Okay, this is not going according to plan.
Buffy struggled against the chains suspending her from the ceiling of Glory’s lavish apartment and tried to control the fear that went through her every time there was noise outside the door. She almost blushed with shame as she thought about how easily the hell god had knocked her unconscious after only a few moments of exchanging blows.
I’m never going to hear the end of this from Spike, she groused. Stupid vampire will be all ‘I told you, you needed me for backup, Slayer.’
One of Glory’s minions came into the room, carefully staying out of range of the Slayer’s still-deadly feet and whining, “The honorable Glorificus has gone out for the evening. I’m to tell you that when she returns, she is going to find her Key if she has to remove all your internal organs one at a time.”
Buffy used the chains to swing her body towards the scabby little man, snarling when she just missed his head with her high heeled boot.
“She’ll never find it,” Buffy said, her voice firm and steady. “And it isn’t in one of my internal organs, so good luck with that search.”
The man shrugged. “She will enjoy the search anyway. Then she will suck your brain.” He turned and left the room, locking the door behind him. Buffy squirmed and tugged, but she couldn’t get the right leverage she needed to pull the chains out of their ceiling bolts.
Spike? Giles? Riley? Is anybody looking for me?
Spike’s crypt was beginning to feel very small. Joyce and Dawn sat on the couch watching Passions reruns, and even though Dawn scooted over and made sitting motions, he wasn’t comfortable joining them. Xander and Anya sat in his only chair, the ex-demon on Xander’s lap. Their whispered arguments about whether or not they could explore the rest of Spike’s crypt and find a place to ‘have orgasms’ were inaudible to the humans, but more than apparent to the vampire. Willow and Tara were sitting cross-legged across from each other on the sarcophagus playing with a deck of cards and giggling.
The vampire paced around, his resemblance to a caged animal growing by the hour, as he listened to the chattering going on around him. As he made his tenth pass by the kitchen table, Giles glared at him, snapping, “Can’t you, for god’s sake, sit still?”
“If you’ll look around,” Spike said through clenched teeth, “you’ll see that there is nothing left for me to sit on.”
He glared pointedly at the lone kitchen chair that the watcher had been using while he perused the reference books scattered across the table. With a resigned sigh, Giles reached for his other bag, pulling out an opened bottle of scotch.
“Here. Take this and go somewhere quiet.”
“Are you tryin’ to get me drunk, Rupert? You old dog, you.” Spike’s leering innuendo was half-hearted and Giles barely acknowledged it.
“You should get so fortunate,” he said without looking up from his books.
Spike grabbed the offered bottle and headed for the ladder. “I’ll be in my room,” he said with as much dignity as he could muster.
“Don’t get drunk. You are supposed to be our protection.”
“I know m’ job, Watcher.”
Something in Spike’s tone brought Giles’ eyes up from his books and he studied the vampire, then said quietly, “We do appreciate this, Spike. Contrary to how it must seem to you, I am aware that this is an imposition.”
Spike didn’t answer, just nodded and dropped down to the lower area. He settled down against the headboard of his bed and began taking long drinks from the bottle of scotch.
Upstairs, Dawn began to wander around the large, stone room, watching the witches for a few minutes, then picking up one of Giles’ books. She was scanning through the text, not sure what she wanted to find, but relieved that there was something else to do, when Xander said in a loud whisper, “Why is the evil undead doing this for us?”
Dawn looked up with genuine surprise, took in the thoughtful expressions on everyone else’s face, and said calmly, “Because Buffy asked him to.”
“Threatened him with a dusty funeral is more like it,” Xander said. “I guess the Big Bad is still scared of the Slayer.”
“I heard that!” Spike’s growl drifted up from the lower level. “If you’re going to talk about me, at least remember that I’m a bloody vampire with very keen hearing!” His head poked up from the hole in the floor and glared around the room. “And if I’d known what I was letting myself in for, there wouldn’t be anyone here except Dawn and Joyce!”
His gaze went to the witches, taking in the hurt look on Willow’s face and Tara’s embarrassment.
“An’ maybe Red and her bird – I like Glinda.” He smiled at the two girls on the sarcophagus, his smile growing into a grin when Tara blushed and Willow narrowed her eyes at him.
“Ahem,” Giles cleared his throat noisily, staring pointedly at the now almost empty bottle in Spike’s hand.
“And Rupert,” the vampire added with a sigh. “Can’t throw out the man what brings the whiskey.”
“So, basically, you’re all right with everyone except us. Is that it, Deadboy, Jr.?”
“Well, truth be told, I’ve got nothing against Anyanka there – ‘cept for her terrible taste in men. She’s welcome to stay if she’ll just stop nattering on about shagging you into the ground.”
Xander gestured grandly, saying, “Well, it looks like Deadboy, Jr. is okay with everybody except me.” He turned to glare at Spike. “Too damn bad, fangface. Tell me, what did the Buffster do to you to make you include me in your little slumber party here?”
Spike stared back at the dark-haired boy, meeting Xander’s laughing challenge calmly. “She asked me to help her take care of the people she cares about.” Without waiting for a response, he walked over to Giles and handed him the almost empty bottle. “I’ll be downstairs tryin’ to sort out where to put everybody when they’re ready to sleep.”
