Chapter 8: Unexpected Arrivals.
“Angelus.” Spike repeated.
Angel looked to the unconscious form of his ex girlfriend. His expression showed concern for her condition, but no surprise for it.
“You SON of a bitch.” Spike snarled, taking a threatening step towards his sire. “WHAT did you do?” he demanded, immediately assuming that he was behind it.
“I’m NOT Angelus.” Angel insisted. His eyes ticked to Buffy again before he met the furious eyes of his childe.
“I was looking for Buffy and…” he trailed off.
“Well you’ve found her, now get out of my way.” Spike demanded as he tried to step past him.
Angel moved to block his path and Spike’s rage increased.
“Are you blind as well as stupid?” he roared. “She needs to go to a hospital.”
“I know.” Angel replied. “Give her to me, I’ll take her. My car’s out fro--"
“Over my un-dead body.” Spike spat out. “I’m takin’ her.”
Angel raised an eyebrow. “The medics will take one look at you and try to hospitalize you as well.” He pointed out.
Spike looked down at his bloodstained shirt and skin and cursed. Angel was right.
“I’m coming.” He insisted.
Angel shook his head in the negative. “You go to Giles’ place and inform him of what’s happened and I’ll take her to the hospital.”
Spike looked from Angel to Buffy, and back again before finally relenting. Angel would get her there quicker than he would, and her watcher would want to know what was going on, and the whelp, red and the nibblet.
“Alright.” He said gruffly.
Angel held out his arms and Spike gently handled Buffy over to him. Her head lolled backwards and Spike gave her a fleeting look before taking off in the direction of Giles’ place.
Angel watched Spike leave and then scanned the graveyard for a moment before running towards his car.
Giles was scanning books of prophecies for mentions of the key. After the attack in the Magic Box, he had closed up shop and left immediately to begin his research. Luckily, he had already begun searching for references to the key because of the threat of Glory, and all the references were page marked.
Now all he had to look for was a mention of the prodigal…
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Giles jumped in his seat at his desk, startled by the sudden noise, the book he was reading clattering to the floor with a thump. He stood quickly and moved to the door and threw it open expecting Buffy.
“Spike.” He snapped.
Spike shoved past him and into the apartment, and it was then that Giles noticed the limp in his step, the pain in his expression, and the blood coating his arms and shirt.
“What happened?” he asked his worry evident in his tone of voice. “Buffy was lookin--“
“She found me.” Spike interrupted. “She’s been hurt Giles, hurt bad.”
“I need a Doctor! This woman needs some help!” Angel shouted as he rushed through the doors of Sunnydale Memorial, Buffy’s limp unconscious body cradled in his arms.
Nurses immediately came to his aid, taking one look at Buffy’s bloodstained clothing before one of the ran off to page a surgeon. A gurney was wheeled towards Angel and Buffy was taken from his arms and gently placed on it. Two nurses attended to her, checking her vitals before wheeling her off towards the operating theatre.
A third nurse came over to Angel with paperwork, asking him all sorts of questions about Buffy and her medical history. He answered as best as he could as he watched her disappear behind the swinging doors.
“How did this happen?” the nurse probed.
“She was mugged…” Angel replied calmly, his distress for her shining through his eyes.
Giles paled at Spike’s words. It took a moment before his concerns for his slayer were replaced with rage when it occurred to him that Spike knew Buffy was hurt; yet she wasn’t here.
He grabbed the vampire by the neck of his shirt and slammed him up against a wall. “And you just LEFT her there?” he snarled incredulously, hints of Ripper appearing in his expression.
“NO!” Spike retorted, ripping the watchers hands away from his throat. “Angel took her to the hospital.”
Surprise replaced Giles’ rage. “Angel? But he should be in--“
“…LA. I know.” Spike interrupted. “But he’s in town, and he took Buffy to the hospital. I couldn’t exactly walk in there like this…” he said waving a hand to indicate the blood that covered him.
