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Eve of Destruction by slaymesoftly
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Chapter Four

When Spike staggered into the lobby of the old hotel, the robe he’d worn to conceal himself hanging off in tatters, he found that Angel was already there, standing over a critically wounded Gunn. Forgetting his own wounds, Spike ran to Gunn’s side, falling to his knees beside his friend and drinking buddy.

“Hey, there, you bloody fool,” he said softly, trying not to see the life’s blood seeping out. “You weren’t supposed to start without us.”

“If I waited around for you two old farts, I’d die of old age,” Gunn responded with a weak grin. “Anyhow, while you’re out there getting yourselves dusted, I’m going to be in here with all the women.”

As he spoke, Spike was rudely shoved out of the way as two slayers brought water and bandages. Behind them, Willow was frowning at the wounded man. Shooting Spike a quick glare, she rested her hand on Gunn’s head and began to mutter in Latin.

“Easy there, Red,” Spike said with a smile. “Don’t be turnin’ my buddy here into a frog or somethin’.”

“I’m trying to keep him from turning into a corpse,” she snapped, before going back to her chanting.

“Right then. No sense of humor. I’d forgotten.” He backed away and allowed the witch and the slayer medics to work on Gunn while Angel watched anxiously.

Illyria’s arrival signaled the end of the small period of respite. She slammed through the doors, allowing a brief glimpse of the furious storm building outside as they banged against the wall. There was just the slightest tremor in her voice as the god informed them of Wesley’s death and of her “desire to do more violence.”

There was no time to mourn as the howls of the attacking demons could be heard approaching.

“Seems you’re going to get your wish, Blue,” Spike said quietly, nodding to Angel as they picked up swords and moved towards the still-open doors. Illyria quickly joined them as they took up positions in the narrow alley beside the hotel. They watched, almost with awe, as the storm clouds opened and demons began pouring out of whatever dimension had been tapped. Angel’s eyes lit up at the sight of the dragon and he nudged Spike before he stepped forward saying, “I want the dragon.”

With a shake of his head, Spike agreed, growling, “Fine, You take the dragon, I’ll take the 20,000 demons on the right and Her Highness will take the 30,000 on the left.”

“Don’t forget to leave some for us.”

Buffy’s voice floated over his shoulder as she stepped up behind him. While he waited for the forces of hell to fall upon them, he could see the other slayers scrambling onto the roof of the hotel and spreading out along the length of the alley. Suddenly, he felt more hopeful than at any time since Angel had asked for volunteers to help him take down the Black Thorn. With a familiarity born of years of practice, Buffy slipped into place on his right and they exchanged glances before launching their attack on the approaching demons.


Long after the vampires had retreated to the safe cover of the hotel, the slayers remained on guard, not sure whether the retreat of the demon army had been caused by the sun’s arrival or whether it was just a temporary lull. As the city of Los Angeles awoke and began to go about its normal business, they finally relaxed and at Buffy’s tired, “Let’s go, girls. Try to get some rest before they come back tonight.”

“Are you sure they’re going to come back?” Vi’s hopeful question was answered with a roll of the prime slayer’s eyes.

“They always come back,” she sighed. “That’s why we slay them instead of just chasing them away.”

“Just like the last time, huh? We can’t stop the apocalypse unless we kill them all?”

“Pretty much. Although last time, I think credit for stopping the apocalypse has to go to Spike and his fancy necklace.”

“I don’t suppose he has another necklace?” was the half-serious response to Buffy’s reminder of who had made it possible for them to escape from the vampire army pouring out of the hellmouth.

“Not that I’ve noticed.” Buffy turned her back and walked to the loading dock and the open door that awaited them there. She really didn’t want to discuss Spike and what she did and did not know about him now. She didn’t even want to think about Spike and how he’d been able to stay away from her for almost a year.

(He said he still loves me. But if he still loved me, wouldn’t he have called me? He would have at least told me he was alive and let me decide what I wanted to do about it. Since when does Spike let the fact that I’m with somebody else get in the way of what he wants? I was with Riley when he realized he was in love with me and started stalking me…he didn’t back off then. He knew how I feel – felt – about Angel. He didn’t let that stop him from loving me. He’s lying for some reason. If he still loved me he would have told me he was back.)

