Render the Extra Mile
Disclaimer: These characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. They do not belong to me.
At Giles' announcement, a flurry of questions sprang up as everyone spoke at once in the kitchen.
"What kind of plan?"
"Do you know what that thing was?"
"Does it have Dawn? Is she in danger?'
"That claw looked kinda tough and scary. How are we going to fight it?"
"What are we waiting for?"
Taking his arm from around Buffy's shoulder, Giles held up his hands to quiet the melee of questions buzzing around him.
"Alright, everyone, settle down. First of all, I believe I know what we're dealing with." Giles announced with portent to the vista of anxious faces around the kitchen island.
"What? How do you know what it was? I mean, all we saw was that claw looking thing." Willow asked as she cocked her head to the side. "How could you tell anything from that?"
"When I returned to my apartment, I contacted an old colleague at the Council whose specialty was demonology. From what I told him of our experience, he said that it was possibly one of three trans-dimensional demons." Giles paused to take a breath as everyone stared at him with rapt attention. He held up his finger to count off the types of demons. "The first was a Jipheikliar which normally travels between dimensions. However, they are incredibly allergic to oxygen based atmospheres and would never willingly expose any part of themselves to it. The second is the Halphenshrix. They are known to prefer to stay incorporeal, so it would be unlikely they were responsible for the effect we witnessed last night. That leaves our leading contender: the Vilcarthes demon." Giles stopped for a moment to look at the young faces who were giving him rapt attention before continuing.
"So, tell us about bachelor number three?" Xander said with a talk show host voice as he smirked at Anya. The corner of Anya's mouth pulled up into a lopsided smile that she hid behind her cup of coffee.
Not in any mood for joking, Buffy let out a disappointed breath of air at the two with a sour expression before turning her head back to Giles. Tara raised a warning eyebrow at Xander as she saw Buffy's reaction and then she too turned her head back to Giles.
"According to my contact, it is particularly attracted to energy emitted by high emotions such as grief or despair. Something, which Spike was emitting in rather auspicious quantities." Giles stated as he pulled off his glasses. "I believe a Vilcarthes demon has snatched Spike right out of our dimension."
"A Vilcarthes….of course. I heard about them back when I was a vengeance demon. I never came across one myself, but I heard about them. They're very unsavory, you know, like the people who double dip their chip in the onion dip at parties …Ick!" Anya continued to prattle despite the confused faces surrounding her. "I heard tell that it used to be that they were always hanging around, looking for table scraps of suffering from one of our more potent spells. The problems started to happen when they got grabby."
"How did you…I mean, how did the vengeance demons deal with them?" the watcher queried the ex-demon.
"Well, first of all, you don't attract them. If they do show up, don't feed them. They're worst than stray cats. D'Hoffryn always made us cast a dampening spell so they wouldn't smell the vengeance and pop up unannounced." Anya responded, nodding her head.
"What happened if they did show up?" Tara asked as she widened her eyes in dread.
"First of all, let me say, that it never happened to me. I was always exceedingly professional; but there was this one vengeance demon that forgot to cast the dampening spell about the time the Hundred Years war was winding up. A Vilcarthes demon showed up just as her vengeance spell was really revving up and snatched the object of the spell right out of our dimension. The claimant wanted to see her vengeance being wrought, but the recipient just disappeared. It was terribly messy! All the higher ups got involved. D'Hoffryn sent out locator spells to try to pull the poor sap back, but nothing ever came of it. The team finally had to write off as a loss. Talk about the paperwork…there were special late night meetings...all the vengeance demons had to go through a tedious recertification program. It was endless!" Anya added, with a shake of her head. "Just a warning, if you run into D'Hoffryn, don't mention it. It still upsets him."
"Uh, okay." Willow's face wrinkled in thought briefly before she asked. "So, if the Vilcarthes demon can just snatch someone from another dimension, why don't the victims fight back by cheering up and escaping?
"According to my associate, it seems that the Vilcarthes have discovered a dimension where they can bend matter to their will. They build a construct based upon their prey's most ingrained fears to reinforce the negative emotions." Giles stated and then replaced his glasses on his face. "The victims are so convinced of their situation; they never dispute the circumstances they find themselves in, allowing the Vilcarthes to feed at leisure."
