The Blood of Fate: Chapter FourAuthor:
Marcus Wright, Dawn SummersWarnings:
Violence, gore. SPOILERS FOR T4!! Don’t say you weren’t warned!!Summary:
It was always about the blood…Disclaimer:
Terminator characters are the creation of James Cameron. Buffy characters are the property of Joss Whedon. I’m not making a profit and it wouldn’t do to come after me for money; I have three kids. I’m broke as a joke, yo!Author’s Notes:
Sorry about the extended delay on this one... it's been a hella long time in coming! Hopefully, it'll flow better from now on. :-)Beta credits:
dhark-charlotte, awesomegeek and sabaceanbabe. Thank you, all of you! I don’t know what I would have done without you guys!!
Dawn looked at her clock again, for what felt like the thousandth time in the last four days and let out a deep sigh. Picking up her cell phone from beside the pile of papers on her desk, she checked to make sure she had a signal. It didn’t matter that she had already checked it regularly over the last four days; she wanted to make sure it worked right then. Seeing that she did in fact have coverage in the room, she glared at the four bars happily shining back at her from the screen. Turning, she threw the offending phone across the room where it landed on the bed in between two pillows. There! – That showed it!
Turning back to her desk, Dawn ran a hand through her hair and frowned. It was time to face facts; four days and no call was a glaring indicator that Marcus just wasn’t interested. It wasn’t as if he was the first guy to say he’d call and then didn’t. However, he was the first guy that she actually cared if he called or not. Ever since her freshman year of college she’d had no real desire to date or be involved with anyone. It probably had something to do with that whole ‘lack of trust’ thing she had going on.
Marcus had seemed different, though. When she looked into his eyes… Dawn quickly derailed that train of thought, recognizing the futility of it. Whatever feelings they had were quite obviously one-sided and she just needed to accept it. She needed to concentrate on the task at hand.
Her feelings hurt, but resigning herself to the truth of the situation, Dawn reached over and picked up the book she was using to research an issue that had come up with one of the mini-Slayers. Goddess only knew what all of that actually meant. Their Dreams were sometimes difficult to decipher and just about always ended up in her having a massive headache from being the one to work them out.
A deep groan drew her attention and she turned to watch Spike rouse from his nap. Her fuzzy friend proceeded to indulge in a mighty stretch that nearly tipped over her nightstand with his substantial bulk. His doggy yoga complete, he walked the three steps over to Dawn and plopped his head on her lap. She was treated to a pair of blue eyes silently begging for his after-nap ear scratches. Smiling, she did her duty and scratched behind his ears, accepting his thanks by way of a lick to her hand and a happy snuffle. Once content with his human’s demonstration of affection, he flopped down at her feet and resumed his previous sleep mode. Dawn shook her head. A dog’s life was so uncomplicated. She picked up her pen and went back to her task, jotting down notes as she read through the book. She was quickly lost in Research Mode.
Dawn was so engrossed in her reading that several hours later the noise she heard on the fringe of her attention didn’t register. It was when Spike snurfled in his sleep that she finally tuned in and started in surprise - her phone was ringing! Lunging to her feet, she sprinted toward her bed to grab her cell phone. She probably would have been successful had Spike not been at her feet ; instead, she tripped over him, arms flailing wildly as she clung desperately to the blankets of her bed in a futile effort to not go down . Cursing madly, Dawn fell to the floor with a loud crash and then struggled through the tangle of limbs, tail and linens to reach the ringing phone. Just as she broke free of the mess and rose up onto her knees, the phone stopped ringing. Disbelief filled her at the audacity of her phone to stop ringing after everything she had just gone through to get to it. Giving one final heave, she leapt across the bed and dug the phone out from between her pillows.
Checking the missed calls list, Dawn cursed again when she saw that all of her efforts had been for nothing anyway; the call she had missed had been from Xander. Rubbing the knee she had abused in her mad dash to the phone, she looked over at Spike who was now sitting up and staring at her quizzically. She leveled a glare at him that made the big dog look away in a rare act of self-preservation. “Spike…” she huffed out. She paused when he let out a low whine. There were times when she was thoroughly convinced that not only could the dog fully comprehend her, but also that he was making a conscious effort to hide it.