“Right.” Giles replied, his voice a little calmer than it had been moments ago. “I’ll just go--“
“…to the hospital. I’ll call up the scoobies.” Spike offered.
Giles was astounded by Spike’s offer and it took him a moment to respond. “Right.” He said again. “The numbers are by the phone, I believe Dawn is at Janice’s house again. The numbers there on the list and--“
“…Just get to the hospital Rupert.” Spike interrupted for a third time. “I can handle a few phone calls.”
Giles just nodded, reached for a coat on the hook by the door and left.
Spike watched him leave before moving to the telephone and beginning the ring around.
Angel paced the hallway of the Sunnydale Memorial impatiently as he waited for the doctor who had taken Buffy to return with news of her condition. So far, there had been nothing.
He turned around to resume his pacing in the opposite direction, when he saw them walking in his direction. Giles, Willow, Xander, Anya, a blond female that he didn’t recognize, and Dawn.
Giles was the first to speak. “Angel. Any news?”
Angel shook his head to the negative.
“So Dead-Boy, back in town. I’ve got to say, impeccable timing.” Xander piped up.
Angel bit back the retort that was on the tip of his tongue when Xander reached out with his right hand to shake that of the vampires. Willow was next, a quiet “Hey” being her only greeting.
He turned to look at Dawn, and found himself wrapped in a tight embrace. Dawn buried her face into Angel’s chest and he could feel the wetness of her tears seeping through his shirt. He wrapped one arm around the small girl and held her tightly.
“Buffy’s strong Dawn.”
Dawn pulled away and nodded once, sniffling.
“All we can do is wait.”
Spike locked the door to Giles’ apartment as he left. To say that Buffy’s friends were surprised to hear his voice on the other end of the phone line was an understatement. Xander, had to be called twice because he hung up the first time as soon as he found out who it was spouting his annoyance about the time. It was only when Spike blurted out that Buffy was in the hospital immediately after he picked up the telephone the second time, did he have the boy’s attention.
Once they’d all been notified he had taken a moment to think, to try and sort out in his head exactly what had happened. This attack was premeditated. There was no way it was a spur of the moment thing, it had been organized. He had just been lucky that the last few henchmen hadn’t been loyal to their boss, because if they had been…
He closed his eyes, not even wanting to think about what could have happened to her if he hadn’t gotten her away so quickly.
If Angel hadn’t gotten her away so quickly…
A thoughtful frown crossed his face as he limped in the direction of his crypt. What was Angel even doing in town?
The doctor walked down the hallway towards the waiting room where the large group of people was waiting to hear news of his patient.
They all stood up when they saw the doctor slowly walking towards them, and Dawn took one look at his somber expression before bursting into tears and wrapping her arms around Giles. Giles wrapped an arm around Dawn’s shoulder as he desperately tried to control the panic that was rising within him. The expression on the doctor’s face was grim.
Xander was the one to finally speak. “Doctor how is she?”
The doctor looked at the chart in his hands for a moment before meeting the gazes of the people before him. “She’s critical.” He said calmly. “The stab wound she received when she was mugged was quite deep and she’s lost a lot of blood.”
Willow gasped audibly, her eyes shining with tears that she was barely managing to contain. She grasped at Tara’s hand, clenching it tightly in hers as the doctor continued.
“We had to operate.”
Giles inhaled slow and deep as the doctor described the procedure.
“She was actually quite lucky that none of her major organs were damaged in the attack.”
Xander clenched his jaw. His friend was lying in a hospital bed and the doctor was saying she was lucky?
“C-can we see her?” Dawn’s timid voice asked, her face streaked with tears.
The doctor’s expression softened slightly. “She’s in recovery at the moment, as soon as we move her into a room you’ll be able to visit with her.” He sighed, hating what he had to inform them of next.
“We managed to stop the bleeding and sew up her wound, but the blood loss was too extensive. I’m afraid she’s slipped into a coma.”
