Sequel to Voices in the Dark; part of The Voicesverse
Rating: PG-13 (really!)
Summary: Quick summary is that Clem has been taken by the Initiative. Buffy and Spike aren't aware that he's gone, but are prowling around in the caves where Spike found Daniel. Because Buffy wants to. And then there's Drusilla...
Spoilers: Season 7 AU, takes place after my fic, Voices in the Dark
Distribution: Just talk to me, I'm easy. Previous chapters are at Fanfiction.net and, thankfully, at Chris' site "Amare, Dare, Pardonare"
Disclaimers: All Joss, all ME, all the time...
Feedback: You betta, you betta, you bet! Would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course, without Colleen and Chris, there'd be no fic at all. Thanks for the majorly quick beta, guys. And listening to me gripe about being James'd. That little imp takes some getting rid of!
He spared a glance to his rear, knowing exactly what he would see there: the Slayer gamely keeping up in her sturdy but slightly high-heeled leather boots. He secretly marveled at the fact she could run at all.
Sliding on loose rock, he threw out a hand to catch Buffy and pull her close, as he listened for the sound of other running feet. He could hear the thud of several. And they were still far enough back to take a breather.
"Sounds like a herd of buffalo," he complained. His mouth quirked up at the corner as he raised his eyebrow. "And believe me, I would know."
Buffy was looking at her watch. "I really don't think we need to try to get back to your place through the tunnels." She looked around. "I don't know what we could possibly use for a weapon against Kevlar breastplates."
"Bunch of fashion victims," he retorted. "Sad to have to call them vampires. No sport in it at all."
"We need to get outside, before they figure out where we are."
Spike nodded thoughtfully. "Still daylight. I'll get you to the entrance, and you can..."
"Uh uh. You're coming with."
"In case the soul has clouded your judgment, I'm still a vampire. As you say, Spike and sunlight...not mixy things."
"When has that ever stopped you?" she asked angrily.
Spike pointedly looked around at the stark cave. "Well, love, no blanket, no coat. Dusty ending for old..." He looked around again, suddenly getting his bearings and the beginnings of an idea. His mind began to churn as he considered the options.
"They're getting closer, Spike," she stated coldly. "And I am so not leaving you here."
"Right then, pet." He grabbed her hand. "Detour." And he set off again, practically dragging a protesting Buffy in his wake.
After a few twists and turns that almost had Buffy screaming in frustration as they went deeper into the caves, they emerged into an open, but seemingly deserted, area that was set up like a commons room at a dorm. A very filthy dorm. As Buffy gazed at the odd plethora of furnishings, the vampire tore into the garbage that was pushed into corners and against the wall. In a few minutes, he stood up with a triumphant look on his face, holding up a battered and suspiciously stained sleeping bag.
"Now, we go," he said in satisfaction. "Only the one way out close by," he explained. "Might have to make a break for it."
"Like the 'better part of valor thing?'"
"More like 'fight our way through,'" he admitted, heading out the way they'd come and ducking off to the left.
"You up for it?" she asked pointedly, from somewhere very close behind.
"Yeah. You?" he answered just as archly.
Spike could almost see her smile, even though she was behind him. Which had to be a bit of a problem for Buffy, who didn't deal well with not being in charge. Probably feeling guilty that this little exercise had gone so wrong.
"All right, Slayer, we're about forty feet from the exit. If they've got us sussed out, they'll be..."
"Hey, what happened to the forty feet," she complained as they skidded to a stop, right in the path of six vampires, one armed with a large gun, the others brandishing tasers.
Buffy shook her head as she caught sight of the tasers. "God, I hate those things." She glanced at Spike accusingly as she inched forward, looking for an opening.
"Well. Yeah." His voice was a little sheepish. "Me, too." He glanced at her. "What say we go straight through?"
She raised herself on her toes, lightly bouncing. "'Through' sounds like a plan. I'm all up for the 'through' part."
With that, Spike tossed the sleeping bag up and over the bunched line of vampires. They were blocking the thin light from the entrance - an entrance that was now only fifteen impossible-looking feet away. The thrown blanket slightly distracted one of the vampires, which gave Spike the misplaced incentive to charge toward them, intending to cut a swath to the exit. He threw himself into the air, twisting, feet first, to connect with the vampire closest to him at chest level. The vamp gave a 'whoosh' as he sailed back about seven feet. Spike rolled and snapped to a crouch, grinning menacingly as he went into gameface, joyfully pounding the vampires with fists and feet. They began fighting back and things got a little more interesting.
Spike realized Buffy was delivering a blow-by-blow monologue, as she picked tasers out of strong hands and slung the pseudo-soldiers against each other. The only other sounds he heard were grunts, from the vamps the slayer was facing. He body slammed one of his to the rocky ground. She'd been right; it was fun. Except they kept getting back up. The lack of stakage was a handicap.
