Sequel to Easier Said
Author's Notes: This is a sequel to my fic "Easier Said."
Betas: Colleen, Mezzibelle, Alanna, Perletwo: The Fantabulous Four
Special Thanks: Alanna, who forced me to write this gooder. Uh...more best...uh...ah hell... And Mezz for the quick final beta.
Disclaimer: Joss is God. The characters are his. I'm merely having fun with them.
Summary: Spike takes off for places unknown only to find an unwelcome passenger along for the ride.
Road Tripp'n Part Seven
"Dru, what does Miss Edith think? Did you even ask her?" Spike was desperate, he knew it. But then, that blade of hers looked plenty sharp, and necessity being the bitch-all of invention, he needed something to distract her.
"Miss Edith?" Spike almost smiled when he saw her bewildered face. Knowing the chinks in an adversary's armor was Spike's specialty. And he had spent over a hundred years learning Dru's.
"Yes, pet. Miss bloody Edith. How would you like it if she went around cutting up your favorite things without consulting you first?"
Twenty sodding paces. Just roll, scramble...she'll be on top of you- kick--then run. She'll go low with the blade. That's her style...
"She has been bad lately," Drusilla whispered, conspiratorially. Spike opened his mouth to add to the wickedness of Miss Edith, only to find Dru instantly at his side, knife to his throat, mouth to his ear.
"You've been bad, too, my Spike," she purred.
Shit, Spike thought. She's never as out of it as she seems...
In a last desperate gamble, he kissed her passionately. When the blade disappeared from his throat, he was sure it worked. However, Spike couldn't see her hand reverse the poniard, holding it by the tip. Nor could he see, even as she deepened their kiss, the fluid motion of her arm as she flung the knife up overhead. But he did hear the high-pitched, metallic scream as the blade sheared through the electrical wire above and whipped free. He ripped away from her smiling lips to see a halo of sparks descend around her, and watched as small blue and violet balls of light framed her face. For an instant, Spike imagined he saw what Angelus must have seen, before he had turned her—a radiant angel.
Drusilla stepped back over the writhing cable, her smile transforming into a devilish grin. She kicked the head of the sparking cable into the air toward him. For a moment Spike thought he could twist out of its path, but the snake-like wire reared up as if tracking his movement, then struck, kissing the calf of his left leg with its blunt head. Spike convulsed in soundless agony as the current arched through him. It felt like a thousand chips placed throughout his body, firing all at once.
He couldn't be certain, but he thought he heard Drusilla clapping her hands in glee as the world fell dark.
"Tara," Willow pleaded, half-dragging the naked wiccan up by the arm. "We have to get out of here."
Willow managed to pull her into the hall just as Tara's father reached the top of the stairs. He was grinning, his teeth flashing in the dark. His black, beady eyes flickered with dancing orange sparks.
Tara's eyes were transfixed, staring helplessly at the image of her father, her chest heaving in short, panicked gasps. Her fingers clutched at the air around her as if seeking support yet finding none.
"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded. "Have you been practicing the Devil's art again?" His grin spread to a leer as his gaze traveled over her flesh. Tara tried to hide herself behind Willow.
"It's not your father! It's T'Keti," Willow said, trying to snap the look of horror from Tara's eyes, as she desperately searched her memory for spells capable of being used inside someone's mind. Not many.
As T'Keti advanced, Willow cast a protection spell. It was far weaker than the barrier she and Osiris had erected before, and T'Keti's barking laugh confirmed that. His fingers reached up to the shimmering blue, translucent wall and slowly began pushing through it.
"Tara! I need you! Please, baby..." Willow cried. But Tara could only stare in fascinated horror.
"Have you been witching your brother? Is that blood between your legs?" T'Keti sneered.
"Don't listen to him," Willow grunted, attempting to erect another barrier spell. It was draining her, and the undead god knew it. The first barrier ripped, and he slammed into a second hastily raised barricade with such force it almost collapsed instantly. Willow sought desperately to fortify it, using resources within her she hadn't tapped since bringing Buffy back from the dead. The barrier held, but she could feel it waver and begin to buckle. She forced even more energy into it.
"Did you forget your family? Did you forget where you come from?" T'Keti chided Tara.
Family... The word penetrated the veil of fear surrounding Tara. Her father...this wasn't her father. This wasn't where she lived anymore. This wasn't her.
"I'm her family."
