Wherever You Will GoAuthor:
15, for abundant potty mouths.Summary:
What if Buffy wasn’t in Rome? What if she was in trouble and didn’t even know it?Spoilers:
Angel 5x11 and Underworld.
Selene silently left the infirmary, confident that Michael would follow her as soon as he saw to his patient’s comfort. She knew he missed his old, human life, and wished that he had never gotten caught in the feud that had raged for over a thousand years. But to wish that was to wish he had never been born and then she never would have met him.
He worried about her, she knew that. Worried that she was in some sort of shock, acting as an automaton. Worried that when she came to his bed it was not because she had feelings for him, but because she was using him to feel anything.
It wasn’t true, of course. She had been numb for a long time, over a hundred years, feeling nothing but hate and anger. He had changed all of that.
She could still remember the first time she had seen him, really seen him. She had met his eyes in that dingy subway station and gasped at the feelings that flooded her. Her grey world had suddenly come to life with color; it had terrified her.
She hadn’t let it show, of course. The back stabbing atmosphere of the coven had taught her to conceal her emotions well. Even now she kept her face carefully blank, from habit and an irrational fear that to show emotions was to reveal weakness.
Viktor had seen that weakness when he had ripped her away from Michael’s throat over a year ago. He had seen the fledgling love she harbored in her heart and had reacted just as she feared he would. Her dark father had been the one to insist that love was a weakness. To be strong you had to overcome your baser instincts -- as she had found he had done when he executed his own daughter.
For months after the debacle of Viktor’s assault on the Lycans, she had resisted the urge to give into her attraction and love for her hybrid. She told herself that she could not care for an infant who would get himself killed in a heartbeat. As Viktor had proved, superior strength and speed meant nothing if you didn’t know how to use it. She concentrated all of her energy on teaching him to defend himself, first with the guns he so despised, then with the weapons nature had given him.
It was kind of amusing to think that the strongest of immortals was a pacifist.
He learned quickly, despite his reluctance to do harm. Soon, she had one less excuse.
That was when it happened. Kraven had gathered enough allies from the covens to come out of hiding, and he immediately went after them.
They had lost half of the remaining Lycans that night, and Michael’s body was riddled with silver. Only his hybrid status had kept him alive, something for which she was forever grateful.
That night, she had tended his wounds, carefully concealing the fearful tears that gathered in her eyes. It was the first night she spent in his bed, not as a lover, but as a protector. When he awoke the next night to find her wrapped around him, the look in his eyes was enough to plunge her over the edge.
The Lycans watched her pass by, no doubt wondering what she thought of their guest. Gaining their trust had been harder than giving into her feelings. But they accepted Michael unconditionally as alpha, and in the end, as long as he wanted her around, they would accept her.
Selene made her way up the stairs, determined to wait for her lover in their room. They had one of the few private rooms in the lair thanks to Michael’s position. It was her sanctuary against the times when being surrounded by her one time enemies became too much, and all the Lycans respected it.
She opened the door and slipped in, making sure to firmly shut the door behind her. Once it was closed, she wilted and stumbled to the pallet set on the floor, physically exhausted from the short venture out of the room.
It had started gradually, with dizzy spells when she first stood up. She had concealed the syncope from Michael and the Lycans and dismissed it as a lack of proper feeding. The dizzy spells had abated, but an all consuming tiredness took its place. It had gotten to the point where it was all she could do to keep her mysterious aliment from her lover. She had taken to spending all of her time in their room, foregoing the rare forays the Lycans made for supplies.
She knew Michael thought she was depressed and considered that easier than the truth: she had absolutely no idea what was wrong with her. Vampires weren’t supposed to get sick. In her 130 years, she had only seen one sick immortal, one who had been dosed with a poison lethal to even their kind.
If she were truthful with herself, she would admit that she was terrified. The memory of the poor poisoned vampire was enough for her to mentally go over everything she had come into contact with in the last few months, desperately searching for anything unusual. If it was poison, there was no hope for her.
She worried about how Michael would take it. He depended on her to be the stabilizing force in his life. Always, after one of Kraven’s attacks, he would crawl into their bed and lay his head upon her lap. She was his emotional support, as odd as that sounded.
Without her, would her innocent warrior become a dark knight? Would he take the fight to Kraven, intent on either revenge of oblivion? Or would he fade away?
She pulled her thoughts away from their morbid path as she heard him outside the door. It wouldn’t do to worry him.
