Chapter 15: Diversion.
Spike ran at full speed towards the Summers house. He knew which neighbour Dawn would be staying with; he just had to make sure he got there on time. Pushing himself even faster, he turned onto Revello and ran towards the neighbours house. He reached the door and raised a fist, pounding on it repeatedly.
He heard movement inside, but he refused to relax until he knew that Dawn was safe.
A few moments later a woman in her early forties answered the door. She looked at Spike, then past him into the darkness, a frown crossing her face.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“I’m a friend of the Summers family, I need to speak to Dawn.” He said quickly.
The woman looked him over a little disbelieving before she nodded once. “Stay here, I’ll go get her.”
Spike nodded, pacing the doorstep anxiously as he waited. He heard more movement inside and relief washed his face when Dawn opened the door.
“Spike? What are you doing here?” Panic coursed through her when she immediately began to think the worst. “Buffy?! Is she okay? What’s going on?”
“Your sis is fine bit, I’ve just got to get you home.”
Dawn exhaled deeply, her fears leaving with her breath. “I’ll just get my things.”
Turning around she walked into the other room and retrieved her magazine and her jacket, said goodbye to Mrs Smith and then walked back to the front door to meet Spike. The pair quickly made their way across the lawn and to the Summers house, Spike breathing a sigh of relief when the door closed behind them.
Buffy woke feeling the sensation of movement, her eyes blinking open and staring at the back of a car seat. She was leaning against someone and immediately tried to sit up straighter.
“Stay still, you might tear more open.” Giles warned as he placed a hand on her shoulder to still her movements.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“To the hospital. We need to get your stitches looked at.”
Buffy shook her head vehemently. “I don’t want to go back there, please Giles I just want to go get Dawn.”
“Dawn will be fine, Spike left to collect her from your neighbours. He’s taking her home.”
“Then that’s where I want to be.” She said not leaving any room for argument.
Giles nodded, exchanging a look with Angel who was driving, who turned at the next street and began heading towards the Summers house.
“They’re all gone.” A sandy haired female called out.
“Shhh…” someone hissed at her.
“Alright, the coast is clear.” Jake announced as he sauntered out from an alleyway and joined the rest of his crew out the front of the shop. “Lets get what we need and get out of here.”
The vampires stormed into the Magic Box, knocking over furniture and empty the contents of boxes as they moved through it, searching for what they needed.
Buffy shuffled across her seat and made her way out of the passenger side door of Angel’s car before Giles had the opportunity to stop her. He quickly exited on his side and made his way around the vehicle and reached for her arm, offering her support as they made their way to the front door. A second carload with Anya, Tara, Willow and Xander pulled up behind Angel’s convertible, the occupants exiting and quickly making their way towards the front door.
“Dawn!?” Buffy called out. “DAWN!?”
Angel open the door to the house and Buffy hobbled inside, freeing herself from Giles as she called for her sister.
“I’m here, I’m here…” Dawn called, a slight annoyance to her tone. She walked out from the kitchen and walked into the foyer, shortly followed by Spike.
Relief flooded Buffy’s features and she stepped forwards to wrap her arms around her sister in a tight embrace. Dawn returned the hug, pulling Buffy close to her and holding her tight.
Spike could smell blood in the air and he knew it to be Buffy’s. Obviously they hadn’t taken her to the hospital. Leaving the group that had formed in the entrance to the Summers house, he made his way upstairs and into the bathroom. He figured Buffy would have to have some bandages and the like around here somewhere, the number of scrapes she got into.
Sure enough, tucked under the sink behind the hair styling products and lotions was a first aid kit. Opening it to make sure it contained what they would need, he quickly shut the case and left the bathroom, descending the stairs.
“What were you doing up there?” Angel said with a suspicious frown before he noticed what the other vampire was holding. Nodding once, he turned away from Spike and made his way into the living room where the rest of the group was slowly filtering.
“Buffy you need to get that looked at.” Dawn said with worry in her eyes.
“I’m not going back to the hospital.” Buffy replied firmly.
“Won’t have to.” Spike said as he joined them, moving into the room and placing the first aid kit on the coffee table. “Rupert can redress the wound, I’m sure he’s probably done it before.”
Giles was surprised by Spike’s forethought, but not as much as Buffy was.
“Thanks.” She said quickly.
Spike nodded in acknowledgement, smiling at her momentarily before he took a few steps away from the group and leant up against a wall.
Giles handed his research to Willow who began flipping through the pages whilst he went about checking Buffy’s stitches. Buffy lifted up her shirt, wincing as the stretching motion caused the area of her wound to throb with pain.
As expected she had torn a few of them open. He found a couple of butterfly wound closures in the kit and peeled them off the backing and then stuck them perpendicular to the line of her wound, effectively using them to hold the two sides together. He placed two more on as well for good measure, before placing a sterile bandage over the wound and using tape to fix it to her.
“Thanks Giles.” Buffy said with a grateful smile when she rolled her shirt back down again.
