The Downside of Elemental Dieseling

Author: Nickeltaffy

Disclaimer: Blah, blah, blah…These characters are Joss's. I don't own them, never did and never will. Thanks for the loan, Joss.

…..

Chapter 11

"…STOP!"

As Wesley's last word bounced back off the cool cinder block walls, it created an unworldly echo in the basement around the two men and child. There was no reaction from the brunette vampire as he sat frozen at the spectacle of the small vampire proudly standing there. Spike was standing in the pool of light with a grin from ear to ear as his oversized prize pitched crazily in his hands. As Wesley's words finally penetrated through the invisible fog of amazement around his head, Angel snapped awake from his daze. Blinking rapidly, Angel's eyes darted over to the ex-watcher and then back to Spike, who was eagerly awaiting a response.

"Uh… …Spike." Angel said the name haltingly as he looked rather nervously at the small child standing in the pool of light. "Wha. Whu. Where..Where did you find that?"

"Look! Id'nt it neat? It was just lying over there! This is bloody brilliant, huh?" Spike said as he grinned unabashedly at the pair of squeamish men tied in the chairs.

Realizing the terrifying sight he must present, Spike thoroughly enjoyed the moment as he watched the pair of men wrestle with the current sticky situation that faced them. He regaled in observing the men's reactions as he took a few dramatically timed steps toward them. Wesley shrank back with a sick expression as much as the ropes would allow him as he marked Spike's approach. Angel was so overwhelmed that his confusion mirrored that of an international exchange student at a homecoming football game. Now, Spike thought he could get a little revenge for those fashion comments he had overheard earlier so, he added a little drunken swagger to his walk. He took secret delight in the expressions on the two men's faces as they watched him approach. Then to make things little more fun, he relaxed his grip and let the wicked looking fire axe fall behind him, creating a storm of clattering as the blade hit the cement floor. As it did, Spike's eyes were riveted on the pair's reaction which did not disappoint him; if it were possible, Angel's complexion would have dropped two shades paler and Wes' chest was heaving so hard that he looked like he was about to hyperventilate.

"Uh oh! It fell." The small vampire casually announced the obvious to the room.

Unable to withstand the onslaught of the amusement bubbling inside him, Spike quickly turned his back to the men to get control of himself. Biting his lip to keep a guffaw from escaping, the blonde vampire picked up the handle of the axe with two hands and held it up to his chest, so that the blade was resting against the rough concrete floor. He merrily dragged it behind him, so the blade of the axe coasted over the concrete, causing a shrill ringing sound. Wesley looked positively desperate at this point as Spike got closer.

"Angel, you've got to do something! Someone will get hurt if he tries to free us with that axe!" Wes rolled his head back and urgently whispered. "Namely, one of us!"

"What do you expect me to do?" Angel answered, completely baffled at what to do.

"You're his sire! Reason with him!" Wesley insisted, his voice becoming unintentionally higher.

"Right, because the adult Spike was so logical and contemplative…there should be no hindrance in persuading the four year old version that this is a bad idea. Piece of cake!" Angel answered, peevishly.

"Are we going to have cake?" A childish voice piped up as an enormously pleased Spike suddenly appeared by the two men, with an excited expression.

"What? Oh, oh yeah! Sure, why not…if we have any fingers left or hands for that matter." Wes replied as he waggled his head with the absurdity of predicament.

"Wes, you're not helping." Angel muttered out of the side of his mouth to the other man. Turning toward Spike, Angel took a breath and addressed the child with a calculatedly pleasant tone. "Spike? Spike, why don't you leave the axe alone?

"You don't want it?" Spike answered, making sure his face reflected innocence belying the wickedly satisfying entertainment he was deriving from the scene.

"It's not that. I just don't think you should be handling it." Angel judiciously chose his words as he looked at the little boy standing to the side.

"Why not?" Spike asked as he pulled in his lower lip to bite it that appeared to display consternation; but in reality, its purpose was to keep him from smiling.

"You might get hurt. You could easily cut yourself or someone else." Angel lectured patiently.

