Author: Dev Nine-Asher
*Standard Disclaimer Applies*Chapter Seven
One of her worst nightmares had always been being buried alive, and being in the pitch black chamber had predictably influenced the one she had before she managed to wake herself up.
She was underground, buried deep in cold, wet soil, and yet her head was dry. She opened her eyes, blinking, but there was no light. She kept blinking, kept re-opening her eyes, knowing she was having a bad dream, but unable to wake up. It seemed so real. She tried to move her arms, to lift her hands to her face, but they were imprisoned in the ground around her. A trickle of wetness started to run down, plastering her hair to her forehead, and she realized somehow that only her head was enclosed in a wooden box, and the box was beginning to leak. She couldn't move, she was stuck, stuck here until she finally died, however long that happened to take…
Buffy screamed in terror, repeatedly, and finally came back to herself, but if her dreams were bad, her reality was worse. She opened her eyes to a light that seemed blinding before it faded to pitch blackness again, and nearly lost her mind to her fear.
Spike didn't bother checking on the Slayer before he went back out the next night. She'd been sleeping, quiet as a mouse when he'd looked in on her that morning, and while he would have loved to wake her up, and listen to her pleading to be let out a little more, he decided he'd take advantage of her silence and do a little more investigating on the Council's whereabouts in L.A. He wanted to know exactly how close they were getting to finding out where the Slayer was…and who was feeding them their info.
Unfortunately he didn't notice Lucius watching him leave, nor see the thin smile of triumph that split the large vampire's face…
When Buffy finally calmed down enough to think halfway clearly, she became aware of a strange presence in the room. The hatch in the ceiling was partway open, sending a shaft of light down.
She wasn't alone in the pit any longer.
Shaking herself to dislodge the panic of her nightmares, she slowly stood up on quaking legs, keeping her vulnerable back to the wall. She heard the tiniest scraping sound in the darkness, and would have gone limp in relief thinking it was just a rat, but her Slayer senses were telling her it was no oversized sewer rodent with a liking for exposed flesh.
She brought her hands up slightly, readying her defenses as her senses exploded around her. No, it was no rat; the creature in the room with her was far more dangerous to her health, and she didn't think it wanted to nest in her hair, or nibble her fingers and toes.
Even knowing she was wrong, and definitely wouldn't like the answer she got, Buffy couldn't help asking out loud, and a bit too hopefully, "Spike?"
The voice that answered wasn't Spike's, but it wasn't a voice she'd ever thought she'd hear again in her lifetime, either. Buffy froze. The soft sound gave her chills rather than any comfort she'd have expected, because she knew…some part of her, the Slayer part, knew…she was stuck in a room with a demon who could be crueler to her than anything Spike could ever throw at her.
"Buffy…my poor, sweet baby. What have they done to you?"
Buffy sobbed as the familiar sight moved into the streak of brightness.
"What? Oh. You're one o' them vampires, ain't ya'? Yeah, well, get lost, freakshow. I don't know nuthin' 'bout no 'council'."
The surly little human barkeep was obviously new to L.A.
That was why Spike only introduced his pock-marked nose to the flat surface of his own bar, instead of twisting his head off his neck and re-plastering the pitted walls with his otherwise useless brain.
The bartender howled, breath bubbling and foaming through the blood pouring from his now flat nose. Spike released the greasy hank of hair in his fist with another rough shove before backing off and calmly pulling out his cigarettes. "Sorry, mate – what's that you were saying? Couldn't quite hear you past all the screaming."
The fat man blubbered, saliva and blood dripping down the front of his already stained white shirt. He made the mistake of scrabbling beneath the bar, and Spike leaned across, catching his throat in his hand.
"Gun's not gonna' do you much good in this situation. Puttin' a bullet in me is just gonna' make sure you die slower."
"Fugh you! Don know nuffin'!"
Spike's eyebrows shot up, and his hand tightened on the man's throat, fingertips digging in threateningly around his esophagus. The man choked, already gagging on the blood from his smashed nose, and then sagged.
"In da' bagh. Can't talg owd here."
Spike smiled and released his grip, aware of the bars mostly human patrons hurrying, scrambling over themselves in their haste to leave. "Fine. Jus' so long as you talk."
Before they moved into the back, Spike snatched a filthy towel off the bar and shoved it at the man in disgust. "Here. You're bleedin' all over me."
She hadn't needed a stake after all.
It wasn't as hard to do as she'd thought. And she'd thought it'd be impossible. But it wasn't.
Get a good grip, one, sharp pull 'n' twist, just so…and the head popped right off.
The otherworldly scream hurt her ears.
