Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters but have used a few lines of canon dialog.
Buffy stirred, and groaned as every bone in her body complained loudly. Carefully relaxing her muscles, she tried to open eyes that felt as though they were held closed by heavy weights. There were confusing sounds and smells around her. If she didn’t know better she could swear she was lying in the alley at the back of Willie’s Bar. Raucous singing - check. stale beer – check. rotting garbage – double check. What had hit her – and where the hell was it now?
A low moaning noise was echoing around her. “shut up” she thought irritably through the muddle inside her head “you’re giving me a headache.”
“Christ Slayer, shut up will ya’, you’re giving me an ‘eadache.”
Buffy tried to focus and realized with embarrassment that the painful moaning came from her. She breathed in, swallowed hard and the noise stopped. Licking her lips she tried to speak. Only one person she knew mangled the language that badly.
“Spike, is that you?”
“Think so Slayer, most o’ me anyway. ‘ang on, I’ll come and find you.”
There was rustling in front of her and Buffy blinked a few times before forcing her heavy eyelids open properly. She looked up at a sky filled with unfamiliar stars and – was that three moons? The view was framed by high walls – yup, definitely an alley. She turned her head carefully, every muscle protesting, and surveyed the piles of garbage, before looking up to a brightly lit sign proclaiming “Girls, Girls, Girls” with a flickering image of a pneumatic female whose assets were scarcely human. She sighed, suddenly remembering the previous events.
“Spike, this has got to be your fault, only you could find a strip club for us to land on.”
Pushing herself up into a sitting position, she scowled towards the shadow carefully edging towards her, allowing her eyes to adjust to the poor light.
“Where are we and what the hell happened?”
The shadow slid down the wall beside her and became Spike.
“Buggered if I know Slayer, what d’ you remember?”
“Well, swirling lights, jumping and falling, lots of falling, with time to think about what a bad idea jumping was. Landing was involved too but that’s a bit blurry.”
She paused, considered the situation for a moment and then looked at Spike puzzled.
“Where did you come from? This was supposed to be a trip for one.”
“The Whelp and I tried to grab you and Niblet as you jumped but the platform collapsed with us on it. Must have come through the portal just before it closed.” His shoulders slumped against the wall. “Bloody stupid idea now I come to think about it.”
Buffy gasped and pushed herself to standing. “Dawn and Xander, Oh God, they might be dead, the fall could have killed them. We’ve got to find them.” She threw herself at the bags of garbage piled against the alley walls and started pulling them apart.
“Hold it Slayer,” said Spike firmly, still against the wall, “no need to get yourself all worked up. The Whelp pushed Dawn back from the platform. She’s safe enough and, as I can’t smell splattered Scooby, I think he probably made it too.”
“Well, I may not smell splattered I certainly feel it” muttered a voice from a stinking container in front of them and a large and very unpleasant smelling figure hauled itself out and started brushing itself down.
“Xander” gasped Buffy, “Oh Xander” and threw herself at him, only to pull up short sniffing the air. “God you stink,” she looked down “and so do I. We have so got to get clean.”
She glared at Xander “where’s Dawn?”
“Don’t worry Buff, she didn’t fall, I pushed her back towards Giles when the platform gave way, he had her held tight.”
Buffy sighed. “Thank God.” She looked at Xander anxiously “We did it didn’t we, we closed the portal and Glory’s gone.”
“Yea Buffy, you really did, slayed a hell god and saved Dawn. Dead boy and I only seem to be along for the ride, although ride to where I’m not sure. This smells like Willies on kitten poker night.”
Buffy glanced about “Yea, I thought that. Why don’t we sneak into the bar and get ourselves cleaned up, check out the damage and find out where we are. Can you sense any demons Spike, cos’ my spidey sense seems to be a little screwed up here.”
Her request was met with silence “Hey Spike, cat got your tongue?”
Still no response. Buffy glanced over to the wall to see Spike’s figure crumpled at the base of the wall. Xander looked over, “Hey Buff, he doesn’t look too good and there’s blood, lots of it.”
“Damn” sighed Buffy “Stupid Vampire, what’s he done now.”
She hurried over, grimacing with distaste as she squelched through unseen somethings which released extremely unpleasant odors. Somebody was going to owe her new boots, and new jeans and well, damn a whole new wardrobe. Bending down over Spike she rested her hand on his shoulder and shook it gently.
“Spike, hey Spike – you still with us?” Her heart stilled then beat a little faster when she heard a faint groan. She ran her hands over him and one came away damp and sticky as she touched the back of his head.
