ETA: there will be two further chapters, not one as originally planned.
Apologies for not replying to Comments on the previous part; I was concentrating so hard on the writing that I didn’t want to take time out to post replies. The feedback was gratefully appreciated.
Part one was HERE. Part two was HERE. Part three was HERE.
The Hounds of Love
“Angel is up and walking,” Buffy said.
“I’m guessing it wasn’t a fun meeting,” Spike replied. He flicked his cigarette end into the sea. “So, now I know how long I’d spend back in the wheelchair if I went back to being evil.” Buffy gave him an odd look, head tilted to one side and eyebrows raised, and Spike realized what he had said. “To doing evil, I mean,” he corrected himself. “Still am evil. Grrr.”
Buffy gave him a wide and dazzling smile. “I’m not so sure about that, Spike. I mean, you can’t do evil and be good, right? Maybe it works the other way round.”
“I am evil,” Spike insisted. Buffy’s smile became a grin and Spike found himself responding in kind. “Okay, so maybe these days I’m not very evil. So, what happened with Angelus, pet?”
Buffy’s grin vanished and Spike regretted his change of subject. She didn’t often smile in such an open and unguarded fashion, not since Angel had turned evil anyway, and it had been nice to see. There had been a time when Spike would have much preferred to see her miserable. These days his feelings were quite different. Partly it was because Angelus would get a kick out of her misery, and frustrating Angelus’ aims was always fun, but a lot of it was because the Slayer was pretty good company now that they weren’t mortal enemies any more.
Over the past couple of months their relationship had changed. Her initial wariness and suspicion, and Spike’s resentment of his forced change of allegiance, had turned into a kind of comradeship. They exchanged banter as they fought alongside each other, even more so than when they had been opponents, and she had unbent towards him to the point where she had even made joking suggestions that she should get him to eat Principal Snyder. Maybe they had even become friends. Spike frowned at that thought and focused his attention on what Buffy was saying about her encounter with Angelus.
“He was limping just a little,” she reported. “It didn’t stop him biting Gage, though. Or throwing him at me.”
“Guy on the swim team. It was kinda funny. Well, not funny ha ha. Funny weird. Angel bit him and started drinking, only then he spat it out. Like it was really yucky.”
Spike’s brow furrowed. “Bloody odd. Angelus must be hungry as hell, ‘cos I don’t think his hunting parties have had much success, and us vamps can put up with some pretty nasty stuff. I mean, look at the pigs’ blood I get by on when I can’t get the hospital to come up with the human.”
Buffy wrinkled her nose. “Can I say, eww?” she remarked, but there was no disgust in her tone. It sounded as if her comment was purely out of habit. “Yeah, I guessed as much. I’m thinking there was something in the blood that’s not right. Steroids, maybe, or something like that.”
Spike shook his head. “Doubt if steroids would have that much effect on the taste, luv, not so as we’d spit it out. Not unless the bloke had taken so much that it was going to kill him pretty much on the spot.” His thoughtful frown grew even deeper. “This is the Hellmouth, pet. Maybe this Gage character is a demon. Or taking demon products.”
“I guess.” Buffy’s expression became even gloomier. “I’ll look into it. I guess it’ll be pretty much all in the school, so I don’t think you can help me out with the investigate-y stuff. Would you cover patrol for me? Keep Angel away from people? Especially Miss Calendar and my mom. And let Giles know he’s up and walking, okay?”
“No problem, Slayer,” Spike assured her. “I’ve got your back.”
“So Angel is on his feet once more? A worrying development, although not unexpected. You must never be alone after dark, my dear,” Giles warned Jenny.
“Is that a proposal, Rupert?” Jenny teased.
“Ah, um, well,” Giles quavered, and a tinge of color appeared in his cheeks. He removed his glasses, fiddled with them for a moment, and then found escape by turning to Spike. “Ah, you should be careful as well, Spike. Revenge upon you will be one of Angel’s first priorities, and it would be advisable for you not to risk being caught alone.”
