|Story Title:||Miles To Go Before I Sleep|
Land of Confusion
Unexpected!Spike has regressed to William and has been dropped, along with Bess and Angel, into a land of confusion. Buffy finds a hero in an unexpected place and she tries to sort out just what happened here after she and Annie left.
Not Geeky enough to know what Midi-chlorian cells are?: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Midi-chlorian
Music Referenced: Land of Confusion, Genesis, http://youtu.be/wM5GVUzwd3E
|Thanks:||Giant thanks to Anona for betaing this chapter, including her grammatical and punctuation corrections, wonderful commentary, and final review. Also thanks to Capella42 for her insightful suggestions that made the whole story better. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.|
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.
Thursday, May 5th, 2011:
“No … it’s simply impossible,” William protested from the bottom of the ladder that led up from the water to the wharf above. Bess and Angel waited above for him.
“Spi…” Bess began, before catching herself. “William,” she started again, trying to sound congenial and coaxing. The fuzzy-headed man had already made it perfectly clear his name was William, he knew no one named Spike, and would not dignify it by responding. “We’ll find you some clothes as soon as we can, but you have to come up here.”
“And I believe I have explained my position clearly. I will not parade around in public a state of undress. Particularly in front of a young and impressionable girl such as yourself.”
Bess sighed and rubbed her eyes as she looked down at him. “I’ve seen it before…” she growled through clenched teeth.
“So have I,” Angel mumbled from behind her. “C’mon, Spike – get over it,” he groaned louder, leaning forward so he could be heard by the man in the water.
William folded his arms over his chest and shook his head from side to side adamantly. He had one foot on the bottom of the ladder that led up to the wharf so he no longer had to tread water, but he wasn’t budging from this spot. “Please go and procure some proper clothing for me and then I will join you,” he insisted. “Not one moment before.”
“What’s that on your arm?” Bess asked as she looked down at him, confusion overpowering the frustration that she’d been feeling a moment before.
William looked down at his arm. A large, bruise-purple colored, slimy-looking creature the size of his palm was attached to his bicep. His eyes went wide, and he jerked it off his skin and tossed it into the water. For a moment, blood poured out of the large, red welt that was left behind before it healed over.
“Dear Lord!” he exclaimed as he found another attached to his stomach and then another under his left arm.
William’s modesty evaporated in an instant. He was up the ladder and on the wharf and, only a few seconds later, all three swimmers were stripped nude and pulling the giant leeches from each other’s bodies. If it hadn’t hurt so much, it would’ve been comical as the three of them danced around in their birthday suits, squealing and growling in pain and pulling the demonic blood-suckers off.
Suddenly, as if on cue, all three stopped dancing, and ceased their search for more of the leeches on each other. They turned as one and raised wary eyes towards one of the large cargo ships. Coming down the gangplank were … ummm … things. Lots of things. Tall, lithe, fast … things, with red glowy eyes. Definitely demonic things.
William reached for his spectacles in order to wipe them clean, because clearly they were fogged, but his hand closed on only air in front of his eyes. He’d apparently lost his glasses somewhere along the way. “What in the name of God…” was all William could manage before his throat constricted and closed in fear.
Bess, Angel, and William had no weapons, they were outnumbered, and now they didn’t even have any clothes on. “Run!” Bess advised, grabbing William’s hand and dragging him along behind her as she sprinted across the wide expanse of the wharf towards some warehouses. Angel took off at the same time and was right on their heels.
They’d barely made it halfway to the warehouse when William was knocked down, his hand wrenched violently from Bess’ grip. She stopped immediately and spun around. A large … bat? … Seriously? A giant bat had him! She watched in horror as its large, leathery wings flapped in the air wildly and its talons dug into the flesh of William’s stomach.
The Gem! Bess thought immediately as panic rose in her. That’s where the Gem is!
William was screaming and thrashing wildly under it. Blood spurted and splattered across his body. A torrent of crimson rained down on the dirty, splintered wood of the wharf below him. Despite the frightened man punching and kicking at it with the strength of a vampire, the bat was unimpressed.
Just as Bess began to move to help William, the large demon shrieked a high-pitched cry, which was deafening, almost literally ear-splitting, to the sensitive ears of the three tasty morsels on the wharf. They all winced in agony from the shrill blast. Bess and Angel covered their ears with their hands and turned away from the siren song of the bat. William’s hands were otherwise engaged, punching and pushing at the heavy beast, trying to escape. His ears rang like the bells of a giant, demonic carillon had taken up residence inside them. Blood began to drip from his shattered eardrums, but then the ringing and the blood stopped as the Gem healed him.