“Spike…” she started again. “Is there some reason why you insist on always being under my feet?”
The dog glanced back at her and Dawn swore she saw a flash of amusement in his eyes before he turned and chewed at an itch at the base of his tail. Throwing her hands up in exasperation, she resumed her perusal of her injured knee, saw that a mighty bruise was already forming, and sighed; that was going to hurt. A lot. Flopping back on her pillows, she glanced over at her alarm clock and groaned when she saw that it was now after ten at night. She had just lost five hours to research and she hadn’t even realized it! She really was a nerd.
Fighting the urge to take her frustrations out on the innocent throw pillow next to her, Dawn’s self-pity was unexpectedly interrupted when her phone rang again. Frowning, fully expecting that it was going to be Xander again, which she was going to blast for calling her so late, she picked up the phone and paused when she saw the number. It was Marcus!
It was about time.
Heart pounding and hands suddenly sweating, Dawn took a moment to compose herself. A rush of self-consciousness swept over her along with a wave of giddiness. Letting out a small squeal of excitement, to which Spike just let out a huffing groan in response, Dawn took a deep breath and then took the plunge she had been imagining for days. She answered the phone.
Silence greeted her on the other end. Frowning, she quickly glanced to make sure that the call was still connected. Seeing that it was, she licked her lips nervously and tried again.
“Hello?” She waited in silence and when she heard nothing, she decided to give it one last shot. “Marcus?” She could hear him take a breath.
“Dawn?” his deep voice asked.
Dawn gave a huge grin and barely contained the shiver that went through her at the sound of his voice. “The one and only!” she chirped out. Again, she was greeted with silence. Had she been too giddy? “Marcus? You there?”
“Yeah… Yeah, I’m here.” He sighed. “It’s been a long day. I’m sorry it took so long to call you.” He paused for a moment. “I was out of town…” He trailed off. “Look, I’m sorry. I just got back and I didn’t realize what time it was.” She could hear rustling and what could have been furniture creaking as he sat down with a grunting sigh.
“It’s not a problem. I’m a bit of a night owl. Translating and research always keep me up.” She took another deep breath to keep herself from babbling nervously. “Anyway, how was your trip? Where’d you go?”
“I went out to L.A.,” he answered. “I’m looking to start a new branch out there.”
Dawn frowned at the awkward silence that followed his statement and fished around for something else to ask, finally deciding on the obvious. “Did you find a place?”
“Yeah… One thing you can count on out there is the supposed need for bodyguards.” He chuckled.
Dawn smiled and relaxed, realizing that he hadn’t been trying to get off the phone with her. “I can imagine!” She paused for a moment, debating her next statement and then decided to just go for it. “You know… I didn’t think you were going to call me.”
Marcus sighed slightly. “It was nothing like that, Dawn. I was just busy.”
“I realize that now.” She said, a smile in her tone.
“I was actually calling to see if you’d like to have coffee with me again. I didn’t realize how late it was, though.” He said, a question in his voice.
Dawn glanced at the clock and leapt with the whim that crossed her mind. Caution had held her hostage for so long and she felt that for some reason, she could trust Marcus. Besides, she always had Spike with her. “You know, we could still meet. That is… if you’re not too tired from your trip?”
She could hear Marcus shift in his seat and held her breath, wondering if he was going to back out of the offer. She grinned hugely when he said, “Yeah, we can do that. Wanna meet me in an hour at the place on Greenwood and Dexter?”
She knew the place; she had stopped there several times while she was out looking for some of the books the Council needed. She liked it and it was open 24 hours. “That works! I’ll meet you there!”
“OK, I’ll see you there.”
They hung up after saying their goodbyes and Dawn sat for a moment, processing what had just taken place. Suddenly realizing she had just made a date with the guy she had been waiting to call her, she gave a mighty squeal and leapt off the bed, racing to her closet. Spike, startled from his nap, jumped up and glanced around in confused surprise. He huffed a soft bark of discontent at the girl who was now frantically digging through her clothes.
