Storm Warning by Lilachigh
Chapter 12 Twelve Hours
“Slayer, apart from magicing up a pair of wings, there is no way this heap of rust is going any soddingh faster.”
“Why couldn’t you have borrowed a better car?”
Spike swore violently under his breath. Buffy had arrived at his crypt, waving a note from Dawn, almost incoherent with rage and worry, insisting that they had wheels to help find her sister. His friend Clem’s little red box on four wheels had been the only choice. OK, Clem didn’t actually know Spike had borrowed it, but he wouldn’t mind. Much.
“Listen, pet, calm down. We’re nearly there. Don’t worry. She’ll be fine. Janice is a sensible kid. I bet they got to the bus station, turned round and came home again. I guess we’ll find them at Janice’s house, watching TV and scarfing down chips and chocolate.”
“How can I calm down. Jeez, listen to her note again - 'Dear Buffy, don’t worry, I am going to Los Angeles with a friend for a short trip. We’ll be OK as we’re both responsible (spelt wrongly!) teenagers and Xander told me you used to do all sorts of cool things when you were my age! See you in a couple of days, Love, Dawn.' And what the heck is Xander doing, telling her lies?”
“Do you know how long she’s been gone?”
Buffy bit her lip. She’d hoped he wouldn’t ask. She knew that between her work at the Doublemeat and sneaking out to have sex with Spike, she’d sort of taken her eye off Dawn and what she was doing. OK, she’d grounded her a couple of weeks back for something - she couldn’t remember what because that was the afternoon before she’d gone to the crypt and Spike had tied her arms to a chair and spent hours and hours doing things to her body that had wiped her mind of everything except feeling, hot, weak, never ending feelings that left her aching for more and more and....
“I thought she was up in her room when I got in - and, no I didn’t check right away because....because she wants me to treat her like an adult and look, the first time I try and do that, this is what happens! Willow says she was eating supper just before I got back. I found the note about an hour after she must have left.”
“OK, no good beating yourself up. It’s just a teenage prank. Look, here’s Janice’s house. And lights on downstairs. So everyone’s still up. Go and get the silly Bit. But don’t be too rough on her. Some of this is our fault. We’ve been too - preoccupied lately! I’ll stay in the car. No point in upsetting her parents.”
He watched as Buffy sped up the path, through the front yard, saw the door open and a woman - he supposed was Janice’s mother - stand talking. He waited for Dawn to appear, then felt himself vamp out and back. Buffy’s body language was telling him straight away that there was trouble. Minutes later, Janice appeared and then Buffy was racing back down the path, throwing herself into the car.
“OK, now tell me she’s not in danger!”
“Not there, obviously. What did Janice say? Had they planned this trip to L.A.?”
“Drive home, fast. She may have phoned Willow while I’m out. No, Janice looked very scared, very confused, but quite clear that she and Dawn haven’t been hanging out much lately.”
Spike spun the car fast round a corner, the tyres screaming in protest. “But you said she’s been out almost every night recently?”
“Janice says Dawn has a new set of friends. She doesn’t know who they are. She’s tried to meet them, but Dawn just shut her out. Janice thinks they’re older kids. Spike - she might be involved in anything! Drink - drugs - sex!”
Spike braked to a halt outside Buffy’s house. “New plan. We worry, but we don’t over-react. These kids might be OK. Dawn’s not stupid, pet. She wouldn’t be taken in by vamps. She learnt her lesson about that. The bus to L.A. takes ages. We can catch it up - no problem.”
Buffy forced herself to relax, unclenching fingers that had dug little crescents of pain into her palms. “Yes, bus is good. Bus is safe, what with a driver and other passengers. Normal, nice people who ride on buses.”
“And hey, she might still be in Sunnydale. We’re not thinking straight, pet. Why would she catch a bus at night? They’ll want to get to L.A. during the day. For shops and things. Even teenagers wouldn’t want to arrive in a big city in the middle of the night.”
Buffy felt a wave of relief sweep over her. Of course! Spike was right. Dawn and her friend would still be at the Sunnydale bus station, probably asleep on benches, waiting for the first bus that would get them into L.A. around six or seven in the morning.
“OK! Let’s check there now. Jeez, I’ll kill her when I find her. She is so grounded now. For months. Until she’s eighteen! Twenty! Thirty!”
Spike waited until Buffy had checked with Willow that there had been no message, then headed into town. He could sense the waves of anger and tension coming from the girl sitting next to him. Sense it and almost taste it. She was absentmindedly punching her fists into his thigh as he drove and he fought back his desire - god, how he wanted her, right now, right this second, here in the car. That tension would be so good to release in a very, very special way. How she would scream. How he would love to hear it.
New plan, he thought again. Find Dawn, get her home, take Buffy back to the crypt - suddenly he vamped out, braking and swerving a stop, the wheels bumping up onto the sidewalk.
“What the ? Why have you stopped? We’re nearly there. It’s just another block.”
Spike nodded towards a dark passage between two buildings. Despite the passion racing through his head, he knew what he’d just seen and a very nasty suspicion was beginning to form in his brain. “Over there, pet. Lynfra demon. I can’t remember the last time I saw one out in the open. They rarely come above ground, except - “
“Lynfra - you mean like that great purple thing and its little kid that Dawn found when - Oh no!”
“This time you stay in the car, Slayer. It’s too big a coincidence. That kid, what was her name - Eriddny. They grow faster than humans. She’d be about fifteen now.”
Buffy stared at him. “But still demon. Dawn wouldn’t be so stupid - I mean, a baby demon, but she must be almost full grown - oh god, Spike!”
“I don’t want Mama Lynfra to see you. Stay still. I’ll find out what she knows.”
A swirl of leather and he vanished into the darkness of the passageway. Minutes ticked past and just as she was about to get out of the car and get involved, no matter what Spike said, he was back, his face set in an expression she didn’t understand.
“Well? Are we right? Does she know where Dawn is?”
“We’ve got twelve hours, pet.”
“Twelve - what for?”
“To find Dawn and Eriddny and bring them safely home. Her note to her mother was a bit more detailed than Dawnie’s to you. Yes, they’ve gone to L.A. But not on a bus - which, of course, makes sense, because hey, even a half-witted driver would notice something whose face was in the middle of their waist! They’ve gone in the back of a delivery truck from the mall. They’ll be back when, to quote Mama Lynfra, ‘they’ve had an adventure!’”
“And the twelve hours?” Buffy’s voice sound like nails on glass.
“That’s how long before Mama Lynfra tells Papa Lynfra and they tear Sunnydale into tiny, tiny little pieces.”
He glanced across at his lover and watched, alarmed, as that look of cold, calculating Slayerdom settled across her face. And he knew what she was going to say, before she even knew herself.
“We’ve only one choice, Spike. We have to contact - ”
He finished the sentence for her - “Angel.”