Part 13: Returning
Spike sat in the back seat of the car, watching as the dark forest passed by quickly. He had been away for so long. He hadn't meant to, but he just didn't know how he was going to face her again. Becket had been right, the demon had gotten rid of the chip for him, but it had cost him something, cost him his demon. Now, he had a soddin' soul.
He should have known to choose his words carefully. But did he? No. He had to say 'Make me what I was. Give them what they deserve.' Well, won't Buffy and Dylan be surprised.
He was thankful that he hadn't turned out like the great brooding man himself. No, he had always been too much of a realist to become like that, even with that hopeless romantic and poet that he shared his memory with. It was in the past, it was done, and there was no changing it, no matter how much he would like to. One reason, he supposed, was that the poof had find redemption through helping strangers, that they were his second chance. Spike already had his, and she was hopefully sleeping peacefully in the nursery.
It had only been a couple of nights ago that he actually found himself laughing at the absurdity of it all. Unlike a certain souled vampire he knew, his was already secured, lock, stock, and barrel with not happiness clause in sight. Good thing too, with Dylan and Buffy around.
Like every other plan he has ever concocted that involved the slayer in some form or fashion, things didn't go as planned and consequences were had. This happened to be his this time. Now that he thought of it, it was really that bad a deal.
"We're here, Sir," the driver called from up front, as the manor came into view.
The car came to a stop at the front entrance, and he got out as the driver hurried to retrieve his bag from the back. The moment he stepped into the house, he knew something was wrong. There were more people here, their sent was lingering in the foyer, and it was recent. Very recent. Twenty minutes recent. He placed the bag down by the door, and began to creep through the house.
He moved into the east wing, picking up a strong sent that was heading like a bee line strait to Buffy's room. Spike came to her door and found it wide open, a stranger dressed in black standing in the nursery doorway, looking at the child that slept. He felt his anger rise, and he vamped out.
"Get away from there!" he demanded.
The woman head shot up just as he tackled her to the ground. Rosemary screamed loudly at the sight, and Dylan began to cry at being startled awake. The nanny scooped her up in her arms and took off into the hallway as the two wrestled and fought on the ground. Spike finally got on top of the woman and hit her hard in the face, knocking her out cold.
He went out into the hall where he found Rosemary trying to sway Dylan into being calm again, but was failing miserably. The old woman jerked slightly, not recognizing who he was for a moment, then relaxed.
"Mr. Spike," she said happily. "I'm so happy you have returned."
"Glad someone is, love," he said. "Come on, let's find Buffy before sleepin' beauty in there wakes up."
"What's going on?!" Catherine demanded, emerging at one end of the hall.
A shot gun blast rung through the house at that moment and Spike felt his body become even colder then it already was.
"Buffy," he said in a hushed whisper as he took off to the origin of the sound, with Rosemary and Catherine tailing closely behind.
The group came charging down the main stair well just as two people emerged from the back end of the house, the petite blonde being one of them. She froze at upon seeing him, and he didn't know if she were happy to see him or not. Dylan's crying had died down, but the whimpering was still audible as her parents looked at each other for the first time in months.
When she was over the initial shock of seeing him again, she walked to him, her arms swinging hard at her sides. He was preparing himself to be punched in the face. Instead, she nailed him in the stomach, causing him to double over from the blow.
"Good to see you too, Slayer," he said as he slowly straiten up.
She then reached up, grabbed the back of his head, and crushed her lips to his. It was tight, controlled, and, most of all, happy. He looked at her in surprise when she pulled away from him, but she kept her face even.
"Don't you ever leave me like that again," she warned sternly. "Or I'll have to stake your ass."
He opened his mouth to point out that she had said 'me' instead of Dylan, when Becket cut him off.
"Continue this later," he said as Rosemary handed Dylan over to her mother. "We need to get away from-"
Becket yelled in pain as an arrow entered his chest, just above the heart. He grabbed for it as he fell, the shot gun falling to the ground and sliding out of his reach. Catherine called out to him as she raced for her father. Dylan began to scream again as Spike put himself between the mother and child, and whoever had fired the shot from upstairs. Slowly descending down the stairs, was the woman in the commando outfit he had knocked unconscious in Buffy room. Spike heard Buffy catch her breath at the sight of her.
"Lang," she said in a low voice, pulling the wailing baby a little closer to her.
"Hello, Ms. Summers," the Asian woman answered with a wicked smile as she swung the cross bow at her side. "You're looking well."
Spike growled at the woman. So this was the infamous Lang he had heard so much about from Buffy and that Chen guy. Funny, there didn't look to be a lot to her. He took a step towards her but the cross bow shot up from her side and pointed directly at him.
"Uh, uh," she warned. "I know I don't usually don't do the retrieving parts of these missions, so my recon isn't as sharp as the others, but I'm pretty sure pointy, wooden objects are a no no for your kind."
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Rosemary make a move for the shot gun that had slid to just a few feet in front of her. As she went for it, a shot rang out, and the old woman fell to the ground dead. The group of four turned to the door that Buffy and Becket had come through and saw a man dressed completely in black with a bleeding nose standing there, a rifle that he must have liberated from the security office raised and ready to fire.
"And bullets are for the rest of you," Lang smiled as she finally reached the bottom of the stairs, the cross bow staying on Spike.