Giles watched the vampire disappear into the lower level of his crypt, mulling over what he’d said about Buffy’s request. As much as he wanted to believe that Buffy had intimidated Spike into sharing his home with them, the vampire’s reply to Xander, as well as Dawn’s earlier remark indicated something much different was going on. He gave a mental groan as unwanted images of another vampire that had fallen in love with his slayer began to float through his head. He flashed back to Willow’s spell the previous year and how comfortable the two blonds had seemed to be while thinking themselves engaged to be married. He shook the images from his head and went back to concentrating on his books, hoping vainly to come up with some information that would allow them to exploit any weaknesses Glory might have.
It was after ten PM, and had been dark for hours when Spike finally permitted the Scoobies to descend the ladder and pick spots for themselves to put their sleeping bags. He saw Anya eyeing his bed and growled, “Over my dusty remains, demon-girl!”
“So,” she sniffed haughtily, “You’re going to sleep in comfort while the rest of us have to sleep on a dirt floor?”
“I’m a vampire, you twit. I’m not going to sleep at all. Joyce and Dawn can use my bed, and the rest of you can unroll some of those rugs over there.” He gestured to a pile of rolled up oriental rugs, causing Giles to raise his eyebrows questioningly. “Don’t get your knickers in a twist there, Watcher. Came by those legally – you’d be surprised what people put out for the dustman when they want to get out of town in a hurry.”
Xander and Giles began to unroll the rugs, making several small piles of them around the large cavern until there was a makeshift bed for everyone to use. Anya tried very hard to get Xander to put their stack of soft carpet well away from everyone else’s, but when Giles cleared his throat and muttered “sound carries” she gave in with little grace. She threw herself down upon her bed for the night and rolled up into her sleeping bag without saying ‘good-night’ to anyone.
Joyce and Dawn, after token resistance on Joyce’s part and her insistence that they could just as easily sleep on the floor with everyone else, were just settling into Spike’s bed when Dawn saw him freeze – clearly listening to something the humans couldn’t hear yet.
With a terse, “stay here” he bolted up the ladder and hastened to the door. He sniffed cautiously, frowning at the human scent coming from outside.
What kind of human walks through a cemetery at night and knocks on the door of a crypt?
He yanked the door open, full game face on as he glared at the tall, slender man just raising his hand to knock again.
“Oh, hello. I was wondering if I might have a word with Ripper?”
Spike blinked at the man’s complete lack of fear and shook off his wrinklies.
“Don’t know what you’re talkin’ about, mate. There’s no ‘Ripper’ here.” His ears picked up the faintest sounds behind him and he knew that someone had come up the ladder and was watching.
“Oh, come now, that was a perfectly respectable locator spell that I worked to find out where he was. And I risked my life walking into a Sunnydale cemetery in the middle of the night to get here. Surely, I’m entitled to a better answer than that?”
Before Spike could snarl an invitation that the man walk himself right back out of the cemetery, the watcher’s voice floated across the room.
“What do you want here, Ethan?”
“Ah, there you are, love! Do ask short, blond and cranky here to let me in. it’s quite chilly out here.”
Spike remained stubbornly fixed in front of the open door until he felt Giles come up behind, a cocked crossbow in his hands.
“It’s all right, Spike. Since he’s found us, you may as well bring him inside. It will attract less attention.”
With a curt nod, the vampire stepped aside, shutting the door firmly behind the chaos mage. He used his lighter on a few candles, then stood leaning against the wall, arms folded, while he waited for the man he now realized was the sorcerer who had turned Giles into a Fyarl demon the year before, to state his purpose for being there.
“Found us?” Ethan asked, his eyebrows going up and his eyes running over the vampire appraisingly. “There’s an us?”
“Not us, you git,” Giles growled, refusing to meet Spike’s interested and amused eyes. “I meant that there are more people here. You were not intended to be among them, so state your purpose quickly.”
“Could you perhaps lower that nasty-looking weapon? It is really inhibiting my ability to think clearly.”
“I believe I’ll just keep it handy for a bit. Talk, Ethan.”
“You sound so forceful when you growl like that, Ripper. Quite gives me chills it does...” One look at Giles’ face and the way his finger was tightening on the trigger of the crossbow had Ethan hastening on. “I’m here because, as much as I enjoy chaos, the amount of it that Glorificus is planning to bring into this world is a little too much even for my tastes. Not to mention my physical safety.”
“What do you know about Glory?” Spike and Giles spoke at the same time, but it was the vampire who got right into Ethan’s face, his eyes flickering amber and blue.
“More than you do, I’ll wager,” Ethan said calmly. “I came to offer my assistance to the Slayer...Where is she, by the way?” He looked around pointedly.
“She’ll be around soon,” Spike growled, trying not to sound like he had no idea where she was.
“Yes, quite,” Giles agreed quickly. “Anything you have to tell the Slayer, you can tell me – er- us.”
If Spike was surprised at being included in the Slayer’s gang of helpers, he hid it well, just standing with arms folded while they waited to hear what Ethan had to say.
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