"But you wanted me to get something sharp…You said!" Spike accused, adding a glower to his performance.

"Yes, I did." Angel answered patronizingly. "An axe can be very dangerous. I don't want you to get hurt."

"I won't get hurt! I am rescuing you." Spike responded with all the assurance a four year old face can muster. "I'll use the axe to whack those ropes!"

"Angel, I don't like the term whack." Wes sputtered over his shoulder to Angel. "Dear God! Don't let him whack!"

"I think that the axe is too big for you." Angel ignored Wes' comment and focused his eyes on Spike.

"No, it's not!" Spike fiercely disagreed, although internally thoroughly enjoying the debate.

"You keep dropping it." Angel pointed out, as he looked pointedly at the axe lying up against Spike's legs.

"No, I don't." Spike quickly responded as he picked up the axe and held it rather unsteadily in his hands.

"I think you did." Angel chided with an even paternal tone.

"No, I don't! That wasn't on purpose!" Spike blurted as he stamped his foot.

To make things a little more entertaining, Spike made it look like he was going to drop the axe as a result of his foot stamping. Worrying that the child might be injured and seeing that the debate was not getting anywhere, Angel decided to use the Ace card he had up his sleeve.

"SPIKE, PUT THE AXE DOWN NOW!" Angel commanded using his Sire's voice

Automatically, Spike's hands instantly opened and the axe once again clattered to the floor. Spike look surprised as he stared at the axe lying on the floor at his feet. Startled by what had just happened, thoughts raced through Spike's mind. "Angel had used his Sire voice! How dare he pull that old number out of his hat! What does he think he's dealing with! Oh wait, he thinks I'm a child. Okay, if we're going to play it that way, let's do it proper."

"Did I do something wrong?" Spike mumbled, looking up. He made sure to paste a feigned hurt look on his face.

"No. It's alright. We just don't want you to get hurt with the axe." Feeling terrible about upsetting the child, Angel tried to appease him with a gentle smile, hoping the explanation would smooth over the hurt.

"You yelled at me!" the small vampire accused with his lower lip sticking out and pointing at Angel.

"Well, Yes and No. I just used my Sire's voice." Angel explained, his eyes looking away.

"You yelled at me!" The injustice creeping into his voice, Spike began to storm. "I just did what you told me to do."

"Spike, Listen…" Angel began, trying to catch the child's eyes.

"No! I'm not playing no more!" Inflating his chest with apparent indignant outrage, Spike announced. He then spun on his heel and went back to the darkness.

"Angel, you have got to get him to release us." Wes leaned back and whispered urgently. "We are running out of time!"

"Spike! Spike, come here." Angel called, ducking his head to peer into the darkness.

"No!" An emphatic childish voice emitted from the darkness.

"Spike, come here now!" Angel commanded, as he began to get frustrated.

"Uh huh! No!" Again, the response was the same from the darkened area. Spike was holding his hand over his mouth in the dark to stifle the laughter; however unavoidably the sound of his broken breathing made it over to Angel.

"Hey, hey. Don't cry. We're not mad at you." Angel said softly to darkness that hid the little boy.

"I'm not crying!" Spike yanked down his hand from his mouth. The mirth suddenly displaced by the affront of being accused of crying.

"Angel, you have to get him to release us!." Wes prompted urgently. "Your current line of communication is not working."

Angel nodded and took a deep breath before he started his next entreaty to the small vampire.

"No, of course you're not." Angel continued. "Spike, please come back."

"No!" The childish voice rang back at the men.

"Angel, I think a little buttering up may do the trick." Wes added as he looked around for the origin of the small voice.

"Spike, you did a very good job at getting the axe." Angel tried to coax the little boy back to them. "You were very smart and brave. No one could have done it better."

"Really? You mean it?" Spike's voice carried out the darkness.

"Yes. Please come back." Angel answered, patiently.

"Yes. Angel's sorry. Please come back." Wes jumped in, hoping to help the situation.

"You won't yell at me anymore?" Spike asked slowly.

"Alright. No more yelling." Angel confirmed.