Luckily, Bess and Angel were further away from the sound and were able to recover from the shock and pain fairly quickly, despite not having a magical, all-healing talisman embedded in their guts. Both vamps launched themselves into the air and hit the bat at the same time, one from the front and one from the rear. Bat bones crunched grotesquely. It sounded like two Pro Bowl linebackers sandwiching an unsuspecting wide receiver who dared layout to catch a high pass over the middle.
They all tumbled to the ground in a heap. The bat rolled, landing on its back, and pulled William with it. Now it was on its back holding the naked vamp in the air with its strong talons. Bess jumped up like a spring and kicked it in the head. It shrieked in pain. She covered her ears and kicked it again. Angel grabbed Spike’s legs and pulled. Bess kicked it again. Angel and the bat played tug of war with Spike … or William, as he insisted he be called, for several long moments. Bess kicked it again, her bare foot crunching against the bones of its head, and finally the bat released its prey.
Angel and Spike fell backwards and splayed out on the ground, a tumble of pale, blood-soaked limbs. Angel got his footing as William simply raised his head, looked up, and gawked at the creature. He looked down at his abdomen, which he had felt very clearly being ripped open just a moment before, but was now healed. It looked perfectly well except for the blood that remained spattered across his skin.
“What…” was the only word he could manage before Angel picked him up by his armpits. Before he could even get his bearings, Bess grabbed William's hand and they took off running again. Bess was pretty sure her foot was broken and her gait changed to more of a skip, using her good foot for momentum and her bad only for balance. It still hurt like a son-of-a-bitch every time she touched it down.
Bess crashed through the heavy metal door of the warehouse and the three blood-soaked streakers lunged inside. She slammed the door closed behind them and leaned against it with her back. All their chests were heaving with the habit of breathing, not so much from the exertion, but from the fear and adrenaline that surged through them.
They all stood there for a few moments, bent forward, hands on their thighs, as they recovered. Finally, William stood up straight, covered his privates with his hands, looked indignantly at Bess, and said, “I demand an explanation of this lunacy!”
Bess couldn’t stop the harsh, humorless laugh that rasped out of her throat. “You and me both.”
She hobbled over to a grime-covered window, rubbed a small peephole in the dirt and peered out. “They’re still coming,” she informed her traveling companions.
She moved back over to the men. “Where the hell are we?” she demanded of Angel.
Angel sighed. “Sunnydale?” he posited. It was halfway between a statement and a question. The port looked like Sunnydale’s. He’d been in these warehouses before – patrolling with Buffy sometimes back … back when they used to patrol together. It had been a while, but they didn’t really look much different. More rundown, perhaps.
“Sunnydale?!” Bess retorted. “I’m really sure I would’ve remembered big-ass bats and tall red-eyed … what the hell are those things?!”
“I’ve had quite enough of this madness,” William announced haughtily. “I’ll find my own way home, thank you very much.”
“Spi …” Bess started, grabbing his arm as he began to move away from them. “William – no. It’s not safe. You have to stay with us.”
“I dare say that I do not, young lady. I’m perfectly fine … apparently I’m immune to your … tricks and I refuse to abide this bedlam one moment longer,” he insisted, attempting to pull from her grasp. She held tight, refusing to let him go.
“Unhand me this instant!” he growled at her, his demon coming up without him even realizing it.
“No! You listen to me!” Bess shot back, her mind racing, trying to find some way to make him want to stay with them other than brute force. “Buffy sent me,” she finally blurted out. “To get you and bring you home.”
“I do not know anyone named ‘Buffy’, my dear. Unhand me,” he demanded again, pulling against her harder.
“Damn it … your wife! Bu… Elizabeth!” Bess clarified. “Petite, pretty … Slayer! Does that ring any bells?”
Suddenly there was a pounding on the door at their back and glass breaking around them. The Reds had arrived. Bess only had a second, but she saw a flicker in her father’s eyes. She wasn’t sure if it was actually a flicker of recognition or just fear blazing through them, and she didn’t have time to dwell on it.
“This way – I think there’s a sewer entrance at the end of this building,” Angel informed them, grabbing William’s other arm. He and Bess dragged the reluctant, confused vamp along through the empty warehouse as the Reds started pouring in through the windows and door.
At base camp…
“Oh, Yoda, help me,” Andrew prayed quietly as he cautiously opened the door to Room 314 and stepped out into the mayhem. He walked slowly towards the downed Slayer and the Red that was ravaging her neck. His stomach and chest clenched and he couldn’t actually breathe. He was really glad he hadn’t had his usual eight glasses of water today, otherwise he might actually have wet himself by now.
“You can do it, Frodo,” he whispered to himself as he raised the scythe and came down on the neck of the Red that was atop Buffy.
It went through the vamp’s neck with amazing ease. Andrew’s eyes went wide when the vamp actually dissolved into red glittery dust and Buffy … didn’t. He’d managed to pull up just in the nick of time to keep from decapitating her. He didn’t have time to celebrate, though – there were more Reds loping towards them from the armory.