Forcing thoughts of how difficult it was going to be to spend time in close proximity to the vampire she hadn’t realized she was in love with until it was too late to the back of her mind, Buffy went into Head Slayer mode and began to work her way through the large lobby checking injuries, complimenting a slayer here and there for good work, offering a bit of advice to those who seemed a bit overwhelmed by their first apocalyptic battle and generally making sure that her small army was in the best shape it could be after the night they’d had. She was pleasantly surprised to find that, although two girls had been injured too badly to be expected to go back out right away, only one had been killed. Most of the rest had injuries that were fairly minor and would be well on their way to being healed by the next evening.

After a quick conversation with Angel, she sent the healthy slayers to the third floor to get some rest before the demons came back. There was no question in anyone’s mind that they were going to come back. Angel assured her that the Senior Partners were not going to rest until they had exacted their retribution for what he’d done to their Los Angeles branch.

“So, you mean, if I toss you out the door, they might all go away?” she teased gently.

“They might,” he smiled back at her. “Are you really that mad at me for not telling you about Spike?”

Buffy shrugged. “Probably. But I’m too tired to worry about it now. It was up to him to let me know, and he didn’t want to do it. No sense in my taking it out on you, I guess. It’s not like I would have expected you to buy him a ticket and wish him luck,” she added wryly.

“Would you have expected me to try to keep him from going to you?” His voice was calm and casual, but his hands were clenced in his lap.

Buffy looked from his fists to his soft brown eyes and smiled her forgiveness. “You might have tried, but I wouldn’t have expected Spike to listen. This isn’t on you, Angel. It’s on him…and on me. I waited until it was too late to tell him—“ Remembering who she was talking to, she stopped herself and tried to change the subject. “Hey, this is a first for all of us, isn’t it? Fighting on the same side – all at the same time? These guys don’t have a chance.”

He smiled at her sadly, grateful that she hadn’t finished her sentence and more than happy to talk about something else.

“They sure don’t. You, me, my pain-in-the-ass grandchilde, a god, a witch and an army of slayers. We’ll be done before midnight.”

“Speaking of which….” Buffy rose to her feet and stretched.

“Oh, absolutely. You should get some rest. Did you—have you—do you know where you’re sleeping? Not that it’s any of my business,” he added hastily when she narrowed her eyes at him. “I just want to be sure you got one of the better rooms.”

“I’ll be fine, Angel. I’m going to check with Willow and the medics and then I’m going back to my nice quiet room where I can be alone.”

“Alone. Okay, good, that’s good. Alone is good.”

Shaking her head, she kissed him on the cheek, whispered, “Good night, Angel” and walked off. Neither of them noticed the blond vampire watching from across the room, nor did they see the way his face shut down when Buffy kissed Angel. Without a word to anyone, Spike headed for the basement training room and began to pound the bag until he realized that his arms were too tired from a night’s worth of fighting to have any impact. With a disgusted groan, he threw himself down on a pile of mats and willed himself into oblivion.

Buffy walked into the room she had taken for herself, peeling off her bloody shirt as she entered, only to quickly shrug it back on when she found Eve sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for her.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

“I thought you might need a friendly ear – what with both vampires busy trying to stay undead and not having time for you.”

“Get out of my room before I forget that you’re human,” Buffy gritted out between tightly clenched teeth.

“Well, that’s not very friendly of you,” Eve huffed, moving cautiously away from the slayer.

“I’m not feeling particularly friendly just now,” Buffy growled, her fists visibly clenched. “Especially not towards some Senior Partners flunkie who can’t keep her nose out of other people’s business.”

“Hey, I was just trying to be helpful…” Eve began edging towards the door, suddenly remembering what she’d been told about the slayer’s uncertain temper being the best way to take her out of her game and realizing that causing her to lose said temper could backfire very painfully.

