More plot development and then something interesting at the end of the chapter – time for our intrepid duo to get on the trail of a certain Chaos mage ^_^
“That bloke has nicked part of the watcher’s soul and scarpered.” Spike explained to Anya as he pointed at his pencil sketch and then ducked as Buffy leapt to her feet in a flurry of fists and shouted insults.
“Spike! You didn’t tell us that!” she yelled furiously as she reached down, yanked the vampire to his feet and then off them. The irate slayer easily held him off the ground with one hand as she pulled back her free hand to punch him.
Only to be stopped Tara. “Buffy let him go.” Tara shook her head in shock at the easy way Willow’s friend slips into violence around the neutered vampire. She tried not to let her disappointment show but the faint gleam of guilt in Buffy’s eyes made her realise she hadn’t managed it.
“Ohh, someone stole Mr Giles’s soul? Where is he? I want to have a look.” Anya’s eyes lit up with interest as she scanned the room, searching for Giles.
“Spike how do you know Giles’s soul has been stolen?” Willow frowned in concentration; she regarded the vampire with calm assessing eyes. Spike noticed that her fingers were close to the coin and twitching with a barely suppressed desire to handle it.
Spike wrapped his hands around Buffy’s wrist and tried to pull free. “Slayer, let go or I won’t tell you anything.”
“Fine.” Buffy released him and then glared at the bleached menace as he straightened his clothes and smoothed back his hair.
“M’demon sensed it,” Spike explained as he headed for the kitchen area and began to search for some painkillers. He had no idea if they’d help with the hangover, but putting a bit of distance between himself and the irate slayer seemed to be a wise plan. Spike cursed himself for drinking the Watcher’s drinks cabinet dry, but the temptation had been too much. Once he’d chained the old git into the tub the vampire had gone on a bender, figuring why the hell not? It was free booze and the Watcher wasn’t in charge of his body at the moment. So no come back there – well except for the headache.
“And again I say now you tell us!” Buffy stormed at him as she shot past the kitchen to go and check on her partially souled Watcher.
“Slayer, only a bit’s missing. There is something else in him, but m’not sure what.” He called after her rapidly disappearing form.
Anya crowded behind her, along with Tara, both of them peering through the doorway at the still unconscious man chained in the tub. Spike remained where he was, his eyes fixed on Willow. He knew if he left the room the witch would be all over the coin and causing no end of trouble for them all. So he stayed there, for once the one with self discipline, his skin itched at the responsibility he had oozing from every pour. ‘Slayer better appreciate all this.’
“He looks cute.”
“Anya!” Buffy hissed in a scandalised tone. “Don’t say that he’s Giles. Giles’s isn’t cute, he’s repressed older guy who wears granddad clothes and disapproves of us being all tra-la-la-la with the college stuff.”
Anya knelt down next to Ripper and ran an assessing glance over the limp form, “that is not Giles.”
Tara nodded her head in agreement, “she’s right Buffy, he feels different.”
“So how do we fix him?” Buffy asked with a weary sigh and a wary glance at Anya, she didn’t want to know how the ex-demoness could tell part of Giles’s soul was missing. “Cos the aged rocker look isn’t gonna work for long. It’s just so ooky. The Hefner look last year was bad enough compared to this though it was the height of fashion.” She wrinkled her nose at the recumbent form of her watcher dressed in ripped jeans and some old group’s T-shirt.
“I heard that slayer, and those are my ruddy jeans, Ripper half inched em.” Spike voice echoed through the place.
Buffy hunched her shoulders and slapped her hands over her ears, anything to block all the new British curse words that she was learning and she thought Spike had a potty mouth! Spike was slouched on the couch next to her, eyeing the archway and pondering if he could get away with shoving a gag into old git’s gob. The constant diatribe and never ending bellowing weren’t helping his hangover.
“My goodness he is colourful when he is riled up.” Anya looked up from the book she was pretending to research and gave Tara a tentative smile. She was unsure how to behave with a lesbian witch, Xander hadn’t explained how yet, and she didn’t want to let him down by doing anything wrong.
Willow muttered something under her breath and took some more notes, her hair mussed and sticking out in all directions when she repeatedly ran her fingers through it as she researched . They had all decided that the best way to fix whatever Ethan had done was to find him. Scrying for him using a Sunnydale map had been less than successful. In fact the quartz crystal pendant had swung in circles and then swung to the right and circled over the gold coin that Willow had found.
“Yeah, maybe you could go and knock him for six again slayer?”
Buffy glared at the vamp and then sighed. “Tempting but so not the way I want to go, Giles’s head is always taking the lumps –err Wills can’t you like,” she waved her hands around in front of her face, “magic him to sleep? The concentration factor here is being seriously limited with all the arses, buggers and fecks. Spike, what’s a feck?”
