Chp 9 â€˜I can bring him backâ€˜
Never Alone by Lilachigh
Chp 9 “I can bring him back”
Buffy leapt for the passenger door of the little red car as the lightning flashed and hurled herself inside, grabbing for her seat belt as it accelerated through the mud and pouring rain, away from Willie’s Bar.
“Clem! It is you! Oh it’s so good to see you! What on earth are you doing here? You were in New York when you brought me Spike’s parcel.” She smiled up at the wrinkly, crinkly face of her favourite demon. “And what in all of holy were those black things back there? Demons? They weren’t vampires. What about my car?”
Clem looked worried. “This is a bad area for you to be in, Buffy. This side of the new Sunnydale is rough. Well, more than rough - it’s, well, I’ll explain later. We live on the other side, close to where Revello used to be.”
“We? Clem - do you mean you and Spike!” Her heart lifted and she felt bubbles of pure happiness burst through her veins. “Is he really here?”
The lightning flashed again and Clem swung the car sharply round a huge pot hole in the road, the skin on his arms swinging madly. “No, I didn’t mean Spike.”
“Oh!” Disappointment tasted bitter in her mouth. “So he’s not here in Sunnydale. Willie said he hadn’t seen him either. That’s why I’ve come. I just need to know he’s alive. He vanished from L.A. during the big battle. Angel told me. I thought...I was sure he’d be here.”
She gazed out through the windscreen at the lashing rain. All this way, and no Spike. It was hard to take. Why did she feel so strongly that he was close by? For years she’d always had exactly the same feeling whenever he was within range. Once she’d thought it was because she hated him so much, now - she knew she loved him and their awareness of each other was so strong it could never be wiped out.
She sighed. She would have to go back for her car and drive off to look somewhere else. But where?
It was incredibly difficult to work out whereabouts in Sunnydale they were now; but at least the mud had vanished and the road under the wheels was surfaced. There were new houses and yards, and even a church being built.
Clem swung the car round a corner and drove between the metal struts of what was going to be a shopping mall. At the far end he stopped and got out. Buffy followed him down a flight of metal steps to where a basement level was being excavated.
‘Xander ought to be here,’ she thought. ‘He’d make a fortune with all this construction work going on.’
Clem knocked on a door at the end of a short corridor and it opened swiftly. Buffy stepped back, startled, as a small demon hurled itself out and grabbed Clem round the knees. “Dad! Dad!”
Clem bent and lifted the youngster up into his arms. The child, who was the image of Clem, gazed at Buffy with curious bright eyes, then buried his head under a fold of his father’s skin. “This is Tosh. He’s a little shy.” Clem said proudly.
“Clem! You’ve got a son!” Buffy didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The toddler’s skin was far tighter than Clem’s. Obviously the wrinkly effect happened as he grew older.
“And this is Elsa, my wife. Elsa, this is Buffy, the er, the Slayer I’ve told you about. But a great girl. Gives cool parties.”
A much smaller lady demon, wearing a bright red dress, approached Buffy very nervously, holding out a wrinkly hand .
Buffy smiled in delight. “Hi, Elsa. I’m sorry to arrive out of the blue like this, but Clem sort of rescued me from Willie’s.”
“Hello, Buffy. You’re very welcome. Clem’s talked about you a lot and the old days in Sunnydale before you closed the Hellmouth. You don’t want to go near that part of town where Willie has his bar. It’s a bad area.”
Clem put down the toddler and fussed around producing packets of chips and nibbles, pouring coffee, making sure she was sitting in the most comfortable chair. Tosh had sidled up to her legs, staring up at her, and without thinking, Buffy leant over and pulled him onto her lap where he curled up, playing with her long blonde hair.
“I don’t understand, Clem,” she said wearily. “Why did you come back here? And what’s happening to Sunnydale? The Hellmouth is closed. Why should there be a good and bad side of town again? Were they demons, those black shadowy things?”
Clem sipped a beer. He looked worried. “Buffy, I don’t know. We didn’t like New York and I wanted to come home. I thought Sunnydale would be good place for Tosh to grow up, especially with the Hellmouth closed. But when we got here, we found the Shades were here.”
