AN - My apologies for the multiple postings of ch. 6. No idea how that happened? Gremlins, maybe? Douible posting can happen if the site isn't cooperating, but 3 times? That's a new one. Sorry. I hope I didn't delete anyone's reviews when I deleted the two extras. Now, here, I sincerely hope, is Chapter Seven...
There was some quiet discussion out of range of Riley’s hearing about where they should take him. Giles was reluctant to allow the man into his apartment, even though he had to admit that it wouldn’t be all that difficult for anyone to find his address if they had the resources that it appeared the commandos had.
“Could take him to the lower level of my crypt,” Spike said. “If we blindfold him, he won’t be able to tell where he is. It’ll just look like a big cave.”
The final decision was to blindfold Riley, swing by Giles’s apartment so that he could call the Council and pick up his own car. While Oz took the rest of their little party to Spike’s crypt, Giles would call 911 just before leaving the apartment. With luck, the cars would be hidden and everyone safely away in the lower level of Spike’s home before any kind of search for them could begin.
After dropping Giles off with quickly written directions to the crypt, and seeing him safely in his door, Oz sped through the night and into Restfield Cemetery, following Spike’s directions. When they drove past the crypt, Buffy started to say, “Hey, isn’t that—” Spike’s finger on her lips and headshake stopped her and she finished somewhat uncertainly, “where we fought with that Chaos demon?”
“Could be, Slayer. You know how these older parts of Sunnydale look so much alike. Might have been the same spot, might not.”
He gestured for Oz to drive around for a while, then showed him where to put the van so it could not be seen easily. Oz pulled into a dilapidated vine-covered shed and parked next to Spike’s old DeSoto. He whistled in admiration, nodding when Spike gave the old car an affectionate pat on the hood.
Buffy and Willow rolled their eyes and helped Riley get out of the van without falling. Both girls were beginning to have attacks of conscience at keeping Riley away from the medical attention his men were undoubtedly well on their way to receiving.
“Sorry,” Buffy muttered when Riley stumbled and gasped at the pain in his broken arm. “I did try to tell you to let me go, you know. You’re the idiot who tried to shoot me.”
“I didn’t want to. But….”
“There’s no ‘but’ here, Riley. You were going to shoot me. Kinda doesn’t matter if you wanted to or not, you know? I would’ve been just as dead.”
“I’m sorry, Buffy. I really am. But Maggie—“
“Maggie what? Professor Walsh? What’s she got to do with anything?”
“This… us… the Initiative… it’s her project. She needs the vamps and demons for research purposes.”
“She could have just asked Giles,” Buffy muttered. “He’s all research, booky guy.”
“That’s the one that almost shot Graham? With a crossbow?”
“He didn’t almost shoot him. He just stopped him from leaving. If he’d wanted to shoot him, Graham would be dead.”
Riley paused to digest that while Buffy and Willow steered him from Spike’s hidden garage to the crypt. “Why aren’t we dead?” he asked finally. “You’ve got to be really pissed off at us—me.”
Ignoring Willow’s “Ya think?” and Spike’s snarl, Buffy sighed. “Because, as I tried to explain to you, I don’t kill people – I protect them. And so do all the people who help me.”
“Does that include the vampire?” Riley’s voice dripped disbelief and scorn. He barely smothered a scream when Spike silently slipped behind him and said into his ear, “Only as long as the Slayer holds my leash, mate. Only as long as she holds my leash.”
“Spike….” Buffy shook her head. “Not helping.”
“Wasn’t trying to help,” he grumbled. “Want him to know exactly what I am, and what I’m capable of…”
“I think he got it when you licked the blood off his gun,” she said shortly. “Give it a rest.”
Without replying, Spike yanked open the doors to his crypt and gestured for them all to go in. He closed only the interior door, lighting a candle and showing the way to the hole. When Willow mentioned, somewhat timidly, that Riley’s broken arm and hand, as well as the blindfold, were going to make it very difficult for him to get down into the “cave”, they stopped at the edge of the opening.
