- FIC: Riders PG-13 (1/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (2/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (3/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (4/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (5/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (6/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (7/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (8/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (9/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (10/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (11/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (12/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (13/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (14/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (15/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (16/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (17/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (18/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (19/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (20/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (21/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (22/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (23/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (24/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (25/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (26/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (27/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (28/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (29/30)
- FIC: Riders PG-13 (30/30)
Chapter 15 Stand By Me
When the night has come
and the land is dark
And the moon is the
only light we’ll see.
No, I won’t be afraid
just as long as you
stand by me.
Stand by Me
The Cantilly and the eggs were dead, that much was malodorously obvious. Willow prodded the demon with the toe of her shoe. “Okay, they made it this far, ‘cause hey, smelly dead demon and demon spawn right here.”
She turned to Giles. He was thinking, wearing his frowny face. That particular expression always made Willow nervous.
“Oh, guys, l-l-l-look over here. I found something.”
Willow moved away from the pile of cracked eggs. “What is it Tara? Is it something about Buffy and Spike?”
“Y-y-yes, I think so.” She held up a cross on a thin chain. “Isn’t this Buffy’s? It was sitting on top of this rock, along with this ring.”
Willow took a closer look. The ring lying on Tara’s palm definitely matched one of the myriad of rings the vampire always wore but there was something else about the rock, something odd. “Giles come over here and look at this.”
Davernish was such a common demon language it took Giles only a few minutes to translate the rock. The trio now knew what had happened to Buffy and Spike. The Slayer and the vampire had chosen for whatever reason to use the portal incantation. When Giles discovered the drawing on the cave wall, they also understood a possible reason, somehow the fates had intervened and the Slayer was already on the trail of the four horsemen.
The trio knew they definitely had to travel through the portal, because the Slayer was still not aware of the entire situation. She would need the details they could provide and any other assistance they could render.
It was already so late they decided to sleep at the old market, gather up more supplies and travel through the portal first thing in the morning. Once they arrived in the other dimension, they would do another locater spell.
Giles pocketed the errant jewelry and the three headed slowly back to the entrance of the cave.
Buffy and Spike awoke at the same time. They were spooned together and neither wanted to move. Reluctantly, they pulled apart.
Buffy sat up first; she finally felt completely refreshed and healed. Spike was lying on his side, gazing up at her. His voice gruff with sleep, he searched her face and asked, “How do you feel, luv?”
She graced him with a slow smile. “Good.” She cast her eyes down shyly. “I slept better than I have for awhile.”
Spike matched her smile and responded tenderly. “Then we’ll just have to make it a habit.” He sat up and turned serious. “Now that we’re both rested, I think we should have our talk, before we get called for dinner. Tell me about your dream.”
Buffy took a deep breath, “It happened at night in the desert…”
By the time Buffy completed her story, Spike was deeply concerned. Not only had this dark rider been able to somehow tune into the Slayer’s location, but in her dream, he had managed to make her drop her sword just before their battle. Spike knew he could never let her face the demon alone; she would need him as backup. Spike was spoiling for a fight and he really wanted the wanker.
“I’ve sussed that he must be some sorta sorcerer, with thrall power.” He turned worried blue eyes to her. “We’ll need to fight him together, Slayer. I don’t like the way he played you. You’re gonna need backup.”
Buffy leaned against him. They were both sitting in the bed, their backs against the headboard. She clasped one of her warm hands together with his cool one. “That’s what I’m thinking, too. I figured you for the wild card spot in that whole card/dream extravaganza.”
“Yeah, I like that. I’ll be the wild card at your side.” He turned slightly so he could see her better. “Speaking of being at your side, I meant what I said earlier. It’s going to be up to you to say the word on our relationship. I’ve wanted this for a long time and I’ll play this any way you want. I just want the chance to show you how we can be together.”
Buffy smiled at him softly. “I understand how you feel and I’m starting to feel the same way. I just need some time to make sure we get off on the right foot with everyone else.” She grimaced. “Especially Giles, he’s not going to be too keen on my having another vampire boyfriend. It’s gonna take telling him just at the right moment.”