"Anyone who doesn't have a problem with Spike suffering, raise your hand!" Xander crowed as his own hand rocketed up. Seeing no one else held up a hand, Xander sheepishly brought his hand down.
"Then…uh... how did Spike manage to reappear in our dimension?" Tara asked hesitantly. "Is it because he's a vampire?"
"No, I don't think so. That's the unusual thing. A Vilcarthes would never take an interest in a vampire. They don't emit the full spectrum of emotional depth to even make a blip on their meter. It's puzzling." The watcher shook his head confoundedly. "A Vilcarthes should have never noticed Spike."
"What I want to know is that if this demon thing already has Spike, what was with all those fireworks last night? He already had him so why make such a fuss?" Willow questioned as she peered over at the watcher.
"It must have perceived our ceremony as some type of threat to its possession of Spike. It obviously took exception to our locating Spike." Giles looked thoughtful at the question.
"Okay, so it does not like sharing its toys." Buffy interjected. "Why did it act so cranky about our little sneak a peek?"
"The Vilcarthes would normally isolate their prey from outside influences that may decrease the high emotional output or even aid in the victim to increase positive thought. It may have felt a threat from us, and in turn, became aggressive toward us." The older man responded.
"I wouldn't call that aggressive. I would say that was more like knocking us into next week kind of action." Xander responded, rolling his eyes.
"Giles, why would it be so threatened by us?" Tara asked, tilting her head as she looked at the watcher.
"It normally wouldn't be. There is very limited documentation on the Vilcarthes in the council records. It is believed that once they find a source, they are increasingly territorial against any threat that would remove them from their control." The watcher shrugged and added. "It would be totally within their nature to reach into our world to eradicate any threat to their possession of that source."
"Is this Villanova thingy dangerous? Will it hurt Dawn?" Buffy implored.
"The demon will take no interest in her as long as she doesn't threaten its source….oh." Anya prattled until she remembered just who Dawn went to rescue. Turning quickly to Giles, she brightly asked. "Sooo, Giles, what's the big rescue plan?"
Dawn stood next to the cart, resting Spike's tray against the corner, careful to keep her back to the three men standing just to the side of the entrance to Spike's cell. She griped the handles of Spike's tray hard until her knuckles turned white. The three men in the white coats were intensely preoccupied with their discussion of their observations. Dawn could hear Doc dispel and pick over what his assistants were offering him with impunity. Tucking her chin down, Dawn hazarded a glance over her shoulder. She saw that Doc's body was slightly turned away and partially blocking the entrance to Spike's cell. She was going to have to get by him to get to Spike.
Turing her head back to the cart, she took a stilted breath to clear her anxiety. After locating Spike, she was not about to be put off by this loathsome little man or whatever he was again. If she was careful enough, she could slide into the cell without him noticing. Gritting her teeth behind her closed lips, she picked up the tray again. Keeping her head down, she slowly side stepped to Spike's door trying to avoid any notice of the three men standing there.
"Guard!" One of Doc's assistants called out once she was a few feet away from the cart.
Dawn froze in place as the guard who accompanied her on the food distribution was called over. She waited for a moment, holding her breath. Then not hearing anything being addressed toward her, she began to approach Spike's cell once again. She came up silently behind Doc to slide behind him. She could smell the strong scent of sandalwood accompanied by the dusky smell of mink oil shoe polish that seemed to emanate from him. It turned her stomach slightly to think of Doc enjoying such luxuries while Spike was cowering in the corner of the yonder cell.
Just as she was about to pass him, Doc took a step back blocking her route. Dawn took a step back and waited. Sure enough, Doc took a step forward the next moment and Dawn moved quickly to pass him and enter Spike's cell. She just managed to elude Doc's back as she hurriedly squeezed between him and the door.
Once she was inside the cell, her eyes flew immediately over to Spike in the corner. Spike was still huddled in the same corner where she had seen him before. Quickly depositing the new tray on the ledge, she looked quickly back out the doorway entrance. From this angle, she could just see the fine cool grey material covering Doc's back. It seemed the physcians were still thoroughly engrossed in discussing something with the guard.
Taking her opportunity, Dawn moved quickly on her toes over to where Spike was. She crouched down beside him.
"Spike!" She whispered as she searched his profile for any sign of a reaction. "I don't have much time. Are you alright?"
