All About Spike - Plain Version
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CHAPTER 15 - GRAVE DANGER
Spike's face muscles twitched again. He had fought groups larger than this with fists and fangs and managed to survive. But now he was in this blasted human body. Human's needed weapons. He threw open the Slayer's weapon's chest. Unfortunately there didn't seem to be anything really useful, like a flamethrower or even a decent shotgun, so he grabbed a battle-ax.
He scrambled over to the staircase just as five men surged out of the kitchen. Holding the ax with both hands he placed himself between them and the second story. With luck he could hold them until Dawn escaped.
The group stopped at the bottom, looking up at him. At most only two could come up the stairs at a time. Apparently it was an all-American goon squad since they all seemed to be carrying baseball bats.
The goon in the center unfortunately had not limited his weapons to bats. He pulled out a gun and pointed. "There's no need for anyone to get hurt. Put that down." Spike glared at the gun. A week ago he could have ignored it, now the weapon could kill him. He didn't particularly mind the idea of death, but he wanted to give Niblet some time.
"All right, no need to get violent." Spike held up his left hand in a sign of peace and gave his most ingenuous smile. He stepped down two steps and threw himself to the side. As he did, he grabbed the handle of the ax with both hands and swung at the gun. There was a scream and the gun and most of the goon's hand flew off. Spike reversed his swing and clipped one of the men on the right, then scrambled up the stairs again.
The injured man was screaming and swearing and one of the others turned to take care of him. That left the remaining three lunging up the stairs at him. He was so bloody slow compared to how he used to be. But at least the goons seemed to be used to terrorizing, not actually fighting. He swung the ax once, then they were too close and he had to use the handle to block blows from the bats. One landed on his side and he grunted as he felt his ribs give. Somewhere in the distance, he heard a car horn.
He threw himself at them, knocking two off balance and they tumbled down the stairs. He followed them down, landed a good solid chop with the ax on one of them, then whirled as the last standing goon, closed in on him. He ducked his head in time, catching the bat on the shoulder. The pain made him swear and the ax fell out of his hands. Spike growled and grabbed the other man, closing in too close to use weapons. The other man was stronger, but Spike had more experience killing people. He slammed the goon's nose with the heel of his hand, trying to force bones up into the brain.
A gun went off. Everyone froze.
"Stop right now or I shot the kid in the tree."
Oh hell! They found her. Spike stepped back. "Leave her alone! I'll go with you."
"You're damned right you'll go with us, you fucker!" the goon he had been struggling with swore and hit him across the face. The bigger man pounded on him until a cold voice ordered him to stop.
They cuffed Spike's hands behind his back and led him stumbling out of the house. Spike looked around the quiet suburban neighborhood where each house closed its curtains to the world outside. In an ideal world, neighbors should be calling the police when they heard the fighting or at least when they heard the gunshot, but this was Sunnyhell.
One of the men behind him shoved on his wounded shoulder, forcing to his knees. He groaned involuntarily. "Come on down, kid or we shoot him."
"Don't!" he started to yell. The thug lashed him across the head with the gun and for a moment he lost consciousness. When he came to, Dawn was on her knees, holding him and crying. Damn Summers woman. Not a one of them had any common sense. Back when he first fought Buffy, Joyce, who should have been cowering, had nearly brained him with an ax. Buffy herself, went out night after night, risking her life for an ungrateful world. And here was Dawn, giving up her last chance at escape to save the life of a being who had existed far too long.
"Where's the Key? They say you're the Keeper. Where is it?"
Here was a chance to stall them. "It's not here."
The gun holder put the gun against Dawn's head. "We need you, not her. Show us the Key or she dies."
"It's not here. It - it's in the basement. I'll show you." If he could get a few away from Dawn, lead them to the basement, maybe he could find some way to fight them. Anything to delay things until Buffy or the police arrived.
"We don't have time for this shit!" That was the weak voice of the attacker who had originally held the gun, the leader who had half of his hand cut off. "Pete, get the box out of the van. I kept it under the driver's seat."
The man with the bleeding nose went over to the van parked down the street and came back with a small box. "The old bitch said it shows where power is. The brighter the light on the end glows, the closer you are to the Key."
Looking doubtful, Pete turned it on. A faint light brightened visibly when he approached Spike and Dawn. "Hey, look how bright it's getting. He must have it on." Two of the thugs yanked Spike up and started searching his clothes.
"Hey, look!" Pete had noticed that the light dimmed when he pointed it at Spike after they had dragged him from Dawn. He turned it back towards the frightened child. "It's her."
"Get it," the leader ordered and the two thugs pushed Spike aside and grabbed Dawn.
"Where is it?" Tears were flowing down Dawn's face but she refused to talk. Impatient, the goons started to rip her clothes, looking for a hidden key. She screamed and struggled helplessly.
Spike lunged and was casually beaten back. "Stop it, you bastards." He couldn't stand it. They had ripped her top off, and were probing the pockets of her jeans. All around them, the neighborhood was dark and silent. "It's her, you bloody monsters. Get your hands off her. She's the Key."
The two stopped. "Is that even possible?" asked Pete. The boss stepped forward. He took the box with his uninjured hand and moved towards Dawn. He slid it over her body and finally grunted.
"Put them in the back of the van." They were manhandled to the back of the van and pulled in. There was rope and Spike's legs were bound. His hands were already behind his back in handcuffs, but they passed a rope around his elbows and pulled them together so tightly that the injured shoulder dislocated and he almost passed out. Dawn's hands and feet were tied and they were thrown in the back of the van.
