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Chapter Six

After Buffy’s destruction of Riley’s elite squad of demon hunters, Maggie reluctantly agreed that Buffy seemed to be “the real thing” and she gave Riley permission to take her through the Initiative’s underground complex. The soldier was excited as he led Buffy through labs, classrooms, weapons storage areas and finally, to a set of heavily armored doors. He swiped his pass and gave his name, smiling at her with barely concealed glee.

“What’s up, Riley? “ she asked with an affectionate smile. “After all I’ve seen already, what could possibly be so exciting?”

“You’ll see,” he replied with a grin as he held the door for her to precede him. “I have a surprise for you.”

He led her down a large, well-lit hallway lined with holding cells into which it was easy to see through the transparent walls. Buffy frowned slightly as she caught a glimpse of demons and vampires lying listlessly on the floors. Riley didn’t really answer her questions about what they were doing in what were obviously cages; instead, going on at great length about how indestructible the walls were and how escape-proof the facility was.

Buffy paused in front of one room and pointed at the pretty, large-eared, lavender-skinned girl lying on the floor.

“Riley? What's she doing in here? That’s not really a demon. She’s sort of an elf. She’s harmless. And very young,” she added, after taking another look at the terrified girl. “Her family is probably worried about her.”

“Elf – demon. Same thing,” he said gruffly. “Maggie wanted to study her. I’m sure she’ll let her go when she’s finished with her.” He took Buffy’s arm and dragged her away from the glass, frowning when it felt like she was going to resist him. “Come on, I want you to see your surprise.”

He stopped pulling on her and gestured to the transparent wall in front of them. With a gasp, Buffy threw herself at the wall, her fingernails scrabbling on the slippery surface as she stared at the creature on the floor. In spite of his emaciation and the bruises and cuts all over his face and body, there was no mistaking the platinum hair and she whirled to face her boyfriend.

“What have you done to him?”

Startled, Riley blinked at her for a second before explaining, “You do realize he’s a vampire, don’t you, Buffy? I don’t know how he fooled you for so long, but he is. A very strong one, according to Maggie. She hasn’t been able to break him yet.”

“BREAK him?” She stared at the amber eyes glaring back at her and realized that she was seeing Spike as she never had before. He looked completely feral and murderous. Only the trace of pain barely visible under the very real fury that was evident in his snarling face allowed her to see that the Spike she knew was still in there somewhere. She pounded helplessly on the wall, watching as he retreated to the corner, snarling at her.

“What have you done to him?” she repeated softly. “What have you done, Riley?”

“We’ve just been testing him. Seeing how long it takes a wound to heal, how he reacts to holy water and crosses – we haven’t quite figured that one out yet, but we will. There has to be a good explanation,” he mused, sidetracked momentarily by the puzzle of the vampire’s reaction to holy relics. “I think he’s being starved now to see how long he can survive that.”

“Open the door,” she said flatly, not taking her eyes off the snarling vampire. “Open it now.”

“I can’t do that! This is a vampire, Buffy. Not one of your school mates with a bad attitude. Don’t you get that?”

“Of course I get it, you idiot!” She whirled on him and shoved him into the opposite wall. “I told you I’ve known him since I was sixteen! Do you think I wouldn’t have noticed that he was a vampire? Now open that door!”

“You don’t know what you’re asking—“

“I’m not asking. I’m telling. This place is a…a zoo and I’m taking my vampire out of here. And her, too,” she added, gesturing to the hopeful elf.

“You can’t open his door. He hasn’t eaten in almost a month. Even with the chip Maggie put in, the bloodlust won’t be controllable. He’ll kill you.” Riley pleaded.

Before Buffy could respond, Maggie Walsh’s voice floated through the speakers in the ceiling. “Let her in, Agent Finn. Perhaps it will give me a chance to see her in action against something more dangerous than your pathetic excuses for soldiers.”

“No!” Riley shouted, then cowered as the disembodied voice cracked out, “What was that, Soldier?”

“Buffy…” he pleaded, even as his hand reached for the button that would open the sliding door.

“Open it, Riley,” she said clearly, never taking her eyes off the vampire. She was sure he recognized her, the fierce anger in his amber glare told her that. She wasn’t sure why he seemed so enraged with her, but she was determined to get him out before they did anything else to him.

Riley’s large hand came down on the button and the door silently slid back. Buffy was through the opening before it had even quit moving, cautiously approaching the vampire she hadn’t seen for months.

“Spike?” she whispered softly, squatting down to meet his eyes. “Are you in there?”

