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In Harm's Way by dawnofme
6. Threshold
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a/n: Much of the dialog in this chapter is taken from Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, Wild at Heart and Pangs. Thank you Mabel Marsters, Tanit and Slaymesoftly for all the beta work you've done for me. A big thank you to whom ever it was that nominated this story at Spuff Awards and Fang Fetish Awards. Getting those notices in my inbox really made my day! And got my muse jumping!
In Harm’s Way
Chapter Six: Threshold

With the Sex Pistols blaring out of the speakers and the windows open, Spike drove down the highway, seething. If it weren’t for the fact that he’d gotten the chance to torture Angel, the whole trip would have been a huge waste. He’d spent days following Angel at a distance, watching for any sign that he might have the ring in his possession. When his patience ran out, he called in the vampire torture expert.

Marcus had pulled out all the stops, but Angel swore he had no idea what Spike was talking about. Spike had believed him almost right away. If Angel had the ring, he would gloat about it and get great satisfaction from knowing that he knew where it was while Spike did not. Even so, he played it as if he didn’t believe, letting Marcus at him long enough to make a point.

After a while, the game started to bore Spike, as he wasn’t really into torture and mind games the way Angelus was. Before paying Marcus for his services, he got the crazy vampire to help him get Angel underground and tie him securely to a set of sturdy pipes. Spike knew it wouldn’t hold Angel for long, but would give him just enough time to get out of L.A. and get to the Slayer before Angel could sound the alarm.

Now, after being gone for almost a week, he was on his way back to Sunnydale. Back to the Slayer. Fifteen minutes more and he’d be on campus searching for her. He slapped the wheel in frustration as he thought about her. When he got his hands on--He slapped the wheel again as images of the places his hands had been on that delectable body haunted him. Focusing on the Gem, he shook himself out of fantasy mode and back to planning. He would hunt her down, drag her back to the lair, tie her up and…

“Bloody hell!” he yelled out the window. It was so damn maddening. He had to get the Slayer out of his head. She didn’t belong there. He couldn’t deny that he wanted her under him again, or on top for that matter, but he never wanted her in his head.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Buffy stepped out of Stevenson Hall and into the night. Standing still, she took a deep breath and did her best to relax. It was a wonderful feeling to be alone for a change. She was so hoping the vamps would be out in full force tonight. She needed to kill a few somethings.

Giles wouldn’t leave the Gem of Amara subject alone. He insisted that he wanted to know where it was. She refused to say, feeling that they were all safer not knowing where she had it hidden.

Buffy was no good at telling lies, and remembering the facts of the story she’d told them about how she got the Gem was starting to stress her out. It was better if she wasn’t around Giles too much. The others would continue to accept her version, but Giles was too sharp not to catch on that her little story was off.

Halloween was supposed to have been her night off. But, no! Mini demons and haunted houses coming alive ruined all that. She’d been depressed before she’d even gone to the party. Parker had been declared a missing person, and then, right before they’d left to go to the party, the news broke that his corpse had been found, drained of every drop of blood in his body.

Add to that the fact that she was the fifth wheel - the only one of her group without a date - and the night just kept getting worse. Willow had Oz, Xander had that weird Anya chick, and what did Buffy have? One boyfriend who ran when the going got tough, another boy who used her and ended up dead,…and Spike.

She stopped and glanced around at her surroundings. She hadn’t gone that far, but her thoughts had been so distracting that a vamp could have come up on her and knocked her out before she knew what was happening.

Why couldn’t a vampire or demon come her way right about now? Buffy needed that distraction very badly. With much effort on her part, she’d done her best to not think about Spike, and it had backfired on her in a big way. Getting drunk and turning into Cave Buffy was not something she wanted to repeat. The good thing was, she hadn’t thought about him at all while under the influence.

If she didn’t find something to kill, and soon, Buffy was going to be tempted to find some more of that magical beer. She spun around and glared at a set of bushes where her senses were telling her that there was a vampire. When, wearing a huge grin, he stepped out, she pretended to be paralyzed with fear.

At one time, the young-looking vampire had probably been a student at the school. Now he was just a demon, about to meet a dusty end. Hearing voices near by, she realized that they were too close to civilization, so she took off running, hoping to lure him into a more secluded area.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike caught a whiff of her scent almost immediately after stepping onto campus. He’d found her just as she was running away from another vampire and followed at a distance. When they stopped, he found a higher vantage point, where he could observe her without calling attention to himself.