He smiled at her as he slipped into the room. She didn’t respond, didn’t have the energy to respond. She could see his brow wrinkle in concern and summoned up the wherewithal to make some sort of conversation.
“How is she?”
“Better than I thought she would be,” he confessed. “She’s resting for now. I’ve done everything I could to stave off infection. If everything goes well, she’ll be gone by this time tomorrow, just like I promised.”
She nodded absently. “And your meeting?”
He flopped onto the pallet beside her and let out a sigh. “As well as can be expected. He doesn’t really trust me, but agreed to meet me tomorrow with supplies. Luckily, he left before the vampires showed up. I just hope he doesn’t hear about the café and put two and two together.”
“Afraid he’ll rabbit?”
“Adam has always done the right thing. If he thinks the right thing is turning me over to the police… I can only hope he calls the real police and not Death Dealer goons.”
A knock on the door prevented her from questioning him further, and she gratefully dozed as he took care of Clan business. Supplicant after supplicant came before him, each with some bit of important information or problem for his consideration. Raze was one of them, quietly explaining that he had lost the vampires.
They were going to have to move again soon, she thought idly. Kraven was narrowing down the search and would soon find this lair. As the thought passed through her head, she heard her love tell his second the same thing and heard Raze rumble an agreement. He would send searchers out the next day.
She faded in and out, listening to Michael deal with Clan business for quite awhile before the emptiness of her stomach forced her into action. She carefully checked to make sure that he was outside the door before wearily climbing to her feet. She consciously straightened her shoulders before she opened the door, presenting an air of her normal confidence.
“I’m going to get something to eat,” she told him as she passed him. He nodded absently, his attention on the young female in front of him. Selene couldn’t resist a warning glare at the pup before she descended the stairs, just to make sure she understood where she stood when it came to Michael.
The Lycans on the ground level were lounging around in groups, talking, resting, and otherwise going about their nightly business. They had become night creatures out of sheer necessity. It wouldn’t do to be caught literally sleeping when the Covens attacked.
She nodded to Raze, who watched her walk by with a frown. Perhaps he knew that something was wrong. If so, she could only hope he would keep his own counsel.
Before she could take more than a few steps away from the staircase, a strong arm wrapped around her middle and a long blade was suddenly pressed to her neck. She remembered when she would have taken out anyone who had the audacity to touch her without her permission. But now she froze, unaccountably terrified.
She must have made some sort of noise, because suddenly every Lycan in the room was on his or her feet and growling softly at her captor, causing him to press the blade a little more firmly into her neck. Raze, eyes already shifted in anger, pushed his way to the front, the others reluctantly giving way to their beta.
“We’re going to rip you to shreds if you don’t let her go in two seconds,” he growled, his voice lower than usual.
“You get your girl when I get mine,” her captor said in English, his accent reminding her of Kahn. He threatened her throat with the blade again, and she heard an odd shifting sound. It wasn’t the sound she had come to associate with shifting Lycans, that painful sounding popping of bones. If she had to describe it, she would say it was the sound of bone rubbing against bone.
Whatever he had done, it was enough to startle some of the greener Lycans back. She could practically feel his pleasure at the motion.
“Where is she?”
As soon as the question was out of his British mouth, Michael came rushing down the stairs. He kept to a nearly human speed, obviously not wanting to scare the man into doing something rash.
She could feel the man watching her love, and risked glancing at his face. She barely suppressed a gasp at the sight of his transformed features.
She had seen such a face once before, early in her life as a Death Dealer. Viktor had explained what the creatures that had dared to invade their city were: demons, abominations. They lived only for the hunt, for the feed. Viktor had demanded that each demon be captured alive, and then had beheaded them one at a time in front of the whole Coven. Each had exploded into dust.
“Selene,” Michael said, his voice quiet. “Are you OK?”
“What is that thing?”
The question wasn’t meant for her, but she answered anyway, unsure if any of the Lycans had encountered the species before. “A demon,” she whispered.
The creature didn’t give Michael any time to process the information. He spoke again, in English. “You’ll get your bird back when I have the girl.”
Michael was surprised by the British demon’s demand. He had come into a Lycan lair in order to kidnap the American? The creature must surely have a death wish.
He could hear his Clan growling softly, ready to spring. The thought of them attacking and accidentally causing that blade to pierce Selene’s throat was enough to chill his blood.
“Stand down!” he hissed in Czech so that he was assured that all of the Lycans understood him. He would not risk Selene.