* * *
It was hard to concentrate on staking vamps. Buffy sat by the new grave waiting for the vampire to emerge and tried to not think about Spike. It had been hard enough when he was "the evil blood-sucking fiend." But now he was the human that she had always seen inside the monster and she couldn't seem to focus on anything else.
Tender images filled her mind. Who knew he could make love like that? Of course other images, fierce and sexy came too, back from when he was a monster and she had involuntarily loved the monster too. She had told herself she couldn't love him and lashed against him whenever he had allowed his human side to show. But it was such a relief to stop fighting.
Then her mind switched back to the times they had sparred together, superhuman strength against superhuman strength. He had been the one being that she could fight without holding anything back and he had laughed and given as good as he got. Somewhere in the fights they would finally close in on each other and tumble together fighting and f. . . The new vamp was out its grave and she had been so distracted that he was on her. Of course he was only a stupid fledgling, so she staked him immediately.
She had staked three tonight, counting the newby. That was good enough. It was time to go home. She was dusty and definitely needed a shower. She grinned, remembering last night's shower.
A truck was pulling into the cemetery. Startled, she stepped back behind a tree. She heard Xander calling her voice before she recognized that it was his truck.
"Xander, what are you doing here?"
His face was pale and drawn. "Get in the truck, Buffy. It's bad." Buffy almost stopped breathing. He looked so scared. She slid into the passenger's side and he turned the truck and sped out of the cemetery.
Xander was swearing softly. "It's my fault, Buffy. I stopped by a bar on the way home. I just couldn't face that empty apartment. And when I got home, Dawn was on the answering machine."
"Dawn! What's happened?" They were pulling onto Revello Drive. She saw the police cars pulled in front of her house.
She got out of the truck and stumbled over towards her house. She saw the blood on the sidewalk and the two trails of blood leading out of her house. "Oh my God! What happened?!"
* * *
Spike had tried to comfort the frightened girl as the van carried them through the night. "Concentrate, Lit' Bit. If we can just get these ropes untied, we have a fighting chance. And this time, run. I can't fight them if I'm worried about you." The two of them were back to back fumbling with each other's ropes. The pain of his dislocated shoulder and the ropes cutting off his circulation made his fingers thick and clumsy.
Fortunately Dawn wasn't tied up as tight and her fingers were nimble. She managed to free his feet. Now she fumbled with the knots in the ropes around his elbows.
He was a realist and knew how slim their chances were. "Remember, they need you alive to be a Key. If I know anything about magic," and in his long strange existence he knew more than he wanted to, "they have to wait for the new moon. That gives Buffy two nights to find them. And," he hated to admit it, "with Angel helping her, she'll find you. Those bloody lawyers won't know what hit them when your big sis tackles them. And Peaches, he has a crew that looks like they can handle things. Even if we can't get away, they'll save you. Don't be afraid, they'll save you."
Dawn had gotten his elbows untied. He moaned with relief. He couldn't get the handcuffs off, but at least he could move them to the front of his body. His dislocated shoulder allowed him to pull his arms under him and wiggle through until his cuffed hands were in front of him. The pain was so intense that he almost threw up, but he'd think about that later.
Now that he could see what he was doing, he could work a bit better. He untied her feet first and was working on her hands when the van stopped.
"Listen, Dawn. I'll jump out and distract them. You take off. Don't look back, just run."
He worried that the littlest Summers woman would be as stubborn as the rest. The back of the van opened and he launched himself on the thug opening it. The man tumbled over. Spike scrambled up and head butted the next man. He could hear shouts as Dawn jumped out and dashed into the darkness.
"Be still." His muscles froze and he toppled over. "Be still." The sound of Dawn's running stopped. "Go fetch the child."
Spike found himself hauled up and held, facing the small withered figure of Stanhope. The witch was watching with interest and one of the goons fetched Dawn and held the frightened teenager up before her. He strained to be able to turn his head, but nothing moved.
The witch examined Dawn closely, stroking her face. The girl was quiet and wide-eyed. "How interesting. They chose to put the key into a human body." The crone smiled, "It will make the blood part of the ceremony so much easier."
She turned to Spike. "Well done. She was with you as you promised." Spike's eyes widened in shock and he remembered.
Back at his crypt, before he was dusted:
The Asian had said, "Ms. Stanhope is laying a geas on you, compelling you to honor the terms of the agreement."
The small withered woman actually cackled. She finished the muttering and scuttled towards him. Her hand reached out, touching his cheek. "You'll do as you promised. Do you understand, boy?"
At Angel's hotel:
"They said they were in some sort of dispute with you and I agreed to help."
"I'm supposed to call them. That's all. I don't remember all the bleeding details, but it all came down to calling them on the telephone.
It had not been a productive day. Spike had spent the day getting a haircut, making a few phone calls and reading documents.
He had called Wolfram and Hart and told them that he would be alone with the Key at 1630 Revello Drive in Sunnydale that evening. They had been waiting for him.
He had betrayed Dawn!
He looked at Dawn's shocked tear-stained face and his soul died. He hadn't known what he had agreed to do and he had not remembered making the call, but he had signed the contract that doomed the child. He wanted to say something, anything, but the spell kept him motionless and speechless. The only movement either of them could do was the slow leak of tears from Dawn's eyes.
"Transfer the Key to my car. Put her in the trunk." The witch looked bored now.
"And this guy?"
"You know where to dispose of him. Hurry, it's getting late."
The two goons who had manhandled him before, dragged him into the brush. He was unable to look back, to say anything to the friend he had betrayed. Branches lashed at him and he could not protect his face. Finally they entered a clearing.
Before him was an open grave.
They threw him in.
Continued in CHAPTER 16 - TO GO DOWN FIGHTING
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