full 3/4 1/2   skin light dark       
Three for a Secret... by Lilachigh
Chp 8 Betrayal
<<     >>
Three for a Secret by Lilachigh

Chp 9 Betrayal

“Buffy!” Xander raced across to her, panting with the effort, sweat pouring down his face. “Help! This – thing’s trying to kill me!” He dodged behind her, peering over her shoulder, cringing.

The bright green, seven-foot demon who was only steps behind him shouted, “Kill you? No, I’m trying to slaughter you! I will pull your entrails up through your throat and make you chew them! I’ll turn your head round four times and push it up your – ”

“Div’vid!” Buffy leapt in front of him and pushed against his huge green chest with both hands. “Stop right there! No pulling of entrails or turning of heads and pushing them – well anywhere! What on earth has Xander done to annoy you? And how did you two get here?”

“He’s mad! A mad demon. Buffy, kill him. Don’t just stand there! Kill him!” Xander yelled in her ear. “I was just walking towards the Magic Box and he attacked me. I dived down into the sewers to escape and he followed me.”

“Xander, I know him. It’s Div’vid, Arabella’s husband. You remember, I told you about them in the Bronze. Arabella is Spike’s cousin. I’m not going to kill Div’vid. Just tell me what you’ve done to annoy him?”

“Me!” Xander’s voice went off the scale. “I haven’t done anything.”

“That I find extremely unlikely.” Spike grinned and reached up to wrap an arm round the demon’s shoulders. “What’s up, mate? And how the hell did you get here? Arabella said you were in Los Angeles.”

The Frovlax glared at Xander and shook his cow’s ears violently, obviously trying to calm down. “William – it is good to see you. This – this human thing has been carrying on with my wife! I followed him here, along the sewers and through that shop doorway.”

“What?” Buffy spun round and stared at her friend. “Jeez, Xander, I know you like your women with a little demon in them, but Arabella? She’s a vampire.”

“I know that now,” Xander muttered and cast a scared glance back at the doorway to the Magic Shop. But there was no sign of Anya. “I just thought she was a nice, pretty woman and bought her a cup of coffee. There was no carrying on, honestly, Buff. I’ve got Anya. I love Anya. Oh god, don’t anyone tell Anya! Please!”

“I saw them together!” Div’vid roared and swung an emerald hand the size of a meat plate at Xander’s head, narrowly missing Buffy as he did so. Spike’s grin vanished.

“OK, enough. There’s been some sort of foul up. You know Arabella, Div. And, sadly, I know Harris here. If you think for one moment that he would get anywhere with her, you’re bloody wrong. But you need to calm down, mate. We’ve got enough problems as it is, without you adding to them.”

Buffy watched the rolling red fire die out of the demon’s eyes and cast a glance of thanks in Spike‘s direction to find he was watching her. For a long second the world stood still and she bathed in the intensity of that look. She was aware of an overwhelming sensation of relief. The way he was looking at her, surely if he was in love with Arabella, he would not have that blazing desire in his eyes? Whatever or whoever was forcing them onto opposite sides, was not winning. The love and passion in that one glance convinced her of that.

“What is this place?” Div’vid asked suddenly, looking around.

“What do you see?” Buffy asked gently.

The demon smiled. “A rolling landscape of tall grass waiting to be eaten. A place full of food with lots of development potential. I might well be able to build a holiday home complex here. I wonder who owns it.”

“A very good point,” Buffy said wearily. “And you obviously see this world differently to the rest of us.”

“I don’t understand what he’s talking about,” Xander sounded puzzled. “It’s all jungle, Buff. Look – big trees, creepers, monkeys and parrots. And what are we doing here, anyway? And is that Willow over there?”

“It’s another dimension,” Buffy said quietly. “Darla sent Spike’s half sister, Hope, here. Arabella had a pendant that Willow and Anya used to open the portal here. But we all see this world in a different way. It’s…it’s confusing.”

Xander’s face was a picture as he tried to take in all this information in one go. Eventually he just shrugged. “When isn’t it? One minute I’m walking down the road, minding my own business and the next I’m being chased by a blood crazed seven foot demon and end up in another dimension. And Spike’s got a sister! What’s to be confusing? They didn’t even have this much fun on Star Trek, Oh no!”

“Xander!” Anya’s astonished voice rang out from the Magic Box doorway.
The ex-demon picked her way through what was obviously tricky terrain to his side. “Xander Harris! You came through the shop and out here without telling me? What is wrong with you?”

“Ahn, I was being chased! This – this – demon – ”

“Oh, it’s a Frovlax. Hi! I’m Anya. You must be Div’vid, Arabella’s husband. Buffy told us all about you. I would like you to know that I do admire a self-made demon.” She smiled sweetly up at the demon towering above her and Buffy had to feel a certain amount of admiration at the way she didn’t flinch as he breathed out heavily and the aroma of half digested, rotting hay belched out of his mouth.

“Hello, Anya. How very nice to meet you. Ex-demon?” His giant hand encased hers and he smiled down at her.

“I run the Magic Box shop. I don’t expect anyone will bother to tell you, because everyone around here thinks making money is a nasty business that you shouldn’t talk about. But I know Frovlaxes appreciate the value of free enterprise.”

