Chapter 8

Buffy, Xander, and Spike gathered around Willow as she brought up the city plans on the computer.

"There it is." Buffy said, pointing to the screen.

"That runs under the graveyard." Spike said.

"But I don't see any access." Xander commented.

Giles walked over to stand behind them.

"So, all of the, uh, city plans are available to the public?", he asked.

"Uh, kinda. I accidentally stumbled upon them when I accidentally decrypted the city's security system." Willow answered, nervously.

"That would prove very valuable in the future." Giles murmured.

"Someone's been naughty." Xander teased.

"There's nothing here!" Buffy groaned.

"I think you're being a bit too hard on yourself." Giles cajoled.

Buffy turned to look at Giles.

"But you're the one who said I wasn't prepared enough. Undestatement!", she yelled, then sighed heavily. "I thought I was on top of the situation, then Luke comes out of nowhere..."

Buffy paused, thinking.

"What is it, luv?" Spike asked.

"He came out of nowhere...he came from behind me and he didn't follow me out. There had to be some sort of entrance to the tunnels in the mausoleum. The girl must have doubled back with Jesse when I got out! God, I am so stupid!" Buffy yelled, slamming her hand on the table.

"So, what's the plan? We saddle up then?" Xander asked.

"No, I go. Alone. I'm not putting you guys in danger."

"But Jesse is my friend..."

"And I am the slayer. Not you." Buffy countered.

"I knew you'd throw that in my face."

"Xander, this is very dangerous. I'm not losing you like I lost Jesse."

"Uh, Buffy, I don't enjoy the idea of fighting monsters, but I will do whatever I can to help." Willow said, from her seat at the computer.

"Then help me." Giles said. "I've been researching this Harvest affair. It seems to be some sort of preordained massacre. Rivers of blood, Hell on Earth, quite charmless. I'm a bit fuzzy, however, on the details. It may be that you can wrest some information from that dread machine."

Everyone stared at Giles, except for Spike, who chuckled.

"That was a bit, um, British, wasn't it?", he asked, sheepishly.

"Welcome to the New World.", Buffy told him, smiling.

Giles nodded slightly and turned to Willow.

"I want you to go on the 'Net."

"Oh, sure, I can do that.", she said eagerly, starting to type.

"Then I'm outta here. If Jesse's alive, I'll bring him back." Buffy said, turning to leave.

"Do I have to tell you to be careful?" Giles asked.

Buffy turned to look at Giles for a moment, then left.

Spike stared after Buffy for a moment, then glanced at his father. Giles nodded slightly and Spike headed out.

Buffy stood outside at the fence surrounding the school grounds.

"And where do we think we're going?"

Buffy jumped slightly and turned to face Mr. Flutie.

"We? Uh, I... Me..."

"We're not leaving school grounds, are we?" Mr. Flutie asked.

"No! No, I'm... just admiring the fence. You know, this is quality fence work." Buffy said, patting the fence.

"Because if we were leaving schools grounds on our second day at a new school, after getting kicked out of our old school for delinquent behavior... Do you see where I'm going with this?" Mr. Flutie asked.

" But Mr. Giles..."

"What?" Mr. Flutie asked, motioning for her to go on.

"He asked me to get a book for him. Uh, from the store, 'cause I have a free period, and I'm a big reader. Did it mention that in my transcripts?" Buffy said, flashing him a smile.

"Mr. Giles?" Mr. Flutie asked.

"Uh huh. Ask him." Buffy nodded eagerly.

"Well, maybe that's how they do things in Britain, they've got that royal family and all kinds of problems, but here at Sunnydale nobody leaves campus while school's in session. Are we clear?" Mr. Flutie commanded.

"We're clear. Very clear. Crystal even." Buffy nodded innocently.

"That's the Buffy Summers I want in my school. Sensible girl with her feet on the ground!" Mr. Flutie praised.

Mr. Flutie walked away. Buffy watched him for a moment before turning back to the fence. She crouched down and jumped, leaping over the fence, landing smoothly on her feet, and continued toward her destination.

Willow and Xander walked down the hallway, ticking off a list of things to research.

"Murder, death, disaster. What else?" Willow asked, notepad in hand.

"Paranormal, unexplained, did you get natural disasters?" Xander asked.

"Earthquake, flood." Willow answered.

"Rain of toads." Xander muttered.

"Good one." Willow said, writing it down.

"Rain of Toads! Do you think they'd have anything like that in the paper?" Xander asked, throwing his hands in the air.

"I'll put it on the computer search. If it's in there, it'll turn up. Anything that'll lead us to vampires." Willow answered, closing her notebook.

"And I, in the meantime, will help by standing around like an idiot." Xander fussed.

"Not like an idiot, just... standing. Buffy doesn't want you getting hurt." Willow told him.