Spike did not visibly react to the sound of her voice, but continued to keep still. His head staring at the wall in front of him.
Looking over her shoulder at the doorway, her hand went to her collar and undid the top two buttons. She grabbed the twine that lay around her collar bone and pulled it over her head. She gathered the loop of twine in front of her face and held her collar open with the other. She began to quickly pull the loop upwards, disengaging the small bottle out of its hiding place. With a strong tug, the bottle managed to extricate itself from the small tight opening where Dawn had undone the buttons. It popped out of her dress top and hung swaying on the twine. She quickly grabbed the bottle, pulled out the oil cloth from the neck.
"I'm sorry. I don't have time to be gentle about this." Dawn warned as a determined look settled in her eyes.
She grabbed Spike chin roughly, turning his head toward her. His face was slack and nothing registered behind his eyes as she looked at his face. If she had allowed herself the luxury of emotion at the present time, it would have upset her; but she was on a mission now. She was fully intent on getting this blood into Spike. Keeping a firm grip on Spike's chin, she managed to pull his chin forward which opened his mouth. She inserted the small neck of the bottle inside his lower teeth. She poured a good amount inside his mouth. Then pushed his chin up and willed him to swallow it. She heard movement outside the doorway. She grabbed the piece of oilcloth and shoved it back into the bottle.
"Spike, listen to me. This is blood. I am going to leave it here. Drink it when you're alone." She held up the bottle in front of his face and then made a small hole in the straw against the wall. She placed the bottle in the hole and covered it with straw. "Remember!" She said, pointing at the spot as she stood up.
Spinning around, she had only taken a few steps into the middle of the room, when the guard appeared at the doorway. He stood there with an indignant scowl on his face that told her she had better move quickly.
"Girl, what is taking you so long?" He asked the irritation clear in his voice.
"Oh, sorry. I just wanted to check to see if I had missed any of the food I spilled yesterday." Dawn spouted as she spun away, buttoning the collar of her dress. She quickened her step to pick up the previous meal's tray and moved toward the doorway. "I'm coming!"
As soon as Dawn was outside in the hallway, she turned with Spike's old tray in her hands watching the guard turn the key in the door of Spike's cell. She prayed that she had managed to pierce the walls of his stupor that Spike had retreated behind. She had not been able to give him much blood. She hoped the blood she had given him would make him aware enough to drink the rest of the bottle. When she returned later that day, she would find out for sure.
Spike had stayed still, not moving after Doc and his staff had left the room. This time, they had not given him the shot that always preceded the tortuous daily sessions. He heard the murmur of their voices as they began talking about him directly in front of him and then made their way outside the doorway as they discussed his prognosis.
They had not been successful curing him. Again, another failure had been added to the large file they kept on him. It seemed the lead doctor wanted to put him through another six week trial of their horrible new therapy. Spike knew that he would indeed lose his grip on sanity if he had to endure another allotment of sessions. They had hoped to rid him of his obsession of being a vampire. They said he had developed an unhealthy diversion of pretending to be a vampire to deal with his mother's death. He couldn't even deal with that like a man. Everyone knew that vampires don't exist. He was really the same silly sappy mama's boy as he had been when he woke up the morning of Cecily's part. The only exception was that his mind had finally buckled. He was now a well established inmate of the Middlesex asylum with no friends, family or prospects. It would be better if they just walled him up in the cell. He was never going to leave this place.
He was soundly wrapped in the despair of his thoughts when he became slightly aware of someone's hand turning his head. He really didn't care. What does a madman have to complain about? There was a buzz of some words being said as he felt the grate of hard glass across his bottom incisors. A heady liquid was poured just inside his teeth, pooling under his tongue like a thick molasses. The hand pushed up on his chin, closing his mouth. The dark intoxicating fluid flowed across the base of his mouth, bringing life to the surface it touched. The roof of his mouth responded by becoming fuller, succulent and sleekly smooth. His parched tongue thickened, became pliant and undulated in rapture. Saliva came flooding up from under his tongue, moistening his mouth as the blood moved to the back of his mouth, igniting old instincts as he involuntarily swallowed it.
As he sat there, an internal voice jumped to life as it recognized the substance and sang at their reunion. "BLOOD!"