Chapter Sixty Four – A Fair Go
Angel stomped into the cavern with an unconscious Buffy slung over his shoulder, not even glancing at Spike as he headed for the set of chains sitting on the floor on the other side of the room. He'd thought about leaving her in the car while he secured the bleached pain in his ass for transport, but he hadn't planned for Buffy's memory reset to fail so he didn't have any kind of restraints in the car. And considering his luck so far today, she'd regain consciousness while he was gone and muster the troops to hunt him down, so now he'd have to put his vampire strength to the test to carry both of them the mile and a half through the tunnels to the surface then another half a mile to where he'd left the car. Unless, of course, he wanted to make two trips, which he really didn't. And why had he thought it would be a good idea to hide Spike away so far underground again?
Spike had managed to push the blindfold off and was awake and watching warily as he tried to ignore the incessant buzzing in the back of his mind that had started about thirty minutes ago. At first it had felt like someone was trying to speak to him, but the words had been faint and garbled then had faded into an unpleasant sensation similar to the buzz from fluorescent lights. He squeezed his eyes shut then leaned his head back against the wall with a tired sigh; "Time for the next bit then, is it?"
"What?" Angel stopped and turned to face him, blinking in surprise at Spike's nakedness. Angel didn't remember making him naked. He remembered bringing him down here and chaining him up then… nothing… until he found himself sitting in his car in a hotel parking lot with an unconscious Buffy in the passenger seat. Angel also didn't remember leaving Spike's face and neck covered in blood and bruises or with what looked like a broken nose.
Spike lifted his head, schooling his features into an insolent smirk. "Brought me dinner, have you, 'Gelus? Bint's a bit small, don't you think? Won't be enough blood in that one to heal me up for the next go round." He nodded toward the blood smeared down the side of Buffy's face. "'Specially since you've already wasted a good bit of it."
Angel blinked. Again. "What?"
Spike nodded at Buffy. "My dinner? You want me to eat the bint so I'll heal up after you spend the next several hours beatin' the hell out of me. Any of this ringin' a bell? Not like this is our first time at this particular party, 'Gelus. 'Course, with her bein' so tiny, you'll have to bring me someone larger next time. Or a pair."
Angel lowered Buffy's inert form to the floor at his feet then twisted his hand in her hair and held her head up so Spike could see her face. "Don't you recognize her?"
A flash of confusion pushed the insolent smirk aside for a few seconds before Spike pasted it back on. "No. Should I? Figured her for a tart the way she's dressed. You trollin' for it now? Darla cut you off again?"
Angel looked down at Buffy. She was wearing a cream peasant blouse with a peach skirt that stopped just above her knees and a pair of strappy sandals. Her clothes were perfectly respectable as far as current fashion went, considering that this was California and women regularly walked around wearing less fabric than it took to make a handkerchief, so why would Spike think she was a prostitute? And Darla? She'd been dust for years. The gears in Angel's head started ticking over and he looked back up at Spike. "What year is it?"
Spike's look of confusion was back as he regarded the elder vampire. "You gone senile or something, mate? Get some bad blood somewhere?"
Angel snarled, "Just answer the feckin' question, boy."
Spike flinched slightly at the menace in Angel's voice and stammered, "Think you rattled my brains a bit this time, Sire, things are fuzzy, but I think it's 1890. That ballet we attended is the last thing I remember clearly."
Angel's brow furrowed as he tried to remember where they'd been in 1890. "Giselle? In St. Petersburg?" Spike nodded hesitantly then flinched again when Angel smacked himself in the forehead. "Shit! I did the wrong one! I shouldn't have hit him with the stone. Idiot!" Angel let go of Buffy and started pacing around the cave, not noticing when she fell forward, her forehead bouncing harshly off the stone floor. 'Okay. Slight change of plans. I won't be able to torture him with the fact that I've taken his woman from him again… once the mage finds a spell that will work on her, that is… because he doesn't even remember her, so there's no reason to take him back to LA. I'll just dust him, grab her, and go.'