“Not leaving the git up here,” Spike said, staring at Buffy meaningfully. She caught on at once that allowing Riley to figure out that he was inside a crypt would remind him of her disappearance the night before and would make it clear where she’d gone.
“No,” she agreed. “We can’t do that.” She turned to Willow and Oz. “You guys go down, see what you can find that might work as a harness or something.”
Spike stepped in front of them and dropped into the hole first. By the time Oz and Willow had climbed down the ladder, he’d lit enough candles and torches that they could see around the huge room and peer into the tunnel leading off from it. A few minutes of torch-powered exploration and Oz had found a length of rope with suspicious rust-colored stains on it.
“Do I even want to ask what this was used for?” he asked, sniffing the rope and making a face.
“Don’t know,” Spike said. “It isn’t mine. I just got in here a few days ago and haven’t had time to even fix up the upstairs. Never mind making this part livable.” He looked around and nodded. “Can see where it’s got some possibilities though. Access to the sewers; already made use of that.” He nodded at the darkness leading away from the room. “Put some draperies up on the walls, a few nice rugs on the floor….”
“Are you guys finding anything?” Buffy’s question, shouted from above, put a temporary halt to Spike’s decorating thoughts.
“Here, Slayer,” he said, tossing the heavy rope up. “Wrap the big git up in that and we’ll just lower him down.” He went up the ladder, several rungs at a time, and joined Buffy on the upper level. She and Xander were busy trussing Riley up, leaving a length of rope to use as a cable.
“Go on down, Harris. Slayer and I will lower the overgrown Boy Scout to you.”
Buffy walked Riley to the edge of the hole, biting her lip at the winces he couldn’t prevent whenever something jostled his broken arm. “We’ll fix that when we get settled in,” she said, her normally compassionate nature coming out now that he was no longer a danger to them. Spike snorted behind her, but she ignored him. She turned Riley around and passed the rope to Spike, who pulled it taut. With a glance that warned Spike of a dusty end if the rope “slipped” while he was lowering Riley to the ground, she knelt down and guided one of his feet to the top rung of the ladder.
“Just let your feet find the steps and we’ll keep the rope tight so you don’t have to worry about falling—”
“Or we could just push the big git into the hole and yell ‘Catch!’” Spike muttered, even as he braced himself to take the other man’s weight. Buffy rose her feet and glared at him.
“That’s enough!” she said. “Just do what you’re supposed to do and shut up, Spike.”
He raised yellow eyes to hers.
“Not your bloody servant, Slayer,” he snarled, as his feet began to slide. “An’ if you want me to keep him from falling, I suggest you get your arse over here and help. In case you haven’t noticed, the wanker outweighs me by a good fifty pounds.”
Buffy grabbed onto the rope and added her weight to it. Between their combined efforts and Riley’s sense of self-preservation that kept his feet more or less on one of the rungs at all times, they managed to get him to the lower level without incident. At Xander’s all clear signal, they tossed the end of the rope down and Buffy instructed him to untie Riley’s arms, but leave him blindfolded.
“I’ll be down in a minute. Don’t let him get too near the tunnel – just in case he’s stupid enough to think he can run through underground Sunnydale by himself.”
Buffy remained staring down for several minutes. She could feel Spike’s eyes burning holes in her back, but she couldn’t make herself turn to face him. She was saved from her indecision by a quiet knock on the door of the crypt, followed by Giles’s cautious entrance.
“The light is visible from outside,” he said as soon as he’d closed the door behind him.
With a nod, Spike pointed to the opening and the ladder just poking up through it. “Go on, then,” he said. “I’ll get the doors and light.” Without looking at Buffy, he went to the entrance and closed both doors, placing a heavy stone statue in front of the inner door, hoping it would discourage anyone from trying to push their way in.
