Storm Warning by Lilachigh
Chapter 15 Love for Sale
Buffy wriggled around on the cold ground, trying to get comfortable. They’d been searching for Dawn for hours now - the sun was high in the sky outside and this small, dark cave, deep below the busy streets of Los Angeles, had been a welcome refuge. But she couldn’t sleep, not while her sister was missing.
A solitary candle still burnt in one corner - she had no idea where Spike had found it but the flickering flame at least showed her the black of the passageway outside. Even as she looked, she heard the scrape of boots on rock and Spike was there, dropping to his knees at her side. She didn’t bother asking him if there was any news - the candle flame lit up the taut, worried expression on his face.
“Sorry, Slayer. Nothing! It’s as if they’ve dropped off the edge of the world.” He grinned suddenly. “Sorry, pet. I know there isn’t really an edge to drop off! Not in this universe, anyway. But I’d like to know how two teenagers, one human and one demon can just vanish. I’ve left messages with every demon I found. Someone will know something and I’ve promised death and destruction if I’m not told.”
Buffy pulled her knees up to her chest and clasped her arms round them. “They’re in big trouble, aren’t they?” she said quietly.
Spike reached out, unclasped her fingers and pulled her into his arms. She pushed her face against the chill of his T-shirt, desperate to get as close as she could. She felt the fever he started in her body begin to rise once more and groaned as his fingers pried and slid under her clothes, tracing icy patterns on her hot skin until she couldn’t bear the waiting any longer and she was tearing at his jeans, desperate for the antidote to this sickness that she couldn’t cure as he blew out the candle and plunged them both into darkness.
The flick of his lighter as he relit the candle jolted her back to the world of worry, regret and anxiety. The vampire was already dressed and Buffy pulled on what he’d left of her clothes in silence, hoping the tears on her top would look like some new fashion statement, rather than a vampire’s maddened desire to kiss her breasts.
“Look at me, Slayer! Stop feeling guilty.”
“Of course I feel guilty! And so should you. We should be out there, searching for Dawn, not....not...well, we just shouldn’t. It’s wrong. Just because you can’t feel guilt any more, doesn’t mean I don’t. Just because you enjoy sex, doesn’t mean it’s right to keep on doing it. Because that’s what you said once, wasn’t it...doing a Slayer!”
Spike felt the shock of hurt race through his body. He had to admit that guilt was an emotion he’d never felt for too many years to remember, and he was quite certain that even if he still had that ability, making love to Buffy would never make him feel guilty, whatever the situation. And although “enjoy” wasn’t a strong enough word for what he felt when they were together, he knew it wasn’t just about the physical sensations; no, it was far deeper, far more complicated than that.
“Well, Slayer, sorry to add to your burdens,” he drawled. “Thought I was helping you take your mind off things for a while, but hey - moving on here.”
“Listen - I didn’t mean - “
“But you did, Slayer. Sometimes you make me angry, pet, and that’s an emotion I can still feel, believe me.”
Buffy glared at him, ignoring the fact that she loved the way the candle light danced across the flat planes of his face, casting shadows and hollows she wanted to kiss. “I have no idea what you have to be angry about. And I don’t care. I just want to find Dawn and get her home - hopefully in one piece.”
Spike sighed. “So, plan B, do you want me to take you to find your first lover boy? He might have some information.”
“It’s daylight outside.”
“We don’t need to go above ground, pet.”
“You can find this hotel place he lives in from underground?”
Spike nodded. He knew it wasn’t the right time to tell Buffy that he could trace Angel across continents if he wanted to. The connection between them might at times thin to a gossamer thread, but it never broke, never.
* * * *
Dawn Summers paced nervously back and forth across the room she’d been lead to an hour before. Two female demons had pulled her, struggling and kicking, but hey, they had six arms each so no fair fight, and to her horror had forced her to strip off her jeans and top and put on a long white dress, bare on one shoulder, belted with gold chain. They’d fussed and muttered about her hair until finally one had held Dawn still while the other one put it up in a complicated knot at the back of her head with tendrils trailing down her back.
Dawn was in no doubt what all the fuss was about - she was going to be auctioned off to some stinky, vile demon creature who would do - well, whatever he was going to do to her, she knew it wouldn’t be anything like the romantic ideas she’d always had about what her first lover would be like!
She’d checked every inch of the room - but there was no window, no hidden trap-doors and the door to the outside was locked tight. She’d searched for a weapon, anything she could use to fight the demons when they came for her. She knew Buffy would have found one but the only chair was so heavy she couldn’t even lift it, let alone break off an arm or a leg to use as a club. She’d tried prying up a floor board but only managed to break off a nail. The room was impregnable.
“OK, not good, so I’ll just save my strength until they come and get me,” she muttered. “There’ll be a chance - I just have to keep my eyes open and make sure I don’t freeze when it arrives. I’ll pretend I’m Buffy! That will help.”