He stopped suddenly as Angelus surged to the forefront of his mind with a harsh growl, "You are an idiot! It doesn't matter how many spells you cast on the bitch! She doesn't love you and she never will! And dusting him will only piss her off and you'll spend the rest of your existence looking over your shoulder! Is that what you want? I know it's not what I want! She needs to die. I know you won't kill her, so let him do it. You told him about Slayers, so tell him she's a Slayer and let him go. Once she's dead, break the spell and he'll remember everything he's done. He'll be so beautifully broken from knowing he killed the woman he loves with his own two fangs… it'll be delicious."
Angel reached up and gripped his hair tight in his fists. "I can't do that. I can't let him kill her. I don't want her dead!"
Angelus sighed, "That's what I thought. You're useless. It's still a little too soon, but let's see if this works," then he whispered the incantation he'd tortured out of the mage.
Xander picked listlessly at the piece of pizza he was holding then tossed it back into the box. "We should really put a Lo-Jack on those two if they're gonna keep getting themselves kidnapped every few weeks."
Willow frowned. "But why would Angel kidnap them? I don't get it. Are we sure it was Angel?"
Dawn hooked her thumb over her shoulder toward back of the house as she stepped into the living room. "That's who Francis saw walking up to the house and Billy only smelled one new scent when we got back, so by process of elimination… yeah, it was Angel. And it doesn't matter why he did it; we'll worry about why later, right now we need to worry about where."
Xander said quietly, "And who. It might not be Angel we're dealing with. If he's all large with the kidnapping… and from what Giles said about Drusilla's vision…"
Dawn sat down next to Billy and squeezed his hand, a tingle of fear running through her. "It might be Angelus."
Tara lowered her hands from her head then pinched the bridge of her nose. "Spike's awake, but it's like he doesn't know how to talk back to me. I'm not even sure he can hear me, and if he can, I don't know if I'm making any sense to him. And I can't get through to Buffy at all. She's been unconscious for a long time."
Willow reached down into the bag at her feet, lifting out a map of Sunnydale and a small leather-bound book. "So which should we do first, locator spell or disinvite spell?"
Everyone except Billy chorused, "Disinvite," as Tara reached out to accept the book from Willow.
Dawn smacked her forehead. "Wait. It won't work here. This is Spike's house. We have to be in a house that a human owns for a disinvite spell to work."
Tara looked up from the book she was paging through. "But you claimed the house earlier and Spike agreed. Mystically, that should be enough to make it yours."
"Yeah, but I'm not human, either. Mystically, I'm a glowy key thingy, remember?"
Tara nodded. "You're right." She closed the book she was holding and stuffed it into her bag then dug around, coming up with a different book. "So we'll put up a general barrier ward like I have on the mansion. That will keep him out."
Dawn chuckled. "And it'll be funny watching him bounce off."
Willow looked at Xander. "Do you want to go get Anya and Will and bring them here?"
Xander shook his head. "No. Deadboy's never been invited into our place, but I'll call her and tell her not to invite him in if he shows up there." He lifted the handset off the coffee table and walked into the kitchen as he dialed.
Billy watched the activity as Tara and Willow started setting up for the ward and he listened to Anya's frightened voice as she talked to Xander. He squeezed Dawn's hand and whispered, "Angelus is that bad?"
Dawn nodded. "Yeah, he's that bad. Take Riley times like a hundred and you'll start to come close to how bad he is."
Buffy opened her eyes and groaned as bright spears of pain lanced through her head… again. And now a lump on her forehead was throbbing. Apparently Angel had built a new ride for her headache carnival while she'd been out. "I am going to shove a stake so far up his ass he'll dust from it, that son of a bitch."
"Might be a bit hard to do, what with you bein' chained up like that, pet."
She whipped her head up fast enough to crack her neck then moaned in pain as spots danced before her eyes. She had to blink several times to clear her vision then she breathed out a relieved sigh when the blurry figure across the cave finally came into focus, "Spike! God, I was so worried about you! Are you okay?"
Spike tilted his head. "Come again? How do you know me, and why would you be worried 'bout me? I've never seen you before."
"You've never… I'm Buffy! Buffy Summers? Your girlfriend?"