Giles glanced back and forth between them, then shrugged and started down the ladder, holding the bag of things he’d brought with him in one hand. Buffy wavered, looking from the well-lit lower room to the now dark upper one and waiting for Spike to say something. When he didn’t, but simply dropped down into the hole without touching the ladder, she sighed and joined him.
Buffy frowned up at the opening, wondering if the light from their level was making a visible glow. They had no real reason to think anyone would be searching for them in a cemetery, but there was no real reason for them not to either. A noise behind her made her turn to see Spike and Xander dragging a large piece of plywood from one of the tunnels. She watched as Xander handed the wood up to Spike, who was standing half-way up the ladder. He lifted it through the hole, then let it fall flat, covering the entrance. When he’d dropped back to the ground, he took the ladder and carried into the tunnel, out of sight. The large underground room now looked like nothing but a large open space at the end of one of the visible tunnels.
In the meantime, Giles had emptied the bags he’d brought with him, pulling out first aid materials. After looking around, Giles agreed that there was no way their hiding place looked like anything but one of the many caves that surrounded Sunnydale. He removed the blindfold, leaving Riley blinking against the flickering light. Without speaking, he cleaned out the wounds on Riley’s crushed hand and bandaged it as best he could. He examined the broken arm, while Riley stood stoically, only his pale face giving any indication of how much pain he was in. Satisfied that the bone wasn’t out of position, Giles wrapped it against a splint and provided Riley with a rough sling upon which to rest it. He then handed him a pain pill and a small bottle of water.
“Thank you,” Riley mumbled when Giles was done. Sweat beaded his forehead and he swayed on his feet.
“Sit down, Riley,” Buffy said, then realized he had no hands with which to help himself to the ground. She walked over to him and helped him lower his much larger body to the ground where he could lean against the earth wall. He ignored the muddy roots hanging all around him, leaning his head back and shutting his eyes with relief.
“Not gonna get much out of him for awhile, Slayer,” Spike said quietly when she walked back to his side. “He’s about done for till he gets a chance to regroup.”
Buffy stared at him. “Is that your medical opinion, Dr. Bloody?”
He rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Was brought up by a master of torture – or have you forgotten that? I can tell when a human’s past the point of being useful… or entertaining… Give the big git some time to rest before you start askin’ questions and you might get some useful answers. Try to talk to him now, and he’ll shut down on you.” He glanced from Buffy’s frustrated glare to Willow’s softer gaze and added, “And you might want to let Red take care of him for a bit. Give him somebody’s not trying to hurt him to focus on. He’ll prob’ly respond with better answers if she’s asking the questions.”
Buffy bit her lip, then nodded. “Good cop, bad cop?”
“Somethin’ like that.”
“I’ll think about it. Far be it for me to argue with someone who was ‘brought up’ by a crazy, torturing vampire.” Everything about her voice and body posture screamed her discomfort at the reminder of what he was and what he’d been in love with for the past hundred years.
Spike cocked his head and gave her a sad smile. “Wasn’t speaking of Dru, Slayer,” he said. “She’s only what her sire made her. Was Angelus taught me how to read humans and how to judge what they had left.” He turned his back and walked out into the tunnel, his vampire eyes having no need of a torch to light his way.
Buffy watched him walk away, startling when Giles said quietly, “As much as I dislike this… whatever it is you have between you, I think it is only fair to admit that Spike continues to prove that he is nothing like Angelus. Nor is he like any other vampire I’ve come across. When we have sorted this thing out, I’d like very much to spend some time with him talking about his early days as a vampire.”
“Knock yourself out,” she replied, still staring at the empty darkness into which Spike had disappeared. She shook herself and turned back to Giles. “So, did you call 911 for those guys?”
“I did,” he said shortly. “And then I called London. The Council seemed to be somewhat aware of Dr. Walsh, but had no idea she was operating in Sunnydale. They are most concerned… it seems she is in possession of some research materials dating back to World War II. Materials that came from Nazi Germany. They will be getting in touch with… well, with whatever branch of the US government it is that they deal with… and they hope to make it safe for us to go out shortly.” He held up an old cell phone, saying, “They’ll let us know.”