Andrew ran across the floor and picked up Spike’s sword. Holding the scythe and sword in one hand, he grabbed Buffy by the wrist and tugged. Nothing happened.
“Holy Geez Louise,” he muttered, leaning back, putting all his weight into it and trying again. This time her body moved a little and she moaned.
“Damn … all those Slayer midi-chlorian cells must be made of hyperbarides. Couldn’t make them out of sugar and spice and everything nice?” Andrew babbled anxiously. “Noooo … had to make them out of heavy metal and snark.”
Andrew looked up – the other group of Reds were closing in fast. The perspiration on his brow turned into full-fledged sweat and began running in rivulets down his face, into his eyes, and dripping from the end of his nose. This was not good … not good at all.
“The Force is with me … the Force is with me … Please, Yoda, let the Force be with me,” he muttered as he tugged with every ounce of weight and muscle he had, which, granted, wasn’t much. Finally, Buffy’s body, which was stuck to the cement floor by her own blood, pulled free with a wet, squishing sound.
Andrew winced when the sound invaded his brain, but kept moving. She slid easily now. He pulled her prone body around 180 degrees, then dragged her the short distance across the glitter-covered floor back towards the door. He’d no sooner gotten her inside and the door slammed closed again, than one of the Reds hit it like the demon had been shot out of a cannon.
BOOM! the sound echoed through the nearly vacant hallway like a clap of too-close thunder.
Andrew jumped back in fright and fell on his ass; the scythe and sword both clattered down next to him. A warm, wet spot formed on the floor under him. Shoot! Just when he thought he was getting the hang of this hero stuff.
Buffy moaned and Andrew’s attention was drawn to her neck, which was still bleeding. He picked himself up, grabbed her wrist again, along with the sword and scythe, and headed down the hallway with her. In the furthest room away from the door that led to the common area where the Reds waited, Andrew stopped. He put the weapons down then struggled to pick Buffy up and place her on one of the gurneys in there.
He grabbed her under the arms and lifted. He got her head up to about his waist and dropped her. He sighed and shook out his arms like he’d just lifted five hundred pounds.
He rolled his head around, loosening up his neck, then cracked his knuckles. He took a few deep breaths and closed his eyes to concentrate. He heard his mom’s voice in his head, admonishing his father to ‘lift with his knees’. He sighed at the memory. He’d been putting his new Millennium Falcon model together in the kitchen while his dad was trying to rearrange the living room to make room for the brand new projection TV he’d just bought. Seventy-two inches of heaven right there in their very own living room. Andrew sighed again, a dreamy little sound, as he thought fondly of all the good times spent around that state-of-the-art television.
After a few moments, he shook off the daydream and tried lifting Buffy again. This time he bent his knees, his eyes bulged with the strain, and he let out a long, painful-sounding grunt. It worked! He rose with the unconscious Slayer and leaned back at the same time to use his whole body to drag her to her feet.
“Who knew little Slayers weighed so much,” he moaned as he worked to lift her to a standing position. “I swear you weigh more than Spike!”
For a brief moment they stood up, her back to his front, then they both fell forward heavily, awkwardly. Buffy’s head and torso landed on one of the gurneys; Andrew landed on her back, his hips pressed hard against her butt.
“Oh God!” he exclaimed as he pushed off the Slayer then straightened his clothes nervously and swallowed hard. His hands were shaking and his heart fluttered fearfully in his chest. He stole a quick glance at Spike. The vamp’s eyes were closed, he hadn’t woken up yet. Andrew let out the breath he’d been holding.
“Thank you, oh great Yoda,” Andrew whispered. If Spike had seen that, he would’ve killed him for sure – just like he killed Riley, of that Andrew was certain.
Calmed slightly, he took a deep breath, and picked up her feet and lifted them up onto the gurney. Now she was laying face down on the small, rolling bed. He really needed to turn her over to work on her neck.
Andrew turned Buffy onto her side and she nearly rolled off the other side of the gurney. Andrew shrieked, lunged at her, and pulled her back onto the narrow bed at the last moment. After a considerable struggle, he had her on her back on the gurney. He let out a relieved breath and wiped the sweat from his brow then went to get his medical supplies. Who knew being a superhero’s superhero was such hard work?
Angel pulled the manhole closed above his head and followed Bess and the even more annoying version of Spike that was their traveling companion, down into the sewers.
“I must say this is entirely unacceptable!” William continued to grouse as Bess pulled him along behind her by one hand. His other hand covered his privates as well as he could while being pulled along at a fast jog.
“Where should we go?” Bess asked Angel breathlessly. They could hear the manhole cover being practically ripped open behind them by the demons that were chasing them.
“Crawford Street,” Angel replied.
