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Chapter 16 Hide The Face
In my eyes indisposed
can disguise, no one knows.
Hide the face, lies the snake.
Call my name through the cream
and I’ll hear you scream.
Black Hole Sun
Teague closed and locked the mining office door. A few days ago McGee had forced him to begin working at the mine and he was worried. It seemed that he was being pushed aside, no longer important. He didn’t know what to expect anymore and it was a frightening feeling.
He clicked the padlock back in place on the iron gate. He hated Sundays when he had to ride out here alone to check on the mine. There was never anyone else around, just him and them.
Teague heard a noise and jumped. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. He was starting to get twitchy and that would never do. If McGee thought even for a minute that he was losing it… He shuddered at the thought. Looking around again, he still didn’t see anyone. Shrugging at his case of nerves, he headed for the main walk and his horse.
He walked briskly down the plank walkway and turned toward the palomino tied to the hitching post. He couldn’t wait to get out of here. He reached over to untie his horse and heard the slightest whisper in the darkness. The palomino snorted and moved uneasily. The hair on the back of his neck rose. He turned around and peered down the dark road. When he saw the shape appear, his eyes widened and his mouth opened in a silent plea.
The force from the compound bow drove the arrow into his stomach and lodged there. Teague slumped forward, his arms reaching around himself as if to hold in the life force that was already beginning to escape.
His body crumpled silently to the ground.
The Slayer and the vampire hadn’t felt this free and unrestrained since entering the portal. The nearly full moon afforded plenty of light, the cool night air could be considered pleasant and they were finally doing something together that they both really enjoyed.
“Slayer, I still don’t see why you didn’t just leave the bloody thing behind? Everyone’s asleep, no one would have even noticed.” Spike’s impatience could be heard above the snick of his lighter.
The blonde was standing in the middle of the dark deserted road with her hands on her hips. Exasperated she replied. “What if someone did happen along, huh? How would I explain it then?”
“We could just say you’re a floozy, out to show me a good time.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Yeah, ‘cause that’s so gonna happen.” She reached down and grabbed the hem of her long brown dress. “I hate this one and I think Celeste doesn’t like it either. I’m just gonna hide it over here and pick it back up later.” With that pronouncement she pulled the dress over her head, bunched it up and hid it behind a boulder along the road to the ranch. Underneath she wore red leather pants and a white tank top.
Spike ran his tongue across his teeth and drawled. “Well, I have to admit, I fancy you more in those tight leather pants than that brown tent you were wearin’.” He leered. “There’s just somethin’ about leather. It molds so nicely to your—.”
“Spike!!” Buffy tried to act mad, giggled instead, and reached for his hand. “Come on, the night’s gonna end pretty quick.”
Spike looked her up and down one more time, his gaze lingering on Buffy’s ass. He licked his lips. “That would be a shame, because some things are meant to take all night.”
They had only traveled about a mile when a wooden sign reading the Diamond Mining Company appeared. The arrow pointed to a smaller road adjacent to the one they were on. Buffy wondered what it was about McGee. He named everything after Diamonds. Probably wishful thinking. If he names everything after them, maybe he’ll find some.
Spike stopped abruptly. “Slayer, I smell human blood up ahead.” His demon rose to the forefront. It had been so long since Spike had had warm human blood, his demon screamed to Go and Drink! Spike forced it back down, but the thought crossed his mind briefly that he’d really had to work hard lately to keep his demon in check, ever since they’d arrived in this dimension.
He and Buffy moved ahead cautiously until they saw the figure lying silently beside the hitching post. Buffy reached down but Spike’s hand shot out and held her. “Slayer, wait, he’s still alive, barely. Let me do this, there could be some sort of poison.”
Avoiding the dripping wound, he turned the man over. The stranger’s eyes shot open and he groaned.
“Easy there, mate.” Spike lifted the man’s head as Buffy moved into his line of sight.
Teague stared at the faces above him and tried to focus. He murmured, his papery thin voice barely registering. “Slayer, is it really you? He stared, trying harder to focus on the man holding him. “And the vampire, too?”
