The Grundy Affair Chapter 4

This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series The Grundy Affair
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Buffy and Spike are recruited to protect an important gift and discover there is more at stake.
Rated PG
13 chapters, complete, rated PG,  Drama and humor. Story begins here.

Chapter 4

Do to the lengthy gestational period, potential owners may discover that a wait of up to six months and a hefty premium will usually be required to purchase an immature Grundy. A mature Grundy may become available sooner through local rescue groups or even at times breeders, all of whom will be located near an active Hellmouth.

– The Complete Manual of Domestic Demon Care
2001 Edition
Chapter 3- The Grundy

 

Walking into his crypt, Spike saw the Slayer slumped in his easy chair, one leg slung across the arm, staring blankly at the television screen. Listening briefly, he could tell the Grundy was still crashed on his bed.

“H’Lo Slayer. Looks like you had a quiet visit.”

Buffy stood up and stretched. “Yeah, all’s still quiet on the hyper demon front. Tomorrow’s Saturday, so I’ll be back early and you can get some sleep.”

“I heard somethin’ at Willy’s that you need to tell your Watcher.”  He filled her in on the conversation with Morty.

“I’ll tell him.”

Spike watched the Slayer close the crypt door before turning to go down and check on the Grundy.

****

Buffy kicked off her shoes and sat on the edge of her bed. Pushing the extra pillows and Mr. Gordo out of the way, she reached for the portable phone. Stretching out across the bed on the uninjured side, she dialed Willow.

“Hey Will.”

“Hi Buffy. Tara and I missed you at the Bronze. But it was really crowded and Tara got a headache, so we left early anyway.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t sure you’d be home yet. Giles called me just before I was going to leave to meet you guys. A sitch came up.” Buffy explained to her friend about the Grundy sitting. “So now I’m stuck with Spike for an entire week.”

“I’m sorry.” Her best friend’s voice was full of sympathy. “But maybe it won’t be that bad.”

“Are you kidding Will? It’s Spike.” Buffy sighed theatrically. “We drive each other crazy if we’re in the same room for longer than five seconds. In fact I think that’s actually our record for non crazy. Five seconds.”

“You should try to find something you both have in common that you can do in the crypt. You know, like playing cards or something. It’ll be a lot easier if you’re not just sitting there staring at each other.”

Buffy shuddered at the thought of endless hours sitting and staring at each other with the Grundy’s growling the only sound. “The only thing Spike and I have in common is a stake and Giles won’t let me use it. But you’re right, I don’t want to sit around in a crypt with nothing but dead silence.”

Willow chuckled at her joke and Buffy felt better. She’d just have to figure something out.

“I’ve got to go now, I need to call Giles about something Spike heard at Willy’s and you know old people, they go to bed really early. He’ll be cranky if I wake him up and it’s already 10:30. Tell Tara hi for me.”

Buffy hung up and dialed the Watcher. Happily surprised when Giles not only promptly answered, but sounded wide awake, she filled him in on the conversation. In turn, Buffy was shocked to hear about the break-in and subsequent attack on Anya.

“This is getting a little wiggy. There’s got to be something more to all this than one furry little pain in the butt.”

“There does seem to be something missing from the larger picture. It’s hard to imagine that the Grundy is important enough to merit all this subterfuge.” Her Watcher’s voice sounded thoughtful over the phone line and she could almost hear him cleaning his glasses.

“Don’t forget the possible murder that Spike heard about. So, what do we do?”

“I’ll contact Quentin Travers tomorrow for further instructions. In the meantime I want you to go back to Spike’s crypt and protect the Grundy. If there are indeed men partnered with the local demon population, Spike will be unable to protect it alone. You’ll need to remain there until you hear from me.”

“Fine, I’ll go back. But I want some extra Buffy time when this is all over.”

She hung up and started the water in her shower. No way was she going to clean up at Spike’s crypt. That thought was beyond squicky. Thinking about Spike again brought back Willow’s comments. Buffy knew the red haired witch was right; it would definitely be a whole lot easier to deal with each other if they could just find some common ground.

Hmmm, something that we can both enjoy that won’t result in either arguing or a bag full of dust.

