Note: Thanks to my beta t_geyer for her unending patience, perseverance and support.
SECTION 2 - ANOTHER SUITCASE IN ANOTHER HALL
So what happens now?
(Another suitcase in another hall)
So what happens now?
(Take your picture off another wall)
Where am I going to?
(You'll get by, you always have before)
Where am I going to?
(Don't ask anymore)
(Barbara Dickson, Lyrics and Music by T Rice and A Lloyd Webber
[I know. I know. I'm eternally sorry but the lyrics kind of fit.])
Friday, May 17th, 2002
As Spike pushed his body towards its limits he could feel the change begin to come over him unbidden, and for once despite the fact he normally kept the demon trapped within, he let its strength infuse him. It was far better to aid his love as a demon, than to fail her as a man. Heavy boots pounded the sidewalks that separated him from his girl, eating away at the distance between them.
Buffy ran for the girl as fast as she could, but she had a greater distance to cover than the vampire gang. Maybe it was time for some taunting.
"Hey! Guess you guys were so caught up in how much you were attracted to Kiefer Sutherland, that you missed out on the fact that a) if The Lost Boys were ever cool it was a couple of decades ago, and b) he died."
"But after he died he got to stay young and look pretty, which is more than you will, little girl, unless we decide we want a new sex toy." Four of the vampires, including one who did indeed look a bit like Kiefer's taller, long-haired, blond side-kick in the movie, turned aside from their original prey to intercept what they thought was a new plaything.
Buffy rolled her eyes in despair. "So, which bus did you guys just come in on? Figure it must be somewhere big, open and empty like your heads, otherwise you'd know to stay clear of this particular town. Iowa, maybe?"
Even as she stalled, hoping the remaining four vamps would content themselves with cutting off the girl from any obvious source of aid until their buddies had dealt with her, she knew that Spike was rapidly closing on the bus station and that his chosen route was going to bring him running over the roofs of several nearby buses to land on top of the two vamps nearest the girl.
"San Fernando, actually."
Buffy closed the gap between herself and what she now thought of as her half of the group. "And as to me being your sex toy, try using your noses and you might realise I've got way better than you to keep me hot and bothered at night. You Def Leppard wannabes aren't even in the same league."
For just a second after he sniffed the air, the leader's expression of equanimity crumbled to betray a look of fear. Then, his mask of bravado slid back into place. "I don't see any man of yours here now. All that scent tells me is that you like something cold and hard between those skinny little legs of yours. I'm sure we'll all be happy to oblige before we drain you."
"Puh-lease. As if... The closest any of you are going to get to my butt is when your dust coats my clothes." The slayer suddenly shifted into attack mode, fists and feet flying as she pulled Mr Pointy from the back of her jeans waistband.
Without a glance in his direction, Buffy was aware of Spike's approach as he launched himself upward from a distance of about six feet away, clearing the chainlink fence surrounding the depot, to land gracefully on the roof of a bus that was parked at the edge of the station, his duster billowing behind him. Her sudden activity bought him just the distraction he needed.
Three more graceful leaps from roof to roof and he dropped just behind and between the two vamps that were closest to the girl, snapping one of their necks with a vicious twist as soon as his feet were placed firmly enough on the ground to give him the leverage to do so. Ironically, it was his arrival that caused the girl to abandon her suitcase and flee, having been only slightly worried by the approach of the four still apparently human youths. After all, nothing was going to happen to her in full view of the waiting room.
"Bloody hell!" the vamp swore. "Some people just don't know when they're bein' rescued."
Spike didn't have time to check her progress as she ran for the waiting room. Instead, he dropped and spun, an outstretched foot taking the legs of his remaining opponent out from under him before his colleagues could join the fray, leaving him lying flat on his back as Spike completed the three sixty degree turn and plunged a stake into his chest.
After that the remainder of the fight turned into a speed-staking competition. Buffy was all for a bit of fun and banter with her prey, but there was no way she was going to risk letting Spike deal with all of his opponents and then 'come to her rescue', especially when he'd kept her waiting, and of course, she had the orbs.
As two of her opponents were dusted in rapid succession, the Lost Boy look-alike pushed his remaining follower into the slayer, who hadn't quite regained her balance after a spin kick, causing both to fall to the ground in a tangle of limbs. Reaching around the deceptively heavy vampire that lay atop her, Buffy gave him a hard poke in the ribs with something sharp and tree-derived. As he turned to dust, she held her breath and flipped to her feet, but the glam-rock vamp had too much of a head start and scooped up the girl as she ran for the waiting room, one arm wrapping around her waist and his other hand covering her mouth. Buffy slowed, knowing that until Spike dealt with what was now his one remaining opponent, she and the vamp were at an impasse. A single twist of the vampire's arm and the girl would be nothing more than an oversized rag-doll, limp and lifeless in his arms.