Buffy frowned. How could he know who I am? Unless… “You must be Teague.”
Teague nodded and blood bubbled from his mouth. “Yes. I’m sorry that I sent the Cantilly after you, but McGee made me. He’s held me bound to him and forced me to do his bidding back and forth between our dimension and this one.”
He coughed and blood spurted from his wound.
Spike reached for the arrow, but Teague quietly shook his head. “It’s no use, the wound is mortal.” He appealed to Buffy. “Slayer, I owe you a debt. I want you to have my horse and possessions to repay it.” He coughed again and winced. “You must be careful of McGee, though, he’s in league with the rider who shot this arrow.” His head began to loll and his eyes became cloudy.
Buffy leaned close to his mouth to hear his last whispered words. “McGee will soon unearth the crystals’ shards. You must stop him from reassembling the crystal.”
Teague gasped, shuddered and became still. His inert body began to shimmer. Spike and Buffy stepped quickly away from the body as a sudden green flash occurred and Teague’s body vanished. Nothing remained but the wet stain already disappearing into the sand.
Spike wiped his hands on his jeans. “Well, somebody sure knows how to tie up loose ends.” He reached in his duster and pulled out his lighter and cigarettes. “What now, pet?” He lit a cigarette. “Still fancy that mine recon?”
Buffy looked at the mine looming in the background. “Yeah, we better check it out, especially after Teague got all cryptic about crystal thingies.”
“Give us a minute, Slayer.” Spike walked over to the large palomino still standing quietly at the hitching post. He ran his hand down the golden mane and then patted it gently on the head as he murmured. “Easy there, Trigger. Let’s have a look at you.”
He touched the saddlebags slung across the saddle. “Slayer, these are heavy. I think you just got bequeathed a fair amount of ill gotten gains.” He checked the horse over again. “Not to mention a new mode of transportation.”
The couple kept the horse tied up and walked back to the main gate. Hoping they wouldn’t alert anyone to their clandestine visit, they left the padlock and heavy iron chain wrapped around the gate and vaulted over the fence. They kept to the shadows while they walked the properties’ perimeter.
Buffy stopped at the entrance to the mine. “Spike, I don’t think we have enough night left to cover the entire area together.” She pointed to the mine’s entrance tunnel. “You walk down the main tunnel and see if you can see or hear anything unusual and I’ll go check out the office. I’ll meet you by the gate in half an hour.”
Spike nodded and headed into the mine shaft.
Buffy, using a penlight she had taken earlier from their back pack, quietly slipped into the office and started searching the desk. She didn’t believe anything important would come from the search, but Giles always stressed being thorough.
She found several copies of the mine’s topography, color coordinated with the blast sites and tunnels. She pocketed one, walked outside and closed the door. Buffy wondered what was keeping the vampire; she didn’t see him anywhere around the gate. Mentally chastising Spike’s chronic tardiness, she started hiking into the mine.
The blond vampire, golden eyes gleaming in the darkness, deliberately moved into the deeper recesses of the mine. Cautiously skirting the debris left from various excavations, Spike attempted to locate the source of an unusual scent that emanated from deep within the left tunnel. The main tunnel had split into three separate shafts fifty feet from the entrance and there were several signs and a heavy wooden barrier that warned miners not to venture into this particular shaft due to the possibility of a cave in. Spike realized this was the dangerous tunnel Defoe had mentioned. Without the need to breath and little concern for a few fallen rocks, Spike vaulted lightly over the barriers and continued to track the faint scent.
He reached a bend in the tunnel and discovered his forward movement curiously impeded by an iron door. Bolted directly onto the rock face by means of heavy iron rings sunk deeply into the sides of the tunnel, the heavy door completely covered the narrow tunnel. Spike carefully brushed his hand across the smooth door and his fingers found a slight recess midway down the front. Shaking his head at the improbability of the door actually being unlocked, he gave a slight nudge. The door silently swung open. He could detect three faint heartbeats while the odd scent strongly assailed his nose. He silently glided into the room, keeping his back pressed against the wall.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/188097.html