“I must protest,” William interjected. “If you would simply release me, I will take my leave of you … people. My children must be beside themselves in my absence.”
“No – Elizabeth told me to bring you with me,” Bess insisted.
William stopped in his tracks and yanked his hand out of Bess’ grasp. “I apologize for being blunt, but you, my dear, are a liar and if my Elizabeth were here, she would say the same.”
Angel nearly ran into William’s back when the smaller man stopped in the middle of the tunnel. Angel careened off the wall to keep from hitting the stationary vamp before stomping heavily to a stop beside Bess.
“William,” Bess growled between clenched teeth. “Can we discuss this later? Those monsters are coming,” she pointed out, her eyes darting down the tunnel behind them.
“No, we may not. We will discuss it now or I shall not take one step further,” William insisted haughtily, momentarily folding his arms over his chest before remembering his nudity, and quickly dropping both hands in front of his groin again.
“Fine – why do you think I’m lying? I just talked to your wife this morning. She told me to bring you home, to Crawford Street,” Bess told him in all truthfulness, folding her arms over her chest, but not because she cared about covering anything.
“My wife is dead. I watched her life’s spirit drain out of her with her blood. A monster attacked her … a vampire, in fact,” William explained. His eyes darted from Bess to Angel and back again … then they drifted cautiously back to Angel and settled there. “So, you see, she could not have spoken to you today,” he finished slowly, distractedly, as he studied Angel closely, his eyes narrowing suspiciously. Was there some way the vampire that had attacked his household could've survived? Surely not. Everyone has a doppelganger in the world … or so they say.
Bess sighed. “I’m not talking about Cecily,” she clarified, her eyes scanning the darkness behind them for the large demons.
William’s eyes darted back to Bess, surprised, but he recovered quickly. “Neither am I.”
“Look … maybe where you were Elizabeth died, but here, she’s alive. Didn’t she say she was from … somewhere else?” Bess tried.
William’s brow furrowed. “Yes … but…”
“Well, guess what? We are ‘somewhere else’. I mean literally somewhere else,” Bess pointed out, waving her arms out wide. William’s eyes darted down momentarily to her nude form when she moved, seemingly with a mind of their own. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard, then he averted his eyes uneasily.
“There’s no Macaulay Road here, William – but there is an Elizabeth,” she tried, hoping it would be enough of a carrot to coax him to just come on. “Your wife is alive and waiting for you.”
William’s mind whirled as he processed this. Could that be true? Had she simply gone back to wherever she’d come from and she was waiting here for him? This certainly didn’t seem like heaven – on the contrary, but Avengelyne was a fallen angel. Perhaps this was where she had been banished to after her mortal death, after all. Was it possible she was really here and had sent this girl to fetch him?
“Can we just go to Crawford Street and see? She’s probably there – waiting for you,” Bess prodded, a bit surprised those demons hadn’t caught them yet. That was a bit worrisome. Where were they? If they weren’t behind them, then where did they go?
Finally, William sighed and agreed, “Very well, then.”
Bess closed her eyes and rolled them at the same time – a gesture of relief and frustration mixed into one. “Great – c’mon!” she commanded, grabbing one of his hands and pulling it away from his groin.
William had little chance to object as she started moving again, limping quickly through the tunnels, dragging her reluctant father behind her, Angel now in the lead.
Buffy moaned and flexed her hands and fingers. They hurt, but were functional if she just ignored the searing pain. She reached for her neck – of all the things that hurt right now, that was the one that she was most concerned about. She didn’t bother opening her eyes. The light beaming in through her closed lids was already too bright. She figured there was a pretty good chance she was dead, anyway. Opening her eyes and confirming it wouldn’t really do anyone any good.
“The Slayer of the Vampyrs has risen from the ashes of certain death!” Andrew crooned melodramatically, moving up to her gurney and sighing wistfully. “Buffy, the all encompassing light in the heart of our fearless, and quite handsome leader, saved from certain defeat by the all-powerful Dungeon Master. A surreptitious Jedi Knight, sent to protect and serve the Chosen heroes of this world, bestowed with the power of the Force by Yoda himself. Our mission, to defeat the Otherworld demons, set the universe back … gaaaahph.” Andrew tried to pull Buffy’s hand away from his throat, his eyes bulged out, and he was pretty sure he’d never eat anything but banana puree again for the rest of his life.
Buffy squinted her eyes open and looked up at the ‘Dungeon Master’ through the veil of her lashes. “What the hell is going on?” she demanded in a low, hoarse voice. Her hands and fingers still hurt like hell, but not as much as her brain did from listening to Andrew babble.
Andrew made several incoherent choking sounds and flapped his hands like little birds, trying to get her to let him go. Buffy released her grip on his throat and the all powerful Dungeon Master and undercover Jedi stumbled backwards, wheezing and grasping at his throat.
