gaisce: (z-zeeeeeeeen)
Flourishing Verdantly ([personal profile] gaisce) wrote2010-01-18 03:40 pm

[Buffy/Runaways/YJ] Time to Face the Music

Title: Time to Face the Music
Series: Buffy: the Vampire Slayer/Runaways/Young Justice
Spoilers/warnings: Warped AU of the Buffy-verse where things diverged with the Pride’s kids and Young Justice crashing the dimension. So Buffy didn’t die, Bart ended up being the Key, Anya terrifies Chase after infidelity talks, and Kon is still super “mature.”
Wordcount: 4,023
Summary: There are no small parts, only small actors and people from alternate dimensions who sometimes go off-stage.
Author’s note: For [livejournal.com profile] poor_choices, who bought me in the [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti auction like the cheap hooker I am. Just keep telling yourself it was for a good cause.






“So I think I just swallowed some dead guy,” Kon hacked, looking particularly ill.

Buffy reached over to rub his back in a soothing manner, noticing how his muscles stayed tense even after he stopped gagging. “What happened? I thought after the part where you figured out they exploded into dust you’d hold your breath.”

“I...” Kon looked annoyed and didn’t quite meet her gaze. If it wasn’t for his issue with graveyard soil he’d probably be scuffing his boots. “Um...”

“Sneezed?”

“...started singing...maybe.”

The Slayer blinked. Then she stared. “...you too, huh.”

“Me too—Hey, did you know about this? Were you listening?!”

“No, Kon. It just sort of happened. It was...weird. Especially the dancing part.” She neglected to mention the Fabio-lite victim she saved from the horned demon, figuring Kon had enough issues to deal with his masculine ego without adding the can’t believe it’s not butter guy’s cousin to the mix.

“How come I didn’t hear you over on the other side of the graveyard?”

“Yeah well those mausoleums are designed for quiet and—nevermind.” She twirled the stake in hand and slipped back in her jacket. “Was there anything...”

“Eh, I wasn’t totally on key the whole time,” he admitted, a little too quick, “I need a good lather and shower curtain to get in the groove.”

She smiled. “I think I fell flat in a few places too.”

“You’ve got a nice voice,” he protested, proving he was the best boyfriend/fiancée/husband ever.

“No, I mean literally flat. I was on the next line and one of them knocked me on my back.”

He wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “Sounds rough.”

Buffy decided to ignore the feeling of ominous foreboding. It’s not like it was Slayer sense ominous, just the regular feminine intuition. “How about we turn in early and get you some mouthwash and me a massage?”

The unmistakable look on his face as he picked her up and flew into the air made Buffy feel like if there was something bad, it could at least wait until morning.

---

Morning at the Magic Shop started normally enough. Or normal for them, which involved dealing with Bart skipping his first period after thwarting a bank robbery and asking Giles for an excuse pass when the whole group launched into a song about the possible causes for singing. Including, but not limited to dancing demons, witches, a dimensional hopping Music Meister, bunnies, and a rallying chorus that Buffy felt was probably more sentimentalized than she wanted to sound like but it was hard to retain badass points all things considered.

When they were finished they were still nowhere closer to an answer.

“What about the bunnies theory?”

Buffy sighed. “Bart, just because Anya’s part has electrical guitars doesn’t make her right. In fact I’m pretty sure it being Anya gives her automatic not right points.”

“I just think if it was bunnies, or some kinda demon bunnies I can take ‘em. Even demon dust bunnies!” Bart paused, a troubled look flickering across his features. “...you don’t think it’s because we forgot to clean under out beds?”

“If that’s the only thing causing a musical apocalypse, Xander would’ve started one way earlier.”

“Hey!”

“It’s true, Xander,” Willow said sheepishly. “Remember how we said your basement was probably the only place not connected to the Hellmouth because it was it was too gross for demons to want to invade?”

“At least my laundry didn’t end up attacking people,” Xander muttered. “Twice.”

Kon immediately bristled. “Dude!”

“Bring up hypothetical futures isn’t fair,” Bart added helpfully. “So only one counts.”

