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Chapter Seven - Hey You

'Let commando-boy go, why don't you. You're blocking traffic!'

Spike was standing in the middle of the road, a six-pack cradled under one arm.

'Do you three want to take your little party some place else?' he asked. 'It's getting so a vamp can't nick his booze in peace anymore.' He dug a battered packet of cigarettes out of his cost pocket. 'Anybody got a light? Other than golden-balls, I mean.'

'Spike?' Buffy frowned at him. 'What are you doing here?'

'What does it look like?' Spike gestured at his beer with the cigarettes. 'I'm guessing that whatever army-brat sees in you it's not your dazzling intellect.'

'Spike, now is so not the time,' Buffy commented.

The golden man turned to face Spike, Riley still impaled on his outstretched arm.

'Another vampire,' he said. 'Your kind are a stain on this realm. An infestation we shall have to clear when we reclaim it.'

'You know, glitterbug, I was just going to go on my way and leave you three to sort out your differences privately.' Spike set his drinks down on the ground. 'But now you're really starting to piss me off.'

'Is that a threat, insect?' the golden creature asked.

'Put it this way,' Spike said, 'these two I know I can't hit, but I'm guessing I won't have that kind of problem with you.'

His face contorted as he vamped up. He cocked his head to one side, studying the other creature.

'Want a ten second head start?' he asked. 'Too late.'

He dived forward, right arm leading the way. The creature grabbed his wrist in mid-air and hurled Spike over his shoulder and through the window of the pet shop. He crashed to a halt amidst a display of fish tanks. The tanks exploded, drenching the vampire in water.

He sat up slowly.

'No hard feelings?' he asked as he began to pick guppies out of his hair.

Buffy hurled herself through the air, scissoring her legs so that first one boot, then the other collided with the golden man's chin. She landed on her hands and flipped backwards to end in a crouch.

The creature turned to face her, allowing Riley to slide of his arm and collapse in a heap on the road. The golden man then thrust his hands forward then tugged at the air as if he were parting a curtain. Buffy had a brief glimpse of golden light spilling from a hole in the air before reality snapped back in to place. The man no had a quiver in one hand and a bow in the other. Throwing the quiver over his shoulder, he nocked a golden arrow.

He let the arrow fly.

Buffy leaped, pirouetting in the air as she curved her spine away from the arrow. It brushed passed her and struck the sedan parked behind her. The car exploded and the force over the explosion carried Buffy across the street.

'Spike!' she shouted. 'A little help here?'

Spike was still sitting amid the fish.

'What do you expect me to do?' he asked as he lit a cigarette. 'Beat him to death with a wet kipper? You're on your own this time, Slayer.'

'Thanks a lot,' Buffy snapped as she dived out of the way of another arrow.

'What do you expect? Charity?' Spike demanded. 'I'm only in this for the kicks. And then only if I'm the one doing the kicking.'

Buffy shimmied up a drainpipe, hoping to put some distance between her and the archer, but knowing she could not abandon Riley.

'Well just look at Macho Man,' Buffy sniped. 'Nice to know your courage knows no bounds.'

'Oh yeah? Where the hell does courage get you anyway?' Spike demanded. 'Six feet under, that's where. Been there and don't much fancy going back, thanks ever so.'

The golden man fired another arrow. It missed Buffy, but had not been meant for her. Instead, it struck the side of the building just beneath its roof. The resulting explosion drove the wall inwards and, unsupported, the roof began to pouring to the ground taking Buffy with it. She landed awkwardly, her leg pinned by debris.

The archer nocked another arrow.

'I guess now we find out just how tough Slayer strength really is,' Buffy muttered as she met the archer's cool stare. 'Come on then!' she shouted. 'Finish it!'

'To hell with this,' Spike complained.

In one smooth motion, he drew a loaded crossbow from within his coat, raised it and pulled the trigger. The bolt flew and embedded in the back of the arches neck, its momentum carrying it on through his throat and out the other side.

The archer collapsed first to his knees and then fell on to his side.

'And like you couldn't have done that earlier?' Buffy moaned as she dug her leg out from beneath the fragments of roof.