“Ask your bog trotting ex.” Spike tossed the book he had been holding onto the coffee table and lithely rose to his feet. He stretched his arms over his head and began to groan in relief as his back cracked and the muscles on his spine unlocked from the hunched over position he’d been crammed into. He smirked. ‘Then again it’s not as bad as when I was chained to the tub, bet Ripper’s arse is numb by now.’ He failed to notice Buffy’s head jerk away after she snuck a peek at the thin line of hair that disappeared under his waistband or the incipient blush starting on her cheeks.
“If one of you sodding girls doesn’t let me go now I will call down the wrath of Eyghon on you!” Ripper bellowed from the bathroom.
“Yeah, yeah…pull the other one. You know Angel wasted your demon buddy years ago.” Buffy shouted back. “All my respect for Giles has so gone the way of the Dodo now,” she added under her breath. She exchanged a private grin with Spike and then frowned confused at the easy camaraderie between them.
Tara slipped into the kitchen and began to brew something in a small copper pan; she pulled open all the cupboard doors searching for ingredients. After a few moments, she stirred the contents and then disappeared down the corridor, the others heard the bathroom door open, a murmur of voices before it then clicked shut.
Then there was blessed silence.
“Wow, she’s good.” Anya nodded her appreciation apparent on her open face. “Do you think she poisoned him?”
“No, I put him to sleep. It’s only a temporary measure, but he was getting a bit loud.” Tara shrugged apologetically. Spike nodded at her in approval and then flopped back onto the sofa his fingers massaging his temples as the silence eased the pain levels that had been burgeoning on explosive for several hours.
“Oh–oh! Oh! Guys! I think I found something!” Willow squeaked excitedly. Buffy, Tara and Anya crowed around behind Willow’s chair and peered over her shoulder at the book she was holding. Spike remained on the sofa, playing it cool. It wasn’t like he was that interested, was he?
“Look, the coin here, it’s similar to the one I found,” Willow pointed at an engraving in Tellers Guide to Teleportation and Transdimensional Travel.
Buffy frowned at the small black and white image. “It looks kinda the same, but the decoration is different.”
“I know, but look here,” Willow pointed to a passage under the image. “Oh wait, it’s in Latin…basically it says that the person who creates the coins etches on the places he or she wants to go to and when you handle the coin wham you get pulled there.”
“So it’s a good thing you didn’t touch it then?” Anya nodded confidently to herself. “You might’ve ended up somewhere defenceless and been eaten by ravening hordes of Fomorians, you know I think they like to eat virgins. Oh wait, you’re okay since you’ve been deflowered and are now a sexual adventuress with girls. Definitely not a virginal miss, are you?” Anya slapped her hand over her mouth, “I did not mean to refer to your preference of women now, but I do want to know what you use to… urk!” This time it was a pale masculine hand that was slapped gently over her mouth.
“Less of the nattering about Red’s sexlife,” Spike warned as smirked at a blushing Willow, “not that all of us aren’t itching to know…” he added teasingly. Then in a more of a need to know tone, “And more about these Formorians.”
“Yeah, the Formanchoos. Make with the explainy, and also heeeey for not telling us you knew what the goaty man was all about.” Buffy chided Anya with a cautious smile. She still wasn’t a hundred percent sure how to treat Anya. Their friendship was new and also at the back of her mind she still remembered Anya’s reign of vengeance. So for now it was friendly with a pinch of caution. Buffy mentally jumped for joy over the information Willow had found, relief filling her as they were now one step closer to getting to Ethan and beating the hell out of him.
“Okay, Formorians are some sort of Irish deities. They were similar to the Titans in a way. I think they were beings of chaos and nature or something like that, it’s been so long and I really can’t remember much. All I know is there were some centres of worship in Galway…” Anya trailed off when Tara nodded in agreement.
“This makes sense. Willow, did you say something about this Ethan person worshipping chaos?”
“Uh huh, and this ties in with the compass symbol, which turns out is a chaos symbol as well, its kinda Ethan’s calling card isn’t it?” Willow squeaked excitedly. “Oh, we are so getting this fixed. All we need to do is work out why Ethan stole part of Giles’s soul and where he’s heading and why he is all with the coin usage…oh that’s a bit of a hurdle right?” she ended sheepishly, Willow ducked her head and stared at the engraving wishing she could do more to help.
Tara nodded. “Yes, but at least we know how to get to him,” she pointed to the coin.
