Another chapter – only 4 1/2 after this:)
Giles decided to risk using his car to get to Restfield, agreeing to Buffy’s insistence that they leave it hidden behind the gate at Shady Pines, so as to not point the way to Spike’s home territory.
As they hustled through Shady Pines, which backed up to Restfield and made a quick – if occasionally exciting – shortcut, Buffy tried to get Giles to tell her where Spike had gone, and why. However, he only said that Spike had gone to get help and that he was leaving it to the vampire to tell her where he went and why – if he chose to. In spite of Buffy’s best pouting, Giles insisted that it would be Spike’s choice what to tell her and when.
“You know,” she said as she opened the doors to the crypt and showed Giles in, “there’s something very wrong when my watcher is joining forces with William the Bloody to keep secrets from me. I’m just saying….”
She clicked on the flashlight they’d brought with them and, keeping the beam pointed at the floor, led the way to the entrance to the lower level. Buffy went down first to light some candles, then called to Giles to drop the sleeping bags and other supplies to her. As soon as she had caught and moved everything, he made his way down the ladder, muttering the entire time.
“Just be grateful you’ve got a ladder and don’t have to get up and down the way I did the other night when we were hiding from Riley’s buddies.” She mimed jumping in the air, laughing when Giles rolled his eyes. “I’ll leave you to get set up here while I go find Willow and Xander. Be back soon.”
On her way to the gate, Buffy staked two newly-risen vampires and frightened a demon family. She couldn’t remember what kind of demon they were, but she did remember that Spike had said they were vegetarians and very peaceful. She smiled and waved as she went by, cringing at the way the parents were clearly trying to shield their children from her. “It’s okay, I’m not going to hurt you,” she said. “But you don’t want to be out here tonight. There are too many soldiers around and they won’t care that you’re not evil. Go home.”
They scuttled off and Buffy continued toward the gate, hearing Anya’s voice complaining long before she reached the gate. Sighing at the thought of spending the rest of the night and possibly the next day stuck in a room with Xander’s newest girlfriend, she was about to approach them when she heard other voices. She crept forward and peered around the large stone pillar to see Riley and Graham, in civilian clothes but with communicators and tasers hanging from their belts.
“Hey, guys. I’ve been looking for you. Have you seen Buffy anywhere?”
“H… hey, Riley,” Willow said. “No, we haven’t seen her. In fact, that’s why we’re out here. Looking for Buffy. To help her patrol.”
Riley sighed and shook his head. “You guys seem so… normal. I don’t know what you’re doing with somethi— someone like Buffy. How did she talk you into this?” He waved his arm around to indicate their position just outside the gates of a cemetery.
Xander frowned and cleared his throat. “Uh… Riley? I thought you and the Buffster were like… a couple? You’re sounding an awful lot like you think she’s one of the bad guys.”
“Do you know that she isn’t?” Riley asked. “How do you know … do you know that she hangs out with a hostile? And so does Giles – the man who’s supposed to be helping her fight evil? Both of them spend a lot of time with a hostile.”
“With a what? Oh, you mean Spike. Well, yeah, he’s been hanging out at Giles’s now that he’s all neutered and stuff. They talk British to each other, argue about football teams I never heard of and bands nobody ever heard of… oh, and they make fun of Americans. Not exactly demonic stuff.”
“Uh huh.” Riley seemed unconvinced. “And Buffy? What would she be doing with one of the creatures she’s supposed to be slaying?”
“I think Spike helps Buffy out sometimes. He really likes to hit things and if he’s with Buffy, he gets to do a lot of that. Plus, Giles thinks the Powers That Be might have picked him to help her instead of An—somebody else.” Willow looked quite pleased with her explanation.
“And you don’t find that strange? That she’s willing to spend so much time with a vampire?”
“Isn’t her old boyfriend a vampire?” Anya asked. When Xander said, “No, Ahn. You must—“ She interrupted him. “Yes he was. You told me. She dated Angelus. I remember him from my days as a—owww!”