Even as she walked slowly toward the vamp and his hostage and Spike took his last remaining opponent, punching through his chest to pull out his heart and crush it between his fingers, the couple formulated routes by which Spike could come up behind the hostage-taker.
Suddenly, even as Spike began to circle round taking advantage of the cover provided by various vehicles that were parked for the night, the other vamp sank to his knees, loosening his hold on the girl.
Buffy's mouth dropped open in shock as she saw Brandon's head appear over the vampire's shoulder. The wooden cross she had given him was clutched in his right hand like a punch dagger, two fingers curled around either side of the crosspiece. He had obviously made a valiant attempt, but failed to hit the heart.
Buffy spun around in a kick that connected with the vamp's head so hard that its neck snapped from the force. However, she was still unused to the extra strength she gained from the orbs. She expected the vamp to be no more than stunned and was already yelling at Brandon to grab the girl and get her to the waiting room.
Both he and the girl were too transfixed by the sight of the vampire turning to dust before their eyes to heed the slayer's instructions.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Spike landed behind the two. He took a second to light a cigarette, exhaling in a satisfied manner before he greeted both the youngsters in a sardonic tone.
"Welcome to Sunnyhell."
Buffy launched herself at him, her arms wrapping around his neck as she pressed her lips to his. Spike's hands gripped her bottom, the cigarette thrown away in an instant so that he could raise his girl to a more accommodating height. His tongue probed her gum line inviting her to allow him further access. She opened her mouth to him, their tongues teasing and stroking. They were lost to everything but each other in the desire that had been kindled by the fight. It was only the taste of Buffy's blood in his mouth that caused the intoxicated vampire to reluctantly pull his head back and force his features to return to normal. He let his woman slide back down his undoubtedly aroused body until her feet touched the ground once more.
"I think you cut your tongue, love." He reached out a gentle hand to her face, his thumb caressing her cheekbone as she pressed into his touch like a kitten.
"I'll live," the slayer responded. Reluctantly, she turned to the two teenagers.
"Brandon, why don't you fetch the lady's suitcase? I think she left it over there." Buffy pointed to where said item lay on the ground.
"Hey there," she turned to the girl. "I'm guessing that you're new in town. Is someone supposed to be meeting you?"
The girl nodded solemnly. "My uncle said just to get to the waiting room and stay there till he came. He couldn't get off work early to meet the bus coming in but he said if I was in the waiting room I'd be okay." The girl's words were for Buffy, but her fear-filled eyes were locked on Spike.
"And he'd probably have been right, if you'd actually made it to the waiting room, but once Brandon gets back with your suitcase, we'll see you get there safely. Okay, honey?" the slayer tried to comfort the girl after her ordeal.
Noting the girl's discomfort, Spike lit another cigarette. "Why don't you take her inside, pet? I'll have a check around and make sure there aren't any more of those guys around. I'm sure Brandon can carry her suitcase to the waiting room."
Buffy placed a quick peck on his cheek before he walked off, his gait still somewhat awkward as his erection rubbed uncomfortably against his jeans' zip. His only consolation was that Buffy's brief caress had betrayed the fact that her feelings exactly matched his own.
Some ten minutes later Spike swaggered through the waiting room doors. Buffy rose to intercept him, leaving Brandon sitting on his own temporarily. It seemed the girl's somewhat tardy uncle had finally shown up.
"Hey, good-lookin'," the vamp greeted her before kissing her on the forehead. "See you managed to get rid of one of the waifs."
"Hey, good-lookin', yourself. And yeah. Uncle arrived about five minutes ago, and promptly turned a whiter shade of pale when he heard what nearly happened to his brother's little girl. Mucho apolgetico."
Spike smirked at the way Buffy just made up words when she felt like it.
"Any more?" she asked.
"A couple of look-outs who would have done better to be lookin' in. Nothin' to bother about."
Spike looked over at Brandon. "How's the kid?"
"Kinda shaken, partly from the whole 'this is really real' thing, and partly because the second the girl and her uncle left, I bawled him out good and proper for not staying in the waiting room like I told him."
Buffy could tell from the tone of his voice that Spike was unsure about what he was going to ask.
"What is it?"
"You know, if you get just the right angle between the processing plant and that warehouse, you can see the back of Marie's apartment building from out in the lot. The light's been on in her bathroom for the last five minutes. Reckon she's probably getting snack-size all cleaned up and ready for bed."
Buffy looked over to where Brandon was sitting. "Think he can take it on top of everything else tonight?"
"I think it's what he needs to put everything else tonight in perspective."
Buffy nodded. "You want to ring his dad and let him know he's safe and that we'll bring him home once we've paid a call on the way."
"Already did, pet. Or at least I told him he was safe but that we might be a while before we got him home. I know how you get when Bitty does her Houdinis. Figured you wouldn't want Mikey senior to be worried any longer than he had to be. 'Course I rang the Niblet first, but..."