“Shush, Spike! Not now!” she groused, looking through her shirts and pants. She wanted to look good, but without appearing as if she was trying too hard. She wasn’t going to meet him in her sweats, that was for sure!
“Spike,” Dawn soothed, “calm down.”
The large dog continued his menacing growl, hackles raised, his head tucked low and ears laid back.
“That’s enough, Spike!” she commanded firmly.
The dog ignored her, his growls rumbling from deep within his chest. Taking a step forward, legs stiff, he exposed his teeth in blatant warning.
Dawn eyed the three men who had managed to catch her by surprise. She had been so intent on getting to her meeting with Marcus, that she hadn’t been as attentive as she normally would have been. Had Spike not been there with her, the situation could have been much worse. Taking her attention off the men, as she was positive they weren’t getting past Spike, she surveyed her surroundings. She silently berated herself again when she saw that they had effectively maneuvered her into a blind alley. Not good. She also noted there was nothing around that she could use as a weapon.
Hearing one of the men curse, Dawn brought her attention back to the problem at hand. It was time to settle this issue.
“Hey!” she called out.
The three men trained their attention onto her. She swallowed hard.
“Look… this has gone far enough.” She gestured with a hand in their direction, encompassing the whole of the situation. She was about to elaborate when one of the men, tall with dark hair, stepped forward slightly. Smirking, he looked her up and down with a leer that made Dawn feel dirty, violated.
“Far enough?” He let out a humorless bark of laughter. Turning back to the other two men, he waved his hand towards her. “She thinks this has gone far enough!”
The short, blonde-haired guy gave a harsh chuckle and nudged the man next to him. This one was close shaven, almost bald, and he looked decidedly uncomfortable. Shrugging, he crossed his arms over his chest and glanced away; it was obvious he didn’t want to be there.
The dark-haired guy just shook his head and then turned back to Dawn, the grin slipping away. A fierce frown took its place. “No, sweetheart.” His voice deepened, becoming more menacing. “This hasn’t gone nearly far enough.”
Spike hunkered down; coiling up for an attack and Dawn knew she needed to defuse the situation. The air practically crackled with dark anticipation. Resting a hand on Spike’s back, Dawn tried again.
“If you don’t leave now, things are going to get very nasty.” She made sure to make eye contact with each of her assailants. “Despite what you think, I’ve read this book.” She curled her hand into the dog’s thick fur. “Allow me to spoil it for you; it doesn’t end well.”
The bald man met Dawn’s gaze for a long moment. He must have seen the truth of the statement in her eyes because he dropped his. Taking a deep breath, he uncrossed his arms.
“Dude!” he called out to the leader. When the man turned his attention to him, the bald man jerked his thumb behind him. “I’m out. I didn’t want to do this to begin with… I’m not sticking around.”
The leader opened his mouth to say something, but the bald man just waved him off and turned, hurrying out of the alley. Dawn watched his progress with a held breath until he rounded the corner and was gone from sight. Looking back to the other two, she sighed deeply.
“Well,” she said, “it’s obvious he’s the smart one of this operation.”
Their faces darkened at the derision in her voice.
“You wanna play games, bitch?” the dark-haired man snarled, furious. “We’ll play games!”
Dawn sucked in a breath as he pulled out a handgun and aimed it towards her. Spike let out a loud growl, snarling, lips baring his teeth even more. Every muscle in the dog’s body was tightly drawn, waiting for the moment when Dawn released him. She knew she wouldn’t be able to hold him much longer.
The blonde paled at the appearance of the pistol. “Chris! Dude? What the fuck are you doing?” he shouted nervously. “Fuck! Man, this is… let her go, man!”
The leader, now identified as Chris, growled over his shoulder at the other man. “Shut the fuck up! The little bitch needs a lesson in manners!”
Dawn glared at the man. She needed a lesson in manners? That was a joke! Despite how offended she was, however, she felt obligated to try once more to warn them off.
“Ok… last chance; you really should leave now.” She let go of Spike’s fur and he took it as a sign of release and took a step forwards. “When he attacks,” she began, pointing to the massive dog, “I will not be able to stop him.”
