Private Investigator
by Alan Hitchen
Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and others.
Information: In this AU things are a little different. You'll soon pick it up.

"Okay, what do you need to know? My name? Buffy Summers. Okay, Elizabeth Anne Summers if you want to get technical. Buffy is my nickname. I was born twenty-five years ago in Serra, an average sort of place situated halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles.

"My childhood? It was equally unremarkable - until the day my flashes began.

"My flashes of inspiration? I've had them ever since puberty. They were pretty frightening at first, both for me and my parents. A brain tumour scare at age twelve is no joke, believe me. The flashes were very vague at first, over the years they've become more specific, but at times they can still be enigmatic to the point of uselessness.

"These insights helped me to help people out. Okay, it was nothing much, finding lost keys and stuff, but it was enough to get me thinking I would become a cop and continue to help others. But as I left college barely qualified to flip burgers, I didn't.

"My next idea was to become a Private Investigator. I fancied myself as another Nancy Drew, solving crimes that the cops couldn't handle, but I started out as a fidelity checker, acting as bait for wayward husbands and boyfriends.

"I met Willow at UCLA, a very bright girl, academically gifted, not like me at all. I never knew quite what she saw in me, but I loved her to bits. I thought we'd be together forever, how wrong can you be?

"Ironic isn't it? I was a fidelity checker, dealing with cheats every day of the week, and yet I never noticed my own girlfriend was playing away from home with someone she met at a Wicca group. No, I didn't notice a thing, not until the day she left me.

"Shortly afterwards I came into a small inheritance which enabled me to set up an agency of my own. Okay, it's just me and an office. I told you it was a small inheritance.

"Do I carry a gun? Yes, a Walther PP. Yes, I know James Bond uses a PPK, but this model is only slightly larger and carries an extra round in the clip. You never know when that extra round could save your life. Besides, eight is my lucky number.

"Have I killed anyone? No, thank goodness, I leave that sort of thing to the real cops.

"That brings me to Detective Lockley. She's my unofficial LAPD liason officer. We got on well professionally, had a lot of laughs together off the job, then her father was killed. It was a tough time for Kate and I lent her my shoulder to cry on more times than I can remember.

"She's always known I'm gay, I invited her to my wedding, so she knew I wasn't available, and she's as straight as an arrow. So quite why her good-natured flirting suddenly became something else I really don't know, but that kiss changed everything for me.

"I told her it was okay, that I wasn't upset or anything, and I thought that was the end of the matter. Kate would insist on apologising to my wife though. And as I hadn't told her about the incident - let sleeping dogs lie is my motto - I got into a huge row and she kicked me out. Just as well my office has a sofa bed.

"Kate tried to smooth things over but only managed to make things even worse. Then she offered to put me up, just to save on hotel bills, nothing more. I foolishly accept, and the next thing I know I'm being served with divorce papers, for adultery, naming Kate. It was only one kiss!

"I tried to remonstrate with my other half, but her response was to serve me with a restraining order. I went to see her Watcher, only to find that he was the one who'd advised her to go legal. He's never liked me cos I took 'his' Slayer away from Sunnydale and out of his control. This was just the opportunity he'd been waiting for - the bastard!

"In desperation I went to see Cordelia, her ex, to see if she could talk some sense into her. Instead I got a two hour monologue on how and why they broke up. As if I didn't know already. Talk about being self-obsessed!

"After that, I stepped out into the road seething with utter frustration, not heeding anything around me. I saw the car for just a split-second before it hit me and it all went black. Then I found myself here. Nice place by the way, but a touch too white for my taste.

"What's that you say? I'm not on the list of admissions. So, it's back to the land of the living then? Great! Hey! Who turned out the lights?"

I opened my eyes and found myself in intensive care. She was there at the bedside. Despite her red-rimmed eyes and dishevelled appearance my wife had never looked more beautiful to me than she did at that moment.

"Hi there, gorgeous," I croaked at her. "Miss me?"

Faith just brought my hand up to her face, kissed it gently, then smiled at me, and I knew that everything was going to be just fine.

...continued in Immortal Art...