Allowing the water to heat up, Buffy opened her closet and looked through her clothes. She pulled out a short sleeved beige top and a pair of slacks that were the same shade as the Grundy’s fur. Laying those aside, she dug through the weapons chest until she found two small knives that fit easily in the pockets and placed those next to the clothes. Twisting her hair into a knot on top of her head, Buffy stepped into the shower, while ticking various ideas over in her head.

****

The Captain of the soldiers spoke into the cell phone, explaining the steps he’d taken so far to his superior. “We searched the old woman’s breeding facility and her home. It was not at either location. She disposed of it before we reached her, so now we’re attempting to recreate the trail. We searched a place of business that housed the beast earlier and have hired local talent to help locate it….. ….Yes sir, of course I understand completely how important this is.…We will endeavor to find it as soon as possible.”

Flipping the cell phone closed, he turned to the men in the room. “The two of you that followed the shop keepers to their residences last night will return early tomorrow morning. When they leave for work, go in and search. The rest of us will fan out and search the remainder of the town. I want the other two of you to continue watching the store. We will find it, even if we must kill everyone involved. You are dismissed.”

His lieutenant remained behind, silently watching the others file from the room. Once the door closed, he turned back to his Captain. “Tarn, are you absolutely certain we are on the correct path?” He searched the determined face of his leader. “We could easily be on a fool’s errand.”

“You know how hard it is to pin down a source.” Captain Tarn looked into the questioning face of his young lieutenant and shrugged.  “We are soldiers and we must follow orders. It is what we do. He could easily have been lying, but it is our sacred duty to follow this up. Our leader is the one who should be on that throne.”

Dropping the cell phone onto the table, he leaned against the wall of the cheap motel. “We will locate the beast. If the Talisman is not with it, we will receive new orders.” His mouth set in a hard line. “We will prevail, provided there is enough time.”

His lieutenant moved to leave, hesitated, and turned back again. “If the time grows too short, the point will be moot. There will be no one left to issue new orders.”

“Then we must work quickly.”

****

Spike turned off the telly the moment he detected the change in the Grundy’s breathing and heart rate. Dropping to the lower level he saw her standing on the bed, wide awake. When he appeared at the bottom of the stairs, she began to bounce up and down while her tail wagged. She crooned loudly, causing him to respond with a smile.

“Come on, luv, let’s take a walk.” Picking her up in his arms, she wriggled happily, stretching to exuberantly lick his neck. Reaching for the chain leash with one hand, he chuckled at the young demon. “You certainly know how to play a bloke.”

Setting the Grundy on the crypt floor he took his first real look at her collar. Running a finger around the edge, he frowned. “Well, Empress, it seems we’ve got a bit of a problem. I don’t see anywhere to attach this leash to your fancy neckware.”

The Grundy danced around the floor, impatient to get going. Scratching his head, Spike suddenly remembered the second collar.

“Hold on Empress, I just remembered your everyday look.” He continued to talk to the little demon as he rummaged among her possessions for the leather collar. “Just like a woman, you’ve always got to be wearin’ something pretty but totally impractical. But at least you don’t have a shoe fixation like another woman I could mention.”

He unfastened the dressy collar and replaced it with the sturdier leather, buckling it with one hand while trying to keep the excited, squirming Grundy from running around the crypt. It took all of Spike’s concentration and a good bit of strength, but he finally managed to snap the leash in place, too.

Lifting the excited, wiggling demon back into his arms, Spike lightly jumped up to the crypt’s main level. Setting her on the floor, he bowed and his accent smoothed. “May I accompany milady to take the mild night air? It’s a lovely evening for a stroll about the grounds.”

The Grundy, eyes never wavering from her interesting companion, crooned and danced around briefly, before moving to stand quietly beside Spike’s left leg.

Surprised, his lips twisted in amusement. “Better watch out there Empress, your good breeding is showin’. People will figure out you’re not actually as wild as you pretend.”

Listening for any unusual noises in the cemetery, Spike opened the crypt door and sauntered out into the cemetery proper, with the Grundy sedately at his side, her tail waving slightly in the cool night air.

