Holiday on Helarth
Chapter Eight ~ Causing a Scene
They could feel the beat beneath their feet before they could hear the strange music as they approached the underground entrance to the club, two nights after Nessie had told them about it. Spike hadn't left Buffy's side since they'd exited the underground of the slayer compound thirty minutes before. She took one more look at the starless and cloudless sky before following Nessie down the steep path towards the Gathering Hall.
"Just stay close tae me and I'll get you in," Nessie said as they approached another slayer wielding a scythe under a blue globe of light. "Greetings, Flor. I've brought friends."
If it were possible, Flor stood even taller than she had before and narrowed her eyes at Buffy and Spike.
"They be like our Laird. Where did they come from?"
"It's fine. Laird Duncan knows they're here. In fact, they're his honored guests."
Still gawking at them, Flor used her scythe to pull back the curtain to allow them entrance. Buffy stood with Spike right behind her and took in the scene. She turned to Spike with a grin lighting up her face. "Helarth's version of the Bronze."
"Yeah," Spike said, as he scanned the large, dark nightclub. "I can't believe I'm going to say this, but the Bronze had better music."
Nessie stopped moving to the beat and frowned at Spike. "Hey. I like this music."
"Don't worry about him. You wouldn't believe the type of music he thinks is good," Buffy said with a chuckle.
They were getting curious glances from the other customers now, and as a spiny blue demon approached them, Spike pulled Buffy to him with a hand on her waist until their hips touched.
"I see you've brought those visitors you were talking about last night, lass." The demon smiled at them. "Introduce us."
Spike, Buffy, this is Mard, the proprietor of the Gathering Hall."
"Pleasure to meet you," Mard said. He glanced over his shoulder at the quiet demons who were paying close attention to their exchange. "Don't mind them. Once they know I'm glad tae have you here, they'll go about their business."
Sure enough, after they shook hands with the demon, the crowd went back to enjoying their evening out, only stealing glances at the humanoids every now and again. Mard left them to handle business, wishing them a good time. Nessie waved at a Froctor demon at the other end of dance floor.
"There's my friend. I'm just goin' tae say hello."
Buffy turned to Spike and shrugged. "Guess we're on our own."
He leaned over and kissed her. "That's just how I like it. I'd offer to buy you a drink, but I'm not too sure what we'd get…or what I'd pay with."
"We could dance," she said hopefully, even though the driving primitive music was not all that good.
"How 'bout you dance and I'll sway along with you. I'm not much for prancing around on a dance floor, but I'm more than willing to hold you close. Any excuse to get my hands on you, really."
Letting out a breathy laugh, Buffy grabbed his hand and pulled him out on the floor. Even though the beat of the music had demons around them bouncing around, he got his arms around her waist, and she put her arms around his neck. They danced like two teens on prom night until a demon bumped into them.
"Oh. Pardon me," the creature said, before he went back to making the jerky movements that passed for dancing on Helarth.
Spike chuckled and pulled her close again. She sighed and leaned her head on his shoulder.
"I wish we had some nice music," she said.
Spike's chest starting vibrating as he hummed a tune. She smiled against his leather coat and hugged him tighter while thinking about the first time he'd tried to tell her he loved her. The tune he was humming now was definitely not a Ramones single.
"What are you humming?"
He cleared his throat. "You have to guess."
"I'm not good at guessing games," she said with a pout she knew he couldn't see.
"Try. If you don't get it after a few seconds, I'll sing some of the words."
A few seconds passed and she still couldn't figure it out. It was familiar, like something her mom probably played often when she was a kid, but for the life of her, she couldn't remember.
"Something about light?"
"You're on the right track," he said before continuing to hum.
"Finally a chance to say hey I love you…" He hummed a few more bars and when she still hadn't gotten it, he sang, "'Cause you light up my life. You give me hope to carry on…"
"Oh my God!" She laughed. "'You Light Up My Life'! My mom loves that song. It's so cheesy."
"Hey, now, it's a great love song, and I'm over here trying to provide the entertainment."
"Oh, Spike." She tried not to giggle as she kissed his cheek. "You're totally entertaining. Really."
It wasn't long before Spike was tempted to play a game similar to pool with a bunch of tough looking demons. Buffy sat on a stool with her back against the wall and marveled at how fast he picked up new things. Soon he was strutting around the table, talking big, and calling each of his shots. He was so engrossed in beating the demons, he didn't even notice when they started to get hostile towards him.
Every time Spike made another shot, the leader of the group shot daggers with his orange eyes in Spike's direction. The other demons picked up on Orange-Eyes' animosity and soon, they were circling Spike. After sinking the last polished stone, Spike stood tall and proud, looking to Buffy for some "go Spikes," but instead, she grabbed his hand and tried to yank him out of the bar. He resisted and grabbed the parchments that stood for cash, stacked at one corner of the table, and shoved them in his pocket.
"Won fair and square," he said, sneering at the leader.
"We should probably go," Nessie said, as she caught up with them.
"He's not going anywhere," the leader said, getting in Spike's face. "He's got tae give us a chance tae win our money back, including the fiver Qui'dep spotted him tae get started with."
