Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Dark
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters. If you do, first you aren’t using them in the best manner available, and second if you sue me you will be sadly disappointed with the lack of money you walk away with. It will be somewhere in the vicinity of the 0-10$ range. Sorry.
A/N: I hate author’s notes, but I just wanted to say that if there is backstory for the De Soto that I have forgotten or never knew, please don’t crucify me. I love the iconic vehicle and it will be featured here. Thanks muchly! While I am doing the hated “author’s note” thing: Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to review and say something kind or point out notable flaws in my story. Thanks. I realize I still haven’t fixed a few of those mistakes, notably the whole Amy thing in Chapter 1, but I am getting there. I have a four month old and a 17 month old, so my life is …hectic. Yes, hectic.
Xander’s startled, chocolate brown eyes were huge in the rearview mirror as he leaned forward. Panic shivered in the air around him as he clutched the back of the dusty, stained seat in front of him.
“Spike? What are you doing? What-“, Xander paused to tighten his grip on the seat as the car careened around a sharp turn,”-what the hell? Why didn’t you just get the ticket you bleached moron?” His hand thumped the headrest and his voice ended on a high note putting a wince on Spike’s face.
The vampire found himself shrugging. It wasn’t like he was going to admit to being afraid of those wanker cops. Not to Xander. Not to anyone. He’s the Big Bad, bugger it, and the Big Bad isn’t afraid of fucking cops. Fuck those gun toting bobbies and fuck Xander for being his idiot self.
“I don’t exactly have a driver’s license do I? I’ve had the De Soto for about 50 years and I’m not about to lose it to the impounding lot in Sunnydale of all places,” he growled out as he concentrated on trying to shake the cruiser. His chest rumbled with a real growl. Mentally he began running through the street grid that he knew made up this neighborhood. No place to hide here. Usually the Sunnydale police were either preoccupied with “gang activity” or just bloody inept, but not today. A pox on them all. They stuck to his tail like flies on a bloated, week old corpse. Murphy’s law is in high gear tonight. The lights flickered through the thin coat of spray paint on the back window and taunted him from his side view mirrors. Red, blue, red, blue. Irritating like a wasp in his ear.
“You’ve been driving around all this time without a license?” Xander wailed again, right into his bloody ear. He had a clear view of his incredulous face in the rearview mirror. Spike took another sharp left slamming the annoying boy into the tantalizing god in his back seat. All that leather flashed in by in the mirror as Xander knocked him flailing. Spike’s fangs nearly itched with the desire to bite him. Hmmmm. Followed by a quick toss in the hay. Both men in the back seat let out irritated sounds as they bruised each other and he grinned and began to spin the wheel into an extra violent left turn. He smirked happily and the spring of tension in his guts loosened as he realized they were nearing the warehouse district. All of the cozy domestic scenes were giving way to seedy looking buildings nearing the end of their usefulness. The old factory that he and Dru had occupied was in this area, so he had a gangster’s familiarity with the potential hidey holes. Have to know where to go when the shit hits the fan, universal problem of bad guys everywhere. He did not want to have a confrontation with the police not being able to rip them limb from limb. Aside from the indignity of it all, jail guaranteed a small pile of dust what with their desire to do most things during daylight hours. Spike growled low and deep in his chest again as the cops kept close pace with him. He pounded the steering wheel with both hands in agitation.
“Evil here! When was I supposed to get one? With what papers? You nit.” He frowned harshly. Idiot. Both front side windows were rolled down and the smell of the night air carried burnt rubber to his sensitive nose. It blew over his face and the sirens started up. Why will these cops not give up? Usually they have enough sense to stop by now. He accelerated faster keeping a keen eye on the road. The last thing he wanted to do was murder Xander or ding up his baby more than it already was. He shuddered. He could only imagine the snit the Slayer would be in. Not that Xander isn’t his friend, but it’s damn inconvenient having so many people in his charge that could be damaged easily. He shook his head. It had been a long time since a car crash would cause him pause. Either he would be fine and heal or he would be dust. Either way, not much to worry about.
“Well, you’re all criminal, bleached evil
guy with the Grrr…I just assumed you had a fake one or something,” Xander shot back. Spike wondered if he could manage to backhand him without sending them into a building. The reaction from the chip would if leaving the wheel didn’t. He settled for taking another hard turn around a city corner. He sent Xander into the arms of the man beside him and they were slammed against the side of the car yet again. Spike noted they were now comfortably deep within the warehouse district and he could smell ocean on the wind. His shoulders relaxed a bit. He hadn’t realized how tightly he was holding himself.