They stopped in front of their next class.

"I don't want you getting hurt." Willow said quietly.

"This is just too much. I mean, yesterday my life's like, 'Uh-oh, pop quiz.' Today it's 'Rain of Toads'." Xander fussed again.

"I know. And everyone else thinks it's just a normal day." Willow said, patting his shoulder.

"Nobody knows. It's like we've got this big secret."

"Uh, we do. That's what a secret is, when you know something other guys don't." Willow said.

"Right. Look, maybe you should get to class." Xander commented, unfocused.

"You mean 'we'. We should get to class." Willow corrected.

"Yeah. Right. Us."

"Buffy'll be okay. Whatever's down there, I think she can handle it." Willow said, sighing.

"Yeah, I do, too." Xander nodded.

Buffy walked through the tunnels. Rats scurried out of her way as she walked. She heard a noise from behind and spun around, ready to attack.

"Did you see anything?"

Spike smirked at Buffy as he leaned against the wall.

"Spike, what are you doing here?" Buffy asked, trying to look mad, but ended up smiling.

"I followed you." Spike answered, shrugging. "Figured we could get a head start on that patrol date."

"Well, you..." Buffy started to protest.

"Shouldn't have come, blah, blah, blah." Spike mocked, grinning. "But I couldn't let my girl come down in a dark scary tunnel all by her lonesome.", he said, walking toward her.

"Your girl?" Buffy asked quietly.

"Yeah." Spike answered, brushing his lips over Buffy's. As the kiss started to intensify, Buffy pulled back.

"Did I do something?" Spike asked.

"No." Buffy answered, shaking her head. "It's much as I would like to be making out with you right now, the fact that we're in a dark, wet, and very smelly tunnel isn't helping."

Spike chuckled and pressed his lips to hers one last time before grabbing her hand and starting down the tunnel. They reached a set of stairs.

"So, done any beheading in your time?" Spike asked, suddenly.

"Where'd that come from?" Buffy asked, smiling.

"I was just thinking about the many ways to kill a vampire. Just curious, pet. So, beheading?" Spike asked, looking at her.

"Yeah, actually. There was this time I was pinned down by this guy that played left tackle for varsity... well, at least he used to before he was a vampire... anyway, he had this really, really thick neck, and all I had was a little, little Exact-O knife..."

Back in the library, Giles was thumbing through an old text. He stopped on a page and read aloud.

"'For they will gather and be gathered. From the Vessel pours life.' Pours life...", he muttered.

He turned to a picture of a demon feeding on a man.

"'On the night of the crescent moon, the first past the solstice it will come...'" Of course. That's tonight!", he said, jumping up.

Buffy stopped suddenly. Spike turned to look at her curiously, but she motioned for him to be quiet.

"They're close.", she said.

"How can you tell?" Spike asked.

"No more rats." Buffy said, causing Spike to chuckle.

They heard movement and ran to the source. They found Jesse shackled to the wall.

"Jesse!" Buffy whispered.

Jesse saw Buffy and Spike approach and jumped up.

"Dude, I am so glad to see you!"

"Are you alright?" Spike asked, looking at the shackles.

"I am not okay, on an epic scale." Jesse answered.

Buffy took a mini flashlight from her pocket and shined the light on the shackles.

"We gotta get outta here!" Jesse panicked.

"Hold on." Buffy said, breaking the shackles.

"Do you think anyone heard that?" Spike asked, quietly.

Buffy turned to see shadows on the wall.

"I think they did. We need to get outta here fast.", she answered, grabbing Jesse's arm.

Spike grabbed Jesse's other arm just as a group of vampires came around the corner.

"They knew you were gonna come. They said that I... I was the bait." Jesse said.

"Good going mate, now you tell us." Spike said, sarcastically.

As they rounded the corner, they were met with a group of vampires.

"Uh oh." Jesse said.

"Bloody hell!" Spike grimaced.

"Do you know another way out?" Buffy asked, shaking Jesse.

"I dunno. Maybe. C'mon!" Jesse said, shrugging out of their arms and running.

"Pretty spry for someone who just had most of his blood drained." Spike commented.

Buffy looked at Spike in horror before looking at Jesse, who was motioning for them to follow.

"Damnit!" Buffy hissed, turning to see a group of vampires behind them.

"We've got no choice, luv." Spike said, grabbing her arm and running toward Jesse.

"They brought me through here, there, there should be a way up. I hope!" Jesse said, leading them to a chamber.

"I don't think this is the way out!" Spike yelled.

"There's no way we can fight our way back through those things." Buffy said, looking at Spike.

"Oh hey! I got an idea." Jesse said excitedly.

Buffy and Spike glanced at each other and backed against the wall. Jesse vamped out and laughed.

"You can die!"