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AN: And we're back to the plot. Such as it is...

Chapter Ten

Buffy awoke a while later to find that Spike was already up and dressed. She pouted at him briefly, cringing away when he tried to kiss the pout with lips still red with the pigs’ blood he’d been sipping.

“Come on, pet,” he coaxed, as she tried to burrow back under the quilt. “We need to go check on your watcher and the two twits he’s babysittin’ for you.”

“It’s bizarro world, isn’t it?” she muttered, reluctantly reaching for her clothes. “The evil vampire is the one being all responsible and the Slayer is the one who wants to stay in bed and…”

“Time for ‘and…’ later, Slayer. Trust me. There will be lots of ‘and…’ but I don’t trust those wankers and you know the soldiers will be looking for them and us.”

At the reminder that she’d left her watcher alone with Maggie and Riley, Buffy quickly dressed, sticking her tongue out at Spike when he openly ogled her bare breasts. She deftly avoided his attempt to grab one of them and quickly pulled on her shirt and jacket.

The walk to Giles’ apartment was pleasant and full of banter and flirting until they got close enough to see that the door was hanging open on one hinge. With super speed, they flew through it and into the damaged living room. Buffy’s cry when she found Giles, unconscious behind the overturned couch, brought Spike quickly to her side.

“It’s alright, pet,” he assured her. “His heartbeat sounds good and strong. Looks like they just knocked him out.” He pointed to the swelling lump on the watcher’s head.

When Spike had settled the watcher on the newly set up couch and Buffy had put an ice bag on his head, they began the unnecessary search for any sign of Maggie and Riley. One look at the chains, which appeared to have been cut with bolt cutters, and it was obvious that the two had not freed themselves.

Giles’ moan and a string of British profanity were the first signs that the ex-watcher was regaining consciousness. Buffy waited anxiously while he oriented himself and noticed their presence, then she demanded, “What happened here?”

“I should think that would be obvious,” he said stiffly, gesturing at his overturned furniture and broken door.

“Well, duh, yeah. But I mean, how? “

“It would appear that your boyfriend-“ at a snarl from the vampire, he winced and amended, “that your ex-boyfriend still had his communicator upon his person and he was able to reach it to call for assistance. As you can see, assistance arrived quite promptly,” he finished with his own version of a growl.

“I’m sorry, Giles,” Buffy said, her face stricken. “We should have been here. I didn’t mean to—“

He waved his hand dismissively. “It is probably just as well that you weren’t. With the weapons at their disposal and the element of surprise on their side, I fear one or both of you may have been recaptured. As it is, we now have time to plan our approach.”

“Which is what?” Spike asked only half seriously. “To take on the whole bloody US Army?”

“No, not at all.” Giles looked offended, then remembered that Buffy had been gone for several hours. “I have communicated with the Council several times and it appears that this…unit…is a bit of a surprise to both the United States Government and to the Secretary of the Army. Additional units are on their way here to resolve the issue, as is a new commanding officer. We actually only need to stay out of their way for a while and it should be all over without any assistance from us.”

“Oh, it is sooo not over!” Buffy glared around the room and back at the man’s icebag-covered head. “No one makes my watcher lumpy and gets away with it. Not to mention, we haven’t really discussed the torturing of Spike and the locking me up to be killed.”

“Um, technically, pet, you weren’t in any danger from me—“

“They didn’t know that!” She glared at him indignantly. “Are you saying it’s okay that they locked me up, just because it was you and not some other vampire?”

He immediately shook his head. “Right then, off we go. Soldier boys to find and – are you saying I can kill them?” He looked at her hopefully.

Buffy sighed and shook her head. “No, I’m not saying you can kill anybody – except in self-defense – but you can beat up on them all you want. Just, no fangs, okay?”

“Party pooper,” he grumbled under his breath. “You’re a big tease, Slayer.”

“I heard that.”

“Don’t care.”

“Keep pouting and I’m gonna bite that lower lip…”

“Promise, pet?”

As the two blonds moved closer together, Giles rolled his eyes and groaned audibly.

“Oh my god, Giles!” Buffy whirled away from the hopeful vampire’s pursed lips and ran to her watcher. “I forgot about your head. Is it hurting again? What can I do for you?”

“You could stop flirting with William the Bloody right in front of me,” he said, shutting his eyes tightly. “It is making my head ache even more painfully.”

Ignoring Spike’s mumbled “better get used to it,” Buffy apologized again for ignoring him and then offered to call Willow or Xander to stay with him while she and Spike went looking for the Initiative soldiers.

When Willow had made her way to the ex-watcher’s apartment and uttered enough sympathetic noises that Buffy felt comfortable leaving her there, the slayer and the vampire prepared to go out looking for Riley and his squad. To Giles’ surprise, Spike had gone to work on his door, replacing it on its hinges and showing Willow how to secure it after they left so as to keep anyone else out.

“Won’t be much help if those wankers come back,” he said with a shrug, “but it should keep out any run-of-the-mill bad guys might happen by.” He winked at Willow, who had not been able to look him in the eye since she arrived and who blushed bright red at Spike’s obvious enjoyment of her embarrassment.

“I still think you should wait until the army reinforcements arrive,” Giles grumbled as his slayer and the vampire prepared to leave. “Those men will be looking for you and they have all those weapons—“

“Giles!” Buffy’s indignation was unfeigned. “You’ve been sending me out alone for years to fight against things with super-strength; now, all of a sudden, you don’t think I can take a few enhanced humans? And with Spike to help me?”

“They already got him once. What makes you think he won’t get captured again…or dusted?”

“I know what to watch for now,” the vampire growled. “I hear any heartbeat besides hers anywhere near me, I’ll be ready for them.”

“Well, be careful. Both of you,” he added, ducking his head and mumbling the last part.

“Don’t worry, Giles. If we can’t capture them without getting caught ourselves, we’ll let them go. But if we can…”

With a flip of her hand, Buffy went out the door. Spike had begun to follow her when Giles called him back quickly. Meeting the vampire’s eyes firmly, he said, “If something happened to that harridan that wanted to keep my slayer…”

“Way ahead of you, Rupert,” the vampire growled as he followed Buffy into the night. “I’m way ahead of you.”

He quickly ran to catch up with Buffy, remaining silent about Giles’ obvious desire to see Maggie dead and adding to the list the man who had been willing to feed his girlfriend to a vampire because his boss told him to.
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