Buffy held up a hand, which looked like she was asking for permission to speak but everybody knew in Slayer Business it was just like banging a gavel only without the wooden object. And a stake would have looked silly. “Everyone agrees after the gross smelly boxer rebellion of last year Kon’s hygiene has improved to minty freshness. And I can speak from first hand experience.”

Tara covered Bart’s ears, just in case.

---

“Dude, this forced musical thing is so gay,” Chase said.

“You didn’t mind sticking a magnet on Victor’s head to see if he sang ‘Jimmy Crack Corn’ like Bender on Futurama,” Gert pointed out as she picked up another book and started to read.

“Well yeah, because that’s funny. Sucks it didn’t work.”

“And now he’s going to be waiting for you to start singing a few bars and consider it karma.”

“Yeah, well my leapfrog-ma can run over his karma.”

Gert looked up from the rim of her glasses. It was a judging look.

“It totally could.”

“I hope you one day realize that I have to remember what you say after you’ve long forgotten it.”

“I remember in this episode, alright? It was Xander’s fault for summoning the stupid thing and Buffy made out with Spike.”

“Except we already mentioned that to Giles when he asked us. And they couldn’t find that necklace anywhere, so we’re back to research or waiting to see if it kidnaps somebody to make its queen.” Gert paused. “Did Buffy hit you for mentioning the Spike thing?”

“Yes.” Chase rubbed the back of his head. “It’s not my fault the later seasons sucked.”

“You don’t need to tell her about it. Especially since she’s perfectly capable of watching the DVDs herself.”

“Pfft, watching yourself on TV. That is so vain.”

“I bet you think this song is about you~ don’t you~”

Gert and Chase looked up to see Karolina in the doorway, holding a stack of books. The familiar strain faded with no further lines and the blonde shrugged. “What? Just because everybody has problems with singing doesn’t mean I do.”

“I thought you were more Fleetwood Mac or Indigo Girls,” Gert replied dryly.

“Everybody knows the best karaoke songs aren’t your favorites,” she laughed and set her stack down on the table. “Vic and I are getting the rest of the non-Latin books. Be back.”

“Okay, besides that false alarm. I’m just saying barring some obvious circumstances we shouldn’t act like this is going to go the same way. You know how I feel about thinking the future’s set and wearing awful superhero tights.”

Chase noticed the disquiet look in Gert’s eyes. He wanted to kick himself. Of course she was always on the side of letting people make their own bad decisions. But Gert probably could empathize a lot with Buffy, since she had her own future reckoning telling her how badly she messed up. One that included an awkward relationship with Victor, later Victorius, murdering her so she died in Chase’s arms. It was probably a girl thing, never wanting to be reminded of hypothetical unhealthy relationship choices.

“Baby, you know I didn’t mean it. In fact I—”

Gert looked up expectantly at him.

Well I have this secret, and I feel it’s time that you should know...”

Gert stopped as she heard the thrum of indie rock guitar riffs echo against the bookstacks. Unlike Karolina’s little ditty, this one felt like the real deal. And poor Chase didn’t seem to notice he was currently edging forward in beat with the bass drums.

When I’m in your arms it turns me oooooooooooooon...”

It was dorky. Unbelievably so, and Gert felt a blush creep up on her features as Chase took her hand. At least it wasn’t some awful retro-pastiche number.

Vic walked in just as Chase launched into the first chorus. The other boy’s eyes lit up, actually literally since he had electrical powers, as he rushed out of the room, “Keep him singing! I’m getting the video camera!”

---

“You know I wouldn’t call if we didn’t really need your help here.”

It was funny how even through the grainy pixels of an inter-dimensional transponder Robin could clearly be seen raising an eyebrow from behind his mask. “Superboy, there’s nothing I know about demonic forces that Mr. Giles doesn’t already have in his library.”

“But maybe another set of eyes—!”

“You just want me there so you can see me sing and dance.”

Kon blinked, remembering his jaw was hanging open on video transmission (one probably still monitored by Batman if Robin was on a codename and business-only frequency), he closed his mouth quickly.

“Impulse already informed me,” Robin said. It was annoying how those Bats people could sound so smug even over multiple dimensions. “With demonstrations.”

“That’s not the only reason,” he protested. “These songs get kind of personable, and I’m worried I might slip something off key if you know what I mean.”

“You and Buffy worked through your problems before.”

