Down the Rabbit Hole
Sorry guys, life got way too busy for me touch this story, but I really do have every intention of getting it finished (hopefully before the start of next semester, hah!).
I've written a bit more, but I am really feeling the distance between me and what was written, so whatever encouragement/feedback you have would be welcome with virtual cookies and cake. And lots of lurv. :D
And as always much thanks to my ever patient and expedient Betas, vidicon
For once the person causing the disturbance in his briefing room was not Colonel O’Neill. General George Hammond looked at the newest “civilian consultant” that SG-1 had escorted into the Mountain less than an hour ago. Bleached blond hair, long leather coat, and an attitude that matched the rough accent. Spike sat in his chair, arms hunched forward, leaning on the conference table, pen in hand, clicking the ball point in and out. Hammond knew soldiers, and their body language--while Spike’s general demeanor sent out a ‘devil may care’ message there was a tension to the young man’s shoulders and an alertness in the blue eyes that betrayed how he was really feeling. Having yet to be informed what SG-1 had called an emergency meeting for Hammond had no way of knowing if this Spike character was tense over being in the mountain itself or if the reason for his presence in the briefing room was what caused his distress.
The General looked to his second in command.
“What’s going on, Colonel?” He didn’t bother inserting a complaint over the late hour of the night or demanding some impassioned explanation. He knew his officers and knew they wouldn’t have required his presence without a very good reason.
“Sir, it’s going to sound like a personal matter--and to me, it is. It is also going to sound ridiculously farfetched, so just keep an open mind.”
“Colonel?” The General raised an eyebrow slightly as he inclined his head towards O’Neill, waiting for him to continue.
Jack braced his forehead in his hands, looking down at the table and gathering his thoughts for a microsecond before continuing on.
“Sir, it seems that the Goa’uld are working with a---” He paused, hunting for the right word.
“--Paranormal,” Spike interjected.
Jack gestured towards the civilian and continued on.
“The Goa’uld are working with a paranormal presence that was already here, on Earth. Specifically, sir, with vampires.”
General Hammond didn’t say anything in response to Jack’s declaration, indicating he was waiting for the rest of the story before making his judgement.
“We only became aware of this tonight. Spike, here, had come to look for a friend of his-- a friend of mine.” Hammond noted the slight catch in the Colonel’s voice as he brought up this friend. “Buffy Summers went missing while SG-1 was on their last mission. She was kidnapped from St. Barnabas graveyard, by what we thought were local vampires--it was only when Spike came and he and Major Carter went back St. Barnabas that we became aware of the Goa’uld participation as well. As a favor to me, Carter, Teal’c and Daniel have been trying to help me find Buffy since we returned from our mission. Because we now know that the people who took her weren’t just ordinary vampires and are a potential threat to more than just her and the local population, we came here, sir.” Jack licked his lips and flattened his palms against the surface of the table, fingers spreading out, as if he could gain more support from the extension. His face betrayed the emotional stress he had been feeling the last several days: sleep hadn’t been a common occurrence, and his eyes were bloodshot, his cheeks slightly hollowed. None of the energetic spunk that Hammond usually associated with the Colonel was apparent.
After a breath the General spoke.
“I’m willing to take you at your word, Colonel, but only so far. Buffy Summers is missing. No doubt the police have been informed of this, as well?” Major Carter nodded in silent confirmation. “And she has been missing well over a week. The Goa’uld are here, and they are working together with someone. Someone you claim to be a vampire.”
Spike could see that the General was being skeptical; though not the extreme disbelief others in his position might have professed. It seemed as if he was willing to be convinced, with the right evidence. Major Carter had given Spike a very bare-bones explanation of what a Goa’uld was: ancient alien playing god. Spike knew that what happened at this base probably went far beyond more anything they had hinted at-- and knowing that he guessed that the General was used to accepting the unimaginable on a daily basis. Not wanting to be an Angel Jr. he threw the General a bone, in the hopes of relieving some of his natural, and understandable, skepticism.