“No fair!” he whined after finally getting his breath back.
Buffy pushed herself up to sitting. When the world began spinning faster than she remembered, she closed her eyes until it slowed down at bit. Her stomach was queasy and she swallowed several times trying to keep whatever was in it from mounting an escape attempt.
“I saved you and that’s the thanks I get!?” Andrew wailed, folding his arms over his chest indignantly, but making sure to stay further than arm’s distance from the surly Slayer.
At that, Buffy had to open her eyes. The room was still tilting back and forth a bit, but she found if she swayed her head slightly from side to side in time with it, it wasn’t so bad. “What do you mean you saved me?”
Andrew huffed. “I saved you. I fought off all those Reds … at least ten … maybe … twenty.”
At Buffy’s dubious look, he faltered and shrugged. “Definitely five,” he amended.
“Dusted them into little bits – it looks like Dorothy’s ruby-red slippers exploded out there!” he embellished, waving a hand down the hall towards the common area. “Then I carried you in here and bandaged your wounds … I selflessly opened my veins for you, gave you a transfusion of my own blood.”
“You did what!?” Buffy finally found her voice. It boomed in the nearly empty room.
“I … uhhh … mean … I gave you a sterile, saline IV to replace the fluids,” Andrew stammered.
“Jesus Christ,” she swore. “If you put bodily fluids of any kind anywhere near me, I’ll squash you like a bug,” she threatened.
“I didn’t! I swear!” Andrew’s voice morphed back into a whine as he retrieved two IV bags from the garbage. “See! Saline! Honest!”
Buffy glared at him and touched the bandage on her neck. “I hope you did a better job with the stitches this time. I better not have a scar.”
Andrew’s mouth opened and closed like a guppy out of water. Buffy rolled her eyes and slowly turned her head to look around. “Where are we? Where is everyone?”
“Room 314. It’s the last stronghold. Warren and I used it for our lair; he reinforced it even more than the army guys. The Reds can’t get in, but … we can’t really get out, either. We’re all that’s left,” Andrew explained, but Buffy wasn’t listening any more.
“Spike …” she muttered, her eyes settling on his still form laying on another gurney off to the side of the room.
“Oh, yeah – I saved him from the big bug. I stabbed it right through the neck with his sword,” Andrew offered matter-of-factly, nodding and shrugging.
Buffy got to her feet unsteadily. The room started tilting again, so she held to her gurney and rolled it with her over towards Spike. About halfway there, Andrew’s words sank in and she turned back to look at him.
“You killed the big bug in the pit?”
“Yep!” he affirmed confidently, nodding.
“Are you sure Spike didn’t kill it while you screamed like a little girl?” Buffy wondered.
“Nooo, that’s not how it happened at all!” Andrew defended, stomping a foot down petulantly.
Buffy let out an exasperated sigh and continued her trek across the room towards Spike. “What about Dawn? Where’s she?”
“She was … uhhhh …” Andrew stammered.
Buffy stopped just as she got to Spike and looked back at Andrew. “She was what? What happened?”
“It looked like she just stopped breathing … When I went to check on her that day you all left, she was … cold.”
Buffy pursed her lips and clenched her jaw. Damn it, Spike!
“You stubborn, pig-headed jerk of a vampire,” Buffy snarled down at Spike. She clenched her eyes closed tightly and shook her head. He’d done it because he knew. He knew he wouldn’t be there to protect Dawn. He wouldn’t be coming back from the mission. He knew the Reds would get in. Son-of-a-bitch.
Buffy opened glistening eyes and smoothed his curls back as the memory of him sacrificing himself for her and Annie replayed in her mind. She could still see him falling from the jib, landing in the bug pit … he hadn’t even fought when the bug carried him under the sand. He hadn’t fought … How the hell did he kill it if he hadn’t fought?
Buffy turned wary eyes back to Andrew. “Just exactly when did you and Spike become slaying buddies? The last time I saw Spike, that bug had him and was getting ready to turn him into the second course of an all you can eat demon buffet.”
Andrew huffed. “Pretty sure I just said that I saved him from the bug! I never knew you hero types needed so much saving. Good thing I was there…”
Buffy moved faster than she thought she could across the tilting, twirling floor, and grabbed Andrew by the throat again. “Why don’t I believe you?”
Andrew held up his hands in surrender. “Honest,” he croaked out past her grip. “Swear to Yoda.”
Buffy loosened her grip slightly. “What happened after I left?”
“I told you …” Andrew started.
Buffy squeezed her fingers around his neck, digging her nails into the side of his throat.
“Ok! Ok!” Andrew shrieked.
Buffy released him, crossed her arms over her chest, and waited. Andrew rubbed at his throat and coughed a bit, then went and poured himself a drink of water.