“This is not good, Xander, he’s loosing a lot of blood from a head wound but I can’t see what happened in this light. We need to get him into the bar and look at him properly.”
Xander moved towards her and peered down at Spike over her shoulder. “It looks as though somebody tried to dig a hole through his skull, It’s a real mess Buffy, he’s going to need blood to heal that.”
“Not dust yet Whelp, no need to talk round me” rasped Spike’s voice, sounding very woozy “and I’m thinking that something came out, not went in.”
Buffy glanced down again and felt a strange sense of relief at hearing his voice. A non-talking Spike was not something that she had much experience of and it made her feel worried and uncomfortable for some reason. As thinking about why it made her uncomfortable made her even more uncomfortable she decided to file the whole thought process away to take out and consider another day.
“Xander’s right, Spike, you are going to need blood; and where are we going to find that in a strange town” she muttered “we can’t just go to a Butchers and ask for a dozen sausages and a flask of his best O neg. Why do vampires make everything so complicated.”
Xander spluttered, completely ignoring her ramblings “Hey Buff, didn’t you hear what he said – something came out, like maybe a small piece of circuitry, say a CHIP!”
Buffy glanced down at Spike in sudden shock and then looked again - hard. “For heavens sake Xander, even if it was the chip that came out, he’s hardly in a fit stage to go rampaging about slaughtering us. He can’t even stand up.”
“Yea, but we’re going to have to help him to the bar and no way am I putting my neck near his fangs now.”
“Wouldn’t want you anyway you moron” whispered Spike “too much sugar in you, you’d give me a heart attack.”
Buffy grinned, somehow relieved that Spike could continue joking, even in dire circumstances. She refused to think about why she wasn’t taking the sensible option of staking the now fully functioning vampire whilst he was defenseless, and waved an arm at Xander.
“Come on Xander, help me get him into the bar and we can sort it all out later.”
Muttering, Xander bent down and draped Spike’s arms over his shoulder, pulling him up and supporting him with one arm about his waist.
“You drip blood on my clothes and you are so dead – again” he whispered and then looked over at Buffy.
“Buff, we are going to be real conspicuous in there, blood against bleached hair is not a good look for him.”
Buffy sighed and glanced about her, still unable to make out much in the gloom. “Can’t see anything we can hide it with here. Tell you what, I’ll just check out the bar. We can maybe sneak into the back and then head for the little girl’s room for a clean up without anybody noticing us. You stay here with Spike, I’ll only be a second.”
“Yea OK, but Buff, I’m not going to the little girls room, I want big macho mens’ rooms only.”
Buffy snorted and vanished through the door.
Xander lent against the wall, still holding Spike, and whistled to himself silently. His companion was silent, seemingly focusing all his energy on staying upright. Xander didn’t blame him. Despite his comments Xander knew that Spike posed no threat, not just because of the whole huge hole in the head thing, although the vampire was clearly too incapacitated to attack, but also the inner Xan saying “this man is hurt and helpless.”
“And since when did Spike become a man” he huffed to himself, but it didn’t change his feelings and those feelings were saying, for some bizarre and scary reason “Protect.”
This place concerned him, he didn’t recognize it, didn’t know where to hide if some big bad came along and wasn’t sure what type of big bads lived here anyway and whether they liked Xander shaped snacks. He was also concerned that he was not feeling down right terrified about the whole situation. He wasn’t a hero, he was the side kick and a fairly lame one at that. He should be cowering and whimpering and calling for help. Instead he felt – concerned, which really was not a strong enough emotion for the circumstances.
When he had first regained consciousness in the alley he had thought it was adrenalin flowing through him, giving him improved senses and making him feel strong, capable, ready to deal with what ever this town could throw at him. He had used those feelings before, many times. The rush it gave was what got him out of one scrape after another with Buffy, how he survived chaos and apocalypse without super strength.
But he had never been like this, he felt better than he ever had in his life before. The inner Xan-man, who suddenly had changed sex and shape and was now pacing around his skull in the shape of a large female hyena, seemed to agree with him that this was a great way to be. He had noticed, even if Buffy hadn’t, how much better he could see in the alley than her. If she had asked him he would have been able to tell her that there were no demons in the bar. He was fairly sure he could smell a demon if necessary. He could certainly smell Spike, an interesting combination of smoke, whiskey, blood and, he sniffed quietly, cinnamon. Now where did that come from.
