Title: Should the Wide World Roll Away
Rating: PG-13 now
Concrit: Yes Please! I love to know you're reading.
Disclaimer: All characters are borrowed with respect from Joss Whedon.
Warnings: None for this chapter.
Summary: Spike gets back to Xander (finally). Buffy and Willow take a trip to Giles's house. Julian and Angelus chat some more.
Notes: Oh my God...you know, I think instead of calling this section "Notes" I should label it "Excuses" because I really did not mean to take this long for the next chapter. So for that I apologize. Honestly, I've been sick since the end of November and I'm really only just starting to get over it now. Aside from feeling really terrible, my friend unfortunately accidently overdosed on painkillers and had to go on dialysis. So now he needs a new kidney. My next semester is starting soon, and I don't even know if people still remember this story, but for any that do and are still reading, I do have Chapter 12 laid out and already started so that should hopefully be up soon. *crosses fingers* Here's hoping you enjoy this chapter!
Spike took another turn full speed, once again not seeing or simply disregarding the stop sign posted at the corner. The teenage girl in the passenger seat was buckled in tightly, her right hand gripping the handle on the door with white-knuckled force, her left moving indecisively between pressing preemptively out in front of her against the dash and clutching at the wound in her stomach. Her eyes were squeezed shut, determined to block out the blurry scenery, as well as the vampire to her left that did not seem the least bit concerned with the rules of the road, let alone the other cars that happened to be in his way. She had questioned Spike once about where they were headed, thinking that he was perhaps taking her to the hospital, but the vampire seemed to be laser focused, sparing her only the briefest of glances, his eyes darting down to the still-bleeding wound in her abdomen before he inhaled deeply in her direction. Seeming to come to some conclusion, his sole focus returned, once again, to the road ahead of him, never speaking a word.
The length of the drive could not have been more than fifteen minutes, but by the time Spike pulled the DeSoto into the driveway of Julian's house he could have sworn hours had gone by. Slamming the car into park, Spike threw the door open, already bounding toward the house before he remembered the girl in his passenger-side seat. Turning back to face the car, Spike motioned to her to stay where she was, waiting impatiently until the girl nodded, and with that, he disappeared up the walkway and through the front door.
Spike sprinted from one end of the house to the other, slamming doors open as he went, becoming increasingly more frantic as each second passed, revealing neither Xander nor Julian. A growl rumbled up from the bottom of his throat growing louder as he tore through the house once more, overturning furniture as he went. Coming up with nothing yet again Spike howled his frustration, throwing a vicious punch and sending his fist through one of the walls. Extracting it carelessly, unconcerned about the blood that was drawn as a result of his lashing out, Spike pleading to the empty room and anyone who would listen called out desperately, "Xander! Xander! Fuck, where are you, pet?"
As suddenly as if someone had been listening, the hallway wall began to shimmer, the slight movement catching Spike's eye in time for him to see a door materialize from nothing.
"What in the bloody hell…"
Spike lunged at the door then, wrenching it open and staring wildly into a room that, until a moment ago, had not existed at all. Before he had even begun to actually see what was inside the room, however, he heard the voice of the boy he was looking for crying out his name.
"Spike!" Xander sighed out in relief, bounding toward the vampire, falling easily into Spike's arms. A moment later, Xander seemed to calm himself slightly, enough to attempt to extract himself from Spike's embrace; the vampire clung onto the boy all the more tightly, refusing to relinquish his hold.
"Stop that, pet," Spike whispered, his lips brushing Xander's forehead. "Thought that Angelus got you when I came in here and couldn't find you. God…Xander…"
Spike shifted, leaning back enough to look into deep brown eyes, filled with as much worry as he felt, himself. Spike ducked in then, overcome, moving his hands up to still Xander's head as he tried to convey everything he felt for this boy – the get of a Slayer, no less – but hadn't the words to say, through a kiss. Spike controlled the kiss, keeping it mostly innocent, only allowing himself the smallest of tastes, his tongue darting out swiftly to lick across the boy's pouting bottom lip. Spike felt Xander's mouth begin to open just slightly under his and, with regret, pulled back, ending the kiss as softly as it began.
They stood there, Xander's arms sitting loosely around the vampire's waist, Spike's hands still holding Xander's head, staring into each other's eyes. Time seemed to stop, and Spike could almost forget that there was his lunatic sire to worry about with this enchanting boy to distract him. Spike's thumb rubbed absently at Xander's temple, brushing at the short hairs growing there and allowed himself a few moments to pretend.
"How'd ya get in here, pet?" Spike asked quietly, his thumb still moving lightly across Xander's skin. "This room smells of mojo. Was it Julian?"
"Yeah…" Xander answered, still a bit dazed from Spike's unexpected greeting and arrival, his cheeks flushed a rosy pink. He blinked his eyes several times, trying to clear his mind enough to process what Spike was saying to him. It took a few seconds, but finally the words became clear. "Yes," Xander answered then, more solidly. "Julian. This room is a mini portal-type thingy. I think. The wall just sort of opened up for him and closed behind him when he left. No door…'til now obviously."
"Why'd he do this? Do you know where he is, pet?"