Giles packed away the contents of the first aid kit. “Give yourself time to heal, I can only do that so many times before you’ll have to go in to see a doctor.” He said, his tone scolding but his expression warm.
Buffy mock saluted Giles, which earned a giggle from Dawn.
“We found it!” an excited shout came from the mezzanine platform above him. Jake took a few steps backwards to look up at the group.
Climbing the ladder he joined the rest of the group on the platform and thrust out his hand. The object they had been searching the shop for was quickly but carefully placed in his palm. The delicate blade glistened under the dull light and he knew immediately that it was what they were searching for.
Nodding in confirmation, a whoop of excitement sounded through out the shop as the vampires cheered.
“Let’s get out of here.” Jake said, slipping the dagger into a sheath which he had attached to his belt loops, before he descended the ladder and began moving his way towards the back of the shop.
“Giles are you sure this is all?” Willow said with a worried frown, causing the mood in the room to revert to a serious one, all eyes turning to the red head holding Giles’ research.
Buffy turned to speak to Dawn to suggest that she head up to bed but Dawn had seen it coming a mile away and was already up out of her seat. “Goodnight.” She said begrudgingly.
The others chorused their goodnight as a group, once again waiting until they heard Dawn’s bedroom door closing before they continued with their discussion.
“Giles, list, all.” Buffy said re-capping what Willow had begun saying.
“I’m afraid so.” Giles hesitated. “It would appear that most of the vampires of direct blood line to the Order of Aurelius have met their end one way or another.”
“But…” Buffy filled in, sensing that Giles was holding out on something.
“There was quite a number that I could not find a definitive record of their state of life, or unlife.”
Buffy took the list from Willow, noting the three columns that Giles had drawn up with vampires confirmed alive, dusted and the longest list which was those that were unaccounted for. She sighed in frustration. “We’re getting nowhere with this.”
“What about your inferiors in LA? Did you not order them to assist us when you spoke to the annoying brunette before?” Anya asked Angel, shooting a glare in Xander’s direction; who responded with a what-did-I-do? look of innocence.
Willow and Buffy both shook their heads in disbelief at Anya’s blatant dislike for Cordelia but both said nothing.
Anya was well aware that the ex-prom queen that currently worked in LA for Angel, Cordelia, had been a paramour of Xander’s. The relationship hadn’t lasted long which was one thing to be thankful for, but her Xander had cared for her. Even though their relationship was not always pretty, even though they bickered constantly. He had cared for her.
And that bothered Anya. She didn’t understand; it was one of the many things about mortals that she did not comprehend that well. She had been witness to the imperfect state of Xander and Cordelia’s relationship, in fact; it had been the pain that their first (or was it second?) break-up that had brought Anya to Sunnydale in the first place.
What was more important was that his past made her jealous, something she had no problems with voicing.
Sometimes, when life as a mortal was difficult she would wonder what her life would be like if she was still in the business, still in vengeance. At that moment Xander would do or say something sweet that would quash those thoughts. Right now, he was avoiding her gaze.
Angel responded to Anya’s question with a slight frown. He didn’t know her all that well, and her bluntness could be a little off-putting, a little surprising. Which was saying something considering he worked with Cordelia.
“They’re not my inferiors. I work for Wesley now.” He clarified first. “They have other cases right now that need their attention.”
“Well if they’re so short staffed maybe you should go help them then eh?” Spike suggested with a pointed look. “Go somewhere that you’re needed?”
“Spike!” Buffy chastised. “If it weren’t for Angel being in town when he was then I’d probably be dead right now.”
Spike’s jaw dropped, stunned by the words that had just left her mouth. She thought that HE rescued her…?
Willow, Xander and Giles all looked around the room uncomfortably, none of them willing to correct Buffy’s mistake. Xander shrugged his shoulders apologetically in Spike’s direction, but he was still staring at Buffy in disbelief.
Angel at least had the gall to look reluctant to accept the credit, even if he didn’t voice it. “I’ll be returning in a few days.”
Buffy had expected it; she had known that he would be leaving. But to hear him say it was difficult. “Of course.” She said quietly.
Xander, who had been uncharacteristically quiet, stuck his hand in the air and waved it around a bit. “At the risk of sounding like a supporter of these two.” He said with a jab of this thumb at the two vampires in the room.
“Maybe we should have them look at the list. They are related to the vamps were trying to find and they might know something we don’t.”
Giles blinked in surprise, silently cursing himself for not thinking of it sooner. He had used all of his contacts from the Council and it hadn’t even occurred to him to question either Spike or Angel about the matter.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence mate.” Spike drawled sarcastically.
Buffy read through the list of vampires that couldn’t be accounted for, pleased when Spike and Angel managed to confirm the status of over half of the ten or so listed.
“Run through the list of possible suspects again Buffy.” Xander suggested.
Buffy read out the list of vampires confirmed alive who were possible suspects. None of the names rang any bells to her, and whilst Giles knew a few by reputation there had been minimal reports of activity from those few over the last decade.
“…Robert DiMarco, Malthus and Gabriel.” Buffy said finishing the list.
“You forgot Darla.”
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