She glared at Xander, rubbing her arm where he’d pinched her, then realized what she’d been about to say. “My days as a scholar of demons, I was about to say. Yep, that’s me – 100% human, but a scholar. Not that I’m a watcher, or anything related to Buffy or her work,” she added quickly when Riley turned his gaze on her.
“So this isn’t the first time Buffy’s had a vampire in her life?”
“Well… I don’t think Spike is so much in her life as he is… You know what? I just don’t think any of us that aren’t slayers should be getting into Buffy’s business. Am I right, guys—er, gals?”
“That’s right,” Willow said. “We’re just staying out of Buffy’s life.”
“I thought you were looking for her – to help her ‘patrol’,” Riley said, gesturing for Graham to move beside the small group huddling in front of him. “I’ll tell you what, why don’t you just get in the truck with us and we’ll help you look for Buffy.” He and Graham began trying to herd them toward their SUV. Willow began muttering under her breath, stopping with a squeak when Riley put his hand over her mouth. “I don’t think we need any spells or curses, do we, Willow?”
Her eyes wide, Willow nodded until Riley removed his hand.
“That’s the right attitude,” he said, ignoring the glare she was giving him. He stared at the other two, sensing that Xander was thinking seriously about resisting. “Don’t do anything stupid,” Riley said, patting his taser. “I don’t want anybody getting hurt tonight.”
“Too late.” Buffy’s voice was artificially perky as she stepped from behind the big pillar. “I’m pretty sure somebody’s going to get hurt. “
“Buffy! Man, are we glad to see you—” Xander shoved Anya in Buffy’s direction and shook off Graham’s attempt to stop him from joining her. Willow sucked in a breath and threw a small fireball at Riley as he grabbed for her arm. As soon as her friends were behind her, Buffy relaxed and moved toward the two surprised soldiers.
“You wanted me? Here I am.” She waited, while the otherwise unarmed men pulled out their tasers and began moving toward her. “Willow?” she said over her shoulder.
“On it.” Suddenly the tasers began to glow and both men dropped them with curses, shaking their burned hands. Xander darted in and picked up the rapidly cooling equipment, handing one to Anya as he stepped back behind Buffy.
With a smile that contained no warmth or humor, Buffy cocked her head at them.
“So, are we going to do this the easy way or the hard way?”
“Be serious, Buffy,” Riley said, seemingly forgetting that she’d already overpowered two different squads of commandoes by herself. “You can’t beat both of us. Hell, you probably can’t even beat me. Not unless you were holding back a little when we sparred—”
Buffy moved too quickly for either man to react, sending a roundhouse kick to Graham’s mid-section and a right uppercut to Riley’s jaw. As he blinked up at her from the ground, she said, “I was holding back a lot Riley. You’re strong and fast, but you’re no vampire.”
Graham dove at her knees in attempt to tackle her down, but she easily evaded him, leaving him to sprawl in the dirt as she readied herself for Riley to attack. Instead, he backed up and took out his communicator. Before he could get past, “This is—“ Buffy had kicked it from his hand. Xander and Anya had jumped on Graham, who easily threw them off, but not until they had taken his communicator also.
Buffy shook her head. “I really hate to do this, but… oh wait, you knocked Giles unconscious a little while ago… no, I don’t hate this at all.” She stepped up to Riley, her flurry of punches to his mid-section preventing him from using his much longer arms and greater height to any effect. When the barrage to his middle had him bending over to grasp his abused diaphragm, Buffy switched her attention to his face and soon had him lying on the ground, unconscious. She turned her gaze to Graham in time to see Xander apply the taser to the soldier’s back. When he’d stopped twitching and was also unconscious, Buffy smiled.
“Good work, guys. Now let’s get out of here before they wake up.” Leaving the two commandoes somewhat protected inside their vehicle, she hustled her friends into the cemetery. “I hate that they know which cemetery we’re in, but maybe they won’t be smart enough to figure it out. They’ll just think I was patrolling here… I hope.”
She led them to Spike’s crypt, opening the doors just far enough for everyone to get in, then closing both doors firmly. “Be careful, don’t walk too far in until you can see. Xan, help me move this sarcophagus, will you?”