"Oh!" Xander exclaimed. "Angelus! He went after you and Angelus!"
"Why the hell would he do a thing like that? Christ!" Spike began to pace, running a nervous hand through hair hardened by copious amounts of gel.
"I tried to go with him but he wouldn't let me. He just shoved me in here with his books.," Xander said a little resentfully, gesturing toward the floor where the stack of texts now sat.
Spike glanced over toward Xander again, the boy's words having pulled him from his thoughts. "You know what he gave you those books for, luv?"
"Oh, uh…when you left. Julian…he did some kind of spell…ritual? Something. Anyway, his eyes went all white and he was totally gone. I was freaked. But when he came back he did say something." Xander grew quiet then, like he was trying to remember what Julian said exactly. "He said the Fates were the ones behind bringing Angelus back. When he left, it seemed like he…knew something. I just wish he would have let me go with him. I could have helped."
"I'm bloody well glad for his sake that he locked you up in here," Spike growled out lowly. "If he would've gotten you hurt pet…friend or no, I'd've flayed the skin off his body."
"Don't think I don't mean it, pet. You've no idea the things I can do. Have done."
Xander looked down at the floor then, his eyes moving aimlessly, studying the carpet pile. A few moments passed before Xander spoke, his voice very soft as if he only half wanted Spike to hear him. "I just don't get it, I guess. You've known me for like…a few days. I can't possibly mean that much to you."
Spike sighed heavily, stepping closer to Xander. "Luv. You have ta understand something about demons. I know you grew up around 'em, your mum being a Slayer and all," he added placatingly when he saw Xander open his mouth as if to say something, "but what I'm talking about doesn't have to do with how demons fight. It's how they love." Xander's eyes shot up to Spike's then, and the vampire's mouth curved into a tiny smile before continuing. "Demons are possessive, pet. Don't matter how long I've known you. You were mine from the first night I met you. And…I know you're not adverse to the idea." Spike's eyes trailed up and down Xander's body, causing the boy to flush hotly. "Know there's a lot to sort out. You feel like we barely know each other. But we gotta deal with Angelus first. Once he's gone, I'll court you, proper like."
They both stood there in silence for a few moments more before the current situation crept up on them once again.
"We have to find Julian," Xander whispered.
"Yeah, we do at that, pet. Got a girl in the car though. Found her at Angelus'. She needs the hospital. We should probably go there first."
"You…you rescued someone you didn't even know?" Spike looked like he didn't know what to say, so Xander saved him from trying. "Thank you," Xander murmured, though he was sure Spike could hear him just fine. "I know you didn't have to do that."
"Come on, pet," Spike said gruffly, slinging an arm easily around Xander's waist and guiding him to the door. Time to go."
"Wait," Xander said, stepping back into the room a moment when they were almost out the door and back into the main hallway. "The books," he explained, quickly retreating to grab the stack up into his arms before returning to Spike's side.
Spike hadn't been aware of how long he had taken inside. As they approached the DeSoto, Spike could smell that something was off, more so than when he left the girl.
"Hop in the back, pet," Spike said, ducking into the driver's seat and leaning over to examine the girl more closely.
"Gotta hurry up and get her to the doctors. She's still bleeding inside."
Xander leaned forward between the front seats, trying to get a better look at the girl and gasped when he finally saw her face. "Oh my God! That's Cordelia! Cordelia Chase!"
"Yeah," Spike said, backing the car out of the driveway and pulling back out onto the road, "I think that is what she called herself. You know her, luv? Thought you didn't have any chums in school."
"I don't. And Cordelia definitely wouldn't qualify. She's like, the queen bee. And she makes sure everyone knows it." When Xander heard Spike's growl begin to rumble up from the bottom of his throat he hurried to add, "I never really had much trouble with her though. I'm not important enough or loud enough to merit her attention. Got shoved out of the way by her Cro-Magnon Man of the Week a time or two, but that's all. Really."
"Shouldn't let worthless pieces of shite like that push you around, pet. Know you can fight. Have seen some of your moves. You could take out most any human you went up against no problem."
"That's not the point, Spike. And it really doesn't happen that often. My goal each day is to get in, do my time, and get out. Every day I manage to do that, I say chalk it up as a win for me."
"And you're content to live your life that way? Spending your days getting ignored by everyone, your evenings talking to dead people…calling that seedy motel your home? I'll not stand for it anymore, pet."
"Like you have a say," Xander shot back heatedly.
"You'll bloody well do as you're told. I'm not having this argument with you. I don't know how you were paying for that room you were staying in but the place isn't safe! For Christ's sake, Xan! Beasties could burst in there any time! What could you be thinking?"
"That I can take care of myself. And I don't need a monster to help me."
"Boy, you'd do well to stop while you're behind. Or I'm likely to heat yours for you."
Xander huffed and threw himself bodily into the back seat. The remainder of the drive was done in silence. When they arrived at the hospital, Spike pulled up close to the emergency room entrance and turned in his seat to look back at Xander.
