Odds and Ends

by Dawn Steele
Copyright 1999

They took care of the glove with a little bit of magic powder, a big green flame that muttered appreciative munching sounds and a general sigh of relief from all the people in the room.

That left "it".

The leftovers.

Buffy looked at the hand, and forearm, and... the small pool of blood that had dripped off the end. "I've never cut anyone's arm off before..." She paused, "well -- a human *being's* anyway."

"It's a lot easier than people think." Angel said softly.

Silence filled the room, and he looked up from his slouching position on the couch to see three pairs of eyes... staring at him with varying degrees of accusation. He made a minimal shrug, and focussed on trying to ignore Xander's and Willow's presences. Starting at Buffy was better. When he looked at her, the universe made sense.

"I remember everything. That's the worst."

More silence.

Faith had taken off a few moments after her almost-official Watcher had found herself cut apart, and immolated straight to Hell. Willow had taken over reading Angel's crib notes and finishing the spell to destroy the glove.

Xander had... alternately paced, and glared at Angel. It didn't escape Angel's attention that he'd made sure to position his own body between Angel's and Willow's. Not that it would have helped if Angel had wanted to...

"This is stupid! I kill monsters everyday!" Buffy gingerly picked up the arm. Nerves of steel came in handy for more than just SATs, but even this was mildly freaky. A couple drops of blood dripped unnoticed onto her shoe. "Of course they normally go *poof* rather nicely, but still!"

"You can leave it here if you want. I'll get rid of it." Angel said. He got up and moved around Xander to pick up the pile of rags that had formerly held the metal glove.

"Yeah, right. Midnight snack anyone?" Xander muttered.

"Xander!" Willow's eyes darted between Buffy, Xander and Angel's still retreating back. "He doesn't deser... I think that... " She stopped

Angel took the arm from Buffy and wrapped it up in the rags. "I can bury this later tonight."

It made a neat, small bundle -- unobtrusive enough to escape notice if he was careful.

"I don't know about that..." Willow had started to nervously wring her hands. "The techniques of modern forensic science are pretty amazing, and you're always hearing about old bodies being found, and people being convicted of murders they committed years ago, and..."

"Willow -- calm down." Buffy rubbed her own hands against her pants. "I don't particularly care if they figure out who she was when you have grandkids dangling on your knee... the rest of her is carbon. No problem."

"What about her family?" Xander said. "What? I can't be thoughtful and nice?" He continued to glare at Angel. "People have *family*, and *friends*. When someone gets killed, they're hurt. It's a bad thing."

"What are we supposed to do? Mail it back to them?" Buffy just wanted this whole scene to be over so she could separate everyone in the room before another homicide happened in front of her.

"We could probably mail it back for less than ten dollars..." Willow said.

Xander snorted. "I can just see customs now. 'There could be contraband illegal video tapes in this package... we must examine it thoroughly.' Or how about an x-ray machine? They're pretty paranoid about bombs in some places."

"Hey! I was joking about the mail!" Buffy muttered. "Maybe."

The bundle was rags was longer and thinner than when it had carried the glove. The bundle had the very characteristic, and familiar to him, odor of a fresh kill. He wanted to get rid of it. Angel leaned against one of the walls and closed his eyes.

Buffy picked the bundle up.

"That's it. She was a Watcher. I'm taking it to Giles, and he can deal with it." She turned and glared at both Willow and Xander. "You're both going home. Right... now." She watched their departing backs before turning back to Angel. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"At least you can stop telling lies."

"Lies can be good." Buffy's voice was soft.

"I don't... I don't want to hurt anyone."

"I know, Angel. That isn't the problem."

With a last lingering glance, Buffy hurried outside. Xander and Willow were standing just outside the door, clearly waiting to make sure she made it outside. Willow was talking rapidly in her normal cover-up fashion, and alternately making sense and... not.

"... could dehydrate it, and then package it up like a mummy piece and send it back to England that way." Willow was babbling. From the half-embarrassed smile on her face, she also knew it.

Buffy took a firmer grip on the bundle. She could feel the arm underneath give way slightly. Vampires, death, and all -- it was good to be back in Sunnydale with her friends.

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