“Get out, Slayer,” he growled distinctly. “Get out now!”

“No.” She planted her feet and crossed her arms. “I’m not leaving without you.”

“Little late to worry about me, isn’t it?” he snarled, still crouching against the far wall. “Time for that was before you told your boy toy to pick me up.”

“Before I wha--? I never- I thought you left town.” She turned to glare out the open door at Riley. “You don’t think I would do something like this to you…do you?” Her voice dropped to a whisper as she realized why he was so furious at her.

His angry expression wavered just the smallest bit and she pressed on quickly. “I thought you knew me better than that. After we...I couldn’t…I wouldn’t…Please believe me,” she finished, her voice still a whisper. “I didn’t know, Spike. I swear. I didn’t know. About any of it,” she said in a louder tone, waving her hand around. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’m going to find out.”

“You need to get out, Slayer,” he said without the accompanying snarls, but with a note of finality. “Get out now, while you can.”

As he spoke, there was the barest whisper of sound and Buffy snapped her head around to see that the door was sliding shut behind her. Outside, Riley’s face was a study in confusion and fear as Maggie Walsh stood beside him, her arms crossed and a smile on her face. She leaned into a microphone and said clearly, “I want to thank you for this opportunity, Miss Summers. Buffy – may I call you Buffy? I have been hoping to study this vampire’s reaction to bloodlust and to see you in action against his kind. You have provided me with the ideal situation. I hope he is not too weakened for us to get a reliable test result. Considering what he was capable of when we first captured him, I wonder how he will fare against a slayer?“

“He kills slayers,” Buff snapped. “This is William the Bloody. He has killed two slayers – that we know of.”

Riley’s face contorted in fear and he tried to reach for the door release, only to have his boss push his hand away.

“The vampire is weak, Agent Finn, and I haven’t released him from the chip yet. If she’s all you say she is, she should be able to handle him. Isn’t that right, Ms Summers?”

“Spike won’t hurt me,” Buffy replied firmly, crossing her fingers behind her back. “He’s not going to attack me. He won’t do what you want him to.”

“We’ll see,” was the only reply as she herded a reluctant Riley out of the hallway and closed the doors. “We shall see, Buffy.

When the hall was empty of everything but the cages full of demons, Buffy turned her attention back to the vampire glaring at her suspiciously.

“Well, come here,” she ordered, holding out her wrist. “Let’s get some blood into you so you can help me take that bitch’s little concentration camp apart piece by piece.

“Are you daft?”

She sighed with exasperation. “No, I’m not ‘daft’. I’m thinking that, maybe, between the two of us we can break this plastic stuff – whatever it is. But you’re going to need blood and slayer blood is the best there is. Now come here.” She held out her wrist again, frowning when, still in vamp face, he just continued to shake his head. “You can do it, can’t you?” she asked softly. “I mean without killing me? You did it before – you bit me and didn’t take much.”

“I wasn’t starvin’ then, love.” His wry answer and the endearment went a long way to reassuring her that she’d been right when she said he wouldn’t hurt her and she moved into his space. Ignoring his flinch, she sat down beside him and leaned against the wall.


“There’s another…complication. Even if I was willin’ to use you as food - which I’m not, by the way; don’t think I didn’t notice those crossed fingers, Slayer.” His growl this time was totally different from the feral snarls that had greeted her first appearance. As she heard the hurt undertone in his voice, she slid closer to him and bumped his shoulder gently.

“I know,” she said quietly. “It’s just…you were pretty scary there for a while.”

“I scared you?” His pleased question made her smile as, for the first time since the door was opened, she caught a glimpse of the cocky vampire she knew so well.

“You wish,” she laughed, giving him another nudge. Changing the subject abruptly, she asked, “Do you think they’re watching us?”

“Don’t think so. They’ve got cameras all over the ‘testing’ areas, but they seem pretty sure about us in here. It took them a long time to figure out that I wasn’t drinkin’ their drugged blood and they would have been able to see me pouring it out if they’d bothered to watch.”

“So, you could drink from me – and they wouldn’t know you were getting stronger. Then, when I’m ready to…”

“It doesn’t matter, pet.” His voice was once again angry and resigned. “That bitch did something to my head – if I bite you without her holding some button or other…well, let’s just say it couldn’t happen. Feels like my bloody head is goin’ to explode.”

She snapped her head around, staring at his morose face, her eyes big. “You mean you can’t hurt anyone? Not even enough to get us out of here?”

