Render the Extra Mile

Disclaimer: These characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. They do not belong to me.

…..

Chapter 10

Spike knew they were close when he awoke that morning in the Summers' basement. When he first heard the voices last night, they were just a murmur. Now with the morning sun, he could definitely make out words being said. The voices were becoming louder and more insistent. They were coming to get him. It would not be long until his sojourn here with the Scoobies would come to an end. He slowly climbed up the stairs to the ground level, taking each step with finality, knowing that he may never return. He paused for a moment as he took an unneeded breath before he turned the knob to open the door. As he placed his hand on the cool metal of the knob, he pulled up his chin as he went to brave the last moments he would have with them.

Giles was casually walking up the walkway to Buffy's front door, when he heard Dawn's scream. He charged up the walkway and burst through the door. Breathless, he paused by the door, his eyes searching for the source of the scream. Finally, his eyes fixed on Dawn and Buffy struggling in the kitchen.

Dawn managed to pry Buffy's arms from around her and flew to the spot in the hallway to the kitchen where Spike had disappeared. She halted just before the spot. She brought her hands up in front of her and cautiously approached the spot where Spike had last been seen. Her hands floated in the air in front of her as she moved forward.

"NO!" Dawn's guttural scream cut through the air as her hands landed on the wall behind the spot where Spike had last been standing. She took a step closer and hid her face in the crook of her arm as she broke into tears as she muttered. "No..no…no."

Giles watched as Buffy stood in the kitchen for a moment, breathing hard as she watched her sister in the hallway. Willow and Tara stood behind her unmoving from their spots in the kitchen. Willow's mouth was open in shock as she still held the mug in front her. Tara's eyes filled with tears, pulling in the lips of her mouth in compassion as she felt the impact of Dawn's anguish.

"Spike!" Dawn moaned as she slid down the wall as her sobs began to shake her body. "I told him I wouldn't let them take him. I told him. I told him."

Seeing her sister's distress, Buffy quietly moved closer to Dawn and kneeling, wrapped her in her arms. Dawn leaned toward her sister, her fingers pressed into Buffy's forearm as she grasped it. Buffy's other hand came up to smooth the back of Dawn's head.

"Dawn, Buffy…What happened?" Giles asked as his puzzled eyes went from the sisters huddled on the floor to the women standing stock still in the kitchen.

Willow finally broke her trance, blinking sporadically as she turned her head to look at the mug in her hand. She set it down and looked over to Giles as she stood up from the stool. Tara took a few steps away from Tara, her hand over her mouth as she stared at the spot where Spike was last seen.

"Um...Giles…Spike was...there … then…wasn't… A lot happened, okay?" Willow stammered as she tried unsuccessfully to put a coherent statement about the recent events.

"Something happened with Spike?" Giles asked as his eyes went from the witch down to the two sisters huddled together on the floor. "Is everyone okay?"

Buffy turned her head over her shoulder as she held her sobbing sister; she looked up at Giles with bewilderment. "We're fine. He didn't do anything to us."

"We gotta get him back. We just can't leave him. I told that I wouldn't allow them to take him back." Dawn pulled back her head and pleaded with Buffy. "We gotta, Buffy."

"It's okay, Dawn." Turning her head to regard her sister, Buffy said as she tried to comfort her sister. "I'm sure there's something we can do."

"Giles!" Dawn turned in Buffy's arms as she directed her plea toward the watcher. "Giles, we gotta help him! You saw him last night. We just can't let them have him."

"Certainly, Dawn." Giles answered as he looked worriedly at the young woman. "But I still don't understand what exactly happened."

A little later, the group had moved into the living room. Buffy was sitting next to Dawn on the sofa with her arms still around her sister. Dawn was sitting on the far end of the sofa; her body seemingly huddled from pain as she was unsuccessfully sniffing back tears. Willow was sitting defeated in one of the chairs across from them while Tara had positioned herself on one of the sofa's arms next to Dawn. Tara was exceedingly quiet as she knotted her hands in thought. Giles was pacing back and forth in front of them, reviewing what the young woman had conveyed to him about what happened with Spike.

"Let me understand this." Giles said as he paced with his hands placed at his hips as he leaned forward to wrestle with the facts. "Spike just disappeared?"