“The stuff we knew about. What about all the junk I’ve got stuck in my head that I have no clue’s there until I have to rhyme ‘megalomaniac’ with...”

“Panic attack.”

“That’s not really close—”

“You’re having a panic attack,” Robin said gravely. “And if you find this demon and knock it out of commission, but you still don’t feel like everything’s resolved...I’ll show up.”

Kon grinned.

“After you find out what causes the singing and get rid of it. Not before.”

“You’re totally missing out on a show.”

Robin smirked, not one of the confident I-know-more-than-you ones but a genuine one. “I’ll deal. Besides, Imp told me Victor already caught Chase on tape.”

“Dude, no Bat surveillance on this thing. Not cool.”

“I’d suggest you don’t accidentally hit the audio button on this transmitter when you’re doing a grand jete. Robin out.”

Kon glared at the machine in belated indignation. “Hey, these aren’t that kind of tights!”

---

“Willow, Tara, and Nico have been working on location spells all afternoon,” Giles announced during their training practice. “While it seems this, erm, necklace that Chase described was linked to his summons we can’t get a proper bead on it.”

“And the Xander shakedown?”

“He says he never saw an item resembling it and has disavowed any knowledge of the whole thing.”

“Gee. Chase was wrong. What a surprise.”

“But there is a peculiarity,” Giles continued. He gathered up the wooden planks for her to start warm ups. “The did find the summoning key. Just. Temporarily.”

Buffy tried a roundhouse and the board splintered. “Like it takes breaks from unleashing Hellmouth mojo for coffee and donuts?”

“Well they would find a trace of it somehow and then suddenly it wouldn’t be there. It’s almost as if it’s in several places at once. Sort of like—”

“Bart...”

“Yes, very much like—oh,” Giles moaned, understanding dawning. “Oh dear. I thought he would’ve known not to pick anything like that up.”

“He knows ‘Werewolf Stalker’ canon not...” she shook her head. “Whatever. If he has the necklace that means the demon’s going to go after him too.”

“But why would he want to take a necklace? N-not that I’m judging his fashion decisions but—”

The bell of the shop rang and Molly Hayes stepped in the door with backpack in tow. “Hey guys, has anyone seen Bart? He asked to meet me after school but he never showed.”

Buffy sighed. “Right on cue.”

---

Once Kon heard Bart was held captive it was all Buffy could do to keep him on the ground and not ready to tear half of Sunnydale’s warehouses apart looking for him.

“But I should’ve known. I’m the giant fan who memorized episodes. And he already took a lot of Dawn’s parts, I should’ve figured it out and been there to stop them.”

“Bart doesn’t get kidnapped that often,” Buffy pointed out. “Xander and Tara are still in the lead. And Spike. I mean, if you want to count Spike.”

“No,” he looked like he wanted to punch something. Probably not a good idea to mention Spike. “Buffy, I...the thing I didn’t tell you about when I was singing, it made me say things I wouldn’t. Or I didn’t think about until it came out.”

Buffy sucked in a breath. “Like what?”

“Like how I wonder if I’m letting Bart and the rest of the people back in my universe down by living here. Or how I’m—” he made a gesture, one he probably picked up from Bart but it served as a good signifier that he didn’t know what to say that would adequately convey his feelings. “You’re perfect! And even if it’s been three years I feel like I should be straightening a tie and asking your mom or Giles if I can take you out on a date.”

“I felt that way too.”

“About the dating thing?”

“No, not that. But when I was singing it was about how I was going through the motions and...” she shook her head. “Not about our relationship. But the other stuff. My life. And the rest of you in it.”

“How?”

“That you guys make it easy.” The Slayer pulled him down by wrapping her arms around his neck so she could press her forehead to his. “Maybe, sometimes, too easy.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t you get it, Kon? You and Bart...you’re superheroes. You’re like Superman and Flash Jr., and Robin is, yes, trained by the world’s greatest detective when he shows for the monthly check ups. He does that creepy appearing out of nowhere thing that I never got used to with Angel.

“And the others...Molly can lift a truck, Nico’s powers make Willow feel like a straight-B student in high school. I admit I don’t get a lot about Karolina but that’s just because ever since she’s made me eat that vegan platter I don’t think I’ve trusted her around food. Gert has a dinosaur and Chase...okay, Chase doesn’t make me feel insecure at all.”