Buffy blinked at the mobile phone she’d had no idea Giles even knew about, let alone owned. His expression dared her to comment, so she shrugged and said, “Go tweedy, pain-in-the-ass guys.”
“They have their uses,” Giles agreed with a wry smile. “As much as they dislike us, and we them, we are on the same side, and they do not take kindly to having their slayers kidnapped by scientists with suspicious pasts.”
“What’s that about a ‘past’?” While they were talking, Spike had entered the room as silently as he’d left. He seemed to be over his anger at Buffy as he waited, one eyebrow cocked at Giles, who stared at him with newly respectful eyes. “What? Did I grow horns while I was gone or something?”
“Giles was just saying that the Council knows stuff about Professor Walsh and that she’s a Nazi or something.”
Instead of laughing, Spike narrowed his eyes and grew pensive. “I’ll be dammed,” he said softly, glancing at Riley. “Bloody humans are still trying to use us. Didn’t learn a thing the first time.”
Buffy’s “splainy?” and Giles’s “Bloody hell!” were simultaneous. “What do you know about this?”
“About this?” Spike gestured at Riley. “Nothing. About Nazis and mad scientists and capturing vamps and demons? Been there, done that. Got the salt water in my ears to show for it.”
He quickly recapped his time on the German sub, the plans the Germans had for controlling vampires and using them in the war, and, with only minor reluctance, the role Angel had played in rescuing the crew. When he got to the part where Angel had thrown Spike and the crew member Angel had turned out to swim their way to safety, he snarled, then shrugged. “Guess from the point of view of you white hats, he did the right thing,” he growled. “But it was a long damn swim to shore, and me with an unhappy fledgling to keep from dusting himself.”
“He wanted to dust himself?”
“Was a real war hero, wasn’t he? Angel turned him so’s he could save the sub and all the men left on it. But he didn’t want to be a vamp—” Spike stopped and stared at Buffy. “You remember what I told you about some vamps and demons? Sam was one of them. He knew he needed blood to live, but once he got over that fledge hunger, he didn’t want to kill. Took me a while to talk him out of offing himself.”
While Buffy frowned and absorbed the strange idea of a vampire that wasn’t raving for blood, Giles asked, “Why did you try to talk him out of it?”
Spike looked uncomfortable for a second. “Well, technically, he was family, wasn’t he? Old Peaches knew that when he sent us out. He knew I’d look out for Sam until he could look out for himself.” He shrugged. “Besides, it was boring out there on the briny. I wanted the company.”
“Where is this ‘Sam’ now?”
“No idea. We split up after awhile and I went looking for Dru. He went back to the States; I went back to Europe. Kept clear of any Nazi scientists, though, I can tell you that.”
“I’ll need to report this to the Council,” Giles said.
“Why? So they can put me in one of their little cages and do their own ‘experiments’? I don’t think so, Watcher. I’ll tell you what little I know, but I’m not going anywhere near those wankers.”
“I’m with Spike. The less the Council knows about him, the better.”
Giles studied the two people in front of him wearing almost identical stubborn expressions. “You do understand that you will not be able to keep this from them, do you not? I’m quite sure I am not their only source of information in Sunnydale. They will know that Buffy has taken up with William the Bloody within a very short amount of time. I believe it is in everyone’s best interest that we cooperate with them as much as is possible.”
“Don’t even know if there’s anything to keep yet,” Spike muttered, reaching for Buffy’s hand. “Slayer and I haven’t had time to even get to know each other better – what with nosy Scoobies and kidnapping soldiers.” He waved his hand at the humans staring at them. “And now we’re stuck underground with all of you at the same time.”
“And I cannot tell you how grateful I am for all these distractions,” Giles said, glaring at the two linked hands.
Buffy pulled her hand free, giving Spike a small smile of apology as she did so, and walked over to Riley who had visibly perked up and obviously been listening to their conversation.
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