“Is that a proposal, Rupert?” Spike echoed Jenny’s words, grinning broadly.
Jenny burst into open laughter and Giles permitted himself a small smile. “Seriously, Spike, you should take care,” he warned.
“I will, don’t worry,” Spike promised.
“Good.” Giles replaced his glasses. “Well, Spike, now we know how long you would have been in the wheelchair had you not made the deal with the Powers. Do you have any regrets?”
Spike’s brow creased. “What is it, about two months in the chair, must be? Bet it would have seemed longer. Nah, no regrets. This Champion thing hasn’t been that bad, y’know. Fighting the good fight, well, a fight’s a fight, innit? Not like I’ve had to miss out on the old ultra-violence. Just as soon be fighting demons as humans, maybe more so. And, well, truth is, the company’s better on this side of the fence. You two are okay, for a start, and the kids are all right now I’ve got to know them. ‘Specially Wolf Boy. And, well, always got a kick out of fighting the Slayer, but it’s fun fighting alongside her too. Maybe more so, even.”
“I’m glad to hear it, Spike,” Giles said. “Ah, would you care for some tea?”
“Nah, not tonight, Watcher. I’ll toddle off and smite some evil. Leave you two lovebirds alone so you can get on with your proposal.” Spike smirked at the blushing Watcher and exited to the sound of Jenny’s laughter.
“I’ve got it,” Jenny Calendar announced.
“Yeah? Let’s hear you say ‘The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain’ then, luv,” Spike responded.
Giles raised his eyes heavenwards and Jenny smiled. “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain,” she obliged him. “Happy, Professor Higgins?”
“By Jove, I think she’s got it!” Spike quoted.
“That’s just what I’ve been trying to tell you,” Jenny said, and then her expression turned serious. “I’ve got a second Orb of Thesulah.”
Spike sat down. He pulled out his cigarettes, saw Giles glare at him, and put them away again. “So you can give Dru a soul,” he said.
“So you can put Angel’s soul back?” Buffy said at almost the same moment.
“I think so,” Jenny said. “If my translation of the Rituals of the Undead is accurate. I won’t know until I try.”
“So try,” Buffy urged. “Now would be good. I mean, Angel’s walking now, we don’t need to catch him first, ‘cause he can protect himself from the evil vampires.”
“The other evil vampires,” Xander muttered under his breath. Buffy heard him anyway and aimed a glare in his direction. “Okay, busted,” Xander said aloud. “Just, why should I pretend? I hate Angel. The soul thing? Well, it’ll make him all miserable again, and I guess that’s of the good, but staking him would be way simpler. And yeah, Drusilla too.”
“Xander!” Buffy gasped. “How can you say that?”
“So those are the thoughts of the Creature from the Black Lagoon?” Spike said almost in a growl. “Nobody stakes Dru unless there’s no other choice, okay?”
“Yeah, I know, it’s all been decided,” Xander grumbled. “Only, it’s not the way that I’d have decided it. They’re killers. Only, we can’t dust them because it would hurt the feelings of Buffy and her new best buddy Spike. Who is a killer too, remember?”
“I’m not bloody sticking around here to listen to this,” Spike growled. He stood up and stalked out of the library.
“You take that back, Xander,” he heard Buffy demanding behind him, and then the door swung shut behind him and the rest of the conversation was cut off.
Spike made his way out of the school buildings and stopped to light up a cigarette. At the moment at which the flame was filling his vision there was a faint whisper of approaching sound. He leaped to one side, acting out of pure instinct, and a stake missed his chest by inches. He dropped both the cigarette and his treasured Zippo lighter and they skittered away down the school steps.
Spike turned to face his attacker, his hand reaching for a stake, but he changed his mind about the weapon when he recognized the dark shape. “Bloody hell!” he exclaimed. “It’s the spare Slayer. That Jamaican bint.”
“Don’ you call me ‘Jamaican’, vampire,” Kendra told him coldly. “You gonna die now, but might as well know you die by de hand of a girl from Montserrat.”