In seconds, she felt the squishy weight in her hands disappear.
Buffy stared down at the gray ashes on the floor before her, still stunned at what she'd just done. She'd only done what she had to, but part of her was suddenly mourning the loss of what could have been. For a few moments in time, before things had gone all hellishly wrong, she'd had a small piece of her old life back. She'd had a part of her beloved family back, and she'd unhesitatingly destroyed it.
A killer couldn't have a soft heart. The Chosen One had to understand the necessity of killing. Merrick had taught her that, in more ways than one. She'd never asked to become what she was. Being the Slayer was bad enough, but now she was wondering about Spike's earlier taunts, wondering if she really was that much different from the creatures she hunted…
God, she'd become one of her own nightmares.
Lucius was no where to be seen when Spike arrived back at the warehouse. Big shocker, in the light of what he'd just found out about his 'loyal' servant.
The sodding son-of-a-bitch had been pulling shit behind his back ever since the Slayer had arrived – he'd been the one to contact the council in the first place, slowly feeding them info on the Slayer's whereabouts without actually giving their position away. An' that would'a been stupid, wouldn't it, seein' as the big bastard wanted to take over rule of the warehouse and L.A. for himself?
Promising himself he'd go out and hunt the vampire down after he had grabbed a drink and a fresh pack of smokes from his audience room. He'd tear the buggers heart out of his chest, leave a bloody gapin' hole the size of the bleedin' Grand Canyon, and then piss on his fucking ashes…
That was when he discovered the half-open hatch. He had little doubt about what he'd find inside. He shouldn't have trusted Lucius not to kill her while he was gone, not after their little confrontation earlier. Furious, he tore open the door so violently that it came off it's hinges. He was surprised when he saw her. Candlelight spilled across her still form, and he dropped the heavy door to the floor with a loud clang – the girl didn't even flinch. She stared past him, her face filthy and deathly pale.
Spike frowned, and jumped down into the pit, landing easily beside her on his feet.
"What the bloody hell happened to you, Slayer? Did Lucius – "
"I don't know," she said hollowly, her voice brittle and dry. "I – it was my mom." She blinked at the light, seeming to notice it for the first time. "Were you trying to torture me, or something? It wasn't bad enough that she had to die? She had to become a vampire, too?"
A tingle of long-forgotten dread raced up his spine, and he crushed it ruthlessly. "What are you goin' on about now? What the hell happened while I was gone?" He looked around, his eye catching on a slightly scattered pile of gray ashes on the stone floor.
The Slayer only continued to stare past him, unwilling to talk. She looked broken and drained.
"I'm hungry and I'm gettin' irritated, Slayer," Spike said dangerously, crossing his arms. "Talk."
"It's nothing," she finally muttered. "Just…I killed my mother. Twice." She gave a tight little laugh and closed her eyes. "You know, you were right. The dark isn't so bad, when you get used to it."
Spike stared at her, feelings of guilt and memories he'd thought long forgotten surfacing with a terrible intensity. He lifted his hand to rub his eyes, and discovered it was shaking. Damn, he needed a drink.
Buffy was barely aware of when the vampire left the pit. She was too caught up in her own misery to ever possibly notice his odd behavior.
Buffy's voice mirrored her shock when he returned a few moments later, an open bottle of something smelly and way too alcoholic in his hand. She squinted into the light and sat up as he took a long swallow from it, and then offered it to her. "You want to share a drink with me? What, is my imminent insanity catching, or something?"
Spike only cocked his head and shook the bottle enticingly.
Buffy stood up, her throat feeling sandblasted. The sound of liquid, wet and…well, wet, sounded like heaven to her ears. Who cared what it was? It was drinkable! But she shook her head. "No! What are you thinking? I'm sixteen – I can't drink!"
"Uh, vampire here, and big surprise, I don't much care about society's rules." His eyes narrowed meanly. "Just thought you might be…thirsty." He waved the bottle above her head.
Buffy swiped the bottle. "I am thirsty – and guess who's fault it is!" She hesitated briefly, wiping the mouth of the bottle before taking a big gulp. Her loud coughing and sputtering made Spike laugh.
"You're evil," Buffy said lamely, before forcing down another swallow and shoving the bottle back at him.
"Oh, that's original," Spike said sarcastically. "Being called 'evil'? Bloody great tragedy of my existence, that is."
"You aren't just evil!" Buffy shouted at him. "I wouldn't be surprised to find out you were the devil!"
Spike smiled slowly. He'd never been accused of being the root of all evil before. It was actually kind of flattering.