The two men turned their attention to the dog that now stood fully between them and the girl, his growls deep rumbles of thunder echoing from his chest. The fur of his ruff stood up in agitation and his ears laid flat against his head. He was a terrifying vision and it was obvious he was going to protect his mistress in the most primal and primitive of ways. The blonde appraised the beast stalking towards them and began to back away.
Chris saw this and snarled out, “You leaving, too?” The question was unnecessary as the blonde was already at the end of the alley. Not saying a word, the blonde turned and rushed away, not looking back. Spike’s growling growing louder brought Chris’ attention back to Dawn. Glaring at her, he began to raise the gun up towards her, all sanity in his eyes having been replaced by overpowering rage. Spike’s body stilled, as did his growls. Dawn found that more disturbing than the primitive reactions he had been displaying prior.
Chris obviously agreed as well. Swinging the pistol down, he pointed it at the dog. Giving a smirk, he hissed out, “You won’t be so cocky when he’s not here!”
Dawn reacted immediately. “Spike! Now!” she shouted as she dove out of the way, rolling up against the wall out of the direct line of fire. It all happened in a flash; it felt like the blink of an eye. Dawn knew she’d never forget it, however.
As she dove, she saw Spike lunge forward; closing the distance between him and the threat faster than Chris could react. The bullet went wild. This only served to anger Spike more and as he reached the man, he gave a mighty push with his back legs and leapt, massive jaws closing around Chris’ arm in an iron grip. The dog’s momentum carried them back and Spike landed with his weight on Chris’ chest. The man screamed in agony as Spike’s jaws closed tighter on his arm, the sound of breaking bone-crushing Dawn to wince in silent empathy.
The blood pooling around the now still man was the signal that it was time to call Spike off. “Spike!” She gave a short whistle and the dog froze, having dropped Chris’ arm and his jaws were now closed around his neck, waiting for any sign of threatening movement to clamp like a steel trap around the man’s windpipe. “Spike!” she commanded, louder and more forcefully. The dog let out a low, grouching growl and then let go of the man, stepping backwards off him. Dawn watched as Spike made sure to put all of his weight into each step and took the pace of a snail.
Again, the thought crossed her mind that Spike was just excessively human-like in his mannerisms and attitude to be ‘just’ another dog.
Seeing that Chris was now well beyond incapacitated, Dawn checked her watch and jumped when she saw the time. Stalking over to the man groaning on the pavement, she pulled back her foot and gave him a mighty kick in his leg. “Thank you very much, asshat! I’m now late for a date that I’ve been waiting to happen for almost a week!”
Chris just whimpered and coughed.
Glaring at him, Dawn decided he wasn’t even worth the effort.
Growling to herself, Dawn turned her attention back to Spike. He was still standing watchful guard, not turning his carefully locked gaze from the man writhing in pain on the ground. She noticed that he still had blood on his snout from the attack; that wasn’t her main concern, however. Right now, she was more worried about the fact that someone had to have heard the gunshot. They needed to get out of there. Now.
“Spike!” she called. “Let’s go!”
Spike ignored her and continued to growl menacingly.
“Spike!” she snapped, agitation evident in her voice. The large dog backed away from the man and made his way over to her. Dawn glanced at her watch and frowned; she was so late!
Turning, Dawn hurried away to the front of the alley. Spike followed closely behind her, keeping a careful eye out for additional danger. Dawn glanced at her watch again and her stomach dropped; she was an hour late! She needed to call Marcus. He was probably already gone, but she could always hope. She needed to explain why she wasn’t there.
She began digging through her purse, frantically looking for her cell. She could never understand why the damn things always ended at the absolute bottom of any carry case that they were in! Suddenly, she felt her hand brush against the hard plastic of the phone case and felt a rush of triumph.
Pulling the phone out, she hit the ‘Send’ button to dial the last number called, but she was so absorbed in her task that she didn’t look up. Therefore, she didn’t see the lowered fire escape ladder. The pain that burst through her body as her forehead came into full contact with metal was so intense that she immediately fell backwards onto Spike and slid the rest of the way to the sidewalk, dropping the cell phone along the way. Her vision blurred and her ears rang.