He shifted slightly and lifted his head to catch scents in the air. He could smell people, thousands of people crammed into a small area, their pheromones wafting in the breeze telling him .. everything. Through the human stench he could sense, coming from the South, a metallic/chemical smell, making him think of industry and engineering, His eyes followed his nose, noticing lights in the distance, some sort of a airport possibly, he inhaled deeply, what else was there, tickling the edge of his perceptions…
He snarled at the small weak, injured figure, and then drew back shocked, what was going on with him.
“Did you know that your eyes glow green, and, although it’s hard to tell through the garbage, I’d say you smell a lot like Red’s wolf.”
Xander was furious, how dare this inferior challenge him, he could feel the anger coiled around his head, hot and bubbling, waiting to explode. The inner hyena was standing straddle legged, hackles up and growling with mouth agape and sharp teeth at the ready.
The small blond figure watched him expressionlessly and then spoke again, very calmly
“Xander, are you in there, because I really don’t think that the Slayer’s going to be pleased if she comes back and finds you’re a dog. And, knowing my luck she will find someway to blame it all on me.”
Xander suddenly took a breath, horrified at the direction his thoughts had taken, pleasurable thoughts of ripping and rending and eating into Spike. He could still feel her, at the back of his mind, circling and watching, waiting to come forward.
“Jesus” he gasped, “What the hell was that! What happened to me?”
Spike was still watching him very carefully “You back Whelp?”
“Quit calling me that” snapped Xander “ and yes, definitely back, no more thoughts of eating rare Spike steaks” he shuddered “where the hell did that come from, that is so totally gross.” He looked at Spike “and will you stop sniffing me.”
Spike smiled weakly and spoke more seriously than Xander had ever heard him.
“Something has changed Xander, you smell… “ he sniffed again “well, if I didn’t know better I’d say Hyena. What’ve you been up to?”
He shook his head.
“Never mind, it’s not important for the moment.”
He took a deep breath “OK listen up. I’m hurt bad and I’m not sure how long it will take to heal, unless I get blood. You are going to be all the Slayer has for the time being so in a way this might be a good thing. Tell me, when the dog was there how did you feel?”
Xander shrugged “strong, confident, I can see better, hear better, smell stuff.”
“Yea, but are you in control?”
Xander paused and carefully examined the animal circling in his head, he sent a thought towards it, curious and welcoming and the animal responded, tail wagging and panting happily at being recognized. Xander sighed inwardly, So much for Giles removing the Hyena possession.
“Think so, I can sort of see it inside my head but she doesn’t seem to want to take over, in fact I think she wants to play.”
"Well, she didn’t want to play a minute ago, she wanted to tear me into very small pieces. You don’t smell like a Were’ of any sort which is a bonus, no having to deal with unfortunate accidents during a full moon. So must be some sort of animal spirit. How the hell did she get inside you?”
Xander looked sheepish. “She’s been there for a few years. Before your time we had some issues with Hyena possession, Buff closed it all down but not before I got up close and far too personal with the matriarch of the pack. Giles swore we’d got rid of her but it looks as though she hung around to give me a helping paw.”
He scratched his head “not sure why she has suddenly appeared now, I could have done with her lots before.”
Spike laughed, which rapidly turned into a chocking rasp. “Christ dog boy, you really are a demon girl magnet, can’t even get possessed by the right sex can you.”
Xander scowled, felt the anger pushing up inside him at the insolence from the vampire but switched quickly to worry as the Vampire slipped down in his arms as his legs gave way. “Hold on Spike, don’t dust yet, we need you.”
Spike nodded slightly, his face screwed up in pain and holding on to Xander for dear life, or in his case, un-life.
The smell of blood was beginning to seriously disturb Xander, especially rather than retching, it was making him hungry. He was seriously thinking about putting Spike down for a minute and going to find Buffy when she popped out of the bar door, a huge grin on her face.
“OK guys, this is great, its some sort of redneck bar, dim lighting, full to overflowing and, looking at the state of the customers, you two will fit right in, blood, stench and all. There’s some empty tables at the back near a light. Follow me and try to look drunk, OK.”
She glanced at Spike and then Xander “How’s he holding up Xand?”
Xander and Spike spoke at the same time
“Not good Buff.”
“I’m fine Slayer, just get me a bottle of whiskey and I’ll be ready to go 10 rounds with a Polgara demon.”
Xander looked at the vampire in his arms, snorted and hitched him up. “OK, you evil vampire you, lets do this and get you working again.”
The three of them vanished quickly and silently into the bar.