“Yeah, that’s an important distinction,” Spike said. He backed away as Kendra advanced, and raised his hands with palms towards her. “Look, you daft little chit, hasn’t anyone told you that I’m on your side?”
“Don’ try to fool me, mon, I know you. Spike de vampire. You get out from de church, mon, but your time done run out now. You gonna meet Mister Pointy.”
Spike stared at the wavy stake of tropical wood that was aimed towards his heart. “You named your stake? Anyone ever tell you you’re missing out on a lot of things in life, pet?”
Kendra didn’t reply. She feinted with the stake and lashed out a kick. Spike parried the kick with his forearms but made no attempt to strike back. “Hold on a minute, luv,” he urged. “Talk this over with Buffy and Giles, they’re right there in the school library. They’ll tell you.” He ducked under a spin kick and was forced backwards by the backfist strike that followed. “I’m not one of the bad guys any more.”
Kendra ignored his words, and took no notice of Spike’s failure to hit back at her in any way. She kicked again, unleashed a right-left-right combination of punches, and then another kick. Spike retreated down the steps but his foot came down on the fallen lighter. It moved under him and threw him off balance just as Kendra kicked yet again. Spike fell sideways and rolled down the steps with Kendra following close behind.
Kendra caught up with Spike before he could regain his feet and she dropped down on his left shoulder with one knee, pinning his arm. He raised his right arm defensively but she caught it with her left hand and stopped him from protecting his chest. The Slayer raised Mister Pointy high and then began to bring it down.
“Hey! Kendra! Stop!” a male voice yelled from the top of the steps.
Kendra hesitated. She turned her head towards the speaker and Spike took advantage of her distraction to wrench his arm free of her grasp.
“Stop!” the voice yelled again. It was Xander. He ran down the steps. “Don’t kill the bleached pest, Kendra. He’s on our side now.”
“He say so,” Kendra said uncertainly. “I don’ believe him, ‘cause vampires dey tell lies always, mon. You mean, he telling de truth?”
“I hate to say it, but, yeah. He, well, he’s done a lot of good lately. Saved Miss Calendar’s life, Buffy’s too most likely, and he’s dusted a whole slew of vamps. Put the stake away, Kendra.”
She complied immediately and stood up, freeing Spike’s shoulder and allowing him to stand. His first impulse was to snarl at her but he restrained himself; a Champion should at least pretend to be courteous.
“Sorry, mon,” Kendra said. She bent and picked up his lighter from the steps and passed it to him.
“’S okay, no harm done,” Spike said, forcing an insincere smile to his lips. “Where’s my ciggie?” He spotted the glowing end on the steps, and picked up the cigarette, only to cast it aside with a curse as he saw that the unlit section was squashed flat. He rummaged in his pocket for another. “Thanks, Harris,” he acknowledged. “You probably saved me there. Wasn’t sure how hard I could fight back without breaking the deal, and I think I held back a bit too much. How come you followed me out, anyway? Something else they want me for?”
“Buffy sent me out to apologize,” Xander admitted.
“Consider it accepted,” Spike grinned. “Saving my life beats hell out of flowers.”
“My Watcher send me to help,” Kendra explained, “because he tell me…”
“Don’t tell me, let me guess,” Buffy interrupted. “A dark power is about to arise in Sunnydale?”
“Dat’s right. An’ threaten de survival of de whole world.” Kendra was wearing a backpack; she removed it, rummaged within, and extracted a book, which she handed to Giles.
“That’s what that Whistler bloke told me,” Spike put in. “Angelus was going to destroy the world if we didn’t stop him. I said that world destruction was a bit out of Angelus’ league, but he said there was a prophecy.”
Giles flipped through the book and stopped at an illustration. He peered at it closely and then stood up. “Oh, dear Lord,” he said. “Ah, excuse me, I must make a telephone call.”
“I’m thinking that’s not of the good,” Buffy commented as Giles scurried off towards his little office.
“Don’ worry, we stop him,” Kendra said. “Me, you, an’ dis vampire, we won’ have no trouble turnin’ Angelus to dust.”
