Spike and Dru, Part 4
Spike and Dru Part 4
A/N: Disclaimer's in the first chapter. Keep an eye on the dates, as this one goes over things that happened Scooby-side while Spike was so busy.
October 2 Sunnydale
Jim grimaced as he drove the truck past the (completely imaginary) line around Sunnydale that represented the Hellmouth's sphere of influence. He was never going to be able to get used to the foul emanations that came from that thing.
Beside him, Blair reached over to pat his leg, evidently picking up on Jim's increased tension. "Just crossed the border, Jim?"
"Yeah. I don't get how Jon can stand that all the time. It drives me nuts."
"His territory versus yours, man. Plus, he's more used to weird than we are." Blair pointed out. "This place probably makes him feel right at home."
"I'm just glad Simon let us take today and tomorrow off." Jim said. "I don't think Xander's had much parental involvement up to now." And while it was more than a bit weird for Jim to find himself crossing two states in order to go to a Parent Teacher night, he realized he didn't want to miss it. Probably legacy of his own father's complete disinterest and disapproval. He damn well wanted to make sure he was nothing like his father.
"So am I. I'm looking forward to exploring the town more." Blair said.
Which got him a death glare from Jim. "Not at night, you're not. You want to find out more about demons, read the books. I don't want you anywhere near a real live one. Not even that Angel asshole."
Blair actually laughed. "I already knew that, Jim. But there won't be any harm in exploring during the daytime."
"Only if I'm with you." Jim demanded.
"Of course, Jim." Blair said, with the sort of tone that said he was highly amused, and humoring Jim more than a little. He wasn't, after all, stupid. Wandering around Sunnydale alone, even during the day, was asking for trouble. He even gave Jim's leg an extra pat.
Jim gave him the stink-eye for a moment before sighing. "I'm being redundant again, aren't I?"
"Just a bit, but it's nice to know you're thinking of these things." That Jim cared, Blair didn't say. Blair'd had a lot of friends over the years, but only a very small number of them had been reliable and truly invested in their friendship with him.
It didn't take them long to arrive at Joyce's house. Willow's parents were gone, again, so she'd offered to let Jim and Blair stay there, rather than try to stay at a hotel where Jim would get absolutely no rest whatever. They'd be heading there later in the day, after they'd said their hello's to Joyce, since Xander and company were already in school at this hour.
Joyce grinned when she opened the door. "Come in, both of you. Did you have a nice flight down?" She asked.
"Yeah. Jim only ground his teeth for five whole minutes this time, compared to the entire flight." Blair said. "And the drive from the airport was nice too."
"That's good to hear. Xander's been looking forward to seeing you both since this came up." Joyce said. "I must say, he's been happier these last few weeks than he's been since I first met him. You two have been good for him."
"That's good to hear." Jim said. "Jessica giving you any grief?"
"Other than in the respect that we haven't heard from her, or Tony, no." Joyce said. "It's like they've both decided to forget Xander ever existed. Quite frankly, I think that's for the better. It might hurt him in the short term, but it'll mean less damage in the long term."
"How've things been otherwise? Any trouble from this Spike vampire?" Jim wanted to know.
Joyce shook her head. "They saw him the once and that's been it. Whatever it is he's up to, it either doesn't involve the kids, which is very unlikely, or he's playing a waiting game."
Jim didn't much like the sound of that. Because enemies that were content to wait and watch were always the most dangerous ones. They were the ones that weren't afraid to adapt their plans to what they discovered while they observed their opponents.
"Well, we'll be here all weekend, so if this Spike character decides to try to spring a trap, the kids will have extra backup." Jim said.
"I just want to know why Spike is so different from the average vampire." Blair said.
Joyce shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine, though I'll admit to wanting an answer to that question myself. Even Giles had no idea why Spike was so unusual."
The three adults spent the rest of the day talking and catching up on all the things Xander hadn't thought to fill Jim in on until the Scoobies (including Giles) arrived at the house after school was done.
Xander grinned when he spotted Jim. "Hey Jim!" He said, then dithered for a moment, not quite sure whether to shake Jim's hand or what. From his spot behind Xander, Jon nodded a greeting to Jim.
"Hi, Mr. Ellison." Willow and Buffy said, more or less at the same time.
Jim caught Xander's confusion, and closed the distance between them. "Xander." He said, then ruffled Xander's hair, which got him an indignant squawk followed by a pleased-looking grin. "So what's the plan for tonight?" He wanted to know.