The women gazed at the watcher with solemn eyes and nodded as a group. The only one that did not respond was Dawn who brought up a hand to wipe away a tear from the edge of her eye as she continued to look over at the fireplace.

"Did he say anything?" Giles inquired as he appeared to be considering the facts. "Was there any indication that he knew it was going to happen?"

"He was quiet this morning. He did say good morning when he came into the kitchen." Willow offered as she looked briefly at the others on the sofa.

"Did he say anything else?" Giles asked and then turned to the sofa. "Dawn, did he say anything to you?"

"No, he just sat at the table and drank the mug of blood I gave him. He didn't say anything. He just shook his head when we asked him some questions." Dawn said as she gasped, trying to stem her tears.

"What did you ask him?" Giles continued as he peered at young girl.

"Well, first I asked him if he wanted more blood. You know, he's still so thin..." Dawn responded, stopping to take a breath. "And…and then I asked him if he wanted anything from the store. That's about it."

"Are you sure?" Giles inquired very intently.

"Yeah, he was totally quiet." Dawn answered as she took a shaky breath.

"Well, that doesn't help. Tell me: did he do anything unexpected?" Giles asked the group

"Unexpected?" Buffy asked as she cocked her head at the watcher.

"Yes, anything that might lead you to believe that he knew something was going to happen?" Giles asked as he held up a hand to the air.

"Um. Well, he did get up from the table…but that's not unreasonable. People get up from tables all the time." Willow added from her chair, shrugging her shoulders.

"What did he do after that?" Giles asked the witch, fixing his eyes on her as he waited for an answer.

"He walked through the kitchen." Willow answered, looking uncomfortable under such strict observation.

"Did he stop or give any indication of why he did that?" Giles prodded the red haired witch further.

"No, he just walked over to the hallway." Willow said, retreating back against her chair.

"What happened then?" Giles continued to question, as he pondered the situation.

"He…He disappeared." Willow spouted.

"No, anything that might lead you to believe that he knew something was going to happen." Giles queried.

"Yeah, he did." Buffy jumped in. "When he got to the hall, he turned around and looked at us."

"He looked at you? How?" Giles asked the group.

"It was…It was like he was saying goodbye." Dawn blurted as she made a small agonized sound as she placed her hand to her face.

"And then he just disappeared?" Giles asked as he turned his attention to Buffy.

"No, it was like he was being slammed around before he disappeared. He didn't appear to put up any resistance, but it was so violent." Buffy stated, shaking her head at the memory.

"Was he able to say anything?" Giles quietly asked Buffy who was smoothing Dawn's hair.

"No, he was gasping." Buffy looked up from her sister to Giles.

"Gasping?" Giles pondered as he tried to absorb the information. "Why would he gasp? He's a vampire. He doesn't need to breathe."

"I don't know. It sure looked like he couldn't breathe." Buffy commented as she pulled her face into a grimace of confusion.

"Hmm. I wonder.." Giles said as he raised a hand to the back of his neck. "It might be possible that in this other dimension that Spike needs to breathe. It's curious. Breathing is optional to Spike. Did he say anything to anyone about where he's been?"

"He…He spoke to me." Tara's soft voice broke the silence.

"When?" Dawn asked as she turned her head to the soft spoken witch.

"Last night, after everyone had gone to bed, I came down for a glass of milk and found him sitting on the back porch." Tara stated, looking at Dawn.

"What was he doing?" Giles's eyebrows rose as he questioned the young woman sitting on the end of the sofa.

"He was looking at the stars. I sat with him and we spoke." Tara responded, looking slightly abashed.

"What did you talk about?" Giles began grilling the gentle witch for more information.

"Well, we started talking about the stars." Tara stated as she looked away from the people staring at her.

"What about the stars?" Dawn asked, looking up at the witch perched on the sofa's arm.

"He said he hadn't seen stars in a long time." Tara disclosed to the group, with a sigh.

"Why would he say that? Are there no stars where he was?" Giles further inquired.

"I asked him that. He said he didn't know." Tara responded.

"He didn't know? That's curious. Why wouldn't he know if there were stars or not?" Giles thought out loud. "Unless he couldn't see the sky. There must be something keeping him from seeing the sky."

"There was another thing…" Tara interrupted. "He said something about being put in your place. Do you think that means anything?"