Buffy sighed heavily as he took his glass over to a table that was set up on one side of the room, pulled out a chair for her and one for himself, and then sat down. Buffy rolled her eyes and dropped her arms to her sides as her shoulders sagged. Finally, she walked over to the chair and sat down across from him. Andrew sipped at his water in silence, taking several small drinks and swallowing gingerly, never meeting her eyes.
Buffy was losing the last shred of patience she had. “Talk,” she ordered simply, glaring at him.
Andrew took another slow, deliberate sip of water. When he put the glass down, Buffy slid it away from him, out of his reach and over next to her. “No more water until you talk.”
“I have urinary tract stones, I have to stay well hydrated or…”
“I. Don’t. Care,” Buffy growled, her words and tone clipped. “Talk.”
Andrew sighed heavily. “Alright, but if one of those stones gets lodged…”
“Andrew, you won’t have anything left for it to get lodged in if you don’t start talking in the next three seconds,” Buffy threatened, narrowing her eyes at him dangerously.
Andrew cleared his throat and shifted nervously in his seat. “Fine,” he acquiesced grudgingly.
“Okay, let’s see … where to start,” he mused, looking up at the ceiling and tapping a finger against his chin.
“Start at the beginning,” Buffy instructed.
“Right. Ok … I grew up in Sunnydale, California. That’s in the United States of America, but was actually born in ...”
“Not that beginning, you little freak!” Buffy interrupted him angrily, barely able to keep her hands from gripping around his throat again. “Start with why you went to the bug pit in the first place.”
“Oh, right.” Andrew straightened and started again. “Well, I overheard Warren and Rack talking. They stole one of the vials of Annie’s blood that you had me draw and they were talking about following you ... you know – out.”
“How did they know about the blood?”
Andrew’s eyes darted left and right, as if looking for the answer to that question in the empty room. “Uhhh … I don’t know. Maybe … they … read my mind!” he hypothesized. “That Rack – you know, he can read your mind if he touches you! Which I find to be very rude, by the way; clearly an invasion of personal space.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Keep going.”
“So, I went to find Spike, to warn him, ya know? But he was already gone. Then I went to find you, but you and Annie were gone too. So, I had to take matters into my own hands.”
“You went after Rack and Warren all on your own?” Buffy questioned, cocking a skeptical brow at him.
Andrew hefted his chin haughtily. “I had no choice. I’m a superhero too, ya know. It’s my duty to do the right thing, no matter the risk to my personal safety. To stand up for what’s right, to respect all life, and to help those weaker than myself. I’ve vowed to use the Force only for good: never in anger; only to defend those who cannot defend themselves; to find new ways to improve myself so that I may be an example to others…”
“To give guidance to those that seek it; while not seeking to lead or rule them…”
“As a Jedi, I must always oppose those who revel in evil and seek power for the
sake of powrrr… gaah,” Andrew sputtered to a halt as Buffy’s fingers once
again tightened around his throat. There was something about digging her
fingertips into his flesh that made her battered fingers hurt less each time she
“What happened to Warren and Rack?” she asked through gritted teeth, her tone harsh and clipped.
Andrew gurgled past her grip and his eyes started to bulge. Buffy released him and he reached for the glass of water. She slid it across the table to him and waited for him to take a drink before snatching it out of his hand and setting it back down out of his reach.
“Warren and Rack. Where are they?” she demanded again.
Andrew swallowed hard and rubbed his throat. “It wouldn’t do you any harm to take the Jedi oath…” he murmured under his breath.
Buffy raised her brows and glared at him impatiently.
Andrew took a shuddering breath, then continued, “They took the sewers and I followed them very carefully, using every ounce of my Jedi power to keep from being detected. They stopped at every bank between here and ground zero and made ‘withdrawals’,” Andrew explained, using his fingers to make air quotes around the word ‘withdrawals’ as he cocked a knowing brow at Buffy. “By the time we … uhhhh … I mean, they got to the portal, they had millions of dollars strapped to their bodies and in bags hanging over their shoulders.
“By the time we … they,” Andrew hurriedly corrected again, “… got to the warehouse, you were gone – in fact, it was perfectly quiet, there weren’t any Reds or anything there. We could tell there had been a galactic battle from all the dust and … blood. It was …” Andrew paled and swallowed hard, eyeing the water glass. Buffy pushed it further away from him. “…bad.”
When he didn’t continue, Buffy prodded, “And, then…”
Andrew cleared his throat and looked back at the Slayer. “And then they climbed up the big crane, but I have an inner ear condition – it wasn’t that easy for me to follow them.”
“Plus they’d be able to see you … your cover would’ve been totally blown,” Buffy pointed out sarcastically.
Andrew’s eyes went wide and he nodded enthusiastically. “Exactamundo!