“But I’m...we just want to help you.”

“I know,” Buffy whispered. “That’s why I feel really ungrateful. Because I know you want to help and you do, you’ve done so much for me. You’ve practically given me a future. One that I want to spend with you. But this is also my destiny, this whole Slayer thing that She does alone…” she hated seeing the confused and hurt look in his eyes so she focused on the emblem of his uniform. “And I know it’s stupid but sometimes I feel like if I don’t just let myself take the bruises and I keep letting you guys protect me, I’m not being who I’m supposed to be.”

“I would never try to usurp your leadership,” Kon said.

“You tried with Robin.”

“That’s because he needed a little rebellion to get his spanky shorts unbunched. When it came down to it, Bart and me, man, even the Pride gang, we know we can take orders from someone because they’re right for it. Not because of their bench press stats.”

It was possibly the most mature thing Kon had said all year. And as much as she loved him for being an immature dork most of the time she really loved this part too.

“What about when the leader is being stupid and insecure about herself?”

“Then, depending on how pretty and how much this hypothetical leader needs validation,” he chuckled and his breath blew her bangs all over the place, “I think I can continue telling her she’s the most amazing person in the world and I’d follow her anywhere until she gets it through her head.”

“Even if it means this amazing person might be in mortal danger?”

She knew it hurt Kon to hear it. She could see how hard it was for him not to immediately wrap her in his arms and carry her away from any hypothetical dangers. But he gulped and shook his head. “I trust you.”

Buffy was glad of the silence when she didn’t respond and kissed him instead. Some things were hard to say with words but suddenly made a lot of sense with other actions.

---

In the end it was Chase who found the minion and reported back the information after his scuffle with evil Pinocchio. Victor objected to this term on behalf of his artificial creation and Chase told him to go stuff a sock down his air duct because he still hadn’t forgiven him for uploading his song routine on YouTube.

“So the demon responsible for all of this has kidnapped Bart and is going to try to use his superspeed to tap dance through to the Hellmouth?” Giles said. “That’s...ah, well it’s certainly unique.”

“Beats marrying the kid.”

Molly shot Chase a glare, whether because he was insulting Bart’s marriageable traits or because he caught her singing a pop version of a love ballad, only Gert really knew.

“So let’s get the posse started.”

“Are you sure you want us to come along, Buffy?” Giles asked. Apparently he had been aware of her reservations on having a full army at her beck and call.

“The magicky types will stay here and hold down the fort. If he’s got Bart under some spell, Kon might be the only one fast enough to catch him.”

Chase shrugged. “I caught the info, so me, Gert and Mol get dibs on coming along.”

“And I want to help hit this demon with a stick. Really badly,” Xander offered supportively. And since Xander was going Anya by default was coming along, if only to complain how everyone else had better musical numbers than theirs.

Giles nodded and grabbed an axe. The majority had spoken.

“You know,” he murmured as the others prepared to storm the warehouse, “I admit I felt the same way. That I was impeding your growth by, well, being here. I had begun to wonder if you didn’t even need a Watcher anymore.”

“Giles...”

“But I think after talking to Kon I realized even if I wasn’t helping you—”

“You are!”

“—that, maybe it was just that I only thought of helping you one way.” The older man paused. “That wasn’t fair of me. To assume you were stalling in your duties and I needed to leave in order to push you to working harder. I’ve seen you do so much just because it was right, and I know the others here aren’t a liability. Just as I hope...I’m not.”

Buffy looked like she might cry but there was a smile on her face. “Who else is going to tell me about Latin past-participles and make it sound like it isn’t the most boring thing on earth?”

Giles, in a rare gesture of public affection, hugged her. “Well then, who indeed.”

---

“Kon! He’s making me listen to bagpipes!” Impulse yelped and struggled to hold his feet still. There was already a sizeable hole in the stage, despite his most valiant efforts to keep himself from dancing. “Bagpipes!”

“The bagpipes are a perfectly valid—”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Giles, can we save the music appreciation until later?”

“Yes, of course,” the Watcher nodded, getting into a fighting stance. “Save the town now, mourn the passing of culture later.”