“With what dosh? Do you have any
idea how expensive it is to get a fake ID that will stand up to scrutiny? Not like I have a retinue to take care of that sort of trifle for me anymore.”
“These the city guard come to knock us around?” Strife sounded excitable and Spike wondered how often he got his head kicked in. About as often as himself by the sounds of things.
“Spike was driving like a dick, so yes,” Xander murmured softly.
“I heard that brat!”
“You were and you know it, Bleached Blunder! You always
drive like an asshole. Evidence to support my claim? Giles never letting you borrow his car.”
“Shut it.” Spike scoped out the police situation in the mirrors again. Perhaps a change in tactics? This seemed to be going nowhere but circles. Plus, Xander scared is pissy Xander and pissy Xander makes him yearn for bloodshed and carnage.
“Make me.” Spike didn’t have to put eyes on the mirror to know what Xander’s petulant face looked like, screwed up and resembling the child he probably never really was. He was familiar with every line, every nook, and every possible twitch after several nights tied to his hideously uncomfortable armchair. He would bet his last match that the boy was sticking out his tongue without even looking. He felt his temper snapping. Times like this he wished he could take the boy and turn him and spend an eternity beating respect into his thick skull, no matter how entertaining he could be. As much as he hated Sir Poof of the Hair Gel he was growing to understand why Angelus had taken him to task so often. Similarities between himself and Xander? Fuck that.
Spike’s Doc Martins slammed into the pedal bringing the car to an abrupt squealing halt and Xander’s face bounced off the back of the seat so harshly Spike felt the jolt shudder through his chest. The tantalizing copper and salt smell of rich human blood permeated the air and he groaned. This time his fangs did slide down and his face itched to slide into the demon. Briefly his face flickered before settling into the softer planes of his human face.
“Fuck! My nose! Spike!” There were tears in Xander’s trembling voice and his rage settled. Shit. He didn’t want the whelp hurt. Not permanently. Not really. He refused to glance into the back seat. He’d seen Xander bloodied often enough. No need to tempt himself. Not going to feel guilty. NO.
“Hold still. Hold still.” Strife soothed and there was shuffling in the back seat and the sound of some fabric ripping. He didn’t look to see what was being destroyed, instead keeping his eye on Sunnyhell’s finest.
“You told me to make you,” he spoke softly and grinned as he watched the police in the side mirrors creeping out of their vehicles.
“Ta love.” Spike kept up the banter, but only had eyes for the police.
“Out of the car! Hands in the air!” Came angry orders.
“Well, hell,” the smirk fell from his face as another police cruiser came shrieking toward the De Soto from the front. It stopped about half a block away and was pulled across the street leaving no way around, but through. These blokes were getting coordinated. Bloody fucking hell.
“Spike?” Xander sounded scared and that got his irritation boiling all over again. He hated the fucking chip in his head.
“Shhhh…quiet. Let ‘m think. Tilt forward or you’ll be sick from swallowin’ the blood.” Strife’s voice was soothing, and not at all what Spike had expected from a god that thrives on mischief and misery.
“Spike, what are you going to do?” Drumming his fingers on the wheel he cringed. No way around it now. He leaned over and pressed a kiss to the dashboard. Lots of good times in this car. Come to think of it, plenty of bad too, but it’d been a constant and that was something his life had been sorely lacking for many a year.
“You’re immortal right, ducks?” Spike shot back to the god. “That makes you hard to kill, yeah?”
“Ummm….I don’t like where this is going. I’m not.” Xander reached around to shake Spike’s shoulder fingers digging into the hard muscle. “Let’s just get out and deal with the cops. Please? It’s not like they’re that bright. I’m bleeding. We can tell them we were on the way to the hospital.”
“Can’t deal with them can I?” The bitterness in Spike’s voice caused Xander to squeeze his shoulder harder.
Strife’s leaned forward between the seats so that Spike could catch a psychotic glint in his eye, one worthy or Dru on one of her benders.
“Can we take ‘em, you an’ I?” There was a serious look on his face and he tapped the axe meaningfully against his leg.
“No time to explain, but he can’t hack’n’slash the human population anymore,” Xander’s stuffy voice chimed in. Spike sighed.
“Thanks,” he muttered coldly. Strife shook his head, frowning and then bounced in the seat.
“I could take care of them. There aren’t that many.”
“Are we talking about murdering cops?” Xander squeaked. Honest to everything unholy, squeaked.
“Nah, your boy won’t like that much. He’s a do gooder in case you haven’t noticed.” Spike ground out through his gritted teeth. It’s tempting to just set the god loose on the cops.