Buffy winced. Xander coughed. Willow opened her eyes very wide and swallowed. “You can’t do that,” she said. “It – it’s all pretty complicated.”
“We’re going to restore Angel and Drusilla’s souls,” Oz said. “Don’t stake them, just stake the other vampires. Except Spike.”
“Okay, maybe it’s not that complicated,” Willow said, smiling at her boyfriend.
Kendra looked around the assembled gang. “You can do dis?”
“I think so,” Jenny said. “I need to fast for twenty-four hours for purification first, and then I’ll go for it.”
Spike frowned. “Wouldn’t surprise me if Dru didn’t get a warning in a vision, pet, in which case Angelus is going to be desperate to stop you. The next twenty-four hours could be a bit of an interesting time.”
Giles re-entered the room. “What was that about the next twenty-four hours?” he asked.
“I have to fast for twenty-four hours before I can cast the ensouling spell,” Jenny informed him.
“Yeah, and I was just saying that if Dru gets a vision about it then Angelus is gonna throw everything he’s bleeding well got at us to stop Jenny casting the spell,” Spike added.
“If he doesn’t end the world first,” Giles said. He returned to Kendra’s book. “The demon Acathla has the power to suck the world into Hell. It was turned to stone and entombed within an obelisk.” He held the illustration up so that the group could all see it. “This obelisk. It was dug up during the construction of a housing development just out of town, and taken to the museum, where I was asked to examine it this afternoon. And from where it has just been stolen.”
“It’s a big rock,” Spike commented. “Doesn’t look that scary. What’s the big deal? Something like, if sunlight falls on it a signal gets transmitted to something orbiting Jupiter, and we have to send a mission there, and the computer goes nuts and starts killing people and singing ‘Daisy, Daisy’, and then there’s a really weird bit that nobody understands?”
His levity drew an amused snort from Jenny, from Willow, and – to his surprise – from Xander, a raised eyebrow and a half-smile from Oz, an eye-roll from Buffy, and baffled incomprehension from Cordelia and Kendra. Giles simply ignored the comment altogether.
“Extracting the demon from the obelisk is a relatively simple task,” he continued. He turned a page and held up the book to display another illustration. This one depicted a squat demon with stubby horns. A sword transfixed the demon’s chest.
“Acathla was sent forth to destroy humanity,” Giles went on. “His mouth leads to another dimension, a demon realm incompatible with human life, and he opened his mouth to suck in the world. Humanity had been warned, however, and a Champion with a blessed sword was ready. The blow turned Acathla to stone. If the sword is removed, however, he will return to life and continue with his mission of destruction. “
“I’m guessing there is a way of taking out the sword,” Buffy observed.
“Whosoever can draw out this sword…” Spike quoted.
“Indeed.” Giles frowned deeply as he pored over a section of the text. “It looks worryingly as if Angel would qualify.”
“Long as it doesn’t make him King of Britain,” Spike muttered. “Git’s sodding Irish, for a start.”
Giles took his eyes from the book for a moment and gave Spike a weary look. “This is the Chronicle of Acathla, not ‘The Once And Future King’,” he said. “Angelus is not trying to become King Arthur. Although, the Britons were Celts, and his Irishness would not necessarily disqualify him…”
“Hey, back on topic,” Buffy prompted.
“Oh, yes, quite. There is a ritual that must be performed. Some aspects of that ritual are rather obscure. Angelus is unlikely to be familiar with it, and I doubt if he will be able to get everything right for some considerable time. I sincerely hope so, anyway, as the consequences of removing the sword would be dire. Acathla will wake and with one breath he will create a whirlpool, a vortex, that will suck everyone from this world into the hell dimension where all humans will experience unimaginable torment and death.”
“Well, you just have to stop him,” Cordelia commanded, “because getting sucked into a hell dimension? No on my ‘to do’ list. Why couldn’t it be a Mall dimension where we’d experience unimaginable shopping opportunities?”
Giles looked heavenwards and groaned. “I assure you that I have every intention of stopping him.”