“No, you weren’t,” Buffy said with a sudden burst of clarity. “You were trying to make me leave. Take my slayers and leave Spike and Angel to fight by themselves. You thought I’d get mad enough at them to walk out on an apocalypse. “

“Oops?” Eve’s smile was more fake than usual as she reached for the door handle.

As fast as any vampire, Buffy grabbed her arm and dragged the struggling woman out the door behind her. She pulled her along until they reached the first floor where she paused to ask, “Where’s Spike?” Angel gave Eve a slow grin and pointed towards the basement door. Without another word, Buffy hauled the now quiet emissary from the Senior Partners down the stairs with her and threw her in the door of the training room.

The thud of a warm body landing beside him woke the vampire immediately and he sat up with a snarl. His astonishment at seeing a very frightened Eve lying beside him while an angry slayer stood over her kept him speechless for several seconds. Eve sat up and attempted to slide away from the vampire who had still not dropped his game face.

“What’s this, then, Slayer?” he asked quietly, his hand snaking out to grab Eve’s ankle even as he raised his eyebrow at Buffy. A deep snarl was all it took to make the now-frightened woman freeze. She looked back and forth between the vampire who she knew only as the office comic relief and the bane of Angel’s existence and the stone-faced woman staring at him.

“This,” Buffy said, jerking her chin at Eve, “is a snake in the grass. Did you know she’s been doing her best to get you, me and Angel so mad at each other that we won’t be able to concentrate on the battle?”

Spike shrugged. “Well, yeah. ‘s what she does, innit? Slither around the office doing the bidding of the Senior Pains-in-the-ass.”

“So, nothing she said to you about me or Angel made any difference to your behavior the past two days?”

“Nothing that your behavior didn’t prove was true.” The pout on his face made it obvious that he had begun to connect the dots and was struggling to save face.

“And she told me about Harmony out of the kindness of her heart, I suppose?”

“Harm? What could the stupid bint have told you about Harmo—oh…” He looked at her hard. “Is that why you went off on me yesterday? You thought I was—we were—Bloody Hell, Slayer! With you in the same city? Are you daft?”

“You did it before.” Buffy’s lip was now creeping out in a pout as she realized that Eve’s poisonous words were still affecting them both. She stopped, took a deep breath and shook herself. “I’m sorry, Spike. I let her get to me. I should have known better.”

“Yeah, you should have,” he huffed, trying to stay angry. He gave it up when he saw her eyes narrow again, giving her an apologetic smile. “Been a bit of git myself, though, haven’t I? ‘S not like I have a lot of room to talk. Letting her bend my ear about you and my granddaddy instead of just asking you what was what. Shoulda known right away that there was somethin’ rotten in Denmark.” Buffy’s blank stare told him she was completely missing his Hamlet reference and he shook his head sadly. “Gonna introduce you to Shakespeare when this whole mess is over, pet,” he promised.

“Isn’t he like…dead? How can you introdu—oh my god! Shakespeare is a vampire?”

“What? Oh, for the—nevermind, Slayer. I’ll explain some other time.”

“Uh, as entertaining and touching as all this is, I don’t really think I want to watch where you go with it from here. So, I’ll just be going now…” Eve tugged on her ankle in an attempt to break the vise-like grip the vampire still had on it. He looked at her as though he’d forgotten she was there and wasn’t happy to find himself touching her.

“Before I let go of this piece of garbage, pet, do you want to tell me why she’s here?”

“You’re cut up,” Buffy said flatly. “I thought you might like some blood. Fresh blood.”

It was a toss-up which of the two people on the floor was the more shocked and horrified. Eve began to struggle in earnest, little whimpers of fear escaping her throat; while Spike’s demon visibly fought with his soul for possession of the body that was salivating at the very thought of fresh blood. His fingers kept their powerful grip on the woman’s ankle, even as he shook off his demon to meet Buffy’s cold gaze. They looked at each other for several minutes, neither one paying any attention to the now-crying woman trying to crawl away from the monster holding on to her.