“We can take him,” Raze said softly, eying the intruder. Indeed, he didn’t look very impressive, even with his oddly warped face. He figured he had the strength and speed to break the bastard in half before the demon knew what hit him. Only the terrified look in Selene’s eyes prevented him from trying.
“No,” he whispered. “We can’t risk him hurting Selene.” Raze growled in response, clearly not pleased with that line of logic.
“He snuck into a building full of Lycans because of this girl. If he’s willing to do that, he’s desperate enough to hurt Selene to get his way.”
“Their kind only care for the hunt. If he wants the girl, it’s to feed.”
Michael nodded, briefly torn between protecting his mate and protecting a stranger. There really was no choice involved. Selene came first, but he would do what he could for the American.
“I can’t allow you to hurt the girl,” he finally stated, watching the demon warily.
“I’m not gonna. I just want to get her out of here before she gets any more caught up in your petty little war. That’s how she got hurt, wasn’t it?”
“Petty!” Selene hissed, switching to English so that the demon could understand her. “The war has been going on since before you were born, abomination.”
The demon snorted and said, “The girl. The one you brought here, wounded. Where is she?”
Michael gestured for the Lycans to remain where they were, then motioned for the demon to follow him. Raze trailed after them, keeping a wary eye on the creature, which he returned with interest.
The Brit sighed when he saw the woman on the table, and backed up until his hip bumped its side. He carefully kept the blade at Selene’s throat and he called to the American.
“Buffy. Buffy, luv, open those gorgeous eyes of yours. We have to get out of here.”
Her eyes fluttered and she groaned.
“That’s it, pet. I need you to wake up.”
“Spike?” she mumbled, eyes opening a crack. “You’re dead.”
“I got better,” he said with a smirk, the ridges on his forehead fading to reveal a handsome man with blue eyes. “Not like I’m the only one to ever come back from the dead.”
Michael watched the exchange with interest, studying both the demon and the woman he now knew was Buffy. They obviously knew each other, and something about the way Spike looked at the wounded blonde reminded him of the looks he directed at Selene when he was sure the former Death Dealer couldn’t catch him studying her. He was confident that the woman would be safe with the demon, as odd as that sounded. He believed that the Brit would indeed release Selene, but wanted to make sure moving Buffy would not cause her more damage. With that in mind, he moved to check her bandage, earning a low growl from Spike.
“I just want to check her bandage,” he said, raising his hands to show he meant no harm. “I’m a doctor. I brought her here because she was shot.”
Spike nodded and watched as he checked the wound. He was surprised to find that it looked as if the wound was several days old instead of a few hours. Maybe his patient wasn’t as human as she appeared. She whimpered in pain as he retaped gauze to her bruised shoulder, earning him a growl from her erstwhile protector.
Spike opened his mouth to say something else when a roar of “Bloods!” came from beyond the partition. Automatic weapons’ fire followed in the echo, and the room was suddenly in chaos.
Spike thrust Selene to the floor and covered as much of Buffy’s torso with his own body as he could. Michael launched himself at his paler than normal mate, performing the same instinctive duty. He heard grunts come from Spike, indicating the demon had been hit several times. The stench of singed flesh came from the direction of Raze, who was roaring in pain and anger. His own back was peppered with oddly numb spots, telling him that their attackers were using silver nitrate rounds.
He roared out his own anger as he thought of the slaughter that was surely occurring in the main room. The entirety of his much decimated Clan was clustered in the other room, waiting for the odd standoff to resolve itself. The silver nitrate rounds would plow though them like a car through road-side weeds.
Selene made a little whimpering sound, knocking him out of his rage. He looked down at her, shocked that she wasn’t knocking him out of the way, angry that he was blocking her line of fire. It was only then that he realized that she didn’t have a weapon. And neither did he.
A few feet away, Spike suddenly toppled the table, taking himself and Buffy down with it and affording them the protection of the thick wood. The demon check briefly on his blonde friend before his face changed once again and he jumped over the fallen table and ran at the firing vampires.
Michael took his cue from his odd ally. Moving faster than even vampire senses could see, he picked his mate up and ran to the safety of the table. He gently set her down beside the scowling Buffy and briefly touched her cheek before following the demon’s lead.
He launched himself at the nearest blood, shifting as he did so. It was a smooth shift, nothing like that first torturous one. It was done in the blink of an eye. He quickly ripped the head off the attacking vampire and moved on to the next one. And the next one. He let the bodies fall where they would, unconcerned about fouling the area of combat.