Buffy spoke up. "Well, thanks to mom, all the decorations are ready, and won't take all that long to put up. And she made Snyder pony up for snacks for the parents. He was originally going to make me foot the bill." Buffy made an outraged face.
Jim shook his head. "I still can't believe he threatened to expel you for not decorating up to his standards." He said. "That takes some serious balls."
"Tell me about it. Though mom set him straight real quick." Buffy said. All of the teens grinned toothily.
"We got to listen in on her giving him what-for." Jon said.
Willow grinned shyly over at Joyce. "It was really fun to listen to." She said.
They had just enough time for dinner before everyone trooped over to the school to decorate.
Blair not-so-subtly divided everyone into pairs and encouraged them to split up throughout the school to set things up. He paired himself with Jon, and nudged Jim into pairing with Xander so father and son could have a bit of time together in semi-private. He also nudged Buffy and Joyce into pairing up, and Giles and Willow.
Blair, thanks to the various phone calls from Sunnydale, as well as some things Willow had said during the summer, was aware that Willow's parents were largely absent. And that Willow needed an adult to look up to for guidance. Given that she was quiet, almost shy actually, and studious, he'd figured that Giles might be a good choice for adult support, and had decided to enact his plan to get the two of them working together as soon as possible. This trip provided an invaluable opportunity to do just that.
For his part, Xander reveled in the novelty of having a parent at parent teacher night. Even Willow's parents had managed to make it to these things every now and again, but Jessica and Tony never had. Xander was fairly sure he'd never quite get used to adults that gave a damn whether he lived or died, but he was equally sure he'd thoroughly enjoy it all the same.
It helped that Xander actually had things to brag about. He'd been making more of an effort in school this year so far, mostly in light of the knowledge he was in several advanced classes, and therefore not quite as dumb as he'd always believed himself to be. He still wasn't a straight-A student, but he had only the one C. The rest of his classes were B's and two A's. Before now, he'd been a C student, with the occasional D.
Jim didn't patrol with them that night, mostly because the last thing he needed was some demon deciding that Blair was a tasty tidbit. They'd stayed at the house with Joyce until the gang came back.
October 3 Summers House
The first Jim, Blair, and Joyce knew of trouble was when the Scoobies more or less piled into the basement, wide-eyed and worried.
"Spike and Angel are fighting." Buffy said, nearly breathless, more with worry than with physical exertion. "They were moving so fast! None of us quite dared to try to interfere." She wrinkled her nose. "I didn't want to hit Angel, and there was no guarantee I wouldn't." Not at the speed those two had been moving. Buffy knew she could move faster than the average human, but the two vampires had been moving entirely too unpredictably for her to feel comfortable jumping in. "Or that Angel wouldn't accidentally hit me instead of Spike."
Jim could tell she was very much not happy with walking away. "You made the right call, Buffy. Until you and Angel are so well-practiced at fighting together you compensate for each other automatically, jumping into each others' fights is a damn stupid thing to do, especially completely unexpectedly. That's a damn good way to get badly hurt."
Privately, he dearly hoped Buffy never did get that used to fighting with Angel, because he wanted Angel nowhere near her, and knew that pretty much everyone else agreed with him. What she saw in Angel, Jim would never know.
Not too long after they'd returned to the house, Angel more or less fell in the basement door. Buffy yelped and hurried over to help him only for him to growl at her. Normally her being the Slayer wasn't a problem, but with him this weakened and in pain, his instincts were taking over a bit (even if his demon wasn't and couldn't) and having a Slayer come at him when he was in this condition was a Bad Thing.
Buffy scowled, but backed off, and Xander, rolling his eyes at the necessity of it (and ignoring Jon's cut-off noise of displeasure) walked over to drag Angel the rest of the way into the basement.
"From your appearance, I presume you lost the fight?" Giles asked.
Angel leaned against the wall and glowered at Giles. "Yes." He admitted, his tone bitter. "But there's a bigger problem."
"Bigger than your kid handing you your ass?" Xander couldn't quite help but say, unable to resist the temptation to pour salt on the wound.
That got him a glare. "Yes. That wasn't a normal fight. Spike decided to try to take control of what's left of the Aurelius Clan of vampires. The Master's old crew, most of whom are here. Which means he effectively has control of pretty much any vampire sired in Sunnydale."