His hand lifted to rub his fingertips across his chest. "D'you really think so?" he asked almost bashfully, the tip of his tongue curling against the edges of his teeth.
Blissfully immune to her raging teen hormones at the moment, Buffy rolled her eyes at the blatant self-love, and took a long drink from the bottle, grimacing. "God, you're, like, totally stuck on yourself," she said after she recovered from the taste and the burning in her empty belly. She covered a tiny burp with her hand. "I bet if you could see yourself in the mirror, you'd be looking in it all the time. You'd probably give yourself a…a happy, or something, you're so stuck on yourself." She hiccupped and frowned, and pushed the whiskey into the vampire's hands. She slid down to sit on the floor with a thump. What was she talking about? She made a mental note not to drink anymore, no matter how thirsty she was.
Spike lifted a brow at her, his expression deceptively bland as he dropped down beside her, close enough to touch.. "A 'happy'?" he drawled over the top of the bottle.
Buffy blushed at how innocent she must have sounded, but there was no way this vampire was going to have the satisfaction of hearing her stumble over 'guy' terms for that particular physical…er…event, even if she did know a nearly infinite number of names for it thanks to her public city school education.
Stiffy…wood…hard-on…Buffy barely caught herself before she giggled.
Could vampires even do that? She found herself wondering suddenly. "If you were, uh, capable, I mean," she blurted, and immediately wanted to smack herself. Was she getting drunk?
"I was with Dru for over a century, y'know," he said pointedly.
"Dru? Oh. You mentioned her before."
"Did I?" Spike's head snapped toward her, anger glinting in his eyes.
"Yeah. When you, uh…" Buffy made a scissoring motion towards her hair with two fingers. "Was she the one who made you, or whatever?"
"Yeah. She was my sire," he said heavily.
"And she left you? You, uh, must've loved her a lot, I guess," she commented, wondering if vampires could even feel real love. Probably not, she decided. They had emotions, obviously, but they were all dark and twisted – and Spike only confirmed it when he spoke again.
"Loved that black-hearted bitch more than anything, I did. "
"Black-hearted bitch?" Oh, yeah, Spike was such great relationship material.
They continued talking for a while – well, mostly Spike talked, about Drusilla, his car, himself – and Buffy listened. She didn't have much of a choice, she supposed. It got old, though, and after one particularly violent Dru bashing, Buffy cut in.
"Well, no wonder she left you," she blurted, leaning away from the vampire when he pinned her with his eyes. "She'd have been crazy to stick around and put up with you, anyway!"
A dreamy look came over Spike's face. "She was crazy," he confided, a soft smile turning up the corner's of his lips. "Girl was a ravin' lunatic – s'what I loved about her."
Buffy rolled her eyes. Spike would think he was in love with a complete nut-ball.
"I still can't believe she just left me. After all I did for her. After…and for him!" Spike was working himself into a rage.
Buffy wisely scooted away from him – after she snitched the bottle back. "Him? She left you for another, er….guy? Wonder why," she added under her breath.
"We were happy!" Spike growled threateningly, daring her to deny it.
"You know, Cosmo says that ninety-nine percent of marriages – relationships – whatever, break up because one half of the couple isn't, er…physically satisfied," Buffy spouted helpfully, taking a big gulp form the bottle. "Blyeah." She made a face as a sudden thought struck her.. Ew. Was that why her parents had been splitting up? she wondered.
Spike growled again.
Buffy shut her mouth. He had a girlfriend, you dork, she reminded herself, and from the look he's giving you, they probably didn't spend the past century just holding hands. He probably knows lots about…physical stuff. She snuck a fuzzy look at him.
Spike's jaw muscles were doing that tight, bunchy thing, and his pose didn't look at all relaxed anymore. Buffy glanced at his glaring eyes and fisted hands, and gulped.
One major subject change, pronto, por favor!
"The physical side of mine and Dru's relationship had jack-all to do with why she left," Spike snapped through his haze.
"So just get another girlfriend," she told him unconcernedly. "It's what I always do. Well, boyfriend, you know…" she made a motion with the bottle, the whiskey sloshing all over, and Spike snatched it out of her hand.
"I…don't…want…another…girlfriend," he bit-off, snarling every word, his eyes flashing with violence. He took a large gulp out of the bottle in his hand.
"Hey, finnne! I was…" she ran off, frowning as she tried to remember what she'd been going to say. "Oh! I was just giving you some advice. It's not my fault if your freak-o sire-slash – hic! - ex-girlfriend left you all emotionally…retarded," Buffy said defensively, only to be interrupted by another loud hiccup.
