Chapter Eleven! Only one short chapter to go after this one. alwaysjbj has not had an opportunity to run her eagle eye over these last two chapters yet, so any mistakes shouldn’t be blamed on her. (Nor should any mistakes in the previous chapters which are more likely to be due to my incessant fiddling after the fact.)
Spike was just re-joining them when he suddenly froze, his head snapping up as he listened. “In-coming, Slayer,” he said, pointing at the doors leading to the way out. Buffy stood facing the doors which burst open to admit Riley; behind him were at least two squads of soldiers – all unarmed and only partially dressed.
“I told you, Finn, that something was going wrong.” The speaker was the man who had led the squad Buffy saved Clem from. “That bitch got in here somehow. She’s probably let everything out….” His voice trailed off as they began to notice all the dead demons and small piles of dust in many of the cages.
“We helped the ones that don’t hurt people get out to safety,” Buffy said, addressing her words to Riley who was staring at her in horror. And the other ones are all—”
“Dead,” Spike interrupted, his voice cold. “Out of your reach now.”
“Hostile Seventeen.” Riley reached for the weapon that he’d left in the armory when they returned from a futile search for Buffy and the Scoobies, swearing when he realized he had nothing but his bare hands. Shrugging he moved forward anyway. “I’ve about had it with you.”
“Gonna beat me up again, then?” Spike asked, his eyes alight with glee.
Riley frowned at Spike’s lack of fear, but said, “To a bloody pulp. Stand back, Buffy,” he added as she moved in front of Spike. “He’s got this coming.”
While Xander tried to keep his gun trained on everyone at one time, Spike picked Buffy up and moved her to the side. “No, Slayer. He wants me, he gets me.”
“But, I can’t let you—”
“Won’t. I promise. But that’s all I’m promisin’.”
Riley advanced on Spike, giving Buffy a little shove out of the way and eliciting a snarl from the vampire. Narrowing her eyes, Buffy moved back and nodded. “All yours,” she said, not making it clear which one she was speaking to.
She could see the other soldiers muttering and jockeying for position as they tried to work up their courage to charge a man armed with one of their own high-powered weapons and the girl some of them were only too aware was much faster and stronger than they.
“Should I try to wing one? Just so they know we’re serious?” Xander whispered, watching nervously. “What if they know I won’t shoot them?”
Giles spoke up behind him. “Do what you need to do. The Council will deal with any repercussions from events that occur in defense of their Slayer.”
“In American, does that mean go ahead and shoot them?”
“It does.” Giles pointed at a small group edging their way towards them. “You may begin with those three.”
Xander fired one shot at the men’s feet, yelping when the bullet pieces ricocheted off the floor and sprayed the area with metal and concrete. There was sneering at his startled reaction, but the men backed off, one of them bleeding slightly from small cuts.
“I’ve got an idea,” Buffy said, trying not to watch as Riley and Spike circled each other like a couple of fighting cocks. She pointed to the closest cage, the one containing the now-dead crippled Fyral demon. “Get it there,” she ordered.
Reluctantly responding to Xander’s gestures with the gun, the men moved into the cage. When one tried to turn back, straight-arming Buffy out of the way, he quickly learned why she was in charge. Without bothering to say anything but “dumb ass”, she grabbed the arm and had it behind his back and twisted painfully before he could follow through on his thought. She threw the much larger man into the cage, knocking down one of his friends in the process. “I said, ‘Get in the cage’,” she snapped. As soon as they were all in, she looked at Bob and nodded. He pressed the button that closed and locked the door, leaving the men harmless and safe in one of their own cages.
He looked at Giles and said, “You know, if you guys aren’t the real deal, I’m going to be shot for treason.”
“No worries. I suspect you’ll get a promotion to keep you quiet about this facility and the things that went on here.”
A gasp from Willow brought Buffy’s gaze back to Spike and Riley. Spike was dancing out of reach as much as possible, acting very much like he was still incapable of retaliating for any of the punches Riley was throwing. Frustration was growing on the bigger man’s face as the few blows he managed to get through Spike’s passive defenses only made the vampire laugh.