“So,” he continued. “I waited for them to get about halfway up and, while their attention was on figuring out where the portal was, I slowly and, very stealthily, I might add, climbed up behind them, intent on foiling their evil plan, with no regard for my own safety or discomfort.
“Unfortunately, they saw me,” Andrew continued to weave his tale. “I shouted a warning at them to stop this evil scheme or they would feel my wrath! They foolishly showed no respect for my Jedi powers. That was their fatal mistake,” Andrew revealed in a dramatic voice. “I sprang up the precarious arm of the crane like a Ninja. It shook and shuddered under me in the hurricane force winds which I believe Rack had conjured to thwart me. But I was undeterred – my whole focus on stopping their diabolical plot.
“Rack attacked me and battled gallantly, but his fierce, dark magicks were no match for my superior faith in the Force within. With a flick of my hand I turned his power back on him and he was blown off the crane and fell down into the pit below. I had no time to look, but I know from the grotesque sounds of crushing bone that the demon bug took the offering and devoured it immediately.”
Andrew was talking faster now, his breathing rapid and shallow, and his eyes were wide with excitement as he wove his tale of bravery and righteousness.
“With the dark warlock cleared from my path, I reached for the vial of blood that Warren was just opening, preparing to use to activate the portal. We both fell onto the hard, steel girders and grappled for the vial. I had just gotten my hand on it and was preparing to rip it away from the evil-doer when a bat attacked me.
“I fended it off with one hand as I hung on to the vial of blood with the other. Then there were more bats … I couldn’t count them all; the sky was full and they were all after me! Rack must’ve cast a spell to bend the demons to the evil-doer’s will. I fought nobly, as any Jedi would do, but …” Andrew sighed heavily and shook his head. “Alas … even the most powerful Jedi is no match for an army of flying, demonic bats. After many long hours of struggle, they finally jerked me away and dropped me into the pit where Rack had fallen.”
Buffy fought the unbelievably strong urge to roll her eyes. If it hadn’t been for Spike, just one of those bats would’ve hauled her and Annie off that damn crane, but Andrew battled an army of them for hours … yeah, right.
“You don’t seem to have any wounds … you know, from the army of bats,” Buffy pointed out, dipping her head at him to indicate his seemingly perfect health.
“Oh … well … I …” Andrew stammered, rubbing a hand nervously from his neck, down his chest, across the fabric of his t-shirt and finally settling it in his lap. “It’s the Force. Like you, attractive warrior, I have enhanced healing powers. I’m no mere mortal,” Andrew claimed, narrowing his eyes and nodding slowly, as if sharing a secret.
Funny how the crescents on his throat, where her nails had embedded in his flesh, were still red, dripping blood, and starting to turn purple ... what with the super Jedi healing and all.
“You’re insane, aren’t you?” Buffy asked flatly, folding her arms over her chest.
Andrew looked like he’d been slapped. “I am not! My mom had me tested!”
Buffy blew out a breath and shook her head. “What happened next?” she asked dully. Deducing the actual truth of this was gonna be like interpreting a dream … of an insane person.
“I struggled to get out, to get back up and stop Warren, but, alas … I was too late,” Andrew finally stopped and took a shuddering breath. “Evil had triumphed over good this day. But I vowed,” he looked at Buffy with a deadly serious expression on his face, his eyes narrowed to thin slits. “I vowed at that moment to fight on. I would not let evil defeat this Jedi.
“When the demon bug came for me, I fought with the power of the Force, pulling determination from my Jedi soul. I let it pull me under the sand so I could fight it on its own terms, and what did I find but Spike! He was there, under the sand as well, just waiting for me to arrive to offer my allegiance. He offered me his sword as Lancelot would’ve offered his sword to King Arthur. Such a fine warrior is Spike, so filled with brave humility,” Andrew nearly swooned, looking over towards Spike, still laying unconscious on the gurney.
The queasiness returned to Buffy’s stomach. This story was about to make her retch.
“I took it as it was offered, with great dignity, and then slashed at the creature that was set on devouring us. The demon and I tumbled around and around under the sand. I could barely breathe, barely see. I had to use my Jedi senses to …”
“Andrew. Shut up.” Buffy had had all she could stand.
“But… this is the best part,” he whined. Buffy flexed her hand. Andrew gulped nervously, raised his hand up to his bruised throat, and shut up.
Buffy took a deep breath and let it out slowly, taking in his story. After a few moments, she said, “So, you, Rack, and Warren made a plan to get out of this hell. You drew an extra vial of blood from Annie when you drew the two for me. After robbing all the banks around town, The Trio of Desolation climbed up the crane and Warren double-crossed you and Rack, somehow dropping you both down into the pit.
