Getting Spike out of the basement - method #208.
“Don’t worry, Buffy.” The principal leaned out the office door, watching the officers head for the stairwell. “The caretaker found a homeless man living in the basement. The police will take care of it.”
Buffy rushed out of her cubicle. “What do you mean, take care of it?” She looked up at her employer, concern in her eyes.
“They’ll get him out. Take him outside, to the station.” He glanced down the corridor. “If he gets violent, they’ll deal with it.”
“He won’t, I mean...” Buffy’s eyes opened wide at the sight of Spike being escorted through the hall by the two tall policemen, his head bowed in resignation. “You can’t!” she exclaimed. “You can’t take him outside.”
“We certainly can’t leave him in here. They can deal with him.” He tipped his head forward as he looked down at Buffy. “What do you know about this?”
“Nothing, I...” She tried to think. In a few minutes, Spike would be in flames, and the way he’d been acting lately, she wasn’t even sure that he’d notice. “Let me talk to him.”
“Buffy, let the police handle it. He could be dangerous.”
“I don’t think so. Look at him.”
Spike turned his head in Buffy’s direction, and a brief smile passed across his lips, before he walked by. His cheeks were wet with tears.
“Let me try. I’m supposed to be a counsellor. Please let my try to get through to him.” Buffy was trying not to plead. Trying not to raise suspicion, she added, “It would be good for me. If I can get through to him. Find out why he’s here.”
“That’s crazy, Buffy. You’re doing a fine job. You don’t have to prove yourself.”
Buffy lay her hand on his shoulder. They almost had Spike to the door. “Please.”
Wood’s eye’s narrowed. “Okay, Buffy. You can try.” He called to the officers, “Can you bring him here for a moment, please?” Turning back to Buffy, he added, “At the first sign of trouble, they’ll have him out of here. Your safety comes first.”
Telling the police the situation, and that he wasn’t going to press trespassing charges at this time, they reluctantly released Spike. “I don’t like this,” Officer Maloney stated. “The guy’s obviously nuts.”
“Did he hurt anyone?” Buffy asked. When the officer indicated not, Buffy gently took Spike’s arm. “Come into my office, sir.”
Spike stared at her in confusion as he quietly sat in the chair in front of her desk. Wood stood behind him.
“I’d like to speak to the gentleman alone, if I could. I don’t think he’ll say much, with you standing over his shoulder.” When Wood went out in the hall to talk further to the police, she stared at Spike. “I told you it was dangerous. I told you not to stay in the basement.” When Spike didn’t respond, her anger grew. “They were going to take you outside, you know. Into the nice, bright sun. You would have died.”
“Not funny.” She stood up and walked over to him. “Now what am I going to do? Those cops will probably take you away anyway. They don’t really like it when crazy homeless guys hang out in high schools. Makes them kinda nervous. I don’t think handing them a blanket and telling them to keep you out of the sun will help. And I don’t even have a blanket. You’re screwed. You know that.”
“Well and proper. You should know.” He hit the side of his face. “Stop that. Not polite.”
She rolled her eyes. “Good grief.” She tipped his chin up with the palm of her hand and looked into his eyes. “Focus, Spike. Listen. I have an idea. Just don’t leave. Don’t yell. Don’t giggle. Don’t scream. Just sit there.”
He nodded, and folded his hands in his lap.
She went out into the hallway to speak to the policemen. “Um, officers? I don’t think he’s dangerous. He just seems kind of scared. If you take him to the station, you’ll just frighten him more.”
“What do you suggest, ma’am?” Officer Cleaver asked.
‘Ma’am?’ “I have a friend. He has this sort of shelter. To help people who lose their way.” ‘It’s really an English country house, but you don’t need to know that,’ she thought. “I’ll get in touch with him. I’m sure he can help.” ‘Well, give me advice, anyway.’
Officer Maloney was unconvinced. “Really, miss. You don’t know that he won’t hurt you. You’re just a little slip of a thing. You should let us handle this.”
‘Slip?’ She put her hands on her hips. “I’m very capable of looking after myself.”
“Buffy, I think...” Principal Wood was struck by her determination. “I think maybe you can at that.” He turned towards the policemen. “Let her handle this. She’s a very capable young woman, and why make the situation any more difficult for the young man than it needs to be. Buffy has a cell phone; she’ll call you if there’s any kind of trouble. Won’t you, Buffy?”
Buffy batted her eyes demurely. “Of course, officers. You’ll be the first to know.”
When the police finally left, Wood confronted Buffy. “You know him, don’t you? You can tell me. Don’t worry, I won’t say anything.”
“Why would you ask me that?” Buffy replied.
He crossed his arms over his chest. “Maybe it was that ‘deer in the headlights’ look you got when you saw him with the cops. Who is he?”
Buffy sighed. “My ex. We used to...We sort of dated.”
“What happened to him?”
“I can’t go into it.” Buffy dropped her eyes. “He had a sort of trauma. Messed him up.”
Principal Wood lay his hand on Buffy’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. You obviously care about him.” When Buffy’s head shot up, denial about to explode from her lips, he added, “Did you know he was down there?”
“Absolutely not,” she lied, looking him straight in the eyes.
“Okay,” he said. “We’ll leave it at that. But you have to get him out of the school. Now.”
Buffy nodded. “I understand.” She turned to head back to her desk, paused and asked, “You wouldn’t happen to have a blanket, would you?”
“Sleepy, Miss Summers?”
“He has a sort of sun allergy. If he goes outside without being covered, he’ll get, well, sick.”
Woods nodded. “There’s one in the nurse’s office. I’ll get it for you.” He started to leave. “Buffy?” he said.
“Be careful. And I will get the whole story some day.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you.” She walked back to her desk. “No arguments,” she said to Spike. “No turning around and running back downstairs.” She crossed her arms. “You’re coming home with me.”