Spike scowled. "I am not 'emotionally retarded'!" His chin tilted upwards as he registered the slight whine in his tone. "I'm…fine." He took another drink.
"How can you be fine? You're dead!" Buffy suddenly felt tears fill her eyes. "Everybody's dead! How can anything ever be fine again?" She shifted and felt an odd grittiness under her hand. "Oh, God. I think I'm sitting on Mom." She gave a choked sob.
Spike was quiet for a long time, and Buffy finally looked over at him.
"You…did what you had to do," he finally said, his eyes oddly far-away and vacant as he lifted the bottle to his lips. "I know what it's like."
"Oh?" Buffy asked with stinging sarcasm. "You had to kill your mom-turned vamp, too? Gee, what a coinky-dink!" She rolled her eyes, completely missing the haunted look that passed briefly over his face. "Well, there goes my chance at heaven, I suppose. Hic! I've p-probably committed so many mortal sins since I became the Slay-slayer that whoever it is up there that makes the decisions is shuddering and putting a big red 'X' right through my name!"
"Get a grip, Slayer. Just when I think you can't get any more pathetic… Look at it this way - you've never taken a human life."
Buffy gave a miserable laugh. "Oh, but – hic -I have. I did."
She could sense him looking at her in disbelief. "I have. Merrick – my Watcher. I was late…well, waaay too late." Buffy blinked, her pleasantly tipsy haze clearing to make room for her pain and regret. She looked at the bottle in Spike's hand and contrary to her earlier decision, decided she clearly hadn't drunk enough. She could still feel. Wasn't drinking s'posed to make you feel all happy 'n stuff?
"You killed him?" Spike asked, scoffing. "Ah. I see. Y'think you killed him because you were too late to save him. Nice sentiment, Slayer, but - "
"No, I think I killed him because I took an axe and cut his head off to keep him from becoming one of you," Buffy said flatly, turning her head to glare unsteadily into his eyes.
"Oh, that's the way of it, then," he said knowingly.
"What do you – oh, never mind. I so do not want to talk about this with you anymore." Buffy staggered up, leaning against the wall.
"Oi! Where d'you think you're goin'?"
"Out. Out of here, out of this place. I'm so tired of living in bizarro world." She steadied herself against the wall and peered down at him blearily. She was starting to feel unpleasantly sober again.
Spike stood up, too, after placing the bottle on the floor. "You think so, do you?"
Buffy straightened her back, feeling desolate but determined. "Yeah. You're just going to have to kill me to stop me."
He laughed. "You think I have a problem with that?"
Buffy gave a careless shrug, and suddenly took a few running steps to the trap door in the ceiling. She jumped up on shaky legs and pulled herself through the opening, hearing Spike cursing behind her.
Hurling herself through the door leading into the hall, Buffy got her first taste of freedom in days – until she ran smack into what felt like a brick wall.
Feeling slightly off-balance, Spike half-ran, half-staggered out into the hall after the Slayer, only to see her struggling in the massive arms of the vampire who'd dared betray him. "You – " he began, his face vamping out, but Lucius cut him off, his expression satified.
"This is your plan, is it not? Traitor! You were going to help her escape!"
Spike frowned at the overly-loud pitch of the vampires voice. An uneasy feeling began to crawl through him. He bared his fangs, darting forward to pull the girl from the giant's unsuspecting grasp. He had the feeling he'd reached the end of the little set-up.
Buffy went from one crushing hold to another as Spike caught her and thrust her behind him. "Don't be a fool," he snarled at the big vampire. "I didn't even know she'd pulled another flit. I have no bloody idea how she managed it," he lied, "but I was just taking her back – not that I have to explain myself to the likes of you! And who the frigging hell are you callin' traitor?"
"I think not." Lucius glared down at them, ignoring Spike's accusation. "Obviously you cannot control her, Spike. I am coming to believe that you cannot bring yourself to kill her, no matter your plan to end her line. You cannot even manage to keep her locked up."
"Hey!" Spike took a step forward, his voice indignant. "What happened to 'Master'?"
Buffy groaned from behind him.
"You've proved yourself – undeserving," Lucius stated meanly. "Again and again your recklessness has endangered us! It is time we found ourselves a new master." He puffed out his chest self-importantly.
"An' I s'pose you just happen to be him." Spike growled a warning, but the other vampire only smiled.
"I will take the Slayer now, Spike."
"Piss off, mate, she belongs to me."
"I don't 'belong' to anybody!"
Lucius looked at Spike's threatening stance and the Slayer's scowling face behind him. He was old, and he was strong, but he wasn't stupid. Instead of facing the challenge, he simply turned his head and bellowed, "Guards!"