He sneered at her, but had to admit that Buffy looked incredible with her hair pulled back from her face and a short leather jacket on that allowed him a great view of her jean-clad arse.

“Thanks for the relocate,” she was saying in that annoyingly superior tone she liked to use. “I perform better without an audience.”

Then she went into warrior mode before the vamp knew what hit him, kicking and punching with no move wasted. And as always, she had to talk. “You were thinking, what, a little helpless coed before bed? You know very well, you eat this late…”

With a fast little jab, she buried the stake in his heart. “You’re gonna get heartburn.”

Spike rolled his eyes as the vamp clutched his chest and burst into dust.

“That’s it?” Buffy told the falling ash, and then gazed up at the sky as if asking some unknown power of the universe. “That’s all I get?”

He understood her disappointment all too well. There was nothing like a good, long fight to make you feel alive. Over too soon, and it was such a let down.

She said, “One lame-ass vamp with no appreciation for my painstakingly thought-out puns. I don’t think the forces of darkness are even trying. I mean, you could make a little effort here, you know?” She started to walk off. “Give me something to work with.”

Spike sneered again as he watched the Slayer’s little arse wiggle enticingly away from him. “Watch your mouth, little girl. You should know better than to tempt the fates that way. Cause the Big Bad is back, and it’s time, it’s--”

Excruciating pain came at him from behind, wrapping around him like a blanket. He had just a second to take notice of the bluish light surrounding him and then he was out.

Men in dark uniforms dragged him away.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A few nights later, Buffy sat alone on a park bench, in the middle of the deserted campus grounds. Waiting. For the one vampire in the all the word that she never wanted to face again.

Earlier in the night, she’d been at a party talking to Riley when Xander had come rushing into the frat house and said there was important business. They’d rushed over to Giles’ condo so she could get a full report. It turned out that Angel had called to warn them that Spike was still on the hunt for the Gem of Amara. Buffy choked back a laugh as she remembered the story Giles had related of Spike’s kidnapping Angel and keeping him prisoner for days. She cleared her throat. It wasn’t funny; but oh, it was. The thought of Angel being strung up and stuck with some crazy vampire should have made her feel bad for him, but it just didn’t.

In addition, the thought of Spike driving all over the place looking for the Gem, when she had it safely tucked away in a place he’d never think to look, was pretty funny.

On the way to tell her about Angel’s phone call, Xander had spotted Spike cutting through the campus grounds. For once, her friend had been wise and had run to tell her instead of trying something stupid.

Because she hadn’t seen or heard from him since she’d run off with the Gem of Amara, she’d been sure that Spike had just left town. Her rational side had been very relieved, but her not-so-rational self had been feeling kind of let down. What she expected, she didn’t know, but she hadn’t expected him to just take off.

She thought about Xander’s snide remarks about Riley being Teutonic. She’d come back with the intelligent observation that he was a doof, not Teutonic. But if Xander ever found out she had a secret thing for a hot vampire that she’d had a one night stand with, he’d flip his lid and be begging for her to date a guy like Riley.

When Riley had appeared in front of her bench a little while ago, it had taken all her willpower to keep from decking him or shooting him with the flare gun that Xander had insisted she carry. What a pompous ass Riley had been. Maybe that’s the way they grew them in Iowa. Male chauvinist pig that he was, she knew it was wrong to judge a whole state by one resident. As soon as he’d walked her to the dorms and moved out of sight, she’d walked right back to her bench. To wait for Spike.

Knowing that he was out there thrilled her in a way that shamed her as well. Buffy scanned the area, cloaked in shadows, in front of her. She wasn’t sure what would happen when she saw Spike again. Would she have to stake him?

Buffy jumped up and sprinted towards her dorm room when she heard the piercing scream and realized that it sounded an awful lot like Willow. Poor Willow was going through enough already with Oz leaving her. If anyone was hurting her friend, they were going to have to deal with Buffy.

She could see the white, powdery smoke before she turned the corner of the darkened hallway. At first, she was stunned motionless. Men, who were obviously the commandos that they were looking for, were fighting something, but she couldn’t make out who or what. Once Buffy caught sight of a bright sweater and red hair, she went into warrior mode to protect her friend.