“Harris won’t like it either.”
“I’m not that worried about Xander. After all, he’s dating an ex vengeance demon, so he has no right to say anything to me.”
Spike ventured, “Your mum likes me, and so does the Bit.”
Buffy leaned over and kissed him lightly on the cheek. “Yeah, well we Summers women have good taste.” She placed her hand lightly on his arm.
Spike saw the same hungry expression in her eyes that he knew was mirrored in his own. Suddenly he just couldn’t stand it any longer, reached over and pulled her close. Buffy reached up and placed her hands on his shoulders. Spike leaned in and kissed her long and hard.
Buffy responded to his kiss eagerly. Oh God, he’s such a great kisser. She realized that she was going to have to tell Giles soon. It was going to be blatantly obvious that there was something going on between them.
They both pulled back; Buffy for a much needed breath and Spike to regain his composure just as they heard a light knock on the door.
Kale called through the closed door. “Celeste says dinner is ready.”
Verda pushed her chair back and sighed. “I wish I ate like that everyday, Celeste. The pork roast was wonderful.”
“You know you’re welcome any time, Verda, I don’t get to see my sister-in-law nearly enough, but you should be thanking Spike for the roast, he butchered the sow.”
“I’d love to come out more often but you all live so far out and you know that Sunday is the only day the saloon is closed.” Verda smiled at the vampire and dipped her head.
Spike smiled in return. “You work in town at a saloon?”
Verda laughed. “I work at the only saloon.”
Celeste explained. “Verda sings on the stage and she has a very good voice.” She smiled at the other woman proudly. “Everyone calls her the Queen of the Diamond Saloon.”
Buffy, eating quietly with her head down suddenly perked up.
“I sing when Mr. McGee lets me. Lately I’ve mostly done waitress work; we’ve had so many miners in that I can’t leave the floor.”
Spike and Buffy exchanged a glance. He had caught the reference, too. Spike continued the conversation. “So, Mr. McGee’s your boss, pet?
“Nathaniel McGee is everybody’s boss. He owns the saloon and hotel, the diamond mine and the bank, damn near everything worth having in Sunset. He must have brought a lot of money with him when he emigrated here from England.”
She cut her eyes at Defoe. “I heard that McGee’s men have found that place he’s been so interested in. It sounds like they’ll be to it by the end of the week, maybe sooner. He’s hiring more men to dig.”
Spike and Buffy exchanged another quick look.
“What’s in there that McGee wants so badly? Has he found a vein of huge diamonds or something?” Buffy tried not to appear too interested and reached for salt.
Celeste snorted. “That mine is just McGee’s folly, a big ol’ money pit. I don’t think he’s ever gotten anything out of there. My husband always said there’s nothing there to mine and he would have known, he was their surveyor. Isn’t that true Defoe?”
“There’s never been diamonds mined here, nor silver or copper either. When I was foreman we never found anything, in fact there was talk of closing the mine, especially after the explosion last fall, but for some reason, now McGee has suddenly made the mine a top priority again. No one understands it.”
“Sunset sounds like such a nice town. Do you have much crime here? I assume you have a sheriff?”
Defoe nodded. “Crime’s way down since Grip showed up. He came to town about six months ago and he and McGee quickly became fast friends. They get on like a house on fire. McGee appointed him sheriff a couple months ago, after old Bill Tarry retired.
I heard he spends all his free time at the mine though. Maybe he’s planning on changing careers. It would be better for Sunset, no one likes him; he’s got a real nasty disposition. Him and that mean horse he rides belong together.”
Kale piped up. “He’s scary. One time I was fishing at the river and he rode up. He let that horse Satan drink from the river and when he left, some trout floated to the top.” He stared around the table. “They was all dead. I swear him and that horse killed those fish.”
“I agree with Kale, I’ve been around Grip a lot at the saloon and he is definitely the strangest and meanest man I’ve ever met. He scares me, too. When he stares at you, you’d swear he was looking right through you and sometimes he’ll know things that he really couldn’t, so lots of people say he has the sight.”