“Yeah but then what?” Buffy sighed morosely. She was at a loss; her rudder was currently sleeping the sleep of the magically unconscious chained to his own tub. She wanted to go out and kill something but the longer they let Ethan get away the harder it would be to get him back.
Anya breathed heavily through her nostrils. “Obviously you steal back the bottle with the glowing stuff in it that Spike mentioned. Spike, before you go you must draw a picture for us so we can find it in these books and once you find the bottle remember to kill this Ethan person. He is a very naughty man stealing parts of Giles.” Anya slapped her hand on the table and rose. She began to tidy up the books, “Willow and Tara need to work on a spell to bind Giles’s soul back into his body. Maybe some sort of bastardization of the ensouling spell you used on Buffy’s old boyfriend?” She looked over at the gob-smacked slayer, “Buffy, you need to get some clothes packed, I imagine Ireland is wet and soggy at this time of year, take some boots with you.” Anya pivoted on her heel and poked an authorative finger into Spike’s chest. “And Spike you better get some blood packs. You might need it once you get to the Emerald Isle. Just remember not to get into a card game with Leprechauns –they bite when they lose.” She neatened the pile of books, head down and focused on her task, utterly oblivious of the open mouthed stares of surprise, respect and admiration being directed at her for taking charge and organising everyone.
“Oi, since when am I going to Ireland?” Spike growled. “I’ve done my bit for the good guys, what with the inhaling of dust from Rippers old books. That’s it for me; I’ve got better things to do with my time than go to the land that spawned the giant forehead.”
“Oh Spike, really, remember who you’re travelling with and buckle up!” Anya whispered to the vamp and smacked him gently on the chest, her brown eyes wide and filled with suppressed mirth. “And I am serious no poker games with small green men. You are probably attached to your penis and testicles and they go for those.”
Spike glanced over at the three girls who were chatting quietly to each other. “What the bloody hell are you talking about Demon Girl?” his voice a bare whisper; if he had a heartbeat then it would be pounding fit to burst. A small blood vessel popped out on his temple as he suppressed the desire to cover little Spike, the mental image of a small green man hanging off his meat and two veg. by their sharp pointy teeth was the stuff of cold sweats and nightmares.
“Oh really Spike, your secret’s safe with me. Now do you want me to go to your crypt and pack a bag. Blood, smokes, black clothes and some weapons?” Anya replied perkily and headed out of the apartment before the befuddled vampire could say a word.
“What secret?” he asked himself, determined not to accept what his subconscious was already sure of. ‘Christ the nosey bint’s going to go through all my stuff.’ He let out a tiny whimper, knowing that he was trapped by the sunlight and that in about five minutes Xander’s girl would find his journals.
He just hoped she would be gentle with him.
Willow straightened Buffy’s jacket collar. “Okay you’ve got clean clothes?” Buffy nodded. “Weapons?” Willow asked in a maternal voice. This time Spike nodded and hefted a bag that rattled and clunked ominously. “Giles’s credit card?” Buffy nodded and patted her pocket. “You have the pin number, right?” It had been Anya’s suggestion that the watcher finance the retrieval, seeing that he had been careless enough to lose part of his soul in the first place. He should know enough to be cautious around Ethan by now so it was only fair.
“Yes, Red we know the number. We’ve packed our clean underpants and have our stakes ready.” Spike interrupted Willow, irritation tingeing his voice. He looked over at Anya wondering what the hell the ex-demoness had been on earlier.
Willow shot him a reproving glance. “Less with the lip mister. This is a big deal, Buffy’s never left the country before. Unlike ‘Mr I’ve-lived-forever-and-trotted-around-the-globe-so-many-times-it-doesn’t-matter’.”
Spike ducked his head and mouthed an apology. He wasn’t happy about being sent off with the Slayer to rescue Rupes glowy bits. There was a footie match on and he was heading over to Peaches spawning ground. “My life stinks worse than Xander’s week old socks.”
Buffy ignored him as she reassured Willow, hugged Tara and Anya and then hefted her backpack. Willow’s face was a picture of worry and misery and her lower lip wobbled ominously.
“Buck up Red, I’ll bring you back a four leaf clover.” Spike patted her awkwardly on the shoulder.
“Ready?” Buffy asked. He nodded with a resigned sigh. She reached over grabbed his hand, he could feel her clammy fingers as she reached out and plucked the coin off the dining table with her free one.
There was a crackle of lightening and a small cloud began to coalesce above their heads. As it sank down over their bodies both the vampire and the slayer gasped in pained surprise as the building agony in their bodies as their muscles seized.
Spike’s final thought was how much blood a vamp could lose by vomiting before he dusted.
“Oh bollocks, this hurts!”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/161199.html