“If you need something more solid to wrap your brain around,” Spike offered, “I suggest you have some of your uniforms look up ‘The Initaive.’ It’ll have more than you want to know-- or than I really want to share-- about vampires and the like.”
Everyone in the room besides Teal’c shot Spike an inquisitive look. He gave a shrug. He could give real proof of vampires just by putting his ‘game face’ on, but he had been a lab specimen once already, and that had been more of a behind-the-scenes tour of the American tax dollars at work than he (an illegal alien, at best) had ever wanted. Just thinking about that previous experience and being in yet another underground, secret, military base had him on edge.
“We have a few leads, sir,” Carter spoke up, “but I think it would help to have some of the base resources at our disposal. Considering she’s already been missing a week,” Carter glanced over at he Colonel with an apologetic look, “time is really of the essence.”
Before the local geekery had split off to do the always necessary research he’d come to expect when getting mixed up with the government types, Spike had listed off the types of locations Dru was known to gravitate towards: the gothic manors, the abandoned factories, the usual horror movie tropes.
He was left with the non-geek portion of the team, whom he’d dubbed ‘Cracker Jack’ and ‘Muscles.’ They were in what he assumed to be a training room. Cracker Jack was obviously trying to surpass Spike as the most fidgety do-gooder of Buffy’s inner circle. Spike had already smoked his way through half a pack of cigarettes, and neither of the military blokes had tried to stop him-- he’d only earned a snort from Jack and a small eyebrow arch from Teal’c.
He and Muscles stood off to the side as Cracker Jack circled a punching bag.
“You are not human.” Spike cocked his head as Teal’c spoke up.
“I was. More than I can say for you.” He jutted his chin out in defiance.
“That is true. I am a Jaffa, my ancestors were human, bred to serve the Goa’uld.” Spike had wondered why he had smelled so off. “Then you originated on this planet?” The Jaffa’s eyes were zeroed in on Spike, assessing him.
Spike rolled his shoulders and gave a smirk and nod. “Born ‘n bred as they say.”
“But you are not human, nor are you Jaffa.” Unlike most muscle-bounds that Spike had encountered he could see that this Teal’c fellow had perhaps just as many brains, behind that giant gold thumbprint on his forehead as he had muscles, if not more so.
“No. I suppose you are waiting for me to fill in the blank for you, mate?”
Teal’c made note to himself of this other’s use of the term ‘mate.’ Not wanting to interrupt the conversation now he gave himself the mental footnote to clarify, in the future, his preference for the opposite sex when it came to mates. As he did so he gave a slight nod to Spike indicating he would, indeed, like to know more.
“I didn’t tell the white coats before-- didn’t want to get jabbed full of needles and made a test subject all over again. Seein’ as how you seem to be safe, though, and Cracker Jack over there is hell-bent on rescuing Buffy, I reckon you’re as safe an audience as any I’m likely to encounter in this burial mound.”
“Don’t tell me you’re a vampire.” Jack had only been paying partial attention to Teal’c and Spike’s interactions as he had attempted to pummel the punching bag into giving him Buffy back, but he couldn’t let this part go unquestioned.
“Born ‘n bred,” Spike smirked, “as they say.”
“And Buffy was okay with this?”
“More than okay, mate.” Spike couldn’t resist the small jibe. Puppies can’t be house-trained all at once, and considering these very extenuating circumstances he was being exceptionally well-behaved.
Teal’c made another mental note to ask about vampires and their mating habits--- perhaps he should inform Daniel Jackson.
“Whatever.” Jack shook his head, not wanting to go wherever Spike was attempting to taunt him to. “So why didn’t you tell us in the briefing room-- you know, that place we share information relevant to the mission?” Jack didn’t like being kept in the dark on important mission details. He really didn’t like being kept in the dark when it came to a mission that involved the life of someone he cared about.