He caught glimpses of Spike off to one side, sword flashing darkly. He wasn’t as quick as Michael -- heck, he wasn’t as quick as the vampires -- but he fought like a man possessed, felling bloods right and left. The demon was obviously an accomplished fighter.
“Abomination,” Kraven yelled in Czech, firing another round at him. “I will wipe out you and your entire pack of mongrels. Then I’ll take that betraying whore and stake her out in the sun. How’d it feel to know that she would spread her legs to any Death Dealer that smiled at her? That the whore you made puppy eyes at had spent a hundred years screaming for anyone with a dick?”
Michael gave a low growl and threw his opponent out of the way, sending him crashing into the wall with enough force to crush bones. He turned to find Kraven, only to find him quite close to where Selene was huddling with the American. The angle made it impossible for the vampire to see the defenseless women, but from the way he sniffed the air as he circled around the fighting mass, his face darkening for a moment, he knew where his obsession was.
“You really are pathetic,” he laughed. “Loving that whore. Was she good? Did you enjoy the tricks I taught her, tricks any good bitch should know?
Selene hissed from her hiding place, eliciting a laugh from their enemy. “What’s wrong, Selene? Are you afraid I’ll reveal your pathetic little secret? Vampire pregnancies are rare, you know,” he called across the floor to where Michael was still battling several vampires. “If it weren’t for the fact that she’s made herself a Lycan bitch, she would be almost revered in the Coven. Is that why you cuckolded him, Selene? To ingratiate yourself to Marcus? To replace the pure born you slaughtered?”
Michael used a bit of jagged pipe he had ripped from the wall to dispatch another vampire, shoving it in his heart and lungs, causing black blood to well up in the creature’s mouth. He turned to the next threat, eager to finish the rogue Death Dealers so that he could feel Kraven’s spine cracking beneath his hands. In the back of his mind he knew that he’d be horrified by his brutality later. Right now, a red haze had descended over him, amplifying the sounds of his suffering Clan.
“Did she tell you the child was yours? Did she leave you to believe that a mule such as yourself could ever reproduce?”
Michael stopped in shock as the filth Kraven was currently spewing finally penetrated his haze of anger, allowing the latest vampire opponent to get a good punch in. His head jerked to the side under the force of the blow, and he growled low before raking his claws across the vamp’s throat.
“Pregnant?” he gasped as the next challenger rushed him. He dimly heard Spike laughing as the demon cut the head from an opponent.
“Can you not smell it? There’s no other smell quite like the smell of a breeding female. Soon you should be able to hear the little bastard’s heartbeat.
“When did she sneak out to meet her lover, I wonder? Did she go directly from your bed, unfulfilled, to his? Or from his, sated, to yours?”
Michael turned to the next threat and was pleased to see that all of his attackers were down. Spike was still battling a vampire off to one side, but the ten or so that had surrounded him were now scattered about his feet. That left only Kraven for Michael.
He focused his entire attention on the dark vampire, growling lowly at his proximity to his vulnerable mate. What little rational thought he had left flew out of his head as he rushed the vampire, not giving him time to react before he was pinned to the wall by Michael’s powerful arms. The hybrid calmly drew one arm back and smashed it into Kraven’s face and through the wall behind the vampire’s head.
“You talk too much,” he snarled as he let the meat fall to the floor. He stood over the body, daring it to move so that he could rip it to pieces. He wanted to rip it to pieces, to sink his fangs and claws into the flesh and rend it until nothing remained but little splatters.
A groan from Raze broke him out of his daze, and he quickly moved to the still huddled Selene, shifting as he went. She stared up at him with confused eyes and he lifted his hand to reassure her with a touch, only to grimace when he noticed the blood and brain matter dripping from his fingers.
He gave her a tentative smile instead, and asked the question Kraven had raised. “Pregnant?”
If anything, the confusion in her eyes increased, and she ducked her head, trying to hide the damning emotions that shone through her eyes.
“Bloody hell,” a whispered comment came from the main room, tearing his attention away from his mate. Spike was standing in the middle of the carnage, staring down at Leena, their youngest Clan member. Her blue eyes stared up at the British demon in fear and pain, her pale skin mottled with blacked veins as the silver spread its poison through her system.
Michael dashed to the young Lycan’s side and groaned at the amount of silver circulating through her system. He knew there was nothing he could do to help her, not even with state of the art equipment. He tenderly brushed her brown hair out of her face before turning to the closest Clan member.
