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Storm Warning by Lilachigh
Chp 8 Damage Limitation
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Storm Warning

Chp 8

Damage limitation

Title: Storm Warning
Summary: Challenge was for Season 5, between FFL and ITW. Spike visited Joyce in hospital: she asked him to do her a favour, distract Buffy to stop her worrying. Spike tells Buffy about a fight at the Bronze. Riley wakes to find the Slayer gone and leaving Dawn on her own, sets out to find her. As a storm rages, a lost demon child, Eriddny, wanders into the house and Dawn decides to find the child’s parents. At the Bronze, Spike dancing with Buffy annoys Riley until they realise he’s left Dawn alone. Back at the empty house, Spike believes that a Lynfra demon has taken Dawn. Buffy sends Riley to hunt for her sister, knowing that Spike is the one she needs on her side. Dawn has taken Erridny to the mall where she said she lived. But Erridny has now fallen ill and will not be able to tell her mom that Dawn is her rescuer!

Storm Warning

Holding Eriddny, the sick demon child in her arms, Dawn Summers slowly walked down the stairs into the darkness of the lower basement. She could feel the little girl shaking; she was so hot, burning up.

“Hang on, sweetheart, I’ll find your mommy real soon. She must be looking for you. She’ll know how to make you better.” Dawn struggled to stay calm. She’d never wanted so much before to know that Buffy was around, to believe that at any moment her own Mom would appear, looking worried and cross and probably grounding her for months, ok, but still taking over, coping with the problem, making everything all right in the way only moms could.

The steps ended and the entrance to a vast tunnel loomed up in front of her. The emergency lighting on the walls ended but Dawn realised that the tunnel’s floor and walls were covered in a sort of mauve and violet glitter that showed her exactly which way to go. Weird!

She forced herself to walk on; one foot in front of the other, that was what she had to concentrate on. Get Eriddny home, then she could run all the way back to her own warm bed and no one would ever know she’d left it.

The tunnel twisted and turned, side passages appeared, vanishing into the gloom, but Dawn followed the glittering path at every junction. It seemed the obvious thing to do. She glanced down at the little face that was no longer a pretty lavender colour but blotched with ugly pink patches. What would she do if Eriddny died before she could get her home? Was this all her fault?

Suddenly as she turned a sharp corner, the ground beneath her feet almost vanished and with a squeal of alarm she realised she was standing on the edge of a vast pit.

As she stared over the edge, she realised that her cry had alerted to something below that she was there. Dawn peered down and taking a deep breath shouted, “Hi! Is anyone there? Hey, is Eriddny’s mom down there? I’ve got your kid but she’s not very well. Hello? Anyone?”

There was a moment’s silence then her blood tingled as an ear-splitting roar of anger echoed up towards her and from below, there was a flash of purple movement as something vast climbed at express speed up the side of the pit towards her.

* * * * * *

Standing on the ruins of the door Buffy had destroyed to gain entry to the mall, the sound of the distant roar had hardly died away before Buffy and Spike were running. There had been no need for words, they hadn’t even exchanged a glance, just turned and ran, leaving a scatter of wet, muddy footprints, Spike’s duster flying out behind him as he scented the air and changed direction suddenly.

“Basement, Slayer!”


“Need to hurry.”

“Go! You’re faster. Save her, Spike.”

There was a world of anguish in her voice which added an extra length to his stride, more power to his muscles. ‘Great going, Spike,’ he thought angrily as he raced along the length of mall towards a small door set in the side wall. ‘You’re supposed to be helping Joyce relax, keep Buffy occupied, not let her youngest nipper get eaten by a sodding Lynfra!’

He could hear Buffy’s footsteps close behind him and even as he crashed through the service door and flung himself down the steel ladder, he wondered at Slayer speed that could almost keep up with a vampire at full stretch.

‘She’s tougher than she looks and quicker – must never forget that,’ he thought. ‘I wouldn’t be running so bloody fast if she was being eaten by a demon, of course, but – ’

He pushed the thought away, reluctant to follow it any further because he didn’t quite know why he was so determined to save Dawn. Was it just to help Joyce, lying in hospital, waiting for an operation on her brain? Yes, of course that was it! It certainly wasn’t to help the Slayer. The Summers girls meant nothing to him apart from being Joyce’s daughters and the only reason he was hunting through these sodding tunnels was because he fancied a scrap and the sun would be up soon so he might as well spend the day fighting demons as anything else.

He could sense the way Dawn had gone but it was puzzling; he could smell Lynfra on her but only a little bit, which didn’t make any sort of sense. If the demon was carrying or dragging her, then it should have been all Lynfra and very little Dawn.

Buffy could hear Spike ahead of her, the thud of his boots on the stone ground. The glitter on the sides of the tunnel gave enough light to show her the flick of his leather coat as it vanished around bends, always just ahead of her. There had been no more roars or growls but no screams either, which hey was a plus! Oh god, what would she say to her mom if anything happened to Dawn? Even if she wasn’t Joyce’s real daughter, Joyce didn’t know that. How could Buffy go into the hospital on the day her mom was about to have brain surgery and tell her that Dawn had been eaten by a demon?