“Is that all you’ve got?” he asked, blocking a roundhouse kick with a powerful arm that a close observer might have noticed actually struck the leg in the process of deflecting the blow. In the heat of the moment, Riley didn’t notice and he continued to press Spike.
“You can dance all you want, Hostile, but we both know you can’t keep it up forever. Or have you forgotten what happened to you the last time you tried to fight us?”
Spike stopped laughing and his eyes turned the color of ice. “No. Haven’t forgotten a thing.” The next punch Riley threw at him, Spike reached up and grabbed his fist, squeezing it until the realization of what was happening showed on Riley’s face. While Spike continued to squeeze, bringing the big man to his knees in pain, he said, “But I’m not quite the pushover I was then.” He let got of Riley’s hand and stepped back.
Riley knelt on the floor, cradling his damaged hand and staring at Spike in horror. He turned his eyes to Buffy. “Did you hear that, Buffy? The chip’s not working any more. You have to stake him now!”
“What for? He hasn’t killed anybody. He hasn’t even hurt anybody except you – and that was self-defense.” Buffy shrugged and looked at Giles. “Are we ready to go now? We did what we were sent here to do.”
He nodded and they all turned to leave, ignoring Riley – now on his feet and swearing vigorously. Spike touched her arm, leaning down to whisper, “You know he’s gonna have them all out of there and on our tail before we get out of the house.”
She sighed and nodded. “You’re right, let’s put him—” She was interrupted as Riley threw himself at the console, but rather than releasing his fellow soldiers, he hit another switch, opening a set of doors at the far end of the hall. Immediately, relatively unharmed and healthy demons and vampires began to pour into the room.
“Bloody fuckin’ hell. I forgot all about that holding area,” Spike growled as he and Buffy stepped forward. He handed her stake back to her and shrugged out of his coat. “Guess I’m gonna get a good fight out of this after all,” he said, meeting the first arrival with a whoop and a leap that planted both boots into the demon’s chest.
Holding her stake, Buffy began staking as many vampires as she could without benefit of quipping or toying with them. The caged soldiers watched in awe as she whirled, kicked and staked her way through the hungry vamps that had all decided their only way out was through the Slayer. When she had run out of vampires, she moved to help Spike who was barely holding his own against a concentrated attack from the remaining demons. The bodies around him were proof of his initial success, but numbers were beginning to pay off and he was being forced back to the console where Riley was watching with mingled fear and satisfaction.
Buffy leapt onto the back of a particularly large and hairy demon, plunging her stake into its eye before it could follow through on its obvious plan to eviscerate Spike with its claws. With an anguished scream, it began to whirl in circles, trying to reach Buffy with its long arms. She jumped off, landing beside Spike and asking, “Are you okay?”
“Never better, pet. Let’s do this.”
Working together, they had no trouble incapacitating the wounded demon and soon moved on to the few remaining ones large enough to be dangerous. Buffy hesitated when she saw one that looked like Clem, asking, “Is he…?”
“Yep. Let him go. The only ones left we need to worry about are those two slimy things there.”
Ignoring the rest of the demons, they advanced on the last two dangerous ones, getting thoroughly slimed in the process of killing them.
“Where’s a good sword or crossbow when you need one?” Buffy grumbled, scraping slime from her shirt and flinging it away.
“Thought you brought a sword?” Spike looked at her in surprise. “You knew there were going to be demons and such.”
Buffy looked around. “I did… I wonder… Oh.” Xander, Giles and Willow were standing in front on Anya and Bob, weapons ready as they waited to see what would happen next. Buffy smiled at her friends in admiration, saying, “They look pretty scary, don’t they?”
“Nothin’ I’d want to face down,” Spike admitted, casting an appreciative glance at the three humans. “I’d be shot, stabbed or set on fire before I got close enough to get a good bite.”
“Try to hold that thought, Fangface,” Xander said with less venom that usual in his voice.