Spike looked over to where Brandon was watching the blonde pair and beckoned him with a sharp jerk of his head. "Come on, junior. You nearly managed to make us break a promise to some ladies, an' that's not somethin' I like to do. As it is we've only just got time." As the boy drew level with them Spike caught the boy's eye, his gaze not hostile, but deadly serious. "We're supposed to drop in on some friends of ours tonight. Thanks to our little detour 'round town we're only just going to catch them before one of them turns in for the night as it is. That means you're comin' with us.
Now Buffy and I understand that you've had a bit of a shock tonight and we're not goin' to hold anythin' you might have said earlier against you... much, but these are our friends and you will treat them with the same respect you'd give to any of your father's friends. There will be no comments about the Munsters or the Addams family or anything like that. They are all good people, human, demon or in between. Are we clear?"
The vampire rolled his eyes. "Okay, I guess now there's no harm in tellin' you that, yes, I am old enough to have been in the First World War even though I wasn't, but I still don't look it and I still don't answer to sir. It's still Spike."
The boy glanced nervously at the couple as he matched their pace through the back alleys toward their goal. "So who are we going to see?"
Buffy smiled. "You're going to see three women that can kill the Big Bad stone dead."
Spike grunted but couldn't refute the claim. Brandon in his naïveté had no idea what she meant. As they approached the apartment building from the rear, Buffy got Spike to point out which were the windows of Lily's, Clem's and Marie's apartments.
"So do you know any of the others?"
Spike nodded. "Dare say as you'll meet them all tomorrow, from the cat lady to the bug man."
"What is it with the Hellmouth and insect people? And I didn't know that you could get cat demons."
Spike laughed out loud. "Those are just Rosa's names for them. The cat lady isn't a cat, she owns one and the bug man is the kid brother of some guy Marie went to college with so she lets him rent cheap while he does his doctorate in entomology, hence, the bug man."
"I've been on the Hellmouth too long. Ooh, did you know that the preying mantis can rotate its head a full hundred and eighty degrees either way?"
"I have to admit that I neither knew nor cared, love, but since you chose to inform me I shall treasure the knowledge forever."
Buffy lifted the hand she'd been holding, to drape it around her shoulders, letting her own wriggle its way around his waist under his coat.
"How's the stitch?" Her finger stroked his side in a soothing gesture.
"Fading away nicely, thanks for asking. I was too busy to pay much attention to it during the fight and after that we got to take things at a walking pace and it's eased right off. I told you that it was nothing."
Spike led them through a brightly lit alleyway that ran from the back yard of the building through to the front, bringing them out just to one side of the main door of the apartment block. Buffy noted that all the lights were mounted on the side of the apartment building rather than being the standard city lighting.
"Bat sonar drives preying mantises, or is it mantii crazy, too," Buffy chirped as they reached the door. Spike pressed the intercom button for Marie's flat, speaking loudly and clearly into the mike. "Marie, love, it's Spike and Buffy. We noticed your bathroom light on, so I reckon you've got a bathtub full of trouble, so we're going to go see your old lady till you're ready for us. Oh and we've got the Niblet's other half with us."
Faster than Buffy's eyes could see the vamp typed in an entry code for the main door which had always been open on their earlier visits. There was a click as the lock disengaged and Spike pushed it open before it could lock once more. He gestured to Brandon to go ahead.
"What is this place?" the teen asked.
"Exactly what it looks like. A block of apartments." Spike walked up to the nearest door, his arm still around Buffy's shoulders, and rang the doorbell.
Lily pulled the door open, her smile full of welcome for both Spike and Buffy, as she could feel the air of contented happiness that emanated from her favourite vampire and his bride-to-be. She turned to the confused boy who stood at the other side of the door and then her gaze flicked back to Spike.
"Who your guest, William?"
"Lily, this is Brandon Michaels, the young man who up until tonight was seeing Dawn."
Brandon and Lily both turned to look at Spike. The boy's lip trembled slightly before he asked, "Up until tonight?"
Spike answered the question almost as if Lily had been the one to ask it. "Reckon the lad took it as a bit of a surprise when he found out the whole story on Sunnydale. Said a few things as maybe he shouldn't have and then took off like a jack-rabbit without even saying goodbye to the Bit or stoppin' to get his coat. An' the Lord only knows where these Summers women get their temper from. Must be from their dad 'cause their mum was a right lady. Bit's had a hell of a rough week. I reckon by now, she's probably past the breakin' her heart stage and 'round about wondering if his liver really would go with a nice Chianti."
Brandon's face paled, as he realised just how rough both the revelation and his reaction to it must have been on the young girl. "Um, has anyone got a phone I could borrow? I left my cell in my coat pocket back at your place."
Spike passed his cell to the young man as the group made its way into Lily's apartment.
"Press 2 and hold it down," Buffy told him, knowing that the house on Revello was at the top of Spike's speed dial list.
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