But that wouldn’t happen because she’d save her and she had Spike to help her. And as she sped after the vampire, she didn’t stop to consider why she found that thought comforting.

* * * * * *

Riley Finn strode into the empty mall through a door that had been kicked down and destroyed. Willie the Snitch had told him that Buffy had come this way. Perhaps she’d found out where her sis had been taken.

When he spotted the muddy boot-prints on the floor, he felt his pulse quicken. Two sets – one small, one large. Buffy and Hostile 17. He quickened his pace, breaking into a jog trot that months of army training had perfected. He loathed the idea of his girl running around with that – that thing! He couldn’t be trusted; he was evil and for some reason, although Buffy knew that, she didn’t always act as if she knew.

But he did! He’d been trained for months to capture and kill demons and vampires. It was his calling. His life’s work. You didn’t just ignore and betray all you believed in just because a sexy little girl got into your mind and your heart, did you? And anyway he just didn’t get this ability Buffy had to select which vamps you staked and which you didn’t.

“Wish she’d write me a list,” he muttered as he followed the muddy tracks through a small door and into what seemed to be a janitor’s storage area. “Then I might have some idea why some are off limits and some aren’t!”

How he hated vamps! And he pushed aside that little worming desire to know exactly what it would be like to be bitten by one.

He stared down the stairs into the gloom below. He certainly wasn’t going any further into the dark, not without a light. He grabbed a flashlight off a shelf and with a grim expression on his face, crept down the ladder.

* * * * *

As Spike hurtled along a tunnel hewed out of solid rock, he could hear growling. There was light ahead and as he reached the end of the tunnel he skidded to a halt on the edge of a hundred foot drop down to what he recognised as a Lynfra nest.

Then he swore violently, viciously as he saw what was happening just a few yards away. A rockfall had blocked the narrow ledge that ran around the pit. There was just room behind the rocks for someone very small to hide – and he could see the top of Dawn’s head.

But he could also see, well, you could hardly miss it! – a vast Lynfra demon, all purple hair and fangs protruding from the mouth in its middle, growing and snarling as it tried to hurl the rockfall aside with its three great arms to get to the girl cowering behind it.

“Dawn! Hold on, don’t move.”

“Spike? Jeez Spike is that you?”

“Certainly not Santa Claus, Niblet. Hey!” He picked up a rock and threw it at the Lynfra’s back. It jumped and turned, eight foot of thick purple muscle ready to rip the new intruder to pieces.

“Spike?” He felt Buffy at his back.

“Why does everyone have trouble with my name tonight?” he grumbled, backing away along the ledge.

“Dawn, are you OK?” Buffy yelled.

“Yes, I’m OK. But Buffy, I couldn’t make her stop and listen. She just keeps attacking me. And Eriddny’s not well.”

“Who the heck’s Eriddny?” Spike muttered, chucking another rock at the Lynfra who batted it away with one of the arms that grew, long and purple from the top of its head and then turned back to try and get to Dawn.

“Beats me. Hey, Dawnie, just sit tight. We’ll need to kill this thing, then come and get you. Don’t move.”

The screeched reply was loud and high enough to make their ears ache. “Don’t kill her! You mustn’t kill her!”

Buffy threw a startled glance at Spike. “What the …?”

The vampire shrugged. “Niblet – that’s a Lynfra demon not a nice big purple teddy bear. It’ll eat you if it gets hold of you. Let Buffy and me kill it and we can all go home.”

“No – you don’t understand.” Dawn squealed as another vast rock was pulled away from the barrier in front of her. “I’ve got her kid here. She’s called Eriddny. This thing is Eriddny’s mom!”

Spike felt his mouth go dry. Nothing in the demon world was as violent, deadly or determined as a Lynfra mother protecting her child.

He glanced at Buffy and obviously his expression was enough. “Dawn, I’m sorry about Ahthritnee – ”


“Whatever. But they’re still demons and we can’t rescue you till we kill the mother.”

“No – I won’t let you. Buffy, please, she’s a mom, just like our mom. She’s only protecting her baby. I just want to talk to her, but she won’t listen. Ouch!”

A long claw penetrated the rocks and scratched her leg.

“Throw her the baby then,” Buffy shouted, hearing the distress in her sister’s voice.

“I can’t. I told you, she’s sick. It might hurt her.” Dawn’s voice rang with the stubborn tone that in Buffy’s opinion had got her her own way all her life.

Buffy squared her shoulders and pushed Spike aside. This was ridiculous. Great purple thing threatening to eat Dawn and she wasn’t allowed to kill it! She didn’t care that it was a mother, didn’t care –

And then Spike’s voice whispered in her ear, his cold lips touching her skin making her shiver from – the cold, of course.

“Nobody lays a hand on my little girl!”

tbc - the final chapter will follow soon.

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