“You’re just doing this to build my manly ego, right?” he said, making a face as he shoved on his end while Buffy effortlessly moved hers toward the door. She gave an apologetic laugh. “Sorry, forgot you weren’t Spike. I’ve got it.”
“I’m not sure how to take that,” he said, continuing to shove on his end until they had the interior door completely blocked. “Do you mean because I’m strong and sexy… or that I remind you of something undead?”
“Uh… I just meant I forgot for a second that you wouldn’t be able to do the things Spike can. But, yeah, okay – strong and sexy works if that makes you happy.”
“I knew you thought Spike was sexy!” Anya said. “I don’t know why you keep denying it. I wouldn’t mind watching you and Sp—”
Willow, Buffy and Xander all spoke at the same time:
“Don’t finish that sentence!”
Grateful for the darkness that surrounded them, Buffy led everyone toward the soft glow coming from the lower level. She pointed to the ladder and said, “Giles is down there. As soon as we’re all hidden, I’m going to pull the board over and even if they come in here they won’t be able to tell where we are.” She tossed the rug into the hole and pointed to the ladder.
“Where are we exactly?”
“This is Spike’s crypt,” Buffy said. “But Riley doesn’t know that, so…”
“How come you know it?”
“Um… because I… he… I need to know where he is… in case I need him for… something.”
“Uh huh.” Xander started down the ladder. “Holy Moly, vamp-man. Did he put this together himself?”
“I think a friend did it for him.”
“With friends like that, he doesn’t need any enemies,” Xander muttered. “Be careful. It’s like climbing down a set of pick-up sticks.”
When everyone was safely down and had looked around at the bare dirt walls and floor, Buffy told Giles about their latest brush with the Initiative. “Riley was trying to kidnap them!” she said. Her shoulders sagged. “He seemed like such a nice guy….”
“He probably is – by his standards,” Xander said. “There just wasn’t anything in Iowa to prepare him for a hellmouth and a slayer. I think he just—”
“Is a poophead,” Wilow said with great finality.
Recognizing when he was outnumbered, Xander joined Giles in keeping quiet while the three girls vented about men and their faults. Anya’s frequent contributions of how she’d created appropriate vengeances for various bad behaviors through the centuries sent Xander to sit beside the older man and hold his head in his hands.
“She’s really very sweet,” he said.
“I’m sure she is,” Giles replied with a straight face. “As vengeance demons go, anyway.”
With only the two sleeping bags that Giles had brought with him, and no other beds except for a few rolled up rugs against the wall, the night passed slowly and uncomfortably for everyone. Giles gallantly gave up his sleeping bag to Anya, and Buffy let Willow sleep in hers.
“I need to stay awake anyway,” she said with a yawn. “In case they find us or something.”
With all but one candle out, it was dark and quiet in the underground chamber, and even those not lying down dozed off where they leaned against the walls. It was the sound of distant splashing that brought Buffy awake, sending her running into the dark tunnels with whispered instructions to use the tasers if they needed to. Leaving Xander and Giles standing on the edge of the lighted area, Buffy ventured into the darkness, holding a stake in one hand and a larger piece of wood in the other. She held her breath, feeling tingles on her neck that told her a vampire was approaching. Clutching her stake, she dropped the make-shift club and waited.
“Know you’re there, pet,” came the familiar voice. “I can see your silhouette in the light behind you.”
“I knew that,” she said, angry at having made such a dumb mistake. “Are you back already?” She hoped he wouldn’t take her words to mean she wasn’t glad to see him. Because she was. Very. Or, she would have been if it weren’t so dark ahead of her.
She felt the air move in front of her and looked up to where she knew his eyes would be. She reached a hand out to confirm what she’d suspected, stroking his wrinkled brow and running a finger across his fangs. “You’re cheating.”
She felt him smile under her hand as his face shifted back. “It’s dark in those tunnels, luv. At least it is near here. Deeper in, there’s different kinds of luminescence here and there.”
They were standing close together, neither one inclined to move apart, knowing no one behind them could see them. Buffy’s hand dropped from his face, but she remained looking up at his barely visible face.