Spike cursed, and suddenly charged, barreling into the other vampire. He knocked him back, off balance, and then hit him again, looking as if he were really enjoying it.
"Oh crap." Buffy muttered then, and he turned to look.
A large crowd of vampires charged down the hall towards them.
"Uh…shouldn't we go, now?"
"Not before I squeeze his head like a bleedin' doggy toy and his eyes pop out," Spike snarled through his fangs, his eyes glowing, feral, as he smiled.
Lucius looked panicked as Spike's hands gripped his head.
Buffy gritted her teeth. "Fine – just tell me the way out, and I'll leave you to your bloody death."
Spike shook his head, frustrated, sending a nasty look at the ceiling for a long moment before growling, viciously kicking Lucius in his bad leg and taking off in the opposite direction of the vampires headed their way.
Buffy stared after him before realizing she was going to be left behind if she didn't move. "Hey!"
Shouts rang out behind them, and Spike could hear Lucius shouting orders over the din.
He raced toward the corridor to the underground monastery, glaring at the Slayer when she bumped into him after he stopped at the entrance.
"What was that?!" she hissed in his ear as she struggled to catch her breath. "You don't just leave your – your 'belongings' lying around like that. They could be eaten, o-or killed! Or both!"
Spike shook his stinging hands, and lifted one bleeding, torn knuckle to his lips to suck on it. "Will you shut it, Slayer? M'tryin' to think!"
She snorted as if this were unlikely.
Spike's eyebrows rose. "Oh, I can leave you here, if you'd rather."
"Do it and I'll haunt you forever," she responded unconcernedly. He didn't doubt she meant it.
"Come on," he grabbed her wrist and pulled her into the corridor. He led her through the confusing network of halls, crumbling rooms, and secret passageways, barely listening as she complained she could barely see where they were going. He kept on, twisting and turning until he was sure they'd lost the vampires tailing them.
Minutes passed while he tried to remember which path would take him to the trap door that opened in the floor of the old receiving area at the back of the warehouse. There they could gain access to his car, parked just outside the receiving doors.
Despite his extreme annoyance with Lucius, he hadn't felt this excited in months. He had to bite back an elated laugh. He was free! Or, at least he would be once he ditched the Slayer…
"Where are we going? Besides in circles?" Buffy whispered as they moved along.
Spike never paused. "Where do you think, you silly bint? Away from here. Now be quiet, or do I really need to remind you how well we vampires can hear?" He threw a glittering yellow glare over his shoulder at her in the darkness, and her mouth snapped closed.
He faced forward again and continued on, until he finally saw the turn-off that would lead upward.
"Our escape is just up ahead," he told her quietly. "There's a door, leadin' up into the warehouse, and we can easily get outside from there. My car is there."
Buffy thought, and vaguely recalled him mentioning it from their long discussion over the whiskey. "That thing? We're going to escape in that thing? My God – does it even run?"
Spike scowled and tightened his hold on her wrist until she yelped and yanked it away.
"You know if this is any indication of how much of a bitch you're going to be when you grow up, I really think I ought to do meself – and the unsuspecting world - a favor and kill you here and now," he complained as the passage became steep, dirt and stone crumbling beneath their feet.
Spike saw the jagged outline of the door at last. He got underneath it to push it up, only it didn't budge.
He strained a couple of times to no avail and finally pounded his scraped fist on the old wood in frustration. "Son-of-a-bitch!"
"What? What is it?"
He sighed roughly, dropping his head into his hands. "Trap's blocked – somethin' sittin' on it, I dunno. A crate maybe."
"Let me look." Buffy moved past him and she lifted herself up to squint through the boards. "There's light coming through, so it can't be totally covered. Or it could be locked from the other side, or something."
Buffy shrugged. "I guess we're just gonna' have to find another way out."
Spike stared at her. "There is no 'other way' out. We go back the way we came, I'm dust and not that I particularly care, but you're tonight's main course. There's too many of 'em."
She looked thoughtful. "Maybe we can break through it?"
He looked at her skeptically.
Buffy groaned. "Just get over here and help me. Maybe if we push hard enough…"
Spike arched a doubting brow but moved over to her side. "S'worth a try." He braced himself under the door. "Ready?"
After a few moments of straining, the wood above them gave with a crack, and dirt and dust rained down into the tunnel. Buffy smiled.
"Knew it'd work," Spike drawled, brushing debris off his coat.
She shot him a dirty look, which he ignored.
"Let me go first – I'll pull you up, Shorty." Spike heaved himself up onto the concrete floor, turned to offer the Slayer a hand, but she effortlessly jumped up out of the hole to land on her feet beside him.
