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Pop Goes the Weasel by slaymesoftly
All For One and One For All
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Chapter Two   More Than Meets the Eye
Safely covered by clothing and a big hat, Spike ran to the shelter of his customized car, sliding behind the steering wheel and waiting for Buffy to join him.  He could see George waiting impatiently at the end of the driveway, already turned around and ready to leave.  While he waited for Buffy to lock the door and carry the rest of the weapons to the car, he shook his head at how different life was in this world.  Of the few cars that went past while George and his colorful van sat in the street, facing the wrong way, not a one of them yelled, honked or made interesting gestures.  They just calmly drove around the impediment to their progress and continued on their way.
Buffy slammed the trunk shut and hopped in the front seat.
"Okie, dokie. We're ready." 
"Okie, dokie?"
"Don't make fun of the way I talk, Mr. sodding, bloody bint."
"I am not a bint, Slayer." 
"Whatever. Don't make fun of the way I talk."
"But it's so easy," he said, grinning as he pulled out into the street to follow George's van.
The trip to the K'vleck village was uneventful, and by the time they arrived, the early Winterset dusk was already setting in.  They parked where George had indicated, beside a long wooden building that he explained was their combination community center and town hall.  Inside, hopeful faces turned toward them as the Slayer and her vampire companion followed George to the front of the room.
He quickly – and unnecessarily – introduced them, asking those who'd had personal encounters with the marauders to come forward and give Spike and Buffy as much information as they could.  While Spike chatted quietly with the mother of the child who'd been snatched from her bed, Buffy listened carefully to the other adult K'vlecks and made quick notes about anything that might be important.
The general theme was pretty much teeth, claws, and overwhelming numbers. The only new piece of information she got was that the creatures seemed to emerge from nowhere.
"We have guards posted all around the outside," one disgruntled villager said.  "They’re all close enough to see each other, and all armed with swords or axes.  And yet, these things just seem to pop out of thin air. One minute, there's nothing there, and then the next, there they are."
"You can't see them coming?"
He shook his head.  "Nope. And to get into that house, they had to get past the guards undetected.  No one saw them until the child screamed and her mother rushed into the room and found them dragging her out through a hole in wall."
"Hmmm." Buffy's reply was non-committal. Unless there was magic involved, she couldn't imagine how the creatures could come and go so easily.  "Do they disappear when they leave?"
"That's the weird part. We can always watch them leave and follow them. But, they just run until they get to the big one. And then we're too busy trying not to be killed to watch where they go from there."
"How many of you have been killed?"
"Only two, so far; but we have four others in the Infirmary recovering from their wounds."
Spike had charmed both the child and her mother, to the point that the little girl with the pointed ears and violet tint to her skin was sitting on his lap and explaining carefully about the "big rats" that had tried to carry her off.
"Did they bite you, love?" he asked, his sympathetic frown reassuring her that terrible things would happen to them if that was the case.  She nodded her head and held out one arm that was wrapped in a large bandage.  "Yes, and then when my mommy tried to pull be away, one of them clawed me."
Her mother spoke up.  "They were carrying her away – not really trying to eat her.  I don't know how they did that without cutting her up more than she is, but they did."
"But," Buffy said, joining the conversation, "when you are chasing them, they do bite and claw then, don't they?"
"Oh yes." The female demon pointed to multiple bandages on her arms and legs.  "They bit me like crazy.  I thought they were going to kill me until the guards came and beat them off."
"What happens to the ones you kill?"
No one answered, and there were embarrassed shrugs from the adults present.
"You don't know?" Spike's voice dripped with disbelief as he handed the little demon back to her mother, ruffling her hair and calling her "bitesize".  "Do they drag their dead away? Do you pile them up and burn them? Do you have a collection of rotting bodies around the village?"
"We're too busy worrying about the ones still alive," the head of the security force said defensively.  "What do we care what happens to the dead ones?"
Spike and Buffy exchanged looks, and he said in disgust, "Because they may or may not be dead.  Sounds like there's something magical going on here, and that means the little buggers might not die as permanently as you'd like to think."
"Only one way to find out," Buffy said, shouldering her weapon bag and picking up her sword.  "Let's go find ourselves some weasels to make dead."
Politely refusing to participate in the evening meal, Buffy and Spike returned to their car for a quick snack and to discuss the situation in private.  Buffy had long since learned that no matter how human they might seem, or how good their intentions, meals offered by demons often contained things she would just as soon not know were considered food groups; so she always brought along her own sandwiches.  Spike, of course, had a few bags of blood stashed in a cooler, one of which he punctured with a fang and began to sip.
"Any ideas?" Buffy asked around a mouthful of peanut butter and jelly.
"Not a clue, pet. But there should be furry little bodies piled up all over here and there isn't a trace of one, so something's going on."
As soon as they had finished eating, they left the car and began a slow circuit of what they'd been shown to be the main part of the village. Families that lived in more outlying areas had long since temporarily moved into the center of the town where they were at least surrounded by guards, even if those guards couldn't seem to intercept the creatures before they emerged somewhere unprotected. Buffy and Spike also stopped to examine the gaping hole that the creatures had chewed through the wall of the house from which the child had been taken.
"Pretty impressive chewing," Buffy said, staring through the hole into what was clearly the little girl’s room.
Spike's only comment was a grunt of assent while he sniffed around the hole and the ground under it.  He shook his head at the confusing mix of scents.  In addition to the scent of the child and her mother, easily recognized, he could also smell something acrid and unpleasant.
"Buggers stink, whatever they are," he grumbled, standing up and looking around.
"All part of their charm, I'm sure," Buffy said. "Let's go see if we can find some. You can tell them how bad they smell after we capture or kill one."
It took over an hour to circumnavigate the entire complex, Spike stopping to chat briefly with a guard here and there and Buffy watching the brush for any sign of attack.  They had just returned to where they began when a scream from the nearest guard brought them running to find him being swarmed by snarling, biting creatures that had not been there a few seconds earlier when Spike and Buffy walked right past him.
"Show time," Buffy said, dropping the bag and swinging her sword free.
"Right behind you, love," Spike said, dropping into game face and baring his fangs in a joyful grin.
Spike waded into the bodies swarming over the steadily weakening guard, biting them in half and spitting them on the ground while he snatched others and tossed them toward Buffy and her sword.  She was decapitating them as quickly as she could, trying to keep a count at the same time so they would know how many they had.
When reinforcements had arrived and the guard had been hustled off to the infirmary, the remaining creatures turned and ran toward the brush.  Spike and Buffy ran after them, easily catching up with the stragglers and dispatching them as they ran by. 
"This is almost too easy, pet," Spike said, twisting the head off another creature and dropping the body behind him.
"I was kinda thinking that – it's almost like they are slowing down deliberately..."
As one, they stopped and looked at each other.
Grabbing the body Spike had just dropped, Buffy began to back away, her sword at the ready.
"Okay, let's go back and see what happens to this one now that he's dead."
"Got your back, love," he agreed, extending all his senses – night vision, sense of smell and acute hearing – but feeling nothing around them.  Moving quickly, but not so quickly as to appear to be running away, they retreated to the illusionary safety of the K'vleck village.
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