FIC: Riders PG-13 (23/30)

This entry is part 23 of 30 in the series Riders
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Chapter 23 Go Get Your Knife

Got get your knife, go get your knife

and come in.

Go get your knife, go get your knife

and lay down.

Go get your knife, now kiss me.

-Deftones

-Knife Party

Buffy yawned widely. After all, she was the Slayer; her job was to kill demons, not to read books with boring incomprehensible words written by demons with boring incomprehensible names.

After discovering that the books Teague left behind were now in English, Giles had declared a research party. They needed to find out as much as they could about the Crystal of Namine and the Four Horsemen as quickly as possible.

“Astounding.” Rupert had uttered that same word six times so far. Spike was keeping track. When the Watcher reached ten, Spike was going to throw the heavy ceramic ashtray at him.

Giles started to say something and Spike stood up. “Bloody hell.” Everyone looked up from their books except Buffy who hadn’t actually been reading hers. “I need a cigarette.”

Tara smiled shyly. “Spike, I w-w-wondered if you’d like some blood, too?”

Astonished, Spike asked, “What do you mean, pet?”

“W-W-We didn’t know w-what to expect when we came through the portal, so we brought all sorts of supplies. W-We’ve got several bags of blood in our cooler.”

Willow added, “I’ve even got my mom’s cell phone.”

“That was very thoughtful of you and actually, I could use something. I haven’t eaten since this morning.”

Tara reached in her backpack and tossed Spike the room key. “The c-c-cooler is next to the bed.”

Buffy slammed the book in her lap shut and jumped up. “Wait. I’ll go with you. I need to stretch my legs.”

“Buffy, before you go, I’d like to ask one question.”

“Sure Giles, what is it?”

“Where did you acquire this crystal?”

“Oh, I thought I told you guys. I picked it up in McGee’s office earlier this evening. It was sitting right on the corner of his desk.” She grinned. “I guess he never expected anyone to have the nerve to burgle his office.”

“I was afraid it was something like that.” Giles closed his own book. “The book that I’ve just read was written by the ancient demons that manufactured the crystal and used it extensively.

The core of the crystal has a homing beacon within it. The demons used the crystal for interdimensional travel and the beacon would allow them to find the crystal if it was lost or misplaced within a dimension. They could always locate it and go home so to speak.”

Confused, Buffy replied, “Okay, but we’re not traveling to another dimension right now.”

“Well, since it was sitting in plain site, I would have to assume that the beacon within the crystal is still operational. When McGee returns to his office this morning, he’ll be able to perform a very minimal spell and discover the location of the crystal. He’ll quickly realize that his missing crystal is actually only two floors above his office.”

“There is a spell to disconnect the beacon. It’s in this book, but it’s complicated and takes at least an hour to set up and perform.” Willow held up the book she’d been reading.

“H-h-how long do we have until McGee shows up?”

“No bloody clue. We’ve never seen him. I don’t even know what the wanker looks like. But I’d bet he’ll show up in a couple hours, I’ve heard that he spends most of his time in his office.”

“Willow, if we help you set up, can you do the spell?”

Willow bit her lip. “I’m not sure but I can try. This demon language is hard to pronounce.”

“What do you need?”

Willow quickly flipped through the pages. “Um, it looks like just a few simple ingredients. It’s mostly a lot of verbal stuff. I’ll write down the ingredients and Tara can get them from my backpack, and pick up Spike’s blood, too.”

Once Tara retrieved the ingredients, it only took Willow twenty minutes to set up the spell. When she finished, she set the book down and said, “Okay, I’m going to start the incantation. Once I begin, I won’t be able to stop for the next hour or so.”

Willow picked up both the book and the crystal and moved into the circle she had drawn on the floor. Setting the crystal core on the floor, she began to chant.

Once everyone was assured she was fine, they picked up the books and quietly readied themselves for the move to Giles’ room where they would continue their research.

Tara sat down in the corner chair, having elected to remain with Willow in case of a problem.

Giles softly closed the door into the hall. “Spike, would you mind walking down to the saloon and picking up something for everyone to eat? I believe they’re open twenty four hours a day.”

“Sure.” At least the Watcher hadn’t requested donuts. He gazed at Buffy and his expression softened. “Be back in a tick, luv.” He handed Buffy the books and turned in the other direction toward the stairs.