"You were saying?"
"Nobody likes a show-off," he grumbled. "Just keep as low to the ground as you can. We're headed for those doors over there." He moved off, sensing her behind him. He hoped she was moving as silently and as fast as she could manage. After all, terrible things would happen to him if they were caught…
They ran across the floor, making it to the doors without incident. Spike reckoned everyone was below ground, still searching for them there. For the first time he was grateful such useless, incompetent buggers had always surrounded him.
Outside on the concrete receiving ramp was parked the DeSoto. Its sleek black and silver lines glinted in the orange light of a buzzing streetlamp overhead, and Spike took a moments pride in the successful restoration of the vehicle.
Striding over to the car, he tore open the door, barely noticing the Slayer jumping in on the passenger side. He got in, slammed the door shut, and frantically dug in his pocket for his keys – which weren't there. He shifted onto his hip, and searched his other pocket.
"What?" Buffy asked breathlessly from beside him.
He slammed a hand onto the steering wheel in frustration. "Can't find the bloody keys."
Her eyes flew wide. "Keys? You lost the keys?!"
Spike's jaw worked furiously as he stared at the windshield.
"Well, can't you just, like, hot-wire it or something? I know you must know how! You're like, a hundred years old or something. Ancient! You've gotta' know something!"
He looked over at her with narrowed blue eyes in the semi-darkness. "Hot-wire it? Do you have any idea how long I've spent getting this thing fixed up?"
"Where are your priorities? We have about a bazillion demons on our butts and you're worried about scratching up your grungy old car? Which, by the way, stinks like burned toast." Buffy wrinkled her nose.
Soddin' bottle rockets!
Spike leveled a glare on her. "M'not tearin' the thing apart to save your worthless girlie-girl hide, Slayer. Keep on bitching, and I'll tie you to that street lamp over there."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Just think. You must have a spare around here somewhere. Check the visor or something." She cast a nervous glance in the rearview mirror.
Spike was insulted. "Please! You actually think I'd hide my spare in such an obvious – "
Buffy reached out and flipped down his visor. A metallic slither heralded the plop of something shiny in his lap.
" – place?" Spike looked down and swept the key into his hand.
Buffy dropped back into her seat and crossed her arms. "You're welcome. Now – can we please get out of here?"
His expression sour, Spike inserted the key in the ignition and twisted it. The engine roared to life with a throaty growl, and he let out a victorious whoop as it lurched forward.
"Thank God," the girl next to him moaned, slumping in her seat.
Spike grinned. "God had nothin' to do with it, pet." He hit the brake suddenly, throwing her forward.
"Ow!" She rubbed her forehead where it'd connected briefly with the dash. "You couldn't have included seatbelts?"
"Hello – vampire. Don't need 'em." Spike dug in his pockets again.
"What are you doing now?" she asked him incredulously as he pulled his lighter and cigarettes from his duster. "Can't you wait until we're 'not' in danger of being slaughtered to light up?"
Spike smiled tightly and rolled down his window. He took his time lighting up the cigarette, and it had the Slayer fairly jumping up and down in her seat.
"Hold your horses, Slayer," he told her calmly, exhaling a cloud of smoke. He thoughtfully looked out the window, at a pile of old, rusty barrels of gas and used oil stored against a nearby wall. His eyes caught on a dark puddle leaking from one of them. "I've just had an idea."
"An idea! We could have been halfway to Alaska by now," she sullenly grumbled back at him.
Just then the doors behind them were flung open. A small army of vampires stood on the receiving deck, with Lucius at the head.
Smirking, Spike extended his arm out the window, all the while revving the engine. He flicked the burning cigarette at the puddle, which immediately ignited. He watched Lucius's face register his alarm, before Spike waved with the back of his hand – and then flipped him the bird.
Ignoring the fire, Lucius started forward with a roar, and Spike laughed out loud before he took his foot off the brake and peeled out, leaving the blaze and twin lines of smoke from the tires behind them.
The Slayer wasn't impressed. "That was so lame!"
Grinning menacingly, Spike spun the wheel hard to the left, and shot around a corner. "What d'you mean, lame?"
"That, back there! I mean, I'm sixteen years old, and even I thought that was immature!"
Spike grunted. "Come on, Slayer, I couldn't leave without some small act of revenge. Wankers turned on me."
"That wasn't revenge, that was infantile – exactly how old are you, anyway? I mean, obscene finger gestures?"
"You don't know 'obscene', little love," Spike purred, and Buffy blushed. "'Sides, that wasn't the revenge part. That was just me sending 'em a fond farewell."