A low chuckle rolled through the cavern as a dark figure stepped out of the shadows. "He doesn't remember you, Buff. Not at all. Isn't that just delicious, lover?"
Buffy's eyes widened as she took in the leather pants and silk shirt, then she closed them with a defeated sigh, "Angelus. Great. And the buckets of suck just keep on coming."
Spike's head was still tilted and now his eyebrow went up. "You know him, too? Who are you?" He looked over at his Grandsire, noting how he carried himself much more like the Angelus he was used to, compared with how he'd acted when he'd brought the little blonde woman to the cave – if one ignored his odd attire.
He followed his Grandsire's gaze to the woman. Something about her seemed vaguely familiar, like he should recognize her. He wished his nose wasn't still too swollen to let him smell properly because he was almost desperate to figure this out. This tiny woman claimed to know them both and Angelus hadn't fed her to him yet or drained her himself, and he'd called her lover, which was odd. Yeah, Angelus liked to play with his food, but he wouldn't play with it in a dank cave. He was spoiled. He wouldn't do anything like that anywhere but a nice posh bed, where he could be comfortable while he terrorized them and violated their bodies.
The woman lifted her gaze to him again, the barest hint of tears in her eyes, then she tilted her head, flipping her hair back, and Spike gasped. She had a vampire bite on her neck. His bite. He'd recognize it anywhere. His eyes flew to Angelus then he nodded at the woman. "What the bloody hell is goin' on here, 'Gelus? Why's that chit wearin' my mark?"
She answered before Angelus could with a sobbed, "Because you Claimed me, Spike. We're gonna be mated."
Spike scoffed, "That's impossible! Why would I Claim some bird I've never met? I love Dru, you barmy bint! If I'd Claimed anyone, it'd be her! You're just some trollop I sampled while I was waitin' on my Dark Princess! It's no wonder I don't remember you! You're nothin' to me! Just a meal!"
Angelus laughed. "This is perfect." He strode over to Spike, reaching up to unfasten the manacles around his wrists. "You remember when I told you about Slayers, boy?" Spike nodded slowly as he brought his hands down and started rubbing the raw skin around his wrists. Angelus backed up a few steps then flicked a glance back over his shoulder. "Well, that little girl over there is a Slayer. The one girl in all the world chosen to kill our kind. And she's all yours. A gift from me to you. Think you can take her?"
Spike looked over at the bound woman then grinned ferally as he bounced on the balls of his feet and rolled his shoulders. "Bloody right, I can."
Angelus moved to the entrance of the cave then turned around, sporting an evil grin. He tossed something at Spike and Spike caught it then held it in the palm of his hand. A key. "You can leave her bound or you can release her, your choice. I'll be back later to see who won."
Spike frowned at his Grandsire. "You're not gonna watch?"
"No. I've got a few people I want to pay a visit to before I leave this town for good. Got some old scores to settle and I won't get the chance if she dusts you."
Buffy's gaze flew to Angelus and if looks could stake, he'd be Dust Buster food. "You leave my family alone! You touch any of them and you'll be begging me to stake you! I'll hurt you in ways even you've never thought of!"
Angel tsked, "Now, now, Buff. You shouldn't be worried about what I'm doing; you should be worried about the deadly vampire I'm leaving here with you. Have fun, lover." His laughter carried back through the tunnels as he made his way to the surface.
Spike moved over to a pile of clothing he'd spied next to the wall and he fished out a pair of odd looking trousers. They were heavy black cloth with metal buttons to fasten the flies and they had no buttons on the waistband for attaching his braces, not that he found any in the pile. He also had to work inordinately hard to get them on as they seemed to be a size too small. The shirt he found, made from a lighter cloth than the trousers, but also black, seemed to be too small as well, clinging to his torso instead of hanging loose like the linen shirts he was used to. The only familiar items in the lot were the socks, again black, and the boots, also black, although they were more of a common worker's boot than a gentleman's boot.
The boots actually fit him surprisingly well, like they'd been made specifically for him. Once he'd finished tying the laces, vowing to secure some proper attire as soon as he was finished with the girl, he stood up and turned to her then started tossing the key into the air as he sauntered over. "So, pet, you want to die chained or would you rather have a fair go?"