“Most of us thought McGee would give Teague the Sheriff job. After all, he’d been here longer, but instead McGee put Teague in charge of the mine. He’s the one pushing the foreman to excavate faster. I just hope they don’t get careless and cause another cave in.”
Buffy almost dropped her fork. “Has this Teague worked for Mr. McGee very long?”
“I think he’s been around for at least three or four years although it feels like less time, because he’s gone a lot. He takes long trips out of town for McGee and brings back things for him. You’ve seen him come back with various things haven’t you Verda?”
“Sometimes it’s really old books. I saw Teague give some to him that last time he went away.” She snickered. “I can’t for the life of me understand why, I’ve never seen McGee ever read anything.”
The conversation moved on to fishing and Buffy zoned out again but her head was still spinning. This was a lot of information all at once and she needed to think about everything that had been revealed. She bit into her slice of bread again and chewed thoughtfully.
Spike watched the play of emotions across her face. Finally he put down his fork and pushed back the wooden dining chair. “Buffy, you look tired again; I think I should help you back to our room. Would you excuse us?”
Celeste smiled at the couple. “Of course.”
Spike closed the bedroom door softly and turned to the blonde already moving to sit cross legged on the bed. “It’s too much of a coincidence; pet. Teague kept the Cantilly in the cave; he must have used the portal to go back and forth a lot.”
Buffy patted the quilt next to her. Spike sat down, reached over and slipped his hand into hers.
She smiled and tightened the clasp. “Yeah, I think he did, too. Now I’m starting to think it was probably on McGee’s orders. We’ve got to find a way to get closer to McGee without Teague seeing us. I think we’ve taken up enough of these nice people’s hospitality, don’t you? It’s time we met the rest of the town’s residents.”
Spike voice rumbled. “Yeah, pet, we could rent a nice room with a big bed at that hotel.” He ran a finger slowly down her arm and goose bumps erupted. “After all, we’ve been ‘married’ for a couple of days now and I really like sleeping next to you.”
Buffy turned into his embrace as Spike pulled her close and kissed her. When she pulled away for a needed breath, she was staring into blue eyes turned black with desire. Buffy gripped his arms tightly and took a deep breath.
Spike felt his control waning and forced himself to move away from her. He had promised to wait until Buffy was ready and he would bloody well do it, even though her scent and heat were making him nearly insane with desire. His demon was demanding her but Spike absolutely refused to allow his infamous impatience to mess things up. He forced his demon under control, abruptly stood and raked a hand through his hair. He walked over to the chair under the window and started searching through his duster.
Buffy watched the vampire as he stared impassively out the window, his cigarette still unlit in his hand. When Spike kissed her, she could feel all of her resolve disappear. Even though it had been her idea to wait, Buffy was already starting to question her own reasoning. She knew that her feelings ran deeper than she’d first wanted to admit.
She was the Slayer with an expiration date looming over her head, what was she waiting for anyway? The more Buffy thought about it, the more she realized that it didn’t matter how her Watcher and friends took the change in her and Spike’s relationship. She wanted Spike in her life.
The vampire had lit his cigarette. Blowing the smoke out the open window, he turned. “Yeah luv?”
“The hotel room sounds like a wonderful idea.”
Surprise crossed his face. He threw the cigarette out the window and was at her side in two strides. Gathering her in his arms, he murmured. “Are you sure Buffy? I meant what I said; I will wait as long as you need.”
“Us together? Yeah, I’m definitely sure.”
She moved to stand up. “But right now, how about a moonlit stroll out in the desert? Defoe mentioned that even the mine is closed on Sunday and I want to get a look at it.”
“Always up for a spot of breakin’ and enterin’, luv.” He dug through the backpack and pulled out two knives. “The quicker we do our little recon, the faster we can pack and head into town.” He held up the knives and quirked an eyebrow. Buffy pointed to the one with the long thin blade.
Spike handed over her choice and slid the thicker knife into his boot. “Let’s go be heroes.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/187883.html