Dawn was in such agony that the voice on the other end of the phone didn’t register at first. Finally, she gathered her wits about her enough to process the fact that someone was speaking to her. Groping around, she was able to locate the phone and brought it up to her ear.
“Hello?” she asked, feeling faint.
“Dawn?” a deep make voice responded back.
She frowned in confusion. Who was on the other end of the phone? Who had she called? She brought her hand to her head, trying to soothe the headache that was threatening to cause her to violently spill the contents of her stomach all over the sidewalk. Feeling something warm and sticky on her forehead, she moved her hand away with a frown. Glancing at her fingers, the frown deepened when she saw that it was blood, wet and warm, covering the skin.
“Dawn!” the male voice yelled louder, jerking her out of her confused wonderings.
“Ye...” her voice caught, throat dry. Swallowing hard against the nausea in an attempt to provide some moisture to it, Dawn tried again. “Yeah?”
“Dawn! Where are you? Are you ok?” the voice asked, worry lacing the tone.
She frowned, a faint memory forcing its way to the front and she remembered that she was supposed to meet Marcus. Marcus! She had called Marcus! A feeling of relief swept through her, along with a weakness and a fuzziness of the mind. She was hurt. She was hurt badly.
“Marcus?” she managed to whimper out.
“Yeah! Dawn! What’s wrong?” he asked again.
“Uhhh…” she trailed off, confusion taking its hold again. “I… “She didn’t know what to say. She was moved forward slightly when Spike nudged her in an attempt to keep her on track. Taking a deep breath, she pushed back the blackness that was threatening to overtake her and tried again. “I think I’m hurt, Marcus.”
She heard Marcus take a deep breath. “Where are you?”
“Ummm…” her eyes lost focus, blurring once again. Shaking her head slightly, she brought herself back to the question. “I don’t know… I…” she trailed off again.
“Summers! Where are you? Now!” Marcus barked.
Dawn straightened up slightly, bracing herself against the huge dog behind her. Instinctively, she responded to the order in the voice and made herself glance around until she found the street signs she needed. “I’m at Greenway and Oleander.” The lure of the blackness was calling her and she was finding it hard to resist.
“Dawn! I’m on my way!” Marcus stated. She faintly heard him stand up, scraping back his chair. “Hold on, sweetheart! I’ll be right there!”
“Mmmhmmm…” she whispered out and then promptly gave into the blackness, swirling away on the blissful wings of unconsciousness.
Marcus felt a wave frantic unease wash over him as he heard the phone on the other end fall to the ground ; he was unable to detect any other noise. Turning, he quickly stood up from his chair, grabbed his jacket and dug out his wallet. Tossing a couple of bills on the table to pay for the check, he shrugged on the jacket and raced out the door of the café for his truck. Worry clouded his mind and he knew he needed to calm his thoughts if he was going to be able to help Dawn.
Quickly driving down the streets, maneuvering his way through traffic, he made his way to the intersection that she had named. He wasn’t happy with her; she had decided to walk through an area that was less than desirable and had exposed herself to danger. Once he found her and made sure she was all right and in one piece, he was definitely going to be having a counseling session with the girl.
Reaching the cross-streets that she had given him, he slowed down and pulled to a stop at the curb. Surveying the area, he searched for her. He needed to find her and get her out of there. When he didn’t spot her right away, he felt a wave of anxiety. Suddenly, he saw a large furry lump halfway down the block and he breathed a deep sigh of relief. She was there.
Jogging down to where he had spotted Spike, he skidded to an abrupt halt when the dog lifted his head from where it had been laying on Dawn’s hip. The beast had curled himself around the girl, not an easy feat given how tall she was, and was providing a hulking shield of protection for her until help arrived. Spike, seeing someone approach, swung his head up and let out a deep, warning growl. The message was unmistakable: back off or pay the consequences.