He looked around nervously, in case someone was listening and lowered his voice. “Some people say they came out of the Hellmouth during the battle, but they’re not worried by light and they don’t die. They’re very dangerous. But if you stay clear of that side of town, you’ll be fine.”
“I’m not here to kill anything, Clem. I’m just trying to find Spike. I can’t believe he’s dead. I’d know it if he was. He’s just - lost - and I’ve got to find him.”
She bent her head to tickle Tosh, smiling as the baby demon giggled up at her and missed the glance Clem sent his wife.
“Hey, Buffy. Bet you’ve got loads of guys running after you in Italy and all those foreign places. And how’s Dawnie? Growing up fine, I bet. And Xander and Willow. ”
Buffy laughed. ‘Dawn’s great. She loves Italy. She still remembers you, Clem, how kind you were to her when - well, you know! She’ll be thrilled to learn about Elsa and Tosh.”
Clem nodded and twirled his fingers nervously together. “So you’ll be going back to Italy now you can’t find Spike?”
Buffy frowned. “I’ve only just got here, Clem. You sound as if you’d be happier if I left right away.”
“No. No! Welcome to stay. We’ve got a spare bed. I’ll go and get your car tomorrow. Have a drive round, see what they’re doing in Sunnydale before you head off home. How about some more chips, have a cookie, Elsa cooks them herself.”
Buffy gently put Tosh down on the floor. “Clem!” she said suspiciously. “What‘s up? You sound nervous. Why do you want me out of here?” A cold chill ran across her body. “It’s Spike, isn't? Do you know where he is, Clem? You said you didn’t!”
Clem looked even more nervous. “No, I just said he wasn’t - it wasn’t Spike who was living with me.”
Buffy stood up, the shivers chasing themselves over her body in wave after wave. “So he is here in Sunnydale? You do know where he is? Clem tell me!” She stared at her favourite demon who was still refusing to speak. In despair, Buffy turned to Elsa. “Please, I know you don’t know me very well, but please, tell Clem he has to let me know where Spike is.”
“It won‘t do you any good, Slayer,” Clem said at last.
“What do you mean? He’s not...he’s not dead.”
“No, but - ”
“Injured. Oh heavens, Clem, I’ve seen him tortured almost to death by the First. I brought him back from that, I can bring him back from anything.”
“Well, he has been injured. Obviously been in a bad fight. Got a bad scar down his forehead - sorry, ” he added as Buffy winced.
His beautiful face, she thought. But it didn’t matter, nothing mattered as long as he was here and she could speak to him.
“But that’s not the problem.”
“Well what is!”
Clem sighed, exchanged another look with his wife then turned to Buffy. “OK, Slayer. I didn’t want to upset you. There’s no point, you see. I thought you could just remember him as he was.”
Buffy swallowed, feeling a bitter sickness rise in the back of her throat. “Is he, is he insane again, like he was when he came back from Africa?”
But Clem just shook his head and beckoned her to follow him. In silence they walked back through the echoing cavern of the basement under the half built mall. At the far end another small metal door led into a maze of small storage rooms. At one Clem stopped and knocked.
“Go away. I’m busy!”
Liquid fire ran through Buffy’s veins. She would have recognised that voice among a million. He was alive! He wasn’t lost any more. She’d said she would find him and she had! Her soul mate, her best friend, her lover. Without thinking, she turned the handle and flung open the door.
Spike was sprawled on a narrow bed, reading; bare-chested, bare footed, his hair a tangled riot of curls tipped peroxide blond at the end of a dark honey. He looked up at her and her breath caught in her throat.
The blue eyes were as scorching sapphire as ever but there was an ugly scar that ran from his hair line diagonally down across the eyebrow that wasn’t already scarred. Miraculously it ended just under the dark eyebrow and hadn’t touched his eye.
“Hey demon, what does it take to get it through your thick, wrinkly skull. I told you yesterday to leave me alone. And your lady friend obviously doesn’t know the meaning of the words ‘go away.’”
“Spike?” Buffy whispered.
The vampire threw down his book. “That name again! Give it a rest, luv. My name’s William, and I’m trying to read, so will you please take your demon boyfriend and go away!”
to be continued
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