Stunned, Willow looked on in disbelief as Buffy suddenly appeared standing in front of her, arms folded, staring down T'Keti.
"And me," Dawn added, appearing beside Buffy.
"And us," Xander said, slinging an axe over his shoulder. Anya patted him on his back with a smile.
"Very fierce looking, honey," Anya congratulated him.
"Yes, quite," Giles said drolly, raising a rapier and saluting Tara's father.
"Bugger it, me too," said a fully vamped Spike. Willow had never seen him look more ferocious as he stood at Buffy's side, licking his fangs, clenching his fists, ready to spring forward.
T'Keti stood astonished, his progress halted by the strange sight before him.
"And me." Tara turned toward the soft voice beside her to see a familiar face shrouded in a nimbus of light, smiling at her.
"Mother?" Tara said, her eyes filling with tears.
Instinctively, Tara entwined her fingers with her mother's luminous hand. A calm, powerful current swelled within her like an ocean wave.
Willow felt Tara grasp her left hand, and a tingling wave coursed up through her arm, rejuvenating herfilling her to the brim with power. She didn't question it. Willow had fought alongside Buffy enough to know better. She who hesitates...
"Ignite!" Willow shouted, and her free right hand burst into flame. She slapped her palm flat against the wall, and the oily substance there combusted.
Fire raced across the walls, the ceiling, the floor. The darkened hallway erupted into giant, bright fireball. The flames were warm, but didn't consume Tara or Willow. Nor did they seem to affect their small army of friends.
T'Keti, however, howled in agony as the fire crackled along his skin. Tara watched as the face of her father dried and split like wood from the heat. He made one last effort against the barrier and shouted in triumph as it shattered under his fists.
"You're not welcome here, T'Keti," Willow said firmly, unconcerned. The room grew bright, impossibly bright. The fire now burned bluish-white.
"None of this is welcome," Tara said, her eyes flashing with power. Suddenly, the walls blew outward, the floor disintegrated, the ceiling tore away. They stood on nothing but blue-white fire as T'Keti fought to reach them, clawing against an invisible hurricane forcing him backwards.
"No more," Tara heard her mother say. T'Keti howled in defeat as a powerful wave blasted him away from his prize and out of Tara's mind.
Willow and Tara both jolted awake at the same time, back in their room, an abrupt quiet engulfing them. They stared at each other for a moment, stunned. Then Willow lurched forward, grabbing Tara in a fierce hug.
"Oh, baby," Willow cried. They collapsed in tears on the floor, rocking in their embrace.
When Willow finally pulled back, she found Tara smiling broadly, tears still streaming down her face.
"Tara, honey, why are you smiling?" Willow asked, bewildered.
Tara cupped Willow's face in her hands and leaned her forehead against hers.
"I saw my mom again."
Julie exited the elevator, wiping her eyes and nose with a tissue. She had found Michelle upstairs, thankfully still alive. The woman in the bed next to her, though, had paid the price. Michelle told of how Vick had drained the woman dry, promising to do the same to her if she ever tried to leave him.
"I don't know what happened," Michelle had told the police.
"You saw nothing? Nothing at all? Only a few feet away?" She knew they didn't believe her, but they wouldn't believe her if she told them everything anyway.
"Painkillers. They gave me painkillers. I was asleep. This is a hospital, you know."
That was enough for them to leave her alone. A patient recovering from surgery, and on drugs, made for a poor witness.
Julie shuddered, recalling the terrified look on Michelle's face when she entered the room. Every time the door opened, Michelle had flinched, expecting Vick to return and make good on his promise.
That bastard! Julie thought furiously. Fucking goddamn bastard!
She insisted that the hospital staff move Michelle to another room and post a guard. They were reluctant until Julie let the words "lawsuit" and "emotional trauma" slip repeatedly. Once a new room was procured, Julie did her best to calm her friend.
"He's dead," Julie told her.
"He'll come back!"
"No. He's gone for good. I...someone took care of it for us. Understand?"
"I was so scared..."
"I know, honey. But he's gone. He can't get to either of us anymore."
Just then, the lights flickered out, panicking Michelle into a crying fit. Even as Julie stroked her hair, she kept her eyes fixed on the door, worried too, thinking some of Vick's thugs had found them. But she kept that to herself even as she worked to calm Michelle. After a few minutes Julie went in search of a doctor and managed to convince him to give Michelle something to help her sleep, which thankfully worked fast. Julie didn't know how long Spike would wait for her, and she still needed his help. Or at the very least, Vick's car.