"You promise?" The small voice countered.

"Yes!" Angel stated emphatically.

"Even if I make a mess?" Spike asked in measured tones.

"Yes, even if you make a mess." Angel answered as he looked briefly over his shoulder at Wes who audibly gulped.

"Okay. Can I still be a hero?" Spike asked as he emerged from the darkness.

"Yeah. Sure." Angel answered, not quite understanding what Spike meant.

"Okay, I'll cut the ropes and save you." Spike stated happily as he bent down to pick up the axe.

"Sp…Spike, I d..don't thin…" Wesley stammered as he tried to pull away from the ropes.

"Spike, put that down!" Angel implored as the small vampire hefted the axe up to his chest.

"I can do it!" Spike firmly announced through clinched teeth as he gave the men a hard look.

"Perhaps, we can convince him to prop axe between us, so we saw the ropes through ourselves." Wes whispered back to Angel..

"Spike, just give the axe to Angel! Please!" Wes pleaded as he writhed in his chair at the sight of the child with the axe.

"No, I can bloody well do it!" Spike responded with a determined look in his eyes.

"Spike! Wait! No! Wait!" The two men desperately called out as they violently struggled against the ropes.

Like a Viking raider, Spike charged over with the axe raised over his head, yelling. The two men cringed in their chairs awaiting the consequence. In the next instance, the ropes suddenly slacken and fell to the floor

"Bleedin told ya!"

As Fred and Gunn got into the large SUV and buckled their seatbelts, Gunn turned to Fred.

"So, where are we going?" Gunn asked, raising his eyebrows at the pretty scientist.

Fred held up the energy detector in front of her, staring at the small blue screen which was displaying a small red blinking dot.

"Wherever this tells us to go!" Fred replied as she confidently pointed at the small screen.

…..

As Wes, Angel and Spike were now standing in front of the elevator doors in the basement, Wes was examining the key lock on the call button panel of the elevator. Upon being freed from the ropes, Angel immediately scooped up Spike in his arms and gave him a warm enveloping hug. Spike, at first was tempted to spout off an insult, but thought better of it as he felt the arms holding him in a genuine and sincere embrace. As the pair watched Wes, Angel was not able to keep his hands from Spike; he pressed the child against his leg. Wes stood up with a smile that said the lock was easily picked. He pulled off his tie clip with a shrug.

"Let's get him outta here and back to the offices." Angel stated to Wes, nodding his head toward Spike

"Angel, Taras still has the Hjorlian reliquary upstairs. If my computations are correct from what I translated from the inscription, the star alignment occurring tonight will allow it to be opened. We need to get it from him before that happens." Wes informed Angel of the gravity of the situation.

"Great! How are we supposed to get it without being tasered again?" Angel asked as he tiredly rubbed a hand down his face.

"We have the element of surprise." Wesley weakly offered.

"And what do we do with you know who?" Angel asked, his eyes tilting down toward the small vampire momentarily.

"Yes, I see. It does complicate matters." Wesley muttered as he regarded Spike,

Spike's face wrinkled in disgust as he watched the two men debate their next move. If that ugly urn was going to be an issue, he was going to take care of it. He only hoped that Wes and Angel would stay out of his way.

"Whatever we do, we just can't march in there." Angel commented as he reviewed the situation.

"I can. Shirley likes me!" Spike's voice shattered the adults' concentration. "She likes me a lot! She bought me these clothes."

"Yes, I can see that she thinks a lot of you." Angel said with a smile.

"Angel, I know you may find this a disturbing idea….but we may have something they value more than the urn." Wes stated as he looked speculatively at the blonde vampire

"Wes, you couldn't be saying what I think you are." Angel responded shocked, with a threatening glare as his hand tightened on the child.

"It's not like we're going to honor the trade." Wes smirked as he shrugged.

"Wesley, I'm surprised at you. That's very devious of you." Angel said with new admiration in his eyes. "I like it."

Yes, well…" Wesley answered, flattered.

Angel looked down at Spike and said. "Hey, Spike. Do you want to play a game?"