“They’ll be here any minute, after they’ve had a chance to look up the Initiative Files.” Spike shrugged. “And those files will have more useful information for you folks that are hardwired with soldier brains. It’s in your native tongue.”
Jack was pretty sure no file had anything written in his ‘native tongue.’ He did not want to be associated with anything that boring or mind-numbing.
As if on cue, however, Samantha, Daniel and Dr. Janet Fraiser came bursting through the door of the training room, escorted by several armed guards.
“Jack! Get away from him, he’s--he’s--” Daniel stumbled on his words.
“What, a vampire?” Jack interjected as he had with Teal’c and Spike. “So what?”
With that cavalier remark Spike officially gave Cracker Jack a mental stamp of approval. Looked to him as if the Slayer had finally find someone worth sticking around. This one had the self-confidence the last soldier boy lacked and the spine that Peaches never could really have.
Teal’c and O’Neill silently moved to stand next to the vampire, making their position on his place on the mountain team self-evident.
“Jack, you don’t understand.” Daniel began to explain, “He’s a vicious killer, Hostile 17. He has centuries of killing behind him. He has to have tricked Buffy into thinking--”
“Daniel, why would he have come here if he wanted to kill any of us? There is only one of him and a whole base filled with trained soldiers,” Jack reasoned with his friend.
“Tepin!” an urgent whisper echoed from the dark shadows of the hallway outside of Ixal’s room.
“Leave me, Tlanextic. You speak no words that I wish to hear,” she bit out and walked about the room, straightening Ixal’s belongings.
“You’ve been having the dreams, haven’t you?” The fabric of Ixal’s dress slid through Tepin’s fingers as she paused at his words. He continued, “The stars told me I would find you here. You were meant to be here, to help us--free us from this goddess.”
“Ixal loves us, Tlanextic. I don’t care what I dream. I know our goddess loves us.”
“She isn’t our goddess!”
Tepin spun to face Tlanextic her face flushed with anger, “She is! We bleed for her, and she protects us.” She took an involuntary step towards the older man.
“What of the shadow men? What of the maggots they harbor?” Tlanextic spat out.
“We are not gods we cannot understand all they do.” The glory of the gods was far from being flushed from Tepin’s eyes.
“Even if what they do will destroy us?” He stepped closer to Tepin, his voice dropping to quieter tones than they had been using.
“You do not know that.”
“I don’t have to, Tepin, you do. You can feel it; it is what your dreams are telling you. You are here to protect us from her. You must. Your people need you!” He raised a hand and cupped her face, his thumb tracing the patterns along her cheek. She had been tattooed when she first was awarded the position of priestess. Her markings indicated her protected status and her obligation to her people.
With the man’s touch Buffy’s vision faded back to present day.
“Oh look, little Miss Special is awake now.” Buffy scowled in Todd’s direction. If she hadn’t been chained she would have happily staked him again and again, as many times as it took to permanently rid the world of his smug self.
The vampire was sitting at a table, his feet propped up on it. He was flipping through a newspaper. Buffy didn’t know if the paper was that day’s, but she could tell from the date that she had lost more days to being unconscious than she had realised. They allowed her to be awake for only the briefest intervals.
It was the blood that kept knocking her out. It took her a few times to figure it out, but she knew she wasn’t that susceptible to Druscilla’s wacky finger mojo. Druscilla a la Angelina and Billy Bob, wore a vial of blood around her neck. Buffy had tried holding her breath, but playing that game with a vampire was a total waste of time (or breath, in this case.) And always the blood had her dreaming of Tepin and her life as a priestess to Ixal. She tried to use what lucid time she had to organize her thoughts. Why was she getting these visions? Memories? It was always hard to tell which it was without Giles and his books. Even with what she had seen in the last week she knew she was missing some key plot points in Tepin’s story.
And why did the blood trigger it?
Feedback really means a lot to me.