It amazed her just how wrong her great escape plan had gone. Vick's thugs had found her fast, and would've most likely killed her if Spike hadn't intervened. And Vick had managed to find and threaten Michelle into hysterics. If they had been together, he probably would have made an example out of one of them.
"Most likely me," Julie muttered, tossing her tissue in a wastebasket on her way out of the hospital. Lost in thought, she almost ran headlong into tall figure in black, cooing at a baby in his arms.
"Shit, watch it!" she yelled at him, embarrassed. When he turned to face her, she blanched. Fuck me...
"Was that Buffy? On the phone?" Tara asked Willow, sipping her hot tea at the kitchen counter.
"No, just Xander. I wish she would call. I didn't think of having her check in regular or anything." Willow said, worried.
Tara reached out and threaded her warm fingers into Willows hand. "She'll call. Then you can tell her."
"I just...how do I tell her? I mean, I'm not supposed to...you know...with the magic? And now I've got information from what I'm not supposed to be doing..."
"Willow, it's Buffy. She'll understand. Really."
"Really?" Willow asked, hopeful.
"I do," Tara said firmly.
"Yes. Will, you s..saved me..."
"No. You did. I was in over my h..head and you..."
"But I had to! I couldn't lose you. No matter what I promised. I..I just couldn't," Willow said tearfully. "I can't imagine this world without you in it, Tara. I don't want to imagine it."
Tara smiled at that. "I think that's..um...mutual." Abruptly, her smile transformed into a small frown. "Uh, Will?"
"Yes," Willow said, her attention focused firmly on their intertwined fingers.
"Are you going to kiss me?"
"Oh! Uh...you want me to, uh, kiss you?"
"If it's not too much trouble," Tara said dryly.
Willow's face split with a grin. "Oh, no, it's not too...too, uh..."
"Okay, will do. Will do! Isn't that...mmrfph."
"Don't call me that! And stay away from me!" Julie said, edging backward. Angel turned and handed off the baby.
"Fred, can you..."
"Sure," Fred said, accepting the infant, cooing to Connor to distract him.
Julie used the moment to continue toward the exit only to have Angel run and dart in front of her.
"You...you're one of Vick's girls. I remember," Angel said.
"Fuck off! I don't want your help anymore," Julie yelled. Angel grabbed her upper arm.
"Let go of me or I'll scream," Julie hissed.
"Not gonna happen. You came to me once when things were..." Angel trailed off.
"When you were busy killing lawyers," Julie spat out. Angel's exploits had been the talk of L.A.'s more demonic element. It had been one of Vick's favorite topics of conversation. He had told her time and again that all vampires were the same, just looking for fresh blood.
Still, despite Vick's unpleasant portrait of the vampire, Julie had sought Angel out when she was at her lowest, wanting protection. She found only dead eyes, and a bitter smile.
A suck-job, eh? And why should I help you? What? The evil's not exciting enough anymore? Afraid you're starting to like it when they bite you? Like the feel of their fangs sinking in... You get off on it, don't you?
The encounter had left Julie with the urge to run back into the arms of the evil she knew. She understood Vick, sadistic bastard that he was. But Angel...
"I know," Angel said with regret, the pain filling his face. It tortured him to no end, the people he had refused to help. He had tried to find many of them afterwards, but most had already paid the price for his apathy.
"You don't know anything," Julie said bitterly, ignoring the apology in his voice.
"Who'd he hurt this time?" Angel asked, releasing but keeping her cornered so she couldn't run.
"I don't need you anymore," she said defiantly.
"He won't just let you go. They never do. Not vampires..." Angel warned.
"I already found someone to help us. And he's a hell of lot better than you!" Julie retorted angrily.
"Vick means business. You'll get someone hurt. Is that why you're here?" Angel questioned her, his tone hardening.
"Again, I'm going to say 'Fuck you' as it is no longer your goddamn business what this 'suck-job' does. Got it?" Julie forced her way around him and quickly exited the hospital's automatic doors.
Angel watched her go, feeling his soul slither down into his stomach. Two steps forward, one step back, he thought, sighing.
A gurgle from his baby son brought his mind back to the present. Fred offered Connor to him, smiling hopefully, as if the sound-smell-feel of his baby could magically cure all things brood-worthy.
She knew him well.
Continued in Road Tripp'n Part Eight