“Get out of the car! Hands in the air!” The cops were creeping closer, and Spike’s hands twitched on the wheel.
“Healah’s are touchy about puttin’ holes inta people. Ace hates it when we break humans an then ask him ta fix them.” Confused, Spike turned to face him fully with an eyebrow cocked only to receive an equally mystified look in return from Strife. Whatever. Later.
“Brace yourselves!” His foot drove the gas pedal to the floor again burning rubber and lurching the car forward. Xander pulled Strife’s head down as the rear window shattered from gunfire and they both had their hands out in front of them. Then everything was chaos. The windshield spidered and cracked as the cops in front of him fired before bailing out of the way. A bullet caught his left arm and the pain was fire crawling down the appendage. It ached all the way through his arm and chest to his back. He sucked in unneeded breath before the De Soto plowed into the front of the police cruiser. The cruiser was easily pushed out of the way by his heavy relic of the 50’s and Spike let out a war whoop as the dazed cops stood and unloaded their weapons into his car. He heard a sob from the back seat and prayed to whatever deities would answer the prayers of a lone vampire that Xander was all right. The smell of his blood was already thick in the air, so he had no way of telling if there were more. Obviously, the god was in one piece or he’d be climbing back there to try and drain him dry. He wasn’t at all confident of his ability to not at least lick up every drop of that glorious candied blood if it were spilled in any quantity.
His adrenaline was up and his hands were fairly vibrating on the steering wheel. He needed to get Xander and Strife to the basement apartment and hide the car till the heat wears off. Maybe switch the plates out. Unlikely to help though. Maybe, shudder, a paint job.
“Bloody hell. We’ve been playing too much Grand Theft Auto,” he muttered to himself rolling his eyes.
“Spike?” His name came out on the hitched breath of a sob. He knew where he was going now though, so he didn’t turn.
“Umm. No collar here. There’s no bullet here, I don’t think, but I need to be stitched up. There’s a lot of blood.” His breath was hitching and Spike didn’t want to look back and see the tears rolling down his friend’s face.
“He’s losin’ a lot of blood, but he should be all right for a little while,” Strife clarified. Spike risked a look into the rearview mirror.
“Change of plans then.”
“What plan?” Strife asked, keen to be let into the plotting.
“We’re going to Willy’s.” He nodded to himself pulling at the steering wheel. She wanted to list to the right now. Something important was thumping and making a bad smell from the front.
“What the hell? Why?” Cried Xander forlornly. “I hate Willy!”
“Shut it, everyone hates Willy, and just do as I say when we get there.” Urge to throttle rising.
“I need a hospital. Hospital. Not a beer. I won’t heal up with enough Jack like you will,” Xander’s voice was starting to take on a woozy quality that pricked at Spike and made him drive faster. Strife began shushing him.
“Boy, is there anything short of the second coming that will make you shut your damned mouth?”
Strife giggled quietly. Spike groaned and resigned himself to not beating, killing, or maiming the boy further with his driving. At an extremely high rate of speed they made their way to the most popular local demon bar. He held his unnecessary breath the entire way, hoping the cops were occupied with something else by now and not out looking for his car. Fat chance, but he could hope all he wanted.
Willy’s was jumping when they got there. The parking lot was full. Demons were loitering around outside shooting the shit. The ones outside looked human, but to Spike’s sensitive nose they were clearly unveiled. He didn’t see any vampires, though they weren’t the only demons sensitive to blood by a long shot, but there was nothing to be done for it. He found a parking spot for his car between a motorcycle and an ugly green minivan. He rolled the windows up and mentally prepared himself before turning to look at Xander. His sharp eyes quickly assessing he relaxed a bit more. He’d seen Xander worse on an occasion or two, but not by much. The nose he wasn’t sure about, but doubted it had been broken. He was in Strife’s arms bleeding all over his black leather. Strife had a hand clamped over a wound on Xander’s outer thigh the other soothing the nape of his neck. Xander’s eyes were squeezed tightly shut and Strife had a bit of a shell shocked look. His smile was scary as he made eye contact with Spike.
“What were the weapons the guards were using?”
He simply nodded as if filing that information away for later.
“Effective range weaponry,” he muttered. Spike snorted.
“Right. Let’s get’im up and out.”
Strife and Spike easily maneuvered Xander out of the black car, but in the process Xander managed to elbow Strife, causing him to stumble back a bit and knock the motorcycle over. Spike’s eyes grew huge, but he didn’t stop to pick it up. Hopefully whomever it belonged to wouldn’t be done drinking before they were in and out. They half dragged, half walked Xander to the front door. He’d swallow his tongue before he spouted it out loud, but he was beginning to worry for the boy. His jeans were soaked with blood. Spike kicked the door open and bellowed before he’d even set foot in the building.