"Ok, that is definitely of the bad." Willow said. "If he can boss around all the vampires ... "
"You're probably going to end up facing what amounts to a siege before too long. You've got a small grace period, because he needs to consolidate his control, but that won't last long. A week at most. He's already demanded that every vampire in the city swear fealty to him, get out of town or get dusted. And we have until tomorrow night to do it. Including me." Angel fairly growled out the news.
Buffy wrinkled her nose. "That ... is not good news." She said.
"Actually ... " Jim said. "Actually, it might be. Because most of the vampires in town are going to be in one spot tomorrow night. Angel, you have any idea where Spike told them to go?"
"Warehouse down by the docks." Angel said.
Buffy quickly caught on to where Jim was going with that question. "We ambush them. Light the place on fire, something like that. We'd kill most of the city's population of vamps in one go." She said, then grinned at Jim. "Have I told you lately that I really like you?" She asked.
Jim laughed. "I may have heard something to that effect." He said.
"I'll get some maps. We have some planning to do." Giles said, then hurried to one of the bookshelves, where a few different maps of Sunnydale rested. He pulled one out and spread it out. "All right, the docks are here, and the warehouses here. There are only three empty or abandoned ones down there right now, from Buffy's last report of the area a few days ago."
"You have any information on the warehouses? I might be able to figure out which one Spike'd pick." Angel said, as he picked himself up off the floor.
Xander and Willow, as the long-time Sunnydale residents, filled the others in on the various warehouses. Angel thought it over for a few moments, then pointed to one. "This one is the best bet. Fewer windows, an upstairs office area, where he'd be able to set up private living space for himself and Drusilla, if she's with him still. Tunnel access to allow demons to come and go at will, and the other warehouses are far enough away to give a good line of sight and make an enemy's approach difficult."
"Ok, as tempting as shooting the place up with flaming arrows sounds, I don't think that's going to work." Jon said. "Sadly. And we're not going to be able to utilize explosives, even if we had any. That said, I vote for flamethrowers. We can probably knock one or two together during the day tomorrow. They're not all that difficult to manage if you know what you're doing."
"And fighting hand to hand with the place up to the gills with vampires would be the next best thing to suicide." Buffy agreed. "So burning the place to the ground is the best idea. That said, I want to try to block off their underground escape route. Where's the tunnel entrance at?"
It didn't take them long to pinpoint it. "Ok, so we send one group through the wall here." Jim said, touching the spot. "Which will require some heavy hitting power to get through the metal. So Buffy and/or Angel. It also would have the side benefit of being more unpredictable. Spike will probably expect the Slayer, if you showed up at all, to come in the front door."
Buffy nodded. "So coming at him from an unexpected angle will throw him off, at least temporarily."
"He'll expect me to wait until the last possible moment to show up." Angel said. "So Buffy and I both can hit that side." After which he planned to get the hell out of Dodge, because he was just as flammable as any other vampire, and hanging about when there were going to be flamethrowers in play was stupid as hell.
"Right, so ... Jim and I will hit the army surplus store first thing in the morning, and get to work on the throwers." Jon said. "Too bad we didn't have more warning, or I could have called Jack and gotten military grade ones." Unfortunately, such things hadn't been used in years, and getting his hands on some of them would have taken more than a day, even for Jack O'Neill.
"Who do we send through the front door, since Buffy and Angel are coming in the side?" Xander wanted to know.
"Jim." Was Jon's immediate vote. "He's the most physically imposing of us. With Blair alongside. Giles and Willow can take one of the other sides, and Xander and I the fourth."
"I'll go in with Buffy." Joyce said, having spotted the fact that Angel would be booking it once Buffy was in, even if the others hadn't quite twigged to it yet.
"MOM!" Buffy squawked.
Joyce gave Buffy a look. "You're going to need someone to help watch your back ... and do you really expect Angel to stick around when there's going to be fire everywhere?"
Buffy blinked, then gave her mother a slightly sheepish look. "Ummm ... I forgot about that part?" She admitted. "But I still don't want you in danger like that, mom."
"Don't you worry about me, young lady. I can take care of myself." Joyce scolded gently. "I'll not leave you undefended."
"She has a point, Buffy." Xander pointed out. "How many times have we commented on how fierce she was on patrol that time?"
Buffy still didn't like it, but realized she was fighting a losing battle on this one, and gave in somewhat gracelessly. "Oh, all right."