“Bob went after Rack first, probably sensing the power he had. After it ate him, it pulled you under the sand to stash away for later, which is apparently what it had done with Spike earlier, since it had just eaten Oz. You somehow found his sword – probably pried it out of his hand since he was unconscious, and ...” Buffy paused and considered this a little while longer before concluding, “When you were rolling around in the pit trying to get away from it, the bug rolled over on you and impaled itself on the sword.”
Andrew pursed his lips indignantly and huffed out a breath as he folded his arms over his chest. “No one appreciates epic tales of heroism anymore,” Andrew muttered under his breath. The fact that he could no longer meet her eyes told her she was pretty close to right.
After a moment, he looked back up at her. “I got Spike out of the pit and back here. That was a task even the strongest Jedi would’ve had trouble with, let me tell you,” he informed her tersely. “I had to drag him up that demonic sand trap, then all the way back here through the sewers. Thank Yoda he weighs less than you.”
“He sooo does not!” Buffy objected belligerently.
Andrew rolled his eyes and made a face that said ‘yes he does’, but he didn’t verbalize it again. He wasn’t that dumb.
Buffy took a breath and let it out slowly – that was so not the point.
“So, Rack’s dead?” she asked after a moment.
“And Warren’s running around in my dimension?” she continued.
Again Andrew nodded.
“Swell…” Buffy moaned rubbing her eyes. “I don’t suppose you have any more of Annie’s blood that you kept back, you know, just in case?”
Andrew shook his head.
“And Dawn’s … gone,” she muttered, more to herself than him. “Rack’s gone … Tara’s gone …” Everyone that could possibly open the portal was gone. Everyone that could possibly work a spell to send her back in time was gone. This was just getting better and better.
After a few moments, Andrew broke the uncomfortable silence. “Using my superior reasoning skills, I cleverly deduced later why the Reds had left the battleground. With all the other warriors dead, they were reorganizing and getting ready to launch an attack on us here. It was only a little while after I got back here with Spike that they attacked.
“Luckily, I had brought Spike in here. It’s the only place they haven’t figured out how to get into … yet.”
“So, you just left everyone else out there to die?” she questioned, waving an arm back down the hall towards the door. “What happened to ‘helping those weaker than yourself’ and all that other crap you were spewing earlier?”
“I … just … it … well …” he stammered. Finally he said, “I didn’t actually know we were under attack until it was too late to help anyone. I was … trying to wake Spike up.”
“I sooo don’t want to know how you were trying to wake him up.” Buffy looked back over at Spike. “I assume you never succeeded?”
A bright pink blush rose up Andrew’s neck and warmed his cheeks as he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. “No. He says stuff sometimes, but it’s like he’s talking in his sleep more than actually … you know, talking. I don’t think he actually wants to wake up … ‘cos I can’t find anything physically wrong with him. I’ve checked everywhere … uhhhh … I mean … you know … being a medic I would naturally … check him.”
Buffy snorted and shook her head before pushing back to standing. She kept one hand on the table waiting for the room to start spinning again, but it didn’t. She blew out a relieved breath and walked back over to Spike.
“I’ll show you how to wake him up,” she announced confidently. She leaned over and picked up the sword where Andrew had dropped it and pressed the end of one finger against the tip, drawing a bright red spot of blood to her skin.
She would’ve made a bigger cut, but the floor had just stopped tilting; she didn’t want to chance it. She walked over to Spike and slowly drew her bloody finger under his nose, not touching him. His nostrils flared. Then she touched it to his lips and pressed it between them. His demon surfaced. She could feel his tongue touch her finger, then twirl around it tasting the blood. A low purring growl began to rumble from his throat.
She leaned down and put her mouth next to his ear. “Spike, it’s Buffy. Wake up now … c’mon, Spike. Buffy needs you,” she whispered to him.
“Buffy?” he murmured, the sound muffled slightly by her finger, his breath cool on her skin.
“Yeah, Spike. It’s me. It’s Buffy. Wake up now.”
Buffy pulled her finger back out of his mouth and looked at it. The small slice was completely closed up. She watched him for a moment as his Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat and he licked his lips. She was starting to think that wouldn’t be enough, that she’d have to offer more blood, when his eyes fluttered open.
Buffy gave him a small smile and smoothed his curls back away from his face. “Hey – guess which stubborn bint didn’t follow your orders and came back,” she teased lightly, looking into his eyes.
Well, did you guess correctly about who saved Buffy??
What's Buffy gonna do now? All her plans for getting home or going back in time to fix things have turned to shit. Rack and Tara are dead. They have no Key blood, and even if they did, the portal has been closed from the other side by Warren. And they're trapped inside Room 314 by the Reds.
And what about William, Bess, and Angel - how are they gonna fare when the Reds catch up with them? Can they find Buffy or can she find them? Will William end up being a help or a further hindrance to their efforts?
Lots more to come!!
Land of Confusion, Genesis
I must've dreamed a
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