“Willy! We need the doc! Now! Where is he?”
“He’s in the back playing kitten poker, why?” Willy didn’t even bother to look up from the counter he was wiping. He paused to scrub at something sticky with his rag. Spike’s already ragged grasp on his temper disintegrated. Leaving Xander to be held up by Strife he stalked to the bar, grabbed a full glass of beer from a startled, small green demon along the way and threw it at the wall behind Willy’s head. The small man jumped and dropped his rag on the floor at his feet as Spike came to a halt before him. He slapped both hands onto the counter leaning toward the man eyes flashing golden.
“Wouldn’t bloody be asking if I didn’t need his services, would I? Go get him. Now. Right fucking now, before I make your insides your outsides! Bloody dense git!”
A small terrified sound left him as he tried to formulate a response. In the end Willy scurried away without saying a word. Spike turned to lean against the counter. He noticed Strife lowering Xander into an empty chair, once again clamping a hand to the leg would. He squatted beside Xander murmuring something to the boy. Spike nodded once at Strife in a reassuring manner. In less than a minute Willy came back trailed by a tall, thin, ancient Asian man. He wore an inexpensive red suit and red tie. His short white hair puffed out messily like whips of dandelion fluff. He had a welcoming smile on his face and the whiff of magic surrounding him sent a jolt like static electricity up his body as he reached out to shake the man’s hand with his right one.
“Master Spike. I did not think one such as yourself would visit me for a small injury. You will heal,” he smiled and nodded drunkenly and meant to turn to head back to his game. Confused Spike glanced down at his arm having forgetten he had been shot.
“Wait! Doc! M’boy over at that table. He’s why we’re here,” Spike ground his teeth together. If the old man weren’t so good at what he did then he would be unleashing all manner of insults. A vampire needing healing for a gunshot, indeed. Slowly, the old man turned and leaned toward where Xander was sitting. He squinted once and tilted his head before nodding and smiling again.
“Come. We will use the office,” he turned and lifted the sideboard on the bar walking behind the counter.
“I never said you could use my office for shit! I don’t want blood on my new computer chair. It’s a 200$ chair.” He went on and on and was ignored by everyone as Spike and Strife helped a quiet Xander hobble back to the room in question. It was small, and there wasn’t much in it aside from a chair, a shitty, falling apart wooden desk, an ancient PC and an open bottle of coconut rum. Spike took off his duster and draped it over the computer chair more to keep Xander from contracting anything from Willy’s disgusting furniture than to keep the chair clean, but at least Willy stopped bitching. He made a mental note to rip out his tongue when he got the chance.
Xander flopped down onto the chair and the old man tutted.
“I need to see the wound, young human.” Confused Xander stared at him and Spike sighed.
“Get your kit off.”
“I am NOT taking my pants off for some, creepy, stranger guy!”
“He’s doctor, you twit. Demon doc, but still. He’s seen everything you got about a hundred thousand times or so.”
“That is close to accurate,” the old man smiled reassuringly with a gentle humor swaying side to side as he stood still. Spike growled. How the old man kept us such a good mood all the time he didn’t know, but trying would drive him barmy.
Xander crossed his arms, obstinate. Spike silently wished he would pass out. Then they could end this bullshit easily enough.
“Take it off or I will,” he threatened and Xander’s eyes grew round even as his chalky face made an attempt at turning red. Tilting his head to the side Spike had a moment to wonder at the fact that he had enough blood left to do that. Xander struggled to stand and groaned. Spike moved forward to steady him as he unbuckled his belt and the jeans slid down over his hips. Strife crouched down and peeled the bloody jeans off of his left leg. The entire lower leg was covered in blood and it flowing in a fairly steady river from the wound. The Doc, Spike had no idea what his actual name was, drunkenly stumbled forward and leaned over to examine the damage. His head bobbed up and down as he harrumphed to himself, his dandelion fluff hair sparse and waving around as he did so. Just his luck he caught the old demon on a festive evening.
“This will be 500$.” The smile never waivered on the Doc’s face. He seemed content with letting Xander bleed out if they couldn’t reach an agreement. Not entirely shocked Spike wondered vaguely whom he’d pissed off in the cosmic realms recently. Strife looked ready to lay the man’s belly open and make party favors with his guts. He was once again poignantly reminded of his dark princess, slut that she was, he missed her occasionally. Spike had a soft spot for crazy.
