The last vampire turned to dust and Buffy turned around in time to see a figure in black walk out of a shadow that hadn't been there a moment ago. Buffy dove for the stupid grim...whatever, muttering about, "Grim there. Grim castle."
"I beg your pardon?" It was a young woman, maybe Buffy's age, dressed all in black -- mostly sensible, although Buffy immediately fell in love with the buttoned boots. And the lace collar emphasized the black streak in her white hair way too well to be an accident.
Buffy waved a hand. "Long story. So, what're you doing here, not screaming and not biting? Not a vampire, I'm thinking. Dru would so mug you for those boots."
"I'm definitely not a vampire. And I'll be taking that book, thank you." It was a schoolteacher's voice, an 'I'm in charge here' voice.
It made Buffy wish she'd brought some chewing gum along; she suddenly wanted to blow bubbles. Or maybe take up smoking. "Nope, sorry, no can do. And I've got to finish patrolling before the chemistry lab blows up again."
"With or without assistance?" was the very dry reply. "Let me be clear: GIVE ME THE BOOK."
"Huh. Neat voice. Does it come with an instruction manual, or just the monthly payments of 19.95?" Buffy watched her hair stream out of its neat bun into an irritated, wind-blown look. "Okay, now that is kinda cool, but really? Not so much with the following orders. For years now."
Then the stranger shook her head, and said mildly, "You are difficult, aren't you? All right." She sat down on a rock, flicking the vampire-dust away with an absent wave of her hand, and pulled a gold box out of the air. "Chocolate?"
"After Slayage? Absolutely." Buffy looked at them, sniffed, and her mouth watered. "Oh my God. My hips hate you already." She took one anyway, keeping a firm grip on the grimoire with her other hand. There was chocolate, and violet, and some kind of sinfully good pecan-cream-caramel something. No poison, though. She realized she was purring audibly when the woman next to her managed to stop doing the same. "Okay, that's almost worth this book. Don't tell me where you got those, please."
The black-clad woman put the box away in the same slit in the air. "They don't have a store here. You're safe." She sighed. "You're the Slayer."
"Well. A Slayer. There's a lot of us now."
"Really? That's changed since I was last here. All right, then, Slayer: I'm Death's granddaughter."
Buffy considered that, added in the appearing from shadows, summoning dimension-class chocolate and then only eating one, and the way her bone structure had really stood out under her face when she used the voice. "Huh. Okay. But don't you have a name?"
"I'm Susan Sto Helit, which won't mean anything to you and barely does to me some days. No arguments on the Death part?"
Buffy shook her head. "Nah. Not evil, not entirely good either, and powerful. Plus, you know, you do the skull and scythe thing when you do the voice. But if you're not here for me, and I know I won, and you're not here for them--"
"No, thank you."
"--then what are you here for? I mean, I'm trying to keep idiots from using this book again--"
"--because it raises the dead?" Susan arched an eyebrow and waited.
"Oh, that's the part you care about," Buffy said. "I'm annoyed about that, but it's more the whole 'instructions to unlock the hell dimensions, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars' bit."
Susan smiled. "What if I promised to take it straight to Grandfather's house and destroy it? And before you ask, no, I can't do it here safely, or I would."
Buffy shrugged. "No problemo. If I go with you." She considered. "And you promise to bring me right back, by this time stream."
Susan smiled suddenly. "Does everyone fall for your facade?"
"You'd be amazed." Buffy shrugged. "Come on, let's go do this."
Binky searched so enthusiastically for treats that Susan probably should have gotten him to retrieve the book. Albert took one look at Buffy, retreated to the kitchen... and locked the door.