Season 2 AU: After losing his soul in the night of passion with Buffy, Angelus brutally tortures wheelchair-bound Spike, who sees no alternative but to seek sanctuary with the Slayer and her pals. Coddling the heart-broken Big Bad isn't something that ever crossed Buffy's radar, but despite her resistance, feelings start to develop. M for graphic torture, violence, vampire smut, mild language.
All direct quotes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to their respective owners. For this fic, scenes and dialogue from season two are incorporated. However, this story is all mine.
A/N: Thank you all for your patience during my month-long finals hiatus! I survived and graduated, huzzah! This chapter is very short and is mostly a "long story short, not dead" from me to you lovely readers. Hopefully updates won't be so few and far between now that my muse isn't suffocated by term projects and exams.
Special thanks to Obscurebookwyrm for notifying me that it's the order of Taraka, not Turaka, as well as lots of other helpful edits. ;) And I'm not even gonna try typing Kendra's accent.
Chapter 12: Guestlist
Buffy plows through the library doors, panting heavily.
He has to be here! He's always here!
"Shesh, Buff, what's got your goat?" asks Xander. He and Willow remain at the table, pouring over the information on du Lac's missing book and cross. Buffy's starting to wish she'd never gone on her trip to the ice-skating rink.
"Buffy, good gracious," her Watcher replies from somewhere in the stacks, and a moment later his bespectacled figure appears. "Whatever is the matter?"
"That's what I just–" Xander begins, but Buffy cuts him off.
"Ring… Order of Taraka… research," she gasps, flopping into an available seat and sliding the Cyclops's ring across the table closest to where he approaches. "This guy was hard-core. Huge one-eyed monstrosity."
"A demon?" asks Giles, picking up the ring and carrying it over to his magnifying lamp.
"I think so. One I've never met before. Re: huge and monstrosity."
"Well, I'm afraid you're right. This ring is worn only by members of the Order of Taraka. It's a society of deadly assassins dating back to King Solomon." He looks up in surprise. "How did you know about the Order?"
Buffy blanches. There is no way he won't flip if I tell him Spike and I tag-teamed to take this thing down.
"Uh… w-well, I kinda just, um…"
The library doors burst open to reveal a Caribbean girl with a stake in one hand and a glower on her face.
"I was told that Mr. Giles would be here," says the girl, her words thickly masked by a Jamaican accent.
"I think she wants you," Buffy grimaces at her Watcher, and the strange girl's eyes widen at the sight of her.
"I saw you!" she shouts. With a crispness of her moves that makes Buffy a little jealous, the Jamaican girl clips her stake into a holster on her belt, does a roundhouse series until she's right in the middle of the room, and faces off against Buffy with both fists raised.
"Hey!" says Buffy in bewilderment, and Xander stands up from the table and gestures peacefully. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! You've got the wrong girl here."
"I saw you!" the stranger insists. "With the vampire!"
"Angel?" asks Willow, remaining somewhat out-of-sight in her seat. "Tall, brown hair? He's a good guy."
The Jamaican girl rapidly shakes her head at Giles. "No, sir… not the vampire called Angel. With another. My Watcher has shown me his picture in the archives. He is called William the Bloody."
Muscles pounding from his run, Spike reaches the basement floor and looks around furtively for his lover. "Princess?"
"Spike… we're missing a guest. He's passing under our feet right now."
He finds her in her chair at the foot of the table – Dalton busily translating at the other end – and as he reaches her side she turns over the tarot card with the image of the Cyclops.
"Why isn't he coming, Spike?" Drusilla asks, tilting her head and pouting just slightly. "Did he not want to come to the party?"
"I… did the pixies not tell you, luv?" Spike murmurs, searching Dru's eyes for anger or hatred… and finding none.
"No… they've gone away for now, left my head all empty and quiet," she sighs.
"Oh… well, the bloody git attacked me. Had to put him down. Didn't know you were takin' social calls from the likes of the order of Taraka, pet."
She nods, a mischievous grin on her face. "They will hunt the Slayer for you, so you can make your princess well again."
"Oh." Struggling to maintain a neutral expression, Spike lifts one of her pale hands and bows his head over it, kissing her knuckles. His gaze drops to the two remaining cards – the centipede and panther.
Clever Dru, callin' in the big guns behind my back. My girl's got more cred in the demon world than I thought possible. But… I didn't ask for these bounty hunters to bust in and go chasin' down my Slayer! She should've known… the Slayer is mine…
"Well…" he clears his throat, "we're close to decoding the manuscript. Just need a bit more time, yeah?"
Across the table, Dalton looks up in astonishment at Spike's calm demeanor, and the fledge's face lights up as though his re-death sentence has been overturned.
"Uh… yeah," the bookish vamp nods rapidly. "We're real close. I swear."
"Good." Spike kneels beside Dru's chair, letting her draw his head into her lap and rumple his hair. "Sooner the better."
To be continued…