"I am not sure. Try to remember anything else he said." Giles prodded.

"Well, he said something. I wasn't sure what he meant that out of sight, out of mind was poetic. He seemed to be kind of upset at the time, so I didn't press. I wasn't sure what he meant." Tara pressed her mouth as she shrugged, noncommittally.

"Poetic? Out of sight, out of mind? Could he have been talking about us? He's been gone for several months and not one of us made any attempt to bring him back." Giles said as he began to pace back and forth again. "If it had been any of the rest of us, I am certain a rescue attempt would have been made by now."

"No, I don't think he was talking about us." Tara objected to Giles' line of thinking. "He was talking about himself. He said he was a demon and didn't merit any help."

"Oh, God! Why are we just sitting around here? We should be up doing something to get him back!" Dawn exclaimed at the group.

"Dawn, I realize this is hard; but do try to control yourself. We have to figure out where to look for him." Giles calmly responded in a low gentle voice. "The only way is to see if he left any clues to where he could have been taken."

"Wait a minute. He said a name." Tara interrupted. "It was something that started with an 'L'."

"What was it?" Giles asked, as all eyes were trained on Tara.

"Come on, honey." Willow prompted. "I know you can do it."

"I'm trying. He chuckled as he said it like it was some internal joke. He said that she had said it was blighted. What was her name?" Tara pressed a hand to her head as she worked to remember.

"Please Tara, think!" Dawn pleaded as she reached over and took Tara's hand.

"It was…Mrs. Lytton!" Tara said triumphantly.

Four pairs of puzzled eyes stared at Tara.

"Who's Mrs. Lytton?"

Cold!

Cold!

Cold!

It was the only thing that could register in his mind.

The razor sharp cold cut into him like talons, tearing all conscious thought from him.

It was all around him. It surrounded and engulfed him. It sought him, offering him no respite.

He opened his mouth to scream but it flooded into him. It was in his mouth, in his ears and nose. The icy arctic cold swallowed him as he began to struggle. He couldn't escape. He was fixed in place as if he were a trapped butterfly run through by a collector's pin. Heavy weights like huge stones were pressing on his body, keeping him in the cold. He ineffectually fought against them; his mouth open in an unheard scream, his legs furiously kicking against the force that was holding him there. He found that his arms were held down across his body. It was like they were trapped in a suffocating swaddling embrace that tightened as he struggled. He twisted his body as he tried to free himself; but to no fruition. After one last gigantic effort, his movements became weaker and slower as his body surrendered to his fate.

Just as suddenly, Spike was roughly pulled upright by the weights that left their positions and hooked under him. He was flung up, out of the cold and into a harsh metallic smelling air which resonated with the stench of sickness and filth. He would have fallen on to his face if the heavy weights had not stopped his momentum forward. The weights he had felt turned out to be the rough, callused hands of the two thickset ill-boding men that stood on each side of him. The men held the vampire between them as Spike's legs tried to collapse from beneath him while he coughed up the icy water he had inadvertently swallowed. Each man had a firm hold of the shoulder of the dripping canvas straitjacket Spike was wearing in their large knarled hands. The men's other hands were holding him in place and upright by bracing an elbow in a painful grip. Once his coughing had slowed, Spike began to tremble with the cold as he became aware of more people in the room. A glaring and unforgiving light was shining in his face. The light hurt so that he had to close his eyes as his head fell lifelessly forward as the two men held him vertical.

"As you can see, gentlemen, the shock of the icy water is indeed effective on the patient suffering from episodes of monomania." A cultured voice carried through the hall with an almost insufferably smug tone.

Spike weakly blinked as he saw two well shined black leather shoes walk into his field of vision on the floor. A hand was placed under Spike's chin as his head was slowly raised. As it did, Spike's eyes took in the Victorian gray suit the man was wearing in front of him. Beyond the man, Spike could just make out the raised levels of chairs in a Victorian lecture hall, filled with the primly well dressed men staring at him. He jerkily closed his eyes as he realized where he was.

"Are you with us, Mr. Pratt?" The voice was now directed at him.

"Yes." Spike gasped hopelessly as he opened his eyes to the man asking him the question. Looking back at him expectantly, behind the pince-nez balanced on his nose was the face of Doc.