Spike gave the obligatory sneer then turned to look at Riley, standing defiantly behind the console. His face shifted and his fangs elongated as he met the soldier’s eyes. “We’re back to what to do with the hayseed,” he said through his distorted teeth.
Buffy sighed. “Let’s just put him in a cage too. We can be away and out of here before the lab people find them. I think,” she added as the sound of alarms penetrated the battle haze and fatigue.
Bob ran to the console and, with an apologetic glance at Riley, he turned off the alarm. “I don’t think they’re evil,” he said by way of explanation as a glaring Riley was pulled none-too-gently into an empty cage.
“Let’s get out of here before something else goes wrong,” Buffy said. She glanced at the harmless demons, huddled together as far away from her as they could get. “Go on,” she said more roughly than she’d intended. “Get out. Spike will show you how.”
They held the elevator while Spike showed the bewildered, but grateful, creatures the way to get out that wouldn’t involve going through Lowell House and the Sunnydale U campus. As soon as he was in, the doors slid closed and Bob sent the elevator moving. When it stopped, the doors slid open with Buffy and Spike standing guard at the front.
There were universal gasps. On one side of the open door were the Scoobies, their helpful captive and Spike and Buffy. On the other, stood Quinton Travers, a military man with many stars on his shoulders, and the security chief for the university. Behind them were ranged at least two squads of non-Initiative soldiers.
Leaving Giles to explain what they’d done, Buffy and her group edged toward the door, trying to make their escape as quickly as possible. There was an uncomfortable moment as Travers looked at Spike with a cold eye and said, “William the Bloody, I presume.”
“I wouldn’t be presuming anything, if I were you, mate,” Spike said, meeting him stare for stare.
Travers shifted his gaze to Buffy and gave a very uncharacteristic sigh. “Ms. Summers, it appears that you are continuing to be unfortunate in your choice of male companions…”
“Spike just helped me carry out your orders, and it was dammed important help,” Buffy said, adding her stony stare to Spike’s. “I don’t think I could have handled that many vamps and demons at one time by myself.”
Travers lifted his gaze from them to Xander, still cradling his large gun, Willow looking much more confident that the last time he’d seen her and Giles. He ignored Anya and Bob. Shaking his head, he muttered, “Friends, family, vampire boyfriends… this is all most irregular.”
“So is having a slayer who’s lived long enough to have the experience she needs to do her job,” Spike growled. “Or do you prefer them young, inexperienced and dead before they’re even through growin’?”
“We’ve had experienced, older slayers before. One of them didn’t survive her encounter with a slayer-killing vampire,” Travers said, his gaze steady. “I’m not sure it helps all that much.”
“Maybe she just met a particularly strong vamp,” Spike said with a non-committal shrug. “Or maybe she was just tired of the fight. Tired of being out there alone every night, riskin’ her life for people who weren’t worth her little finger. Think about that, Watcher, before you start complainin’ about Buffy’s friends and family.”
“I’ve got class tomorrow,” Buffy said. “I’ll catch you tomorrow, Giles. C’mon, guys, let’s go.”
Anya sidled past Giles to follow Xander and Willow out of the building, but Bob hesitated.
“Where do you fit in, soldier?” the general said, eyeing the government issue sweats in which he’d been sleeping when Buffy and Spike awakened him.
“I live here, sir.” Bob snapped to attention and stood rigidly waiting for orders to turn himself in for a court martial.
“Is there a reason you aren’t tied up with everyone else?”
“Yessir.” He gulped. “I… I believed the Hostile when he called her ‘Heaven’s Chosen One’. I didn’t believe she was evil, so I said I’d help them get into the lab.”
“You did, did you?” The general’s face gave no indication oh what he was thinking. He had a brief conversation with Travers and the Security Chief, then turned back to Bob. “It seems you may have taken initiative—“ He stopped and cursed. “Perhaps a poor choice of word in this situation, but you have done the right thing, young man. We will need someone to escort us down to the lab; please remain in the elevator.”