“So, you’re back,” she repeated.
Buffy looked behind him. “I thought you were bringing some reinforcements? Isn’t that what Giles said? That you were bringing back more manpower?”
“I did,” he said shortly. “In a way.” He didn’t offer an explanation, just gently turned her around so that she was facing the humans peering into the dark tunnel. “Best get back, pet, before they send out a search party.”
He kept his hand on the small of her back until they reached the softly lit area, then dropped it to his side. Buffy found herself missing the contact and unconsciously leaned into him for a second before she remembered who she was. And what he was.
Giles and Spike exchanged looks in which the watcher raised an eyebrow and Spike nodded his head. “It’s done,” he said. “Couldn’t get the other half, though. Things are too busy there. Plus he didn’t want to talk to me. Can’t really blame him for that.”
Giles shrugged. “It was a long shot anyway. I guess you’ll have to do.”
“Thanks for that vote of confidence,” Spike sneered before he acknowledged the others. “Red, demon-girl, Harris. Not that you aren’t welcome in my home, but what the bloody hell are you all doing here?”
“Riley tried to kidnap them. They’re hiding with Giles and me.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “And you thought this was a good place?”
“Well – yeah, I did.” She frowned. “Isn’t it… are you okay with that? I mean, I know I didn’t ask you, but you were gone and—”
“It’s fine, Slayer. Mi casa, su casa and all that. Didn’t mean to sound cranky about it.”
“We’ll pay our way,” Xander said. “I’ll start with turning that pile of lumber into an actual set of steps, or at least a functional ladder.”
Spike grinned. “Yeah, Clem’s brother turned out not to be quite the expert carpenter he’d claimed to be.”
“If I had my tools with me, I’d start now.”
“Extra wood and tools are in the tunnel,” Spike said. “Here, I’ll show you.” He picked up a candle and walked into the darker areas, stopping near the broken fencing. A few woodworking tools were lying haphazardly on the ground near some unused lumber. “Have fun.”
Spike went back into the open space, but instead of rejoining Buffy he went directly to Giles and carried on a whispered conversation of which the girls could only hear the occasional “…too bloody right” and “unconscionable prats”. Unable to stand it any longer, Buffy went to Spike’s side and poked him.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on now? ‘Cause all this talking in British code is getting on my nerves.”
Spike looked at Giles. “Didn’t you tell her?” The other man shook his head. “I left that to you.”
Before Buffy could ask Spike what he hadn’t told her, there was a loud shrieking noise from upstairs.
“The doors. Something‘s forcing the doors open. Xander and I put the sarcophagus in front of it. Light’s out!” Buffy said. “Everybody into the tunnel. And take all the stuff with you.”
Giles snuffed out all the candles, handing them to Anya to carry. Willow took the extra supplies while Xander took the rolled up rugs and hid them under the untidy pile of wood pieces against the wall. Giles used his flashlight to guide them all far enough into the tunnel as to be invisible if anyone pulled the plywood cover away from the entrance. At the last second, Spike grabbed the ladder and threw it into the tunnel while Buffy moved the bookcase around a corner where it would not be visible from above. Spike picked up the desk and carried it into the tunnel, hissing at Buffy, “Move that luscious arse, Slayer. Somebody’s bound to wonder what a rug is doing in the middle of an empty crypt. We need to be well away from here.”
“The rug isn’t there. I thought an old piece of plywood wouldn’t be as suspicious as a rug in the middle of a crypt.”
“Good thinking, pet. Still, best we get far enough way that they won’t be able to find us, yeah?”
Spike led them down the tunnel until they could hear the splash of water in the sewers.
“Ewwwww! What’s that smell?”
“What do you think it is? Just watch where you step. We should be far enough away by now. We’ll hear them comin’ if they try to follow us, and I’m sure I know Sunnydale’s tunnels better than they do.”
As soon as everyone was huddled against the damp walls, Giles turned off the light and they were plunged into complete darkness. Buffy and Spike had placed themselves between the Scoobies and the dark tunnel leading to Spike’s future bedroom. They all waited.
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.dreamwidth.org/327107.html