Marcus narrowed his eyes, debating how to approach the situation. His gaze swept over Dawn, making a note of her injuries. He could see a cut on her forehead, bleeding still. He had a feeling she was going to need stitches. It appeared that was her only injury, luckily. Bringing his gaze back to the dog, he tensed slightly when Spike let out a more menacing growl. Holding his hands up, palms out, he spoke quietly.
“Spike…” he began. “I know you don’t trust me.” Marcus had a deeply rooted suspicion that the dog was a great deal more intelligent that it let on; he treated the animal thusly. “She needs help.”
Spike let out a small whine, licking Dawn’s face.
Marcus took a step forward and froze when the dog again let out a deep rumbling growl. “Spike! Let me help her! I’m not going to hurt her. That’s not why I’m here.”
He could see the indecision in the dog’s eyes and took another step forward. Spike, keeping a wary eye on him, stood up and took a couple of steps back. Marcus, taking it as a sign of acceptance, slowly stepped forward until he was beside her. Kneeling, he looked her over more closely and frowned. The cut was deeper than he had hoped; she was definitely going to need stitches. Looking up at Spike, his frown deepened and his eyes narrowed. There was blood on the dog’s snout.
Glancing around, Marcus could see no sign of a struggle around the current location. He had a suspicion something had happened before Dawn had been injured. Bringing his attention back to the dog, he asked the obvious question.
“She got into trouble, didn’t she?”
Spike snorted with a shake of his head. Marcus heaved a deep sigh. It looked like his assessment was correct; she was going to be difficult to keep safe. Reaching down, he scooped her up into his arms and stood up. Turning, he started towards his black Jeep but stopped when Spike planted himself in front of them.
“Look…” Marcus started, praying for patience. “She needs help. She needs stitches. I’m only taking her to the emergency room.” He started a little at the sharp barking growl that emitted from the massive beast.
“OK, I’m guessing that a hospital is out.” Sighing, he thought for a moment. “All right, I’ll take her home then.”
He heaved a deep sigh when that suggestion resulted in an even more menacing growl from the dog. Obviously, home was not an option either. He couldn’t help but wonder at that snippet of information. Frowning and shaking his head in resignation, he realized he only had one option left.
“Spike, that just leaves my place.” He locked eyes with the dog then, neither looking away as they measured each other. Several tension-packed moments passed before the dog relaxed its posture and moved out of the way, allowing Marcus to go around him and take Dawn to his truck. Spike followed behind, keeping an eye on their surroundings.
Reaching the truck, Marcus braced the girl in his arms, opened the rear door to the back seat, and settled her in the vehicle. Turning, he realized that Spike wasn’t going to let the girl go anywhere without him. Trying desperately to keep a rein on his impatience, he motioned for Spike to follow him around to the back of the Jeep. As he lifted the tailgate, he was faced with another issue.
Standing there at the rear of the truck, he watched as Spike peered into the rear cargo space. Prancing a step back, the dog looked up at Marcus and then back into the truck. A snorting sneeze emerging from the dog as both human and animal examined the space in the back against the bulk of the mass going into it.
It was not going to work, obviously.
Marcus leaned his head against his arms where they were still holding up the tailgate and fought the urge to hunt down the present-day John Connor and kick his ass. Dog fur… he was going to get dog fur all over his interior. He had no choice. He hated dog fur!
Glaring at Spike, which the dog met head on without a flinch, Marcus stomped around to the passenger side of the truck. Opening the door, he motioned for the dog to get in after reclining and moving the seat back as far as he could. Right before the dog jumped in, Marcus stopped.
Gesturing to the blood on the dog’s snout, he asked, “Is the problem taken care of?”
Spike thumped his tail, tongue lolling out and panted heavily.
“I’m going to take that as a ‘yes’.” He fought the urge to punch the truck and instead said, “You need to lick or clean or whatever that blood off of you.” Closing the door after the dog climbed in, he walked over and got in the driver’s seat and, starting up the truck, put it in gear and pulled away from the curb. “Get rid of the evidence. It’d be hard to explain the blood if we get pulled over.”
Spike just shook his fur out and then stared straight at Marcus as the man coughed, waving the resulting flurry of hair out of his face. Connor owed him and when he saw him, he was definitely going to make sure he paid for it.