Giving their new friend a supportive wave, Buffy led her friends out of the frat house and onto the campus. Xander and Anya split off to go home, assuring Buffy that “Bessie” could blow away any vamps they encountered on the way home. Spike strolled along with Willow and Buffy until the got to their dorm, pausing at the door. Willow began to shuffle her feet and clear her throat before announcing that she had a study session planned with someone she’d met in Wicca group and she probably wouldn’t see Buffy until the morning.
Spike looked at her and raised his eyebrows, but Buffy took Willow completely at her word and just smiled. “So, I guess you don’t need Spike for a study buddy tonight,” she said.
“Uh… no. I… we… it’s not Shakespeare tonight, it’s… spells. We’re going to be studying spells.”
“Really? All night? Wow she must be some witch.”
“Let it go, love,” Spike said, touching Buffy’s arm. She frowned at him, but smiled at Willow.
“Well, okay then. I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess.”
“What did you mean, ‘Let it go’?” Buffy said. “Let what go?”
“Red was getting… You know what? It’s her story to tell. I’m just goin’ to mind my own business.” He caressed her face with his hand. “Got better things to do tonight…”
“Oh? You mean, you think we should patrol? ‘Cause I think we’ve done enough slaying for one ni—mmmmmph!”
He kept his mouth fastened on hers until her surprised gasp had turned to a barely audible whimper, then broke off the kiss to nuzzle her ear. “You knew that wasn’t what I meant,” he whispered, ignoring the curious looks they were getting from passing students. “Didn’t you?”
“Kinda,” she whispered back. “But I was just checking…”
“Red’s out for the night….”
“Yeah, that’s what she said….”
“If we don’t go up there right now, I’m gonna embarrass the bloody hell out of you right here on the sidewalk.” Spike’s low growl rumbled in her ear as she tried to move away from him.
Buffy giggled and pulled out of his reach. “I think we’ve given enough of a show for one night.” She started up the steps to the door. “Are you coming?”
“I bloody well hope so,” he muttered under his breath.
“I heard that!”
Buffy’s face was flaming as she tried to ignore his laughter behind her. She led the way into the stairwell and ran up the stairs to her floor. She could hear Spike’s boots right behind her, but didn’t turn around to face him until she’d opened her door and stepped inside. He tested the doorway, not sure if the invitation Willow had extended so long ago might not have been revoked immediately.
“It’s okay,” Buffy said unnecessarily as he stepped through and closed the door behind him.
“I’m surprised you didn’t have it revoked the next day. It’s not like you knew for sure then that I was harmless.”
“We were busy, and Willow didn’t seem worried, so…”
“And you weren’t worried?” He seemed offended at the thought and Buffy smiled at his pout.
“Why should I be? If you wanted to sneak in and murder me in my sleep, you would have done it when I was still living at home.” She grinned at his disbelief that she’d never cancelled his invitation to her home. She moved toward him and tapped him on the chest with her finger. “And if I wasn’t asleep when you broke into my room, I’d have kicked your ass. So, see? Nothing to worry about.”
“Might have had something else in mind if I came into your room in the middle of the night,” he said, moving closer and sliding his hands around her waist. “It’s not like my dick never sat up and took notice of you until recently.”
“I’m not sure if I think that’s flattering or just… icky.” She pulled back to stare at him. “Would you have done something like that? Tried to rape me in my sleep?”
“Hell no! That’s your ex’s MO, not mine.” He dropped his hands, genuinely hurt by her accusation. “I just meant I might have preferred to… thought you knew me better than that, Slayer,” he said, turning away from her.
“I’m sorry.” Buffy’s apology was so soft he almost didn’t hear it. “I know you wouldn’t… ” She touched his arm, turning him back to face her. “Can we start the conversation again?”
“Or, we could just forget all about conversin’ for awhile and just get to the kissing.” He pulled her closer and leaned down to brush his lips across hers. “I’m not feeling all that talkative just at the moment….”
“Kissing is good. If we’re busy kissing, we can’t say anything that either of us will have to apologi—”
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/328166.html