Just then, Spike realized that the gun-toting vamp had taken a bead on the slayer. He dived to grab her around the legs and pulled her down, just as a deafening boom echoed through the chamber, accompanied by the sound of cascading rocks.
"Bloody hell, you pillock!" Spike bellowed as he rolled to his feet, bringing the Slayer with him. He pushed her toward the light and immediately launched himself at the vampire who was taking new aim.
"Buffy, out! Now!" Spike wrenched at the gun as he fired off a punch at the other vampire. Borrowed blood burst from his nose, but the gun stayed where it was. In the soldier's hand.
"Sorry. You were talking to me?" Buffy's pert voice came from somewhere near his shoulder.
Cold hard hands grabbed at Spike from behind. He spun around to break their grip, grimly reviewing what he needed to do to get Buffy the hell out of there. As he moved, he managed a glancing kick to the armed vamp's wrist. There was a howl of pain.
And then Buffy had the gun, grabbing at what she suspected was the trigger with a slayer's sense for weaponry. She blew the vampire against the cave wall. In the stunning aftermath, there was a rumble as rock moved again, more insistently this time. Hands fell away from Spike, as if shocked at the disarming and subsequent death of one of them. She threw the gun at the wall with Slayer strength. It smashed into plastic pieces.
"Hate guns," she muttered.
Spike pulled her forward and looked wildly about for the fouled sleeping bag as the vampires regrouped. There! He scooped it up, throwing it around him and over his head as he sprinted toward the exit to the cave. Four vampires moved to block his way.
Suddenly, blonde hair whipped in front of him. He hesitated.
"Run!" Buffy headed toward the light, head butting the vamps and slamming through like a professional line backer. Spike followed, dodging and moving like a quarterback, as hands tugged at the flapping bag.
He pulled himself up and away in a ten-foot leap. Tripping on the insulated bag, he went down hard, hitting something that had given with a soft 'whoosh' - Buffy. To add insult to injury, he felt a searing pain burn into one hand and his left ear. He rolled over on his stomach, hitching the bag up over his head as high as he dared, and lay there.
The silence of the outside after the fight within the echoing confines of the cave seemed surreal. He thought his ears might be ringing, too.
"What the hell?" Spike heard Buffy's exclamation and her wry laugh. She sounded fine, he thought in relief. And the vampires were safely on the other side of the barrier of light.
"Dammit! Look at my jeans! *And* my knees! Elbow, hand...." Buffy was bitched off in a big way, grumbling to Spike and to whoever else would listen. He heard her walk over and kick something hard into the side of the cave. Then, she laughed again, an ironic lilt to it. He gingerly began to sit up, carefully holding his noxious shelter closely around him.
He peered out and saw five pieces of body armor haphazardly lying on the ground, covered with a faint dusting of... dust.
Buffy tuned to him with an amazed grin. "They *followed* us! Into the sunlight. Kamikaze vampires!" She looked at his strained face, a little concerned. "You okay?"
"Just a bit of a sunburn," he said, reaching up inside the bag to touch his blistered ear. "Nothin' much. You all right?"
"Well, I have clothing issues," she said simply. "And I'm a little bunged up."
And she was. Her left knee was bloody where it peeped through her jeans. Her cheek was scraped. And there was a raw looking abrasion that started at her wrist and ended at her elbow.
"Of course, 160 pounds of undead weight landing on me kinda drove me into the ground a little. And there was that basebally thing we had happening. What do they call it? A slide?" She grinned recklessly. "Oh, and you're welcome," she quipped. "Again." Spike wondered if he looked better or worse, then decided she'd taken the brunt of it.
He realized she was still speaking. "...so got to get clothes. You can get us to my house from here, right?"
Spike sighed and looked around, cautiously keeping his face shielded from the mid-afternoon sun. It seemed like all he'd done today was try to figure out where he was.
"Yeah," he said uncertainly. "Wait. Yeah." His voice became more confident. "Yeah."
"Both of us? Undusty?"
He nodded decisively. "May not be a straight route, but..."
"Let's go. I'm stiffening up just standing here. So need to get with the walking thing."
Spike ducked into the nearby woods. Buffy took a moment to look once again at the empty Kevlar around her.
"Wow." She followed Spike into the trees, where he was waiting patiently for her. As she caught up, he struck off, heading toward a clearing.
"At 10 am, the clearin's not a problem, but at this time 'a day, best to avoid it," he said in explanation.
"Avoidance is good," she agreed, limping a little.
"There's a culvert through there," he nodded. "If we..."
"Got it." She followed him inside as he let the sleeping bag drop from around his shoulders and trail off behind him to his left.
"That thing's nasty," Buffy said, pointing at the bag.
"Yeah. I think they wrapped their kills in it. Or killed what was in it... *while* it was still in it."