"So what was the revenge part?"
Spike stepped harder on the gas and looked into the rearview. "Patience, love."
Buffy was shaking her head when a loud explosion suddenly rocked the car. Darting up onto her knees she turned around in her seat to look over the back and out the rear window. Another, smaller explosion sounded, and the light of a raging fire lit the skyline orange. Billows of black smoke rose upward a few blocks behind them.
Buffy turned her head to look over at him in disbelief. "You blew them up."
Spike shook his head. "Probably not – but they sure as hell won't want anything to do with that warehouse again. With any luck, the whole bleedin' place'll burn to the ground."
She was so quiet he glanced over at her. He was taken aback by the grudging look of respect in her soft hazel eyes. It made him extremely uncomfortable.
"You know what, Spike?"
He forced his eyes back to the road. "What?"
"Well, it may just be the whiskey talkin', but…you could so totally be one of the good guys."
Spike was horrified. "Bite your tongue!"
"It's true," she persisted.
"You're off your bird."
Buffy made as if to speak again, but he held up one hand and cast a threatening look at her. "If you start crying on about redemption, so help me, I'll pull off and kill you."
Buffy shut her mouth and sighed, pointedly turning her head to look out the darkly tinted window. "Maybe you should," she said after a minute, her tone bratty.
Spike growled and made a sharp motion with the wheel, as if to pull over onto the shoulder.
Buffy panicked. "Wait! Wait, I was just saying that!"
"You're going to push me too far, Slayer," he snapped, forcing down the accelerator once again.
"I'm sorry," she muttered, giving him a wary glance before dipping her head. "I don't really want to die. It's like – when you go, when you…die…it's like you weren't even there to begin with."
Spike shook his head, sneaking a suspicious look over at her downcast head before rolling his eyes.
"What's wrong now?"
Buffy looked over at the vampire steadily. There was no point in denying something was wrong, or going to the trouble of putting on a show – sometimes she wondered if Spike was beginning to know her better than she knew herself.
"I feel guilty." It was understood that she was talking about her parents.
"Because you lived, and they didn't."
"No…I'm feeling guilty because life is so much easier with you."
Spike didn't know what to say to that little bomb. That the bint actually thought the past weeks of torture and neglect had been easier to her than happy, shiny la-la land with her mum and dad was kinda' telling – in the way that maybe she really had just finally, completely lost it.
"Where are we going anyway?"
Despite his half-hatched plan to rid himself of her, Spike thought about it for a minute and then gave a mental shrug. Where else would he go? "The Hellmouth." It seemed as good a place as any – and he'd heard rumors about some of the old 'family' hangin' around there. It might actually be funny to show up in front of Jo and Angelus's old lady with a Slayer in his possession…if he could keep himself from drinking her dry along the way.
His eyebrows shot up. Oh yeah, she'd lost it. "That's all you've got to say? I tell you, a human, that we're going to a Hellmouth and all you can say is, 'oh'?"
"Well, what am I supposed to say? I mean, the word 'Hellmouth' doesn't exactly bring about visions of hearts and flowers and sunshine-y, vacation-y goodness."
"Aren't you afraid?" Spike asked her in a deliberately low tone. "I hear this place makes Los Angeles look like a bleedin' circus. It isn't called the Hellmouth for nothing, you know."
"I'm not afraid. Why? Are you trying to scare me?"
"Is it working?" he countered with a evil smirk.
"You might end up gettin' killed there," he went on, and then gleefully amended, "No, you probably will end up gettin' killed there." If he had anything to say about it.
Buffy thought about all that she'd lived through in the past weeks and smiled a small smile. "Don't worry about me – I know, I know, as-if. But…I'm durable." She shrugged.
Spike looked her up and down, his voice dry. "Uh, yeah. You're still here. Somehow I noticed that."
They rode in silence for a while before Buffy cleared her throat. "Uh, we're kinda' runnin' on empty, here, did you notice?"
Spike spared a glance at the gas gauge and cursed.
"What's the big? Just stop and get some."
"With what, Slayer? Sorry, I didn't know I'd be takin' a trip tonight. I neglected to bring any cash with me."
Buffy thought his words over for a second. "I never really thought about it, I mean, I guess vampires do't really have a need for cash do they? You probably just, like, eat the gas station attendant, or something, don't you?"
Spike lifted his eyebrows at her.
"N-not that I'm going to let you kill anybody just to get gas," she said quickly, putting a stern expression on her face.
"Killin' in gas station's is a bit too high-profile these days," Spike told her dryly. "S'pecially in big town's like Los Angeles. Can turn into a pain-in-the-ass real quick if too many people get involved, so yeah, I use cash."