“Oi! You only charged me 50$ the last time I needed you.”
“You are a demon. It is easier to heal someone who would heal easily. I charge more for humans. More work, more money,” he stood smiling as if there were no rush and Spike supposed for him there wasn’t. It wouldn’t matter how close Xander got to death. The old buzzard could pull him back.
“100$ not a nickel more.” Spike gritted his teeth. So much for buying blood this week. He supposed he could try to get it out of Xander later. If he had it that was.
“This is the slayer’s human, is it not? I changed my mind. 700$.” The old man hiccupped and stumbled back a half step before righting himself and clasping both of his hands together in front of his body.
“What?” Spike’s jaw dropped and he briefly considered whether he could just stitch the boy up himself. Been an age since he field dressed a wound and he never had for a human.
“I must do a good job or she will come to find me. A full healing costs more.”
“If you let’em bleed out the lil’ Amazon will turn ya into goo.” Strife hissed. “And you don’t want to know what I will do to whatever’s left.” His eyes narrowed and he looked ready to pounce. Would have done a vampire proud Spike mused.
“I ran out of kittens,” the laugh lined face sunk into a frown for the first time since Spike had seen him this evening.
“Bloody, buggering hell, doc. I’ll give you 300 $ now and swing ‘round to Clems and get you a few more kittens if you fix ‘em up fast. Clem owes me a dozen and a half.”
“Very generous of you Master Spike. Stand aside,” the Doc directed Strife who complied quickly and watched the proceedings with a close eye. The Doc stumbled forward and almost fell face first into Xander’s lap before Strife reached out worried hands to steady him. He glared at Spike who shrugged. Not like they had any better options. The hospital was right out and wouldn’t have been nearly as effective at any rate.
The entire thing was as anticlimactic as it gets. A few mumbled words and Xander’s wound was knitting itself closed under his boggled watch. He reached up to touch his nose, which now felt like it was the size it was supposed to be and the boy perked up as if he had downed a carafe of strong coffee.
“Holy moley Batman! Cool! Thanks! Hey! How come you’ve never done this before?” Xander went from pleased to accusing in the blink of an eyes and Spike rubbed his eyes wondering if it were possible for a vampire to get a migraine, without the help of a behavior modification chip that is. Strife seemed to be watching the byplay intently and had the feeling he might pay dearly for an answer the deity didn’t enjoy.
“You’ve never been shot before,” he said quietly as he walked to where Xander was now poking at his completely healed former wound. The scar was shiny, jagged and pink and he poked at it in wonder. Strife was quiet and calculating. Spike reached into one of his coat pockets and extracted a wad of cash tossing it to the older demon. He wasn’t sure what the old man was, exactly, but he’d only ever seen him in the human guise. For all he knew his type of demon actually did look like humans. Some did. The Doc fumbled and dropped the money on the floor. Xander stood up and carefully picked the money up handing it to the “man” who had healed him. Strife’s face turned scarlet¸ not a difficult feat for one so naturally pale, and Spike couldn’t help the laugh. He agreed Xander was a treat to look at. If only he could be kept from speaking…
“Thank you, sir. That was amazing. Is that spell hard to do? I have a friend who would love to know how to do something like that because she’s a super helpful person and-“
A bellow rang out from the front of the bar, not unusual, but it was loud and everyone in the room jumped. Willy arrived so quickly he seemed to materialize.
“Spike, did you, by chance, knock over a Kailiff demon’s motorcycle on the way in?”
Yep, definitely a migraine.
Something that sounded suspiciously like a table crashing into a wall echoed from the front of the bar and the sounds of a brawl began.
“Use the sewer entrance. You owe me,” Willy sighed, mentally tabulating the damage, as he closed and locked the office door. He pointed to a cardboard covered hole hidden under the desk that they had all missed.
Xander groaned as he quickly put his shoes on. He didn’t even bother trying to shimmy back into the bloodstained pants. No time.
“I hate the sewers,” he whined.
“Oh, really? Cause I thought they would make a nice summer home,” Spike tossed out as he threw the cardboard and eyed the rusty, metal ladder leading down into the dark. Strife looked unhappy as he peered around Spike to stare into the hole. He vamped out and sighed before making his way down first to keep the other two from breaking their necks in the darkness.
“Why’re we runnin’?” Strife asked miserably following down after Xander.
“Kailiff’s are generally employed as assassins, and I don’t know ‘bout you mate, but I’m not up to that at present.”
Strife giggled and the world went black as Willy replaced the cardboard over the hole.