“Indeed – I was only thinking just now that I could make a tidy profit if I built a complex of holiday homes here – ”

Spike broke in impatiently, “Div, old mate, I’m sorry, but I have to find my sister – Arabella – “ He turned, then froze. His cousin, who’d been sitting on a log just behind him, was no longer there. “Hey! Bella! Bella!”

“Is my darling girl here, too?” Div’vid said anxiously. “I didn’t know. What have you done with her?”

Buffy gritted her teeth at the ‘darling girl’, then nodded. “She was here just now. Spike – ”

The vampire swung back to her, his face grim. “You’ve still got the pendant?”

Buffy nodded, her hand deep in her jacket pocket, the intricate carving on the face of the locket digging into her fingers. “But where did she go? There isn’t anywhere to hide. Did you see her?”

Spike shook his head, gazing around wildly.

“Arabella!!!” Div’vid threw back his head and his roar echoed to the heavens and Buffy winced, her ears hurting with the sound. “Arabella!!!”

Spike stood closer to Buffy and spoke softly so the demon couldn’t hear. “What do you reckon, pet? Has something or someone taken her?”

Buffy frowned. “God knows, Spike. One second she was there, then Xander and Div’vid arrived and – she’d gone. I don’t know, d’you reckon she could be hiding from Div? He’s pretty intimidating when he’s angry.”

Xander and Anya were standing, having an intense conversation, watching nervously as Div’vid thrashed around in the bushes and trees, searching for any sign of his wife.

Anya sniffed. “Now there’s someone who seems genuinely upset and concerned about his loved one.”

Xander opened his mouth to protest that he was just as genuinely concerned about her, then shut it again. Where Anya was concerned it was often easier to let her have her say until she ran out of words.

“Hi, Will!” he said brightly as the redhead came back to join the group.

“Xander. And – who on earth – oh, is that Arabella’s husband?” she whispered, fascinated as the green demon bellowed her name again. “He won’t find her over there.“

Buffy spun round as she overheard her speaking. “What? Will – have you seen Arabella? Do you know where she went?”

Willow looked puzzled. “Sure – down that path over there. She was all, hurry, hurry, hurry.”

“On her own?” Spike snapped. “Or did something take her?”

Willow shook her head. “No, she was on her own. She had the pendant in her hand and was swinging it round and round. I thought – ”

“No, you’re wrong. Buffy’s got the pendant.”

Buffy nodded and pulling it out of her pocket, gave it to him. It hung from the end of its glittering chain, spinning gently. Willow touched it and frowned. “Yes, that’s the one Anya and I used to open the portal. Look, there’s a trace of the charm powder we used in the carving. So that means – ”

“It means Arabella has a second pendant,” Buffy said grimly and felt her heart ache at the expression of betrayal that crossed Spike’s face. She had no love for his cousin, but it hurt her to see him hurting and she knew that sooner rather than later, she would have to sit quietly somewhere and sort this out inside her head.

“Why wouldn’t she tell me if there was another soddin’ part to the charm?”
His voice was quietly cold and Buffy felt a shiver run over her body. It was a long time since she’d heard William the Bloody speaking but for a second or two, there he was.

“Perhaps – perhaps she couldn’t,” Willow said softly. “Maybe Darla put some sort of prohibiting spell on her at the same time as she told her about what she had done with Hope.”

Spike pushed his fists deep into his duster pocket. “Darla wasn’t a witch, Red. She was an amoral, devious, evil great-grandmother sire of mine, but not a witch. Opening this portal would have been just about the limit of her abilities. Big spells like the one you’re talking about would have been beyond her. No, sounds to me as if there were two pendants. One to open the portal and one – ”

“ - one to find where Hope is now,” Buffy finished the sentence for him.

“So perhaps that’s what she’s doing,” Willow said, trying to be optimistic. “Finding her for you?”

Her words fell into a bleak silence, broken only when Div’vid came thundering across to them. “William – Buffy. How can I find my dearest girl? I know something dreadful has happened to her. I can sense it.”

“Div, do you know, did Bella steal two pendants from Darla?” Spike broke in abruptly.

The demon looked puzzled. “Yes, of course. I thought she’d told you all about that. A silver one and a gold one.” He nodded at the carved piece Spike was still holding. “That’s the silver one.”

“One for Sorrow, Two for Gold, Three for a Secret that shall never be told,” Spike said slowly.

Buffy looked a question at him.

“Old English saying, pet,” he said briefly. “But there’s another version. “One for Silver, Two for Gold, Three for a Secret that shall never be told.”

“But why not tell you?” Buffy flung herself down on what was probably broken rocks but looked to her like soft green grass and waved away two big pink and mauve butterflies that immediately fluttered down, Disney fashion, towards her. “She was the one who finally let out the secret about Hope. If she didn’t want you to find her, then she needn’t have said a word.”

Div’vid made a loud grumbling noise. “William, Bella would never do anything to hurt you. I’m sure whatever she’s doing, she’s doing for the very best of reasons.”

Spike looked at him, his blue eyes gone cold, the high cheek bones slashing at flesh that seemed thinner, paler than ever. “Div, we’ve been mates since ever and Bella isn’t just my cousin, she’s my Childe. I turned her. We’re more than close. But if I find she’s been lying to me, if I discover that she’s plotting something that will stop me finding a trace of Hope, then I’m telling you straight. I’ll kill her.”

To be continued

<<     >>