"Cash you steal from other people," Buffy mumbled resentfully.
Spike's lip curled, and he made a sudden u-turn – illegally, of course.
Buffy yelped as she was thrown roughly onto the floorboards. "Hey!"
"Quiet, Slayer. I have an idea." Spike lit up a cigarette.
Buffy groaned as she tried to pick herself up. "Another one?"
Buffy's eyes went wide as Spike smugly fanned the cash out in front of her.
"Where did that come from?" Her eyes lit up in alarm as they slid back to the dark-looking, porch-sagging storefront. "Wait, you didn't promise them my kidneys or anything, did you?"
Spike rolled his eyes. "The thought did cross my mind, but no; not that they didn't try to persuade me, mind. Remember that little haircut of yours?"
Buffy reached up to finger her shoulder-length hair. "You sold them my hair?"
"For a respectable amount, if I do say so myself." Spike lovingly fingered the pile of green before folding it in half and shoving it in his pocket. He started the car, and backed out of the dark parking lot.
"But it's my hair! I could have had extensions made, or…or donated it, or something!"
"It'll grow back," he said in bored voice. "Looks better shorter, anyway. You looked like a five-year old."
" I didn't know you kept it," she commented after a few tense moments.
"Don't be gettin' any ideas, Slayer. I kept it solely for it's propitious potential."
Buffy snorted scornfully. "What, did you buy a dictionary, Spike? Try saying that last sentence five times fast."
"I'm about a second away from pulling out your tongue and gagging you with it," Spike warned.
"What? That doesn't make any sense – "
Spike took a corner a bit too fast, the tires squealing on the pavement. Buffy yelped as the force pinned her against the door for a frightening beat.
"Just shut your hole, Slayer. Point is, we got enough money to get the hell out of Dodge, and what's more, we came by it all honest-like, so who gives a bloody damn where it came from?"
That seemed to shut her up, but Spike wisely didn't bother telling her just what kind of notorious spells Slayer bits were used in.
Her face lit up with mischief suddenly. "See? What'd I tell you? I said it once, and I'll say it again. You could so be one of the good guys."
"Sodding great. Guess I just can't help m'self. I do try to be a bastard."
"C'mon. You're a total hero," she kept teasing.
Spike rolled his eyes. "Yeah, and pretty soon you're going to tell me that I don't still think about tearing out your ribcage and wearing it as a hat."
Buffy stared at him, eyes suddenly very wide.
Spike sighed and sat back in his seat, content that the question of his evilness was settled.
"I do so love a captive audience."
"I hate you," she told him childishly, wearily sinking back against her seat, turning her head to pointedly stare out the darkened window.
Spike spared her a quick glare of dislike from the corner of his eye before lazily draping a forearm over the steering wheel and pressing down hard on the gas.
"Believe me, Slayer, the feeling's mutual."
After a brief stop-over for gas – at which time she quickly snuck off and used the facilities, and perpetrated her second – and last, she was determined - act of shoplifting in her short lifetime – Buffy sat next to Spike in the car and chewed voraciously on a king-size Snickers bar. She grinned unrepentantly when the vampire complained about the peanut-butter smell, and thirstily wished she'd been brave enough to risk making off with a bottle of Perrier as well.
Buffy watched the small puffs of her breath cloud the tinted window. She saw the street lights disappear as they moved onto the highway, and then too, the glow of the city lights as they left Los Angeles – and everything she'd ever known or loved - behind.
It was on to Sunnydale, and the unknown. She didn't know what she was going to do when she got there, other than fight, or exactly what she was going to go through. She had a fair idea though, considering that Spike had told her the place was built over a Hellmouth. If it was as bad as he claimed, she would probably end up dying there someday…
Buffy closed her eyes and dropped her head against the cool window pane. She shivered as she began to drift off, listening to the soft rumble of the engine and the lap of the tires on the pavement. Just before she fell asleep she sensed the vampire next to her move and heard a snapping sound. A few moments later a blissful heat began flowing over her skin from the dash vents, and she had to suppress a smile.
As to the not-so simple question, why? As in, why hadn't Spike just left her at the warehouse, or took off while she was in the bathroom at the gas station, she just had no idea. She didn't have all the answers, but she could tell, neither did Spike. If anything, he seemed just as lost for an answer as she did, and ten times as unhappy about it. If she knew one thing, though, it was that no matter how much they fought each other, or claimed to dislike one another, or tried to kill each other, she'd somehow be alright…as long as he was with her.
End, Broken Origin I – To be Continued in Broken Origin II
(Thanks for reading!)