She shot her flare gun off, figuring a split second later, that it probably wasn’t a good idea. The flare ricocheted off the walls, sending sparks and lowering the visibility even more.

She kicked at anything that moved, but the commandos kept coming. It was dark and their faces were covered. They were strong. Almost too strong to be human. But then again, her demon warning bells weren’t going off either. Her hesitation at seeing a head of white hair fly by got her a punch to the stomach. One of the other commandos grabbed Spike and threw him against the wall.

Two of the commandos seemed to be struggling with each other as she fought another, knocking him unconscious. They were uncomfortably close to Willow.

“She could have been turned. We have to contain her,“ one of them said as he raised the butt of his gun to hit her friend. The other shook his head in protest and grabbed his arm to stop him. Buffy reacted immediately, knocking the one with the gun out while kicking the other one away.

She half pushed, half rolled Willow into their room, then slammed the door on her. She kicked at the commando coming at her before reaching out and grabbing at Spike when he tried to run past her.

He gripped her arms above the elbows and growled low in her ear, “A little busy, Slayer. Gonna have to do this another time.” Spike pushed her away and ran in the direction of the stairs.

The two commandos still conscious attempted to go after him. Buffy didn’t have time to think about her actions, she just starting punching, forcing them back and away from the stairs. The others were rousing and as they stumbled together, the tallest one waved them on; they ran down the hall and out of sight.

The smoke in the hallway was just starting to clear and the heads of her fellow students poked out of rooms, staring at her in shock.

She picked up the punctured fire extinguisher. “Stupid fraternity boys,” she said loudly. “What a dumb idea for a prank.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

They’d had a few peaceful days before Thanksgiving. None of them had seen, nor heard from Spike. There had been very little demon activity at all, until this Indian ghost trouble had started up.

Buffy was starting to feel the stress. She continued to stir the mixture in her bowl while hiding in the kitchen. Her little plan for Thanksgiving was not going as well as she’d hoped. Giles and Willow continued to fight about the Shumash Indians, while Anya tended to a disease ridden Xander who was horizontal on Giles’ couch. Buffy stuck her lower lip out and frowned. He was going to be too sick to eat the meal she was cooking.

Setting the bowl down gently so as not to spill any, Buffy marched into the living room and opened her mouth to begin a lecture on how they all had to get along, when there was a knock on the door. Frowning, she stomped over to the door and flung it open. Giles caught it before it could do any damage.

The sunny courtyard appeared to be empty; then, out of nowhere came a blanket covered Spike. They both jumped back.

“Help me,” Spike pleaded.

He looked awful. His skin was pasty white, his lips cracked and dry, but, with the sun behind him, his eyes were a brilliant blue. She had to clear that thought before she could act.

“Go away,” she told him firmly, ever mindful that her watcher was right behind her.

The indirect sunlight was affecting him pretty badly as smoke started to rise from his back. “Come on. I’m parboiling out here.”

Buffy grabbed the stake that Giles handed her. “Want me to help make it quicker?” She spoke the words expected of a hardened warrior, but she knew her eyes betrayed her very real concern and she was grateful that she had her back to the others.

“I showed you mercy when you were helpless. Invite me in.”

Giles said, “No. It’s fairly unlikely.”

“Oh, damn it! Look, I’m safe. I can’t bite anyone. Didn’t Willow tell you?”

All eyes were on Willow. “Well, I sort of left that part out.” Spike glared at her, so she added, “You said you were gonna kill me, then Buffy.”

All eyes were back to Spike. “Yes, bad, but let’s skip that part and get to the part where I couldn’t bite you.”

“It’s true. He had trouble performing,” Willow said.

“Yeah, well, it looks like they’ve done me for good. Um…” he trailed off as he gingerly rubbed the back of his head.

A feeling of dread settled in the pit of her stomach. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that Spike had a little trip to the vet, and now he doesn’t chase the other puppies anymore. I can’t bite anything. I can’t even hit people.”

It was quiet in the apartment as Buffy stood there staring at him. If he really couldn’t bite or hurt humans, they could let him in. He looked so lost, and he had shown her mercy when she was helpless under that love spell. If she let him in, would he tell the others about their one night stand?

“I’ve got information,” he said in desperation. “About the soldier boys you were fighting. Got the inside scoop. Come on, what have you got to be afraid of?”

As Giles invited him in, Buffy thought that she had a whole lot to be afraid of.

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