She wondered what was happening to Erridny. She didn’t have any great fears for the Lynfra’s safety: it would be a very brave demon who took on that girl in battle, especially as they would all know that Erridny’s parents would probably flatten the whole of Los Angeles in revenge if anything bad happened to their daughter.
For the first time she allowed herself to wonder, seriously, how Buffy would feel if her sister vanished or was killed. She remembered the Slayer’s complete control over her grief when their mom died.
“I fell to pieces, lots and lots of little pieces, but Buffy...she just got on with organizing the funeral and sorting things out. I don’t even remember seeing her cry.”
Dawn tried to blink back tears that were determined to burn her eyes. She had the nastiest feeling that Buffy might be sad for a little while if her sister died or vanished into some demon hell-hole, but then would come an overwhelming sense of relief that she didn’t have to take care of her, be responsible any more. It made her feel dreadfully alone, as if she was the only person in the whole world without anyone who really cared about her. Oh she guessed that Spike might be upset but as long as he had the Slayer by his side, Dawn knew deep inside herself that nothing and nobody else was of any real importance to him.
Willow, Xander, Anya, Tara, even Giles. Dawn was well aware that once she hadn’t been in their lives, no matter what memories told them. If she died, then their world would go back to what it had been before skanky old monks and keys and Glory existed.
Suddenly there was a soft, insistent scraping on the door - as if someone with very long nails was running them up and down the wood.
“Eriddny! Are you OK?” Dawn pressed her ear against the solid panel and tried in vain to turn the handle.
“Yes - you?”
“I can hardly hear you, but yes, they’ve got me all dressed up, though. I think they’re going to auction me off as some sort of virgin bride!”
“Yes, I heard them talking about it. There’ll be an auction. They’ve sent messages out all over the demon world. Apparently every month they auction off girls they’ve stolen from the streets and you’re going to be the star attraction! And Dawn, if some really bad demon pays top dollar for you, you can guess what he’ll want in return!”
“I’d rather die.”
“I don’t blame you! But hey, perhaps it’ll be some really cool, young, good-looking demon. That would be a plus.”
Dawn felt grateful that Eriddny was trying to cheer her up, but shuddered anyway. “No it wouldn’t! Look, can’t you get me out of here.”
“There’s no key and if I try and break down the door, I’ll make such a noise that they’ll swarm all over us.”
“How did you escape?”
“Guard came in with food and I killed him and stuffed him under the bed but they’ll find him eventually. Listen, I’m going for help. Do you know anyone here in town?”
Dawn bit back her horror at her friend killing things and tried to concentrate: Buffy would be searching for her back in Sunnydale - there was no one in L.A. she could - oh!”
“I don’t exactly know him but there’s a vampire called Angel who’s a great friend of Buffy. He’s some sort of detective and lives in a great big place that used to be a hotel. He might help - he doesn’t know me, but he and Buffy were - well, lovers, I suppose and from what I’ve heard from our friends, he’d do anything for her. Find him, tell him I’m Dawn Summers and then go home. Your parents will be tearing Sunnydale apart looking for you.”
“Yeah, boring, and they won’t recognise me when they see me.”
There was a long pause, then Eriddny said sadly, “I’ve sort of grown in the last few hours. And the purple hair has sprouted all over me. I’m turning into my mother! It’s gross.”
Dawn remembered exactly what size the Lynfra demon mom had been when they met the one time months before and tried not to shudder. It was difficult to picture her friend who’d only been tiny when Dawn first knew her, now being over seven foot tall and probably still growing in strength. She muttered something sympathetic and tried not to think that she would love to become someone as special as Joyce Summers. She had no inclination to want to be like Buffy - except for the slaying and watching and general fun, of course - but her mom had been such a lovely woman. Everyone had adored her and if she grew up to be half as nice, that would be okay with her.
“OK, old hotel, vampire guy called Angel, tell him you’re the Slayer’s little sis. I’ll be as fast as I can. Don’t antagonize them, but if I’m not back and they start selling you, just fight as hard as you can. I’ll try and track you down if they move you.”
In the silence that followed, Dawn felt even more alone. She forced her legs to stop shaking. She would not give in to being scared. Buffy wouldn’t. But then Buffy was the Slayer! She had powers: some probably she hadn’t even used yet. So her only hope of avoiding this slave auction was a temperamental Lynfra demon. Even though Eridnny was bigger and probably scarier, she was still only young in demon years. If she was trapped or ambushed, Dawn would never know and her only chance of escape would be gone. And, to make matters worse, what if Angel didn’t want to help?
“I never really understood about him and Buffy,” she thought wearily. “After all, she can be super annoying when she wants to be. He might have been glad they broke up. Glad to get away and lead a cool life here in L.A. Perhaps he’ll think it’s not up to him to rescue me.”
She finally backed into a corner of the room, refusing to sit on the bed in case she fell asleep and they came for her. She stared down at her hands: they seemed very small and harmless but they were all she had as weapons. And if Eriddny couldn’t find Angel and get him to help, then she would be forced to use them to kill, maim and destroy.