Finally, the vampire nodded his head and broke into a smile. “I believe you, love,” he said softly. “You don’t need to try to poison me with tainted blood.”
He released his grip on Eve’s leg, allowing her to scrabble away from him on all fours. Buffy nodded back and let out the breath she’d not even been aware that she was holding. She turned her head to follow Eve’s sidling progress along the wall of the large room.

“What should we do with her then?” she mused, secretly delighted when Eve moaned in fear.

“Give her to the big poof – his soul isn’t quite as poncey as mine – maybe he’ll want to eat her.”

“Good plan,” Buffy said brightly, but making no move to re-capture the woman trying to edge past her to the door. She allowed Eve to reach the door and scramble out before breaking into the laughter she’d been containing.

“Bloody hell, pet,” Spike said with admiration. “You’d have made one hell of a vampire. I’d say the Senior Partners have just lost an employee, wouldn’t you?”

“I hope so.” She sobered immediately. “Do you think I shouldn’t have let her go? She could still cause trouble, couldn’t she?”

“All the forces of hell are lined up against us, love. I don’t think they’re going to need the help of one frightened minion. Her job was to get us all so brassed off at each other that we couldn’t or wouldn’t stand together against them. It’s done. She failed. Nothing to worry about now but all those ugly buggers comin’ back tonight.”

“Did she fail?” Buffy’s eyes searched his face anxiously, looking for some trace of the affection she’d always been able to see there. “Are we okay, now?”

He rose gracefully to his feet and walked over to where she waited, her white knuckles the only sign of how important to her his answer would be. He gently touched the side of her face, sliding his hand down her cheek and tipping her chin up so that she was looking him in the eye.

“We’re as okay as we’re going to get until we have time to talk about what a wanker I was to stay away from you. And, we are going to talk about that, love. I promise you. But now’s not the time. If you want to take a shot at my nose, jus’ to tide you over until we can have a real go about it, that’s alright; but anything else is goin’ to have to wait until we pull the poof’s feet out of the fire.”

“I don’t want to hit you,” she said softly. “I just want…” She shook her head. “Another one of those things that should wait, I guess.” Taking his hand, she brought it back to her face and kissed his bruised knuckles. “Why don’t you come back upstairs and get some blood and some medical attention? And then get some rest. I have a feeling last night was just a warm-up.”

His hand tingling from the touch of her lips, he nodded without speaking and followed her out the door and back up the stairs down which he’d come in such pain only a short while before. With a stiff nod, he joined Angel in the kitchen and gratefully accepted a large mug of blood from a marginally friendlier Willow. At his raised eyebrows, she just looked at him, hands on hips and asked, “Harmony?”

“Bloody hell! Is there anyone in this building that meddlin’ bint didn’t tell?”

“You’re just lucky we’re having an apocalypse, mister,” Willow said firmly. “And that Buffy said she needs you to be able to fight; or you’d be sucking blood from houseflies, not a fancy mug.” She continued to glare at him until he sighed and put his mug down.

“I got it, Red. I’m a stupid git and I should be punished; but that’s the Slayer’s job, don’t you think?”

Willow didn’t respond, giving him a look that promised she wasn’t finished with him before moving back to the lobby and to make sure that everyone had gone to bed. After checking the wards that she’d put up around the large building, she went to her own room for a much-deserved rest.

Spike drank his blood silently, wondering where Buffy had gone, but unwilling to ask his grandsire. The two vampires finished their blood and put the cups in the sink, moving with a silent grace and power that the day’s battle had done nothing to damage. They headed for the stairs at the same time, pausing at the bottom step to exchange glares.

“She needs to rest,” Angel growled, fixing a grandsire’s eye on the blond vampire.

“Know that, you git. Wasn’t going to her room. I’m just lookin’ for a more comfortable place to bed down than the gym.”

“There are two beds in my room,” the older vampire mumbled, refusing to meet Spike’s eyes.

There was a tense silence and then Spike nodded his agreement. “ ‘preciate it,” he said quietly. “Even if I do know you’re only doin’ it to keep an eye on me.”

“Well somebody’s got to,” Angel deadpanned with just a trace of a smile as he led the way to his suite.

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