes, “Figure of speech. ‘Sides I had my teenage hormones set on John at the time.”
Dean coughed, “Dad!?”
She shrugged, “As if the two of you didn’t fall in love with my mom when she made you pancakes the following morning.”
A small smile traced his lips. “She was a hell of a woman.” He caught her eye, face sobering. “I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the funeral.”
“If its any consolation I wished I wasn’t there either.” Her gaze dropped and she fiddled with the straw cover. Flattening the paper out on the table, smoothing it.
A hand covered hers, stilled their movement. Her gaze soften as she traced it up over the few bracelets adoring Dean’s wrist and she followed the well muscled line until she met his jaw. Noticing the beginning of his five o’clock shadow and beneath it a faint scar where she knew a pool cue had struck after a bad game of one-upmanship.
Her gaze lingered on the imperfection before moving to meet his. He smiled faintly at her, ignoring the flash of something in his gut. He squelched the curl of attraction, ruthlessly shoved it down but kept his hand covering hers as he asked.
“So dad, huh? You want his new number?” As an after thought he added, “Not that he answers.”
She welcomed the ease of causal ribbing, “When has he ever?”
Dean flashed her a grin, “Good point.”