The thread of control Willow had been hanging onto snapped and tears began to rush from her eyes. Tara wrapped her arms around her girlfriend in an attempt to sooth her.
“If we’d gotten to her earlier…” he said eyeing Angel with suspicion. He was well aware of the fact that it was he who brought his patient in tonight, but there was just something about the dark haired man that made him feel uneasy.
Angel had been silent the entire time the doctor had been speaking but he couldn’t handle anymore, not missing the obvious dig made to him. If Dawn hadn’t been present he would have had the doctor slammed up against a wall by his throat. He clenched and unclenched his fists, his jaw tensing in anger.
The doctor seemed to notice the hostility in Angel’s eyes and he took a wary step back.
“Is she going to be okay?” Giles asked, finally finding his voice.
The doctor’s eyes ticked to the elder gentleman of the group. “She is breathing on her own, and her vitals are strong, but there’s nothing more we can do for her right now. The sooner she wakes from this coma, the better.”
Having given that last piece of information, the doctor offered his apologies and turned and walked back down the hall.
Angel slammed his fist into the wall behind him and everyone jumped at the noise. He should have gotten her here sooner… he should have been here sooner…
“Angel, you did all you could.” Giles said.
“And it wasn’t enough.” He growled out. He wanted to be by Buffy’s side but sunrise would soon be upon them.
Sensing the hesitation in him, Giles nodded once. “We’ll let you know if there’s any change.”
Angel’s expression softened, nodding once to show his appreciation. Searching in his pockets, he removed a business card with his cell phone number on it, handing it to Giles who pocketed it immediately. “I’ll be at the Mansion.” He informed them before turning and disappearing down the hall towards the exit.
Spike made it to his crypt no long before sunrise, collapsing on his bed. The more he thought about it, the more convinced he was that something wasn’t right. What had brought Angel back to town so suddenly?
He passed out almost instantly, dreaming of golden hair and vanilla…
A few hours later Giles and Dawn were the only two remaining in the hospital. Giles had convinced the others to go home and get rest, and Anya was going to go open the Magic Box for business where they would all meet at lunchtime.
He looked to his side, smiling softly. Dawn was curled up, sleeping on 3 of the hospital chairs with his coat thrown over her for warmth. He was just contemplating getting up for some bad coffee when a nurse approached them. Gently waking Dawn, they listened as the nurse explained that Buffy had stabilized enough to be moved into a room, but she was still in the coma.
Dawn had demanded to see her and the nurse had given them directions to Buffy’s room, leaving them outside the door. When she opened the door, she almost wished that she hadn’t been so insistent on seeing her sister so soon.
Buffy’s face was mottled with bruises and there were wires and tubes everywhere. There were two IV’s sticking in her arms and a heartbeat monitor beeped beside the bed. The side of her face that wasn’t bruised was ashen in colour, pale against the white of the sheets.
Dawn began crying again as she leaned up against Giles, turning her face away from the bed when she could no longer bare looking at her sister. She looked so weak, so small in that bed. If it weren’t for the steady beeping of the heart monitor, Dawn would have sworn that she was lifeless.
Giles moved to the seat beside the bed and sat down, Dawn dragging another beside his and making herself as comfortable as possible as she cried for her sister.
Giles fought back his own tears for Dawn’s sake, only letting them fall when she had exhausted herself and fallen asleep.
Buffy was running blindly, trying to find the exit. She knew it had to be here somewhere…
Fear drove her on as she ran through the murky darkness. Common sense told her to slow, to be more cautious… to feel her way around. But she did not have time… somewhere in the darkness… it hid.
She stumbled and fell, her breath was knocked out of her and something splashed on her arms as she landed but she quickly dragged herself to her feet and continued running. Her feet sank into the squishy earth beneath her, almost as if the ground was trying to consume her. And she wouldn’t be surprised if it was…
She was lost, she was tired, and she was scared. But she wouldn’t give up… not while SHE was out there. SHE was hunting her and hunting Dawn.
Buffy would find the answers… but first she had to find a way home…
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