Buffy watched him until he disappeared around the corner. When she turned back, Giles was watching her. “Spike certainly seems to have changed a great deal in a very short period of time, exceedingly unusual for a vampire.”

Buffy really didn’t want to have this conversation but she knew it couldn’t be avoided.

“Yeah, we’ve both changed a lot, vampire and Slayer. It’s been one of those weeks.”

“Buffy, I don’t appreciate that attitude. Please don’t be flip.” Giles’ mouth set in a line.

“I’m sorry Giles, it’s late and I’m tired.”

She started to move down the hall toward his room and he fell in step beside her. “I’m just surprised at how your relationship has evolved so suddenly.”

“We both think our ‘relationship’ has been evolving for months and neither one of us wanted to see it. When we left on this trip and were forced to rely on each other, we both realized that this is what we want.”

“Buffy, I can’t say that I’m happy about this. I really wanted more for you than another vampire, especially Spike.”

Buffy put her hand on Giles’ arm. “Giles, I’m really, truly happy for the first time in a long time. Spike and I are good together. He really cares about me. Please for my sake, give this a chance.”

She appealed to the older man. “I care about you, too and I don’t want this to drive a wedge between us.”

Giles gave in gracefully. After all, she was an adult and no matter what he thought, she still had the right to choose for herself. “It won’t.” He placed his key in the door lock. “If Spike acts like a git when we return to Sunnydale, I’ll just chain him up in the bathtub again.”

“If he acts like a git, whatever that is, I’ll do it for you.” She smiled at the man she loved like a father.

Still sitting in Buffy’s room, Tara shifted in her seat and looked up at Willow. She had intoned the incantation for almost forty five minutes and was nearly finished. Tara sighed, picked up her book and began to read the next chapter. After a few minutes, she abruptly stopped and stared down at the ancient text. She shivered and reread the passages again.

Motioning to Willow that she would return soon, Tara climbed the stairs two at a time. Why couldn’t they have picked this book up first? At the top of the stairs, she began to run.

“Tara, whatever is the matter?” Giles opened the door to find Tara completely out of breath. Shocked at how agitated the usually calm woman seemed, he opened the door wider and gestured her inside.

Tara held the book up. “We have a s-serious problem.” She looked over at Buffy and Spike. “Didn’t you say that the other three d-d-demons were imprisoned?”

Buffy nodded. “We only have to deal with the one big bad right now. I can take out the other three at any time.”

Tara took a deep breath and composed herself. She needed to be able to speak without stuttering, it was extremely important to get this out clearly. “This is the companion book to Willow’s. It explains about the remainder of the crystal’s powers and how to use them.”

She took another deep calming breath. “This chapter is on imprisoning enemies, which is what happened to the demons in the mine. The crystal was definitely involved from your explanation of the way they’re locked up and this book’s explanation of the way the crystal’s powers manifest. Either they were imprisoned when the Council used the crystal or McGee figured out how to do it.”

She stared intently at the other three to see if everyone understood. “That part really isn’t important. The important fact is that as long as the core of the Namine Crystal is not changed in any way, everything it has been used for stays exactly the same, also. That’s why the Council ended up sending all the demons to the same dimension; they had no instructions on how to change the core. This was a failsafe for the original owners. They would always be sent back to their previous location as long as they did nothing to the core in the interim.”

“Go on.” Giles watched her intently.

“As soon as anything having to do with its core is changed, the crystal becomes sort of blank, like a clock that has to be reset after a power blackout. You’ve lost all your original settings and have to start over.”

Tara watched the glimmer of understanding cross Giles’ face. “We’ve lost the previous settings by removing the beacon charm which is a portion of the core. Therefore it is now basically blank, awaiting a reset.”

“When we lost the settings, we released the other three demons.”

****

The swirling colors had separated and then stopped. The middle demon awoke from the magically induced slumber first and the other two demons soon followed. Something had happened in the world outside their prison. For the first time in years they were able to awaken completely without strain. The demons sent out a surprised message to their brother who walked the roads outside of the prison.

Even as the message was received and assurances sent that help was on its way, the demons pulled themselves away from the wall. Although very weak, they could walk freely within the cage. One of the demons reached through the bars for the rusty lock.

The rider had received the message from the other demons. Something had happened to the magical control on his fellow riders’ prison. He wheeled his horse around and set off for the mine. The other demons would still be weak until the moon rose again in the early evening. Pondering the reason for this sudden change in the plan, Grip spurred his horse.

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/189711.html

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