“Maybe dis can help,” Kendra said, extracting a long cloth-wrapped bundle from her backpack. “Mister Zabuto send it wit’ me,” she went on, unwrapping the bundle as she spoke. “This was blessed by de knight who first slew de demon, he tell me, an’ it is not for me to use.” She held up a sword with an ornate crossguard. “It is for de Champion, so I t’ought dat he mean Buffy, only now I t’ink dat it is for Mister Spike.”
“What?” Spike spluttered. “For me? Are you off your bird?”
Kendra raised her eyebrows. “Don’ you know how to use a sword?”
“’Course I do, pet. Could show you a few tricks, count on it.”
“Den what your problem?”
“I think it’s that word ‘blessed’ that you mentioned,” Buffy said. “Hey, Spike, give it a try. It was just blessed by a knight, not by like the Pope or anything, so I’m guessing it’ll be okay.”
“Wasn’t that. It’s – look, I’m not a real Champion. Just a substitute, that’s all. Only fighting the good fight ‘cos it’s a fight, y’know.”
“You’re a real Champion as far as I’m concerned,” Jenny told him.
“I’m good with that,” Buffy added. “Give it a whirl.”
“A goal scored by a substitute counts for just as much as a goal scored by a player who has been on since the start,” Giles pointed out. “I’m sure that Alex Ferguson does not lightly dismiss the contributions of Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Take it, Spike.”
Giles took the sword from Kendra and held it out to Spike, who reached out his right hand and touched the hilt gingerly. He felt none of the burning sensation that he would have suffered from a holy artifact and was emboldened enough to take hold of the hilt with his left hand. He drew the sword from its scabbard and held it aloft. “Once more into the breach, dear friends,” he declaimed, and then lowered the sword.
Giles looked over the top of his glasses at him. “Yes, well, I’ll leave the role of ‘English dead’ to you, if you don’t mind, Spike. I think the matter of the sword is settled. We must now consider our plan of action.”
Spike returned to his motel an hour before dawn. The night had passed without incident. The world had not been sucked into Hell, Angelus had made no attempt to attack, and Spike had not yet had an opportunity to try out his new sword. He wrapped it up in its cloth coverings as he approached the motel; no point in attracting attention.
As he approached his room he was trying to avoid thinking about his status as a Champion. Being given a sword that was linked to some sort of prophecy, and being recognized as a Champion not just by the people he had been working with for a couple of months but by the other Slayer, had inspired feelings within him that had been dormant for over a century. It meant something big. Something serious. Too serious for this time of night, when all he really wanted to do was to fill up with blood and then go to sleep, and he sought for some lighter topic more appropriate to the hour.
Girls, for instance. Kendra’s spectacular knockers, displayed to advantage by her tight khaki top, now they were something to think about at bedtime, yeah. Not that Kendra was quite his type. Fighting against her had never given him the same buzz as fighting against Buffy. The blonde Slayer was something special. Shame she wasn’t a year or two older…
Spike’s train of thought was derailed abruptly as he opened the door of his room and he saw the figure inside. “Dru? What the hell are you doing here?”
“You’ve been a naughty boy, my Spike,” Drusilla said. “Hanging around with nasty Slayers, oh yes, and Watchers and witches, and doing bad things to my Angel. All because of that silly Kate Bush.”
“Worked it out, have you?” Spike stepped into the room, his eyes fixed on his former lover. “Best get out, Dru. Don’t want to have to hurt you.”
“No, you want to fill me with that horrid spark,” Dru spat out. “Well, Daddy will stop you.”
Spike sensed the movement too late. Angel had been hidden behind the door. He stepped out, a blackjack in his hand, and he brought it down in a blow to Spike’s head. Dru seized Spike’s arm as he tried to turn to defend himself. The club thudded home and Spike was knocked to his knees, his head spinning, too dazed to take any evasive action. He saw Drusilla clapping her hands, beaming with glee, and gazing adoringly at the great Irish pillock; and then the cudgel landed again and everything went black.
The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.