"Yeah, ewww." He mocked her voice.
"Hey. You makin' fun of me?"
"Love, this piece of tattered gore is all that stood between me and minglin' my dust with the other lads."
"Well, don't get attached to it. It's going in the trash as soon as we get home. I've got plenty of clean blankets."
Spike chuckled at her generosity. "Right. Trash it is."
Buffy's bent knees started bothering her. She shuffled along in the culvert, beginning to get a little pissed. "If God had meant man to walk like this, we'd have four foot ceilings."
Spike stopped and turned. "There's an exit up ahead. You can head on the old fashioned way and I'll catch up in a bit."
Buffy chewed her lip. "No thanks," she said, a little abashed at his thoughtfulness. "I think I'll just see how the other half lives."
Turning back and starting forward again, Spike smiled to himself. "Suit yourself," he said noncommittally.
Clem was hungry.
Oh, it wasn't that they hadn't fed him. They had. Soldiers, he supposed, had brought him food twice now. Different ones every time (although they all had a tendency to look alike) arriving in pairs and bringing the same concoction each time: some kind of gruel that looked suspiciously like something his mother used to make.
Which was 'yuck.' He was going through junk food withdrawal. He thought longingly of all the goodies he had stashed at home and at Spike's place.
Clem wanted to ask them for an anything-on-rye. Or a bag of Bugles, even Cheetos would be okay... but he was afraid to let them know he could communicate with them. He could just be an uninteresting demon, the most uninteresting demon ever, in their zoo.
No one had bothered him as far as he could remember. And his head didn't feel funny, like anyone had been cutting on him or anything. In fact, they didn't seem interested at all. And this was good, because he'd been captured by the Initiative, and they were the worst kind of demons, according to his friend Spike. Clem had heard stories that kept him up at night.
When he'd been feeling brave (and that had happened periodically in the last few hours), he'd watched them. When the little uniformed troop of vampires had left for parts unknown, he'd followed them with his eyes to see where they'd gone. Cause maybe if he paid attention, he'd get a chance to go, too.
There didn't seem to be any other demons besides him, and the vampires. One big man seemed to be in charge, accepting salutes with a brief nod of his head, stopping to speak with different 'white coats' and soldiers. This man would disappear every so often, then return in a little while. Once he had caught Clem watching him and he'd smiled.
Clem had almost smiled back, then looked down quickly, confused by what he saw. It wasn't a very nice smile. No, not nice at all.
The demon sat down in a corner and tried to make himself very small.
Spike escaped into the house through the back door, relieved at having once again successfully negotiated a daylight run. He dropped the foul sleeping bag and kicked it toward the wall, turning to Buffy in the same movement.
He was opening his mouth to bitch about the circuitous trip to Buffy's when he saw her collapse against the kitchen island, almost doubled over.
In laughter. Silent guffaws shook her body and with a gasp, the mirth began to roll out. She was laughing. At him, he realized belatedly.
He scowled. "What?"
She opened her mouth to explain, but only more laughter came out. One hand clutched at her stomach, the other clutched the counter in a death grip. It reminded him of the night he'd found Daniel.
In spite of himself, a small half-chuckle questioningly came from him. "What?" he said again.
"You..." She sighed as the giggles subsided a bit. Then she dissolved into another gale of laughter. "You are so... oh, God, Spike," she gasped.
"You're laughing at me, aren't you?" he said in realization.
Great big nods sent Buffy's hair bouncing. Tears began to shine in her eyes.
"You think *that* was funny," he continued in a reasoning tone, tilting his head toward the great outdoors. "I risk life, well, unlife, and limb to get here and you think it's amusing? Almost been toasted three times today! Just because you are a spoiled brat who couldn't wait til nightfall."
She was totally unashamed at herself and was continuing to giggle. "It was the trip across the back yard..." She shook her head, as another thought struck her. "You were right, too - about the daytime wedding thing. 'The wind tosses the leaves aside, and ...'" She let the sentence trail off, inclining her head suggestively, as she surrendered to more giggles.
At her prompting, Spike recalled that phrase. He'd said it to her, or something like it, when she'd suggested an outdoor, daytime wedding ceremony three years ago, right after he'd been chipped. The time when Willow had witched them into planning a wedding. Spike smiled absently, remembering how happy he'd been when Buffy had agreed to be his wife. As spells went, it had been a damn good one.
Seeing his face soften in remembrance, Buffy walked over to Spike, and put a hand on each side of his face. His eyes widened as she pulled his head down and went up on tiptoes, delivering a resounding 'smack' of a kiss.
He wasn't prepared for it. Her lips clumsily connected with the corner of his mouth. He pulled back, blinking owlishly, as if he thought she'd gone off her nut.
A half-embarrassed grin, accompanied by a self-deprecating shrug, flitted uncertainly across his face. The look was so boyish, so shy, that she couldn't resist kissing him again.