'I had to wait until you'd got him in position,' Spike replied, cigarette still held between his lips. 'It's called teamwork.'

'Yeah. Right.'

Buffy was crouched beside Riley.

'He's unconscious, but he's still breathing,' she called out.

'Well, there's a relief,' Spike said sarcastically. 'Dammit.'

'What?'

Spike was shaking his crumpled packet of cigarettes.

'Bleedin' fags are soaked through,' he complained. 'How am I ever gonna get a light now?'

'Those things'll kill you anyway,' Buffy told him.

Spike cocked his head to one side and glared.

Buffy crossed to the fallen archer. Even with half of his throat torn out he still glowed.

'So do you think he's dead?' she asked as she prodded the body with her toe. 'Or is it too much to hope that you might have managed to hit something vital?'

'How the hell should I know?' Spike snapped as he picked himself up. 'And I wish you wouldn't carp on like that.'

The tiled floor of the pet shop was slick with water from the fish tanks and Spike lost his footing as he tried to reach the door. He fell to one knee and collapsed against a basket of kittens.

'You seem to be floundering, Spike,' Buffy commented.

'Ha-bloody-ha.' The impact knocked the door to the basket open and the kittens bounced out and began to skip happily around the vampire. He picked one up by the scruff of its neck. 'You know, I know a few demons downtown who'd pay a pretty penny to get there hands on one a few of these beauties.'

'You're sick, Spike,' Buffy responded.

Spike climbed slowly to his feet.

'About time you remembered,' he said. 'By the way, I'm guessing still alive.'

The archer's hand snapped closed around Buffy's ankle. His grip was strong and Buffy could feel the blood flow to her foot being cut off.

'Catch!' Spike shouted, grabbing a large piece of glass from the remains of the window and hurling it in her direction. Buffy caught it in her left hand and, ignoring the tearing in her palm, brought it down on to the archer's wrist. When the hand was severed the fingers released their grip.

'If you say "thanks for the hand",' Spike began, 'then, chip or no chip, I will deck you.'

He hefted Riley over his shoulders in a fireman's lift.

The archer still had not got up, but his body was twitching with ever increasing violence.

'I'm thinking Plan B,' Spike said.

'Plan B,' Buffy agreed.

They ran.

* * *

As Buffy crossed the hospital waiting room in his direction, Spike put down the TV guide he was reading. Then he thought better of it and rolled it up and stuffed it in his coat pocket. There was an article on Passions he could finish later.

'So, what'd the doc say?' he asked, standing up. 'Is the super-soldier gonna pull through.'

'They think so,' Buffy replied.

'They think?'

'There's nothing wrong with him,' Buffy explained. 'Aside from the little matter of his being comatose and all. They want to run more tests, but…'

'Yeah, that's the trouble with magic,' Spike agreed. 'Doesn't usually leave much of a trace. Listen…'

He reached out a hand to comfort Buffy, but she flinched away.

'Hey, what's the matter?' he asked. 'Don't you trust me?'

'Spike, I trust you about as far as I could throw you,' she replied. 'Correction: about as far as Xander could throw you.'

'Ouch! You've got quite a bite there, Slayer.'

'Look, I've got to go and phone Giles. Let him know what's been going on…'

'If I hear anything I'll come find you,' Spike assured her. 'Sooner you go, sooner you'll get back.'

'Yes. Right.' Buffy agreed.

'Well, get going then,' Spike prompted.

'Do you have any change for the phone?' Buffy asked.

* * *

Spike was pacing up and down like a caged tiger when Buffy returned. He stopped when he caught sight of her. Her shoulders where hunched and her arms were folded. She rubbed her upper-arms as if she were cold.

'Buffy, what is it? What's wrong?'

'It's Dawn,' Buffy explained. 'She wasn't home when Mom got back.'

'Kid's probably decided to spend the night with a friend,' Spike deduced.

'She would have said something,' Buffy insisted.

'Not much like her sister then,' Spike commented. 'Little bit's just being a rebellious teenager, is all. Nothing to worry about. I mean, what trouble can she get in to?'

'In Sunnydale?'

'Right,' Spike said. 'Oh crap.'

 

 
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