Spike fanned the papers out and pulled out one with a five on it. "Here, Qui'dep. Thanks, mate."
Mard approached them, his eyes hard as steel as he talked with the leader. "There'll be no fightin' in my establishment, boys. Unless you want to lose rights to the Hall. You know the rules. Flor knows them too. Don't you, Flor?"
"I sure do." Flor spoke from just inside the door.
She held up her scythe ready to do battle, but the demons backed off instantly, murmuring about unfair advantages. Buffy still thought it would be best to leave, and Nessie seemed just as eager to get out of there.
"Come on, Slayer," Spike said, bouncing on the balls of his feet, "aren't you itching for a good fight?"
Buffy rolled her eyes toward the ceiling, but couldn't help how the edges of her lips turned up. "No. I'm itching to get home and go to bed."
"Now you're really talking my language," he said, turning and heading for the exit.
"I'm confused," Nessie said as the hurried to catch up to them, "haven't you both been speaking English the whole time?"
Unable to contain a snort and a short laugh, Buffy shook her head. "Spike speaks a language all his own. Come on, we'd better hurry before he finds more trouble."
As soon as they were out on the surface, Nessie grabbed them both by an arm and tugged. "Run!"
"Wha—" Spike broke off his own sentence when he saw the gang of demons rushing towards them.
Rolling her eyes, Buffy stood her ground for a second longer, but when Spike tugged on her shirt, she turned and ran with him. Nessie was already a few feet ahead of them. It felt good to run, to get some exercise. She took in deep gulps of air and felt more energized with each one. By the time they were around a hill and stopped to take a break, the demons had given up. Nessie went back to make sure they still weren't being followed and came back, nodding her head.
"Now that's what I call a night out." Spike grinned like a madman while Nessie glared at him.
Buffy wanted to be angry at him, wanted to frown and look down on him, but she just couldn't. It had been fun. And just like him, she was itching for a good fight, even if she wouldn't admit it out loud.
"Come on. We'd better get back before we're missed." Nessie got up, expecting them to follow her.
Spike and Buffy held back, still grinning at each other. She approached him as he sat on a rock, and pushed her way between his knees.
"Can't you go anywhere without causing a scene?"
"Guess not. Besides, where's the fun in that?" He tilted his head, eyes gleaming with merriment.
Instead of giving him an answer, she rose up on her toes and gave him a sound kiss. "Let's go. We don't want to get lost out here."
As they walked, they could see Nessie far ahead, never slowing her steps, but not speeding up either. For the first time since they arrived on Helarth, they could speak freely.
"I think you should wait until tomorrow to ask Nessie," Spike said.
"Good idea. She's probably not in the mood to do anything for us right now. I'll try to get her alone after breakfast."
Buffy entered their room and paused just inside when she realized Spike was fast asleep on the bed. Quietly, she turned and put the barrier up before approaching him. She'd been following Nessie around all evening, trying to find a moment alone with her. By the end of the night, Spike had decided to go back to the room and wait for her there, knowing that Nessie would feel more comfortable without him there.
Onisal had run Nessie ragged with chores and training and then more chores. Buffy had found her alone, finally, in the bathing room, with a pile of garments to be washed. Buffy was eager to share with Spike the things she'd learned, but she loathed the idea of waking him up.
Spike was on his side, his duster loosely covering him to his shoulders. Her hands itched to run through his hair. He was so still and not alive, yet she was deeply in love with him, faults and all. If she kissed him, would he wake up? Buffy bit her lip to keep from laughing. What a reverse fairy tale that would be. The girl kisses the villain turned hero, and he wakes to live again.
His eyes fluttered open, and he stared at her, a slow smile graced his face as he lifted up on his elbow.
"Sorry 'bout that. Must have dozed off."
"I was going to let you sleep."
Spike sat up and patted the spot beside him. "Did you get anywhere with Nessie?"
Just that little gesture of familiarity made her feel all warm inside. She was so glad he was here with her. Doing this all alone would have made her go crazy. Just thinking about the others back home was enough to drive her mad. She needed to get back there and make sure everyone was all right.
"Yes. She's agreed to show us how to get into the weapons room, and we are going to help her with her training."
"Great. When do we see this weapons room?"
"Tomorrow. After last meal, we'll all sneak into the training room and put her through her paces. Then, Nessie will make sure Onisal and Laird Duncan are sleeping before she takes us to the weapons room."
"And you're sure Nessie is not in on it with the others?" Spike asked while absently rubbing Buffy's shoulder.
It was hard to concentrate when he was making her feel so good. "Yes. I'm sure—ooh, a little harder."
Urged on by Buffy's reaction, Spike got on his knees behind her, trying to balance on the waterbed and pull her top over her head at the same time.
"Spike, are you trying to get me naked," Buffy asked while lifting her arms.
"Just the way I like you, love. 'Sides, I can do a much better job with my hands without the clothes in the way."
With a sigh, she relaxed, concentrating only on his magical hands and the sensations he was drawing out of her body with every squeeze and caress.