He backed up, still keeping himself between Buffy and Lang. If she wanted her or Dylan, she'd have to kill him first.
"Dustin' me or killin' the slayer doesn't work real for your little project. Now does it?" he said coolly, trying to buy them time so they could formulate some sort of plan.
"No, it doesn't," she admitted as she reached them. "But I don't know how much use I have left for you anyway, considering that little chip in your head isn't working anymore."
"What?" Buffy said horrified from behind him, clutching Dylan tightly.
He turned to try and quickly make her understand, but Lang spoke first. "Yes. You didn't know?" An evil smile crossed her lips. "He's the one that gave me this nice little shiner."
"Buffy, it's not what you think," he tried to defend, but she was already afraid of him again, or afraid of what he would do.
"That's where you've been?" she demanded. "You went to get your chip out?"
He stood in silence for a moment, then said, "Yes. But-"
"How could you? How could you put Dylan in that kind of danger?"
"Buffy, please, listen. It's not what it seems."
"Then what is it?!"
Lang cleared her throat, bringing the two back to the situation at hand. "Not that I'm not enjoying this little scene from One UnLife To Live, but I do have a job to do here. Marcus," she yelled at the man that held the rifle on them. "Get the kid."
He came towards Buffy, and Spike made a move to stop him, when Lang and her cross bow blocked his path. Marcus kept his rifle slightly lifted at the slayer, who looked as if she had no intentions of giving up her child to this man.
"Catherine," Spike heard Becket whisper to his daughter. "When I tell you to, pull out the arrow."
"What? I can't do that. It could kill you."
"Just do it. Please."
Catherine pressed her lips tightly together, and then nodded her head. Spike knew what he was doing. He was going to give them a distraction, even if it did cost him his life.
Marcus reached the mother and child, and he lowered his rifle as he reached for the baby girl.
"Now!" Becket hissed.
Catherine complied and a blood curdling scream pierced through the manor. Both Marcus and Lang turned to see what was going on, and the parents took point. Spike stepped at Lang, and knocked the cross bow upward, the arrow firing at the ceiling. As she stared in surprise at his action, he reached back and punched as hard as he could in the face, knocking the woman a few feet away from him.
At the same time, Buffy took advantage of his distracted state and kicked Marcus in the stomach with a sideways kick. When he doubled over, she kicked upward like a cheerleader, landing it right in his chin. He did a flip in the air, and landed hard on his stomach. With the force of the kick, Spike was pretty sure she broke his neck.
The room was silent for a moment, expect for the crying baby, as the group tried to comprehend what had just happened. As Buffy rocked Dylan, saying soothing things to the seven month old, Spike slowly approached them.
"You alright, love?" he asked cautiously.
She nodded her head quickly. "Yeah. I'm fine."
"And the little one?" he said as he reached out and touched the back of the baby's soft head with her thin, blond hair. Thankfully, Buffy didn't jerk her away from him.
"Just scared, I think," she told him.
They stood there like that for a long while, letting the silence wash over them. It was something they needed. She was staring into his face, giving him the obvious look of disapproval for he had done while he was away, but saving the fight for another day, another time.
When she finally turned away from him, she looked over to the side, and her face fell. "Catherine?"
He turned around and saw the young black hair woman standing up from her fathers' body. Buffy hurried over to them, and Spike followed, but he knew it was already too late.
"He's gone," Catherine said sadly as she kept her head down and walked away towards Rosemary's body.
Spike looked down at the man. He had been right when he meet him. They had agreed on why Dylan should be protected, but he gave his word in that he would die protecting her. In his book, that made him a friend. The vampire bent down to his knees next to the body, reached up, and closed his eyes.
"Thanks, Mate, for everything."
"Ms. Summers!" a voice screamed at them from behind. Buffy and Spike turned to see Lang holding the rifle up at the slayer. "I believe you have something that belongs to me," she said as she prepared a shot that would have taken Buffy's head off. Spike vamped out, ready to attack when another voice rang through the hall.
Lang turned just as the shot gun went off, putting a nice hole through the woman's chest. The Asians woman face was forever frozen in shock as her body fell to the ground, right on top of Marcus's.
The two turned to see Catherine bringing the shot gun down, an even look on her face as she looked at the woman she had just killed. The weapon fell to the ground with a loud thud as she looked over at them.
"That was for my father," she told them as she turned and walked away.
Spike got to his feet, and turned to Buffy. Lang might have had a boss, but she was the head of the project. Without her and her knowledge, there was no project. That meant...
"It's over?" she asked like a small child. "We can go home?"
A faint smile crossed his lips as he pulled Buffy to him, careful to leave plenty of room between them for Dylan, but holding her close enough to where he could rest his chin on her head. He kissed the top of it before saying, "Yeah, love. We can go home."
Travers sat behind his desk with his fingers locked. So, Lang was dead. Well, he can't exactly say he was sorry. To say she was incompetent was insulting to all incompetent people. No, he would just have to play this a different way. No more going directly after them because that was a tactic that just didn't work. He would have to try something else.
More then likely, they will head back to Sunnydale now, thinking that since Lang is gone, they will leave them alone. He would for awhile, let them get comfortable, let them drop there guard. Yeah, that was what he will do. Let her Watcher even call the Council about the child, which he was confident he would do someday. But if they thought that this was over, they couldn't be more wrong.
The End of Part One