“I think your sudden case of manners will be our little secret, because personally Empress, I love watchin’ you wind the Watcher up.” Spike looked down at the Grundy and could have sworn she winked before sticking her nose in the air to sniff the breeze.

Spike worried the small demon would have trouble negotiating the dark ground and found himself trying to steer her around the sunken grave markers that were nearly invisible in the feeble light from the crescent moon, but after watching her skip neatly around obstacles that loomed in her path, the vampire knew it was a non-issue. She had superb night vision, nearly equal to his. Spike suspected the Grundy had a lot of talents of which neither he nor the humans were aware. She was definitely an extremely interesting pet.

When the young demon raised her head to sniff the wind again, Spike watched her closely. Inhaling deeply, he tried to ascertain how much she could really sense. Suddenly tilting her head sharply, she stared up into a large oak tree several feet away as her eyes flashed red.

“That’s a great horned owl, Empress. He’s no problem for the likes of us. You’ll find he’s in that tree about this time almost every night.”

Spike had no doubt she could see the owl hidden within the thick canopy, but she quickly dismissed it and pulled on the lease, anxious to continue their foray.

“You get bored pretty quickly, don’t you?” Spike chuckled at the demon trying to pull him farther into the cemetery. “Well, Empress, that’s somethin’ you and I definitely have in common.”

They had made almost an entire circuit of the large cemetery when Spike realized the young demon was flagging, so he picked her up in his arms. “Come on luv; let’s go find how that food Anyanka bought for you tastes. Hopefully she bought it for flavor and not just because it was on sale. That one’s tight with the dosh.” The Grundy looked in his eyes, licking her lips and for an instant, Spike swore she understood completely.

Bloody hell, I’ve been alone too much lately, starting to see things that aren’t really there.  She’s just a very smart pet, an expensive toy for some wealthy owner. Nothing more, nothing less.

Spike, pulled from his musing by several insistent licks to his neck, looked down at his charge. Reproachfully, the Grundy stared back at him. He shifted and hugged her a little tighter. “Sorry, Empress, I forgot the cardinal rule. When in the company of a beautiful lady, one should pay attention solely to that beautiful lady. So, have I ever told you about the time a huge Chorro demon tried to cheat me at poker? No? Well, it all started when I drew an inside straight. You see the Chorro had already discarded three cards…..”

Spike regaled the Grundy with poker stories while she remained quietly within his arms, staring at her companion as if absorbing every thing he said until they arrived at the crypt.

Once inside he showed Empress the location of her food and she finished enough that Spike breathed a sigh of relief. At least there wouldn’t be any problems with keeping her fed.

After she’d eaten, Spike lifted her on the bed again. Making the decision to leave her leather collar on for convenience sake, he rose to put away the other collar.

In the flickering candlelight Spike took his first good look at the fancy collar. Smooth amber beads with emerald inlays were set within an antique framework of fine gold chain; the collar gleamed in the soft light, elegant and expensive.

“That’s quite the ornament you were sportin’.” He wondered why a young animal straight from a breeding facility would own something so obviously expensive.

On the other hand, I have no bloody idea how much the Council would willingly pay to impress some mucky muck. It could easily be enough that the fancy trinket was included in the price. No doubt the Empress herself is extremely expensive.

Shrugging, Spike dropped his line of thought and picked up the brush. He stroked the Grundy’s soft body briefly and then began the arduous task of brushing away the detritus that had matted in the Grundy’s silky fur during their stroll through the higher grass and weeds in the oldest portion of the grave yard.

Crooning softly, the Grundy rolled over on her side and sighed. Spike chuckled. Just like a woman. They all love to be fussed over.

“Empress, you remind me a little bit of someone I met once. Would you like to hear about it? Well, it was in August of ’69. Dru and I had driven to New York to attend Woodstock, and the bloody car broke down just outside of town. So there I was, tryin’ to get it fixed while keeping Dru from eating the mechanic until he got it runnin’ again…”

Reminiscing, Spike brushed the Grundy’s fur until it gleamed while the little demon   listened to the vampire’s soothing baritone voice.

 

Chapter 5 here

Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/241024.html

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