"Xan…" he started, almost not wanting to finish his sentence, already knowing what Xander's reaction would be. "Luv…I think it might be safer if – "
Xander did not give Spike a chance to finish. "You think it might be safer if I stayed here? You can forget it Spike. I can fight. You know I can. Julian might be in big trouble and I care about him too. I'm going with you. And besides, the hospital's a public place…like the motel. As in Angelus wouldn't need an invite to get to me."
Spike growled a little to himself, grudgingly whipping the car into a nearby parking space. "You know what, pet? I'm getting more and more tempted to get Julian to open us up a portal when we get 'im back. Lots of other habitable dimensions out there, even some where vamps can walk in the sun. Fuck my sire and whoever wanted him back."
"We can't do that, Spike," Xander said, both of them getting out of the car, walking to the front passenger side door.
"I got her, luv," Spike said, opening the door and scooping her unconscious form easily into his arms. "Just watch her head, yeah?"
Xander moved to Spike's right side, walking slightly ahead of him when they got to the door, up to the check in to inform the nurse of Cordelia's arrival.
"My friend, he's the one that found her," Xander told the nurse who was quickly scrawling down all the information Xander could provide. "Her name's Cordelia Chase. I know her from school. We can't stay with her and we're not family. You'll be able to contact her parents though, won't you?"
"Yes, of course," the nurse answered, looking up from the form. "But with a wound like that the authorities will likely be called. You should stay here in case they have any questions for you and your friend."
"We really can't," Xander said a little insistently, his eyes darting over his shoulder where a pair of nurses were approaching Spike and Cordelia, gurney in tow. "Listen, I'll leave you my name. If the police ask for us, you can give it to them, okay?"
"No worries, Will. I'm probably freaking out over nothing," Buffy said. The two girls were walking side by side down the sidewalk, now rounding the corner of Giles's block. "I'm sure he'll be there, all stuffy and British like always, and as soon as I know he's safe we can get back to our movie night." Buffy turned toward Willow, shooting a smile at her, but their airy mood dissipated quickly as they approached the Watcher's residence.
Buffy speeded up, running across the courtyard and up Giles's front steps standing frozen for a few moments on the threshold looking into the living room, the front door swung wide open.
"Giles?" Buffy called, taking a step into the flat, eyes scanning the room. "Giles? You here?" Buffy hurried inside then, quickly checking each room, her panic increasing as it became more and more apparent that her Watcher was nowhere to be found. She had already finished her search, and was moving into the living room again, trying to collect her thoughts and figure out what might have happened to Giles and where she should go first when Willow called out to her.
"Buffy…" Willow said quietly. She was standing beside the door, her eyes fixed on a piece of paper that seemed to be tacked onto it; she hadn't noticed that in her haste to find Giles, but seeing it now made something heavy drop unpleasantly in her stomach.
"It's a drawing," Willow said, "and there's a message…for you."
Slowly, and with a feeling of fear that had become foreign to her since becoming the Slayer, Buffy approached the door, her eyes darting everywhere except at the piece of paper until she had no other choice but to look.
What she saw made her cringe. Buffy physically shrunk away as the image on the paper etched itself into her mind. Willow stifled a small sob, but Buffy was no longer aware of her friend. On the paper was a pencil sketch of Giles, her Watcher, broken and twisted lying on the ground. Beneath the picture, however, was something even worse. The words she found there were written in a messy cursive – handwriting she recognized easily – as it belonged to Angel. I think this belongs to you, Buff. Don't worry. I'll keep him safe for you. –A
"No," she breathed out, swiping her hand across her cheek, catching a tear that had escaped and was trailing slowly down her face. "There has to be another explanation."
"Buffy?" Willow questioned tentatively, wanting to understand what Buffy was talking about.
Buffy's eyes snapped to Willow's face, looking momentarily shocked to see her there. "'A'…that's a really common initial. It doesn't mean anything. Right?" Buffy's voice was desperate and pleading, and it finally fell into place in Willow's mind.
"That doesn't mean that kid is right about him. It doesn't…"
"Buffy," Willow said gently. "Do you think maybe…maybe we should consider that he is right about this?"
Buffy was quiet for several minutes her eyes losing focus staring out into the night, long enough for Willow to worry whether Buffy was okay. When her gaze finally cleared, Buffy reached up, tearing the drawing down from the door and stepping back outside onto the steps. "I don't want to believe that Angel did this," Buffy said quietly. "But you're right. We have to make sure. I know where he lives. I've been to his place before. It's big…pretty hard to miss. We'll check there."
"Angelus. Consider your actions before you do this. Let the Watcher go. Do not harm him."
Angelus laughed lightly. "Man, Julian. What happened to you? Ye used to be so much more fun. Willie-boy, too. I know you both," he said more seriously, turning to fully look Julian in the eye. "I know you both lust after the fight, just like I do. Ye're not so different, no matter how good ye've gotten at lying to yourself."
"Do not harm him, Angelus," Julian repeated, his eyes travelling over to look at the man bound in the chair beside him, still unconscious. "If you wish to take out your frustrations through violence, aim your anger at me."
"You don't get it buddy. I canna want ta hurt you. I just want ye out of my business 's all. The Watcher," Angelus continued, a tone of mock regret tingeing his voice, "I'm afraid the Watcher's number is up."