FIC: Riders PG-13 (10/30)

This entry is part 10 of 30 in the series Riders
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Chapter 10   Don’t Let Me Down

If I had a love that was so true

Then I wouldn’t have to make do

with the half a love that I found

that is tearin’ me down to the ground.

Don’t let me down.

-Bad Company

Don’t Let Me Down

 

Rupert Giles was not a man who rattled easily. It was this trait, along with his strength of character that helped to make him a good Watcher. But a Watcher needs someone to watch, and this Watcher’s Slayer was long overdue. Rupert was fast passing concerned and was quickly on his way to rattled.

No one had heard from Buffy since early that morning when she had undertaken the mission to kill the Cantilly. It was not like her to forget to check in with him, especially when she’d been told it was extremely important to return home.

The thing that added to his worries was the oddity of Spike’s cell phone. Every time he tried to call, he heard a message saying that the phone was out of area. Giles knew the network was spotty in portions of the desert, but he had been able to reach them prior to their entering the cave. Therefore, he deduced something had happened to his Slayer and the vampire inside the cave. Continuing to pace within the confines of his small apartment, he made the decision to drive to Nevada himself. He was making provision for the drive when his doorbell rang.

Willow and Tara stood on his front step. Willow walked past Giles and entered the living room. “We couldn’t stay home; we’re both too worried about Buffy.” Tara gave him a slightly embarrassed but determined smile and followed her girlfriend through the door.

Willow turned around to Giles. “I want to do another locator spell, this time specifically on Buffy and Spike. She held up a pair of Buffy’s earrings. “She had these on yesterday, so I asked Mrs. Summers if I could borrow them. By the way, I told her Buffy was on another slayer related vision quest in the desert. I didn’t want her and Dawnie to worry.”

Tara held up a black tee shirt. “We w-w-went by Spike’s crypt and borrowed this shirt from his dirty l-l- laundry pile. It was on top, s-s-so he probably wore it recently.”

Willow grinned. “We even have a plan B.” She held up a ring of keys. “These are Xander’s spare set for the truck.”

“That’s an excellent idea, girls. I’ll help you set up.”

*****

Defoe heard Kale before he saw him. Standing in the barn, he was feeding the roan mare more hay. She’d dropped her foal four weeks ago and was still off her feed. He wanted to make sure they wouldn’t lose her. She was too expensive to replace and was the only horse Celeste felt secure enough to ride alone. Who could that boy be chattering to?

 

Wiping his hands on his jeans, he walked cautiously out of the barn to see Kale leading a pale man with strange blonde hair toward the house. He was carrying a woman and a heavy knapsack in his arms as easily as Defoe carried a basket of turnips. Is that the handle of a sword sticking out of his pack? Although the pale man was dressed a bit oddly, it was the woman who appeared totally out of place. She wasn’t even wearing enough clothing to be seemly. He called out sharply. “Kale, who you got there?”

The strange man wheeled around instantly. He sure was light on his feet. “My name’s Spike.” He nodded down at the woman. “This is Buffy.”

When he walked up to the couple, Defoe could smell the sick sweat emanating from the young woman and realized she was extremely ill. Unconscious, she was also very pale with two spots of bright color adorning her cheeks.

Kale spoke up. “I met Mr. Spike and Ms. Buffy at the river. He was trying to cool her down with the water.”

He looked anxiously at Defoe. “She’s been bit by something. I told him you and Celeste would take a look, that maybe we can help her.”

While Kale was explaining, Spike took the opportunity to assess the farmer. The older man was tall and brown haired with the weathered skin of someone who spends most of his time outdoors, but the most remarkable thing about him had to be the jagged scar that ran from his forehead right through his sightless left eye and down to his cheek. His good eye, a muddy brown color, was filled with suspicion.

“Well, we’ll see about that.” Defoe pointed at Buffy’s shorts and tee shirt. “What happened to her clothes? She ain’t exactly dressed decent. Is she some type of floozy? You met her, she got sick and now you’re tryin’ to just leave her here?”

Spike had learned long ago the need to blend in with the locals if you want to mingle with them. People are always suspicious of anyone different than themselves and if he wanted these people to help Buffy, he needed to allay their suspicions right away, so he thought quickly.

 “The thing that bit her tore her clothes and then when the fever started climbing, I removed some of the rest to try and cool her. I didn’t know we’d run into anyone at the river and no, I wouldn’t leave her behind.”

He thought about the social morays of the time period and gave the only socially acceptable answer. He only hoped Buffy wouldn’t have a fit when she woke up and heard it. “She’s my wife.”

He appealed to the suspicious farmer. “Will you help her?’

Before Defoe could answer, the door to the house burst open as a woman rushed out. Her waist length red hair flowed down her back and her vivid green eyes flashed. She held her long dress up with thin delicate hands. She stopped in front of Defoe, stared at the farmer and tilted her head defiantly. He dropped his gaze. She turned to Spike.

“I heard you talking just now. My name is Celeste and of course we’ll try to help your wife. You were smart to head for the river.” She turned to the small boy shifting from one foot to the other. “You did exactly right, Kale, show them to the spare room.”

He obligingly started toward the house, chattering to Spike. “See, I told you it would be okay. Celeste and Defoe will take good care of her.”

Spike shifted Buffy close to his chest and started following the small boy again. He only hoped that would prove to be true. Spike was terribly afraid there wasn’t anything in this crazy Gunsmoke dimension that could overcome poison from the Cantilly and if they actually had something that could help, would it work quickly enough?

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/186435.html

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