As she moved his head to plant a hard kiss on his cheek, he caught her wrists and took control, putting his lips directly on hers.
And she was lost. Completely irrevocably lost. Again.
When he finally ended the kiss, after a seemingly impossible time, she was gasping for air, eyes wide. His chest was rising and falling, almost in a panic. "Buffy..."
She laughed again, this time ruefully, at the fear in his eyes. "'Buffy,' what? 'Buffy, we can't'?" She momentarily broke eye contact to look at the clock. "Upstairs. Now." Her face was flushed. "I've had about enough of this," she growled.
Her mouth was on his again - lips rough as she tried to burrow her way into his hard body. They moved across the kitchen somehow, slammed into the doorjamb and stumbled backward toward the stairs. She laughed wickedly, as one of her greedy little hands found his belt and tugged at it, pushing her fingers down as if she could loosen it by sheer force.
Which of course, she could. Snap it in half, most likely, he thought with some clarity. And that was when he pulled away from her.
Spike needed to tell her that he suspected Drusilla was back in Sunnydale. He shook his head to clear it. "You don't..." She pulled at his belt with a determined set to her jaw. "Wait," he said wildly. "Buffy, wait."
His words caught in his throat as he was caught by the look of her - at her flashing eyes and her stubborn chin. "I've *been* waiting!" she said, playfulness forgotten. "For months now. I haven't pushed you, which was probably a mistake." She shook her head. "I *know* we have a shitty history. Right up there on the Guinness list of best 'worst...'"
"Buffy, that's not..." he pleaded. She wasn't listening to him, and he had things to say that she needed to hear.
"But I've been patient," she continued, her voice hardening with frustration. "And if your feelings have changed..."
"Of course, my feelings have changed! I've changed!"
"Well, so have I! And it's time you trusted that, and about damn time you trusted yourself! I know you still love me. And you used to be man enough to admit it!"
He opened his mouth, but words wouldn't come. Her face was too raw, too angry, too hurt, to voice his fears. She'd turned his own words back on him. But he still needed to tell her...
He was a coward after all. Spike reached for her and she stepped back, eyes snapping, furious at being forced into her outburst. He let out an exasperated breath.
"Oh, bloody hell!" He caught her stiff angry body and threw it over his shoulder. "Fine," he said, striding up the stairs. She struggled a little, but more in surprise than anything else. "But just so you know," he said to the air loudly. "It looks like Drusilla is back, and your old Initiative buddies have her. Meaning your ex has my ex."
Buffy's body stiffened in shock. "Drusilla?" Her voice was muffled against his back.
"Yeah," he said, reaching the landing and heading toward her bedroom. He put her down outside the door, hard. "Further, I think this is a sodding bad time for romance, but I'm done waiting. Too."
"Drusilla," Buffy repeated, looking up into his eyes. She took a deep breath and considered his words.
He softened, anger seeping out of his face, and sighed. "I always could destroy a mood."
She shook her head. "Not this one."
He kissed her again, slowly and languorously, working her into the room. He reached behind him to slam the door shut and immediately returned his attention to her hot little body. He felt her laugh underneath his mouth and opened his eyes to lock with hers. She'd hooked her fingers into his belt again.
"Impatient?" he murmured.
She nodded, trying to find her way to the bed without benefit of sight. And it should be easy, right? But she was totally distracted by the mouth and hand business, ending up fouled in a pair of discarded jeans. For the second time that day, she went down and he landed on top of her, her hand still tangled in his belt.
"Get off," she laughed, embarrassed by her mess of a bedroom. She pushed him away, while keeping a death grip on the wide strip of leather.
"Let go, then," he muttered, burying his head in her neck.
"Nope," she giggled. "And we are so not doing this on the floor."
He laughed then. A playful chuckle. Leaning up and away from her as far as he could, he settled back on his haunches, her hand still connected to his belt like a small girl holding onto her dog's collar. He looked pointedly at her outstretched arm and then her face. "You think this is cute?"
She nodded, eyes dancing.
Looking around at the room, he remembered other times he'd been there, usually covertly. "God, you *do* need a decorator," he said in mock-disgust. She growled and flipped him over on his back, using the leather for leverage.
Without taking his eyes from hers, he deliberately reached down and unfastened the belt. Her hand slipped to one side. He pushed her away so he could get to a sitting position and then up, reaching back down to grab her and pull her to her feet.
"You see that bed?" he asked calmly, nodding his head at the girlish linens. "I've never been in that bed in all this time. Had fantasies about that bed."
She nodded and swallowed hard, not trusting her voice. They were in her room. That was her bed. She'd had her fantasies, too. And dreams. Lots and lots of dreams.
Obviously, there were still a few first times left. Even for them.
Continued in Part 15