“Trust me, love, I tried. Did my best to rip that big git of yours a new one, but I couldn’t get past the first couple of punches before I was down on the floor, screamin’. Hurt so bad I didn’t even notice what the wanker was doing to me until I woke up.”

Buffy looked at his face again, seeing the blackened eyes and split lips with suddenly wiser eyes. Ignoring his growl of protest, she pulled his tee shirt up and studied his bruised ribcage with a clinical eye. She reached for his belt; realizing that she had yet to see him on his feet and fearing what she might find if she looked at his legs.

“If you’re tryin’ to get me naked again, pet, I’ve got to tell you, I don’t really think I’m up to it just now.” He gave a shaky laugh. “Never thought I’d say that to you,” he confessed. “But it’s true.”

“Shut up, Spike. Don’t be a pig,” she responded absently, changing her mind and running her hands over the blood-soaked denim covering his legs. When he winced at her touch on his thigh, she gave a good imitation of a growl herself.

Suddenly, a door in the ceiling opened and several bags of blood fell through. Although Spike frowned at them suspiciously, his mouth watered at the sight and he unconsciously whimpered. Maggie’s voice came through the microphone in the ceiling.

“Those are not drugged, Hostile Seventeen. If we are going to have a real test of your ability against a slayer, you are going to have to get some strength back. Please drink them. We will provide more in a couple of hours.”

Buffy shot to her feet. “What do you mean “a couple of hours?’ You can’t keep me here! Let me out now!” She began to pound on the transparent walls, sending all the demons within the complex howling with her.

“Until I know exactly what you are, and why you are so familiar with this vampire, you will remain here with us. I have already notified Ms Rosenberg that you are helping with a project and that she shouldn’t expect to see you for a day or two.”

With an outraged shout, Buffy kicked the wall with every bit of angry slayer strength she had. To her surprise and delight, she felt it give just enough to give her some hope. Pretending to be stymied, she stomped over to the bags of blood and began throwing them at the vampire.

“Here,” she hissed. “Drink up. We’re getting out of here, and we’re taking these walls with us.”

While Spike ignored her in favor of gulping down the blood as quickly as he could sink his fangs into the bags, Buffy sat down and pretended to pout while she studied the wall she’d kicked. She almost laughed with satisfaction when she saw the hairline crack extending from an upper corner. Confident now that she could break out of the cage when she was ready, she studied the various complicated devices in front of the cages.

Spike leaned back with a sigh, closing his eyes and allowing the much-needed blood to begin the repairs his body needed. In spite of his desire to remain conscious and help Buffy plan their escape, he felt himself drifting into the restorative sleep that his body was demanding.

“Slayer,” he murmured hoarsely, “Don’t think I’m gonna be much company for a bit. Got to sleep, pet.”

“Was that bitch lying?” Buffy’s voice was shrill and she made no attempt to whisper her question. She relaxed when Spike shook his head slowly.

“No, don’t think so. Don’t feel drugged – just need some down time to let the blood do its work. Just give me a couple of hours, pet, but try to wake me up if you need me for something.”

“Oh. Okay. I guess we can wait until you’re better.”

She watched him slump against the wall and then slide down to the floor. She left him there for a while, draping his duster over him and then walking to the front of the cell to peer in both directions to see what else was in there besides the elf she’d noticed when they first came in. Giving the disappointed-looking girl a reassuring smile, Buffy let her gaze drift around the cages, noting the one other vampire present as well as the various demons. All looked as discouraged and listless as Spike, although none were as physically abused-looking as he was. She remembered what he’d said about waking up to find out what Riley had done to him while the chip was firing and she mentally vowed to make what was rapidly becoming her ex-boyfriend pay for his bullying.

She frowned in a puzzled fashion as she noticed what appeared to be a human woman sitting on the floor in one of the other cages. Noticing the Slayer’s confused stare, the vengeance demon shifted into her demon features briefly, then back into her haughty human face. Buffy nodded briefly, knowing that a vengeance demon was not likely to provide much physical assistance if it came to fighting their way out. Her slayer training told her to leave all the demons where they were, but her innate sense of decency and fair play insisted that she release everyone she could, even if it meant she was going to have to stake the vamps later.

Resigning herself to a wait until Spike had received more blood and was ready to help her break out, she settled down against the wall again. She studied his sleeping face, not surprised to see that he’d allowed it to settle into human features as he slept. When he shifted his head against the hard floor and moaned, she gently pulled him closer and rested his head in her lap, running her fingers through his curls until her own eyes drifted shut for a brief nap.

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