Chapter 16: Plans
Buffy walked slowly through the streets of The Center on her way home after another wasted day. For almost a week now she'd been looking for new slaves, but none of the ones she saw were right. None of them had what she was looking for. None of them were Spike.
Part of her knew that she had to let him go–that she couldn't go on waiting to find someone like him–because no one was going to be like him. And what if by some chance she did finally find a slave she liked? Wouldn't she just go through the whole thing all over again; confusion, guilt and all?
Her paradox of loneliness continued to swirl through Buffy's head until she approached her front door. Then all thoughts of Spike were driven away by the intense feeling that something was wrong.
She wasn't sure exactly how she knew, but some instinct told her that someone had been inside her house, and was probably still there.
Cautiously and quietly she opened the front door. For the first time she wished that she locked the door when she left, at least that way she would have known if she was just being paranoid.
"Oh! It's you!" she said, all attempts at stealth lost as she saw Spike sprawled out in her one chair.
He looked different. His hair had been bleached again, and his curls were gone, held in place by hair gel. He wore a black t-shirt and jeans, along with a leather biker jacket. He was playing with one of her knives. His whole demeanor was as if he was the one who owned the place.
"Are you here to kill me?" she asked looking at the dagger. She didn't want to have to fight Spike, at least not like this, but she would understand if he wanted her dead. She'd often wanted Tain dead.
Spike cocked an eyebrow at that. "Finally figured out the whole slayer-vampire dynamic, have we?"
"Huh? No, I just thought, you know, with the slavery thing. . . you might be upset."
He nodded, then shrugged. "That's good. That you haven't decided to go all black and white on me, I mean. No guilt about watching that Daryl fellow get killed?"
He didn't seem to be here to kill her, which made Buffy's heart leap up in her throat. Of course that didn't mean he didn't hate her, but maybe. . . What? He'd ask her to the prom? She'd missed her prom, at least she thought she had; it was hard to keep track sometimes.
"No. Daryl was. . . " 'A bad man' seemed like an understatement, and 'evil' seemed to fall too neatly into Spike's ridiculous Saturday morning cartoon view of the world where there were heroes and villains. "He kind of deserved it. Why are you here?"
"Because you shouldn't be." He got up from the chair, his body bristling with energy as he began to pace about the room. "You don't belong here. You're not happy. Haven't even got a new slave I see." He didn't wait for her to confirm or deny any of these assertions, he just kept going. "You know why that is?" He didn't give her a chance to answer. "Because you can't be happy here, with this." He waved his hands around. "You need more. You're not a fighter, you're a warrior. What you need is a war, a cause, something to fight for."
He looked at her expectantly, and it looked like it was finally her turn in this odd conversation. "Um, okay? But I don't have one. I've told you, I'm just me."
"But you're not supposed to be. Look, Slayer, here's the deal." He grabbed the chair and swung it around so he could straddle it and lean his arms on the back of the chair. "I have this–well he's not a friend, but he's family. He sort of. . . you can never repeat this to anyone, but he taught me everything I know. His name's Angelus. Thing is, he hit a bit of a bad spell and the government came along and decided to do experiments on him. Not just him though, any demon or vampire they could get their hands on. Now that's not right is it?"
"No?" she said, hoping it was the right answer.
He got back up out of the chair and began pacing again. Buffy half expected him to start literally start bouncing off the walls. There was something a bit odd about the way he was talking. It sounded half rehearsed, and half like he was trying to convince himself.
"Exactly. They shouldn't do things like that. No right to go poking about in a bloke's head. So what do you say? Are you in?"
"In what?" she asked, still not sure what this all had to do with her, although Spike's enthusiasm was a bit infectious. She wondered if he was always this bouncy when not chained up.
"In the fight of course. You and me, and okay, maybe a few other vamps against an army. The army actually. Or at least a rogue branch. I'm sure they're rogue, definitely not the good guys. Experiments and all. Thing is, we could use you. So what do you say?"
It really wasn't much of a question. He was right, her life was pretty empty. It had been for some time, but it hadn't seemed to matter as much until Spike had come along.
Fighting a war, however, wasn't really her idea of a good time. On the other hand she did miss fighting, and that's what he was offering her wasn't it? A fight that actually meant something–had a purpose. The more she thought about it, the more she liked the idea.
"I'm in?" she answered hesitantly.
He gave her a wolfish grin that sent shivers down her spine. "I knew you would be."
"I'm sorry what was that?" Darla asked Harmony, realizing that she had completely tuned out everything the young blonde was saying as she applied Darla's makeup.
Darla knew the other vampires thought her antiquated for still keeping a lady's maid. But then, the reason she knew they thought that was because Harmony had told her so. Having a gossip like Harmony around was an effective way for Darla to keep close tabs on what the minions were thinking. The only problem was she was so distracted about the idea of Spike bringing the Slayer into their lair that she couldn't concentrate on what Harmony was saying.
Spike's plan was crazy. There was no way it was going to work, and yet, Darla's simple and elegant plans had already failed, so what was there to lose?
Turning Riley Finn had seemed like the perfect way to destroy the Initiative. He was the leader, and making him her childe should have exposed them to her like a turtle turned upside down. The only problem was it turned out that Riley was not the least bit in charge. Some woman named Maggie Walsh was, and although Riley had given them some good information on the basic defenses and layout of the Initiative, it turned out he had no idea what was really going on in their underground lair, and that he was very expendable.
Still, Spike's plan could so easily go wrong in so many ways.
"I bet she tastes like chocolate, all rich and creamy," Willow said from where she was reclining on Darla's bed.
Darla shot the red-head an angry look. "You are not to so much as even think about the Slayer's blood, at least not until after we've dealt with the Initiative."
Willow pouted, and Darla thought the she was probably the single weakest point of Spike's plan. The girl was going to have to behave and stop trying to prove to everything that moved that she was the wickedest in the land.
Luckily Darla knew how to hit Willow where it hurt. She looked at the girl affectionately and said in a soft caring voice, "This is for Xander, okay? You want revenge for him don't you?"
That got Willow's attention. When Willow had first been brought to The Master's lair, she was only supposed to have been a quick meal for him. But she was so sweet and innocent that The Master just had to corrupt her.
One of the first things the newly risen childe had done was to find her childhood friend and high school crush, Xander. She tortured him until he told her that he loved her, and then turned him. The young couple had been inseparable, until Xander's brashness had caused him to be one of the first casualties to the Initiative.
But even if Darla had gotten Willow back in line for the moment, she knew that Willow was going to be a problem. For Spike's plan to work, Willow would have to spend a lot of time with the Slayer. That meant she would have to behave.
Then again, maybe this would work out for the best. Having the Slayer stake Willow wouldn't be all bad. Although Darla was rather fond of her little sister, and Willow had many delightful qualities, Darla also knew that someday Willow was going to challenge her and try and take over. The girl was just too power hungry not to. And underneath it all Darla could sense there was power hidden in the girl.
But that was a problem for another day.
"Shall we girls?" Darla asked her companions.
She didn't wait for an answer, instead she headed to the "throne room" where she would greet the Slayer and welcome her into their lair. She didn't bother to look back; she knew the other two girls would be following her because right now Darla had the power, and in the end, that was all that mattered.
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