“Thanks.”

Buffy, even with all her Slayer senses and reflexes, didn’t know if she was supposed to declare a dance off. That seemed more Faith’s gig. And she really didn’t want do the embarrassing torturous route if she could just stick a crossbow in him and call it over. But Chase was adamant that this was the only way to call him out so, as popular culture demanding, Buffy told him “bring it on.”

Life’s a show and we all play our parts
And when the music starts
We open up our hearts…


While Buffy distracted the demon with her song and dance, Kon had managed to swoop in and hold Bart around the arms so his speeding feet pinwheeled safely in the air. And when it looked as if the Slayer was flagging in her song and dance routine (there was a reason most pop songs only lasted for three minutes) the others made sure she didn’t burn out or lose his interest.

And even a demon from a kingdom of perpetual music and dance had to admit that a Slayer and a backup dancer deinonychus was an interesting routine.

When she finished, Buffy was surprised there didn’t seem to be any dark secrets let out. And the most she would have to answer for when this was done is whether or not she watched Flashdance too much as a kid.

“Okay, I think I made my point. Now give me back my kid brother.”

“Nice little number, but you don’t seem to understand, Slayer. He summoned me.”

“I did not!”

“He has my summoning stone in his pocket.”

“Bart, why didn’t you tell us you took the necklace?” Kon muttered.

“It was supposed to be a surprise!” the speedster grimaced, almost kicking Kon in the shin with one of his clogs as he twisted to pull it out. “I was gonna give to Molly for...” he flushed. “I was gonna give it to her.”

“You know better than to touch anything in the magic shop without asking,” Giles said.

“But I did ask! I even paid for it! Remember, I gave my allowance to Anya and she let me have it. She even gave me ‘this isn’t a dangerous artifact!’ slip to go with it!”

Anya paused. “That does sound like something I would do when I’m supposed to be exchanging goods for services.”

Giles glared at his assistant. “Anya!”

“Well I didn’t intend to get him kidnapped for a demon if that’s what you’re implying. I’m out of the vengeance demon business. I actually found his crush endearing if not signs of a boy who’s a little slow in those ways.”

“So the one who summoned this guy was...”

Xander threw up his hands. “See! You always blame it on me but I told you!”

As the rest of the Scoobies tried to discern who exactly should get the blame, the demon Sweets considered the identity of his true queen (because Anya, of course, would read inventory aloud). Then he looked back at Impulse who was continuing to dance even as Superboy kept him carefully suspended in mid-air. And despite having a certain hellish pragmatism and a flair for tragedy, he was also a fan of a climatic exit. Nothing said memorable departure like exuant, pursued by a bear.

And Molly, feeling quite irked that Bart’s present for her was spoiled by a giant demonic sing-along, was happy to oblige by throwing a giant crate of UCLA Bruin’s gear right at the zoot suit demon just as he disappeared in a flash of red smoke.

“And stay out you stupid creep!”

Impulse’s feet immediately stopped as soon as he’d vanished. Or at least went back to normal fidgeting levels and he looked up at his teammate sheepishly. “I think I’m tapped out.”

“Good to have you back, buddy.” Kon smiled then gently set him down just in time for Molly to run up to Bart and deliver a giant bear hug. She still had some of the fake bear fur floating on her after all.

“Sorry ‘bout the gift,” Bart murmured into her hair.

“It’s the thought that counts,” Molly said, because she heard Gert say it all the time when Chase did something that was sweet but ended up causing problems. Then she pulled away from the hug and before Bart even noticed (which was saying something for someone with superspeed reflexes) she had kissed him squarely on the mouth.

Giles politely turned his head away, while Willow and Tara silently cooed. Kon floated down to Buffy and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, happy for his friend to get over that stumbling block but also relieved that his relationship came out unscathed.

Buffy, for her part, was making sure Chase didn’t say anything stupid to interrupt the moment.

“You’re okay with this,” Gert asked her boyfriend. It was more of a warning than a question but he didn’t seem to mind as he turned and grinned at her.

“Are you kidding? This ending’s way better than Spike and Buffy making out—ow! Jeez what?!”

Buffy pulled back her arm from where she punched him. “I told you. The beatings will continue until you never mention that again. Ever.”