“Oy! Where’re you goin’? Can’t you see she needs help?”
“Help I can’t provide. The silver’s too prevalent in her blood now. But I may be able to help others in my Clan.”
Spike watched the blonde man walk away and then glanced down at the young girl at his feet. She was no older than Dawn, looked a bit like his Nibblet, too, with the dark hair and big blue eyes. And, according to the creature who claimed to be a doctor, she was going to die.
He watched as the doctor checked on another werewolf and sadly shake his head before moving on to yet another. A quick glance around showed him that almost all of the wolves in the pack had been hit with the silver oozing bullets. Almost all of them were in the same dire position.
His jaw clenched as the girl moaned in pain. He could just grab Buffy and leave. These people were nothing to him. He had only helped with the bastardized vamps because they were threatening Buffy. He didn’t owe them…
He shook his head as he pulled the mercifully undamaged cell phone from his pocket. His precious duster was riddled with holes, as was his flesh, but the cell phone was unharmed. He hit the speed dial with a grim look around the warehouse.
“Did you find her?” was the question asked in lieu of a hello.
“Yeah. Listen, I need medical supplies. Bandages, pain killers, everything you can get -- and doctors, ones that know how to deal with werewolves. And something that can purify blood, take out silver.”
“And just where am I supposed to get this?”
“How the bloody hell should I know, Percy? Just get it here.”
Wesley was silent for a moment, over educated brain no doubt running through his options. “The nearest Wolfram and Hart office is in Berlin. I’ll call them and see what I can do. Stay with your cell, we’ll use it to plot a location.”
“Good,” Spike replied before shutting off the phone and dropping it back into his pocket. He knelt at the girl’s side and laid a comforting hand on her forehead. “Don’t worry, Bite-sized, Wesley’ll come through for you. Just wait and see.”
As promised, Wesley walked in five minutes later, trailed by a team of medical professionals. Their appearance caused the hackles to rise on the few wolves who were not critically wounded, and there was a tense moment until Spike talked to their odd leader.
“It’s alright, mate,” Spike reassured him, gently placing the young female on a gurney. “They know what they’re doing. If anyone can help them, they can.”
“What do they know about Lycan physiology?” he asked, glaring at a doctor who was gently examining the girl’s blackened veins.
“Quite a lot, actually,” the doctor replied, her voice colored with German. “We specialize in supernatural species. This girl needs the silver cleansed from her blood immediately,” she yelled over her shoulder to a group of people setting up machines. “Hook her to dialysis right away.”
A nurse gave a quick nod and hurried the gurney away to where technicians were setting up a bank of machines.
“Dialysis?” the alpha asked.
The doctor gave a quick nod and examined another patient. “Our machines can be… Changed, yes, that is the word, changed to target specific elements in the blood. In this case, silver. It will not be a complete cure, you understand. We can do nothing about the majority of the damage. But we can prevent any more damage. It will be enough to give your pack a fighting chance, correct?”
Michael nodded in answer to the human doctor’s question. He was a bit dazed that humans had come to their aid, and that it had been arranged by a demon, of all creatures. He quickly shook off the amazement and pitched in to help, triaging the Lycans.
The next few hours passed in a blur of medical technology and blood. After dialysis, most of his clan were strong enough to shift and force the remaining silver out of their flesh, but even with the five super fast machines in operation, several Lycans died.
It was after dawn when the medical staff finally left, having done all they could for the Clan. Michael had not slept in over twenty-four hours, but he still went from bed to bed, reassuring his Lycans that he was still alive and that they would be alright. Selene had retreated to their room, shaken up but physically fine. He would join her when he could.
He had just finished tucking Leena in when he saw Spike and another man approach the gurney Buffy lay on. The blonde American had been dosed with a pain killer and her gun shot wound treated with the proper equipment, but had refused to be taken to a conventional hospital or her hotel.
“Hello, luv,” Spike said, giving her a shy smile. “How are you feeling?”
The blonde smiled sweetly at him and let her fist fly, landing a solid punch on his nose. The demon reared back with a roar and took several steps back, cradling his nose.
“Feeling better, then?” the human man said, smiling at the American.
“Much. Hey, Wes.”
“Buffy,” he responded, ignoring Spike’s cursing. Michael decided this was as good a time as any to find out what exactly was going on.
“I’m Michael Corvin,” he said, offering his hand to the British human.
“Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. And you’ve met our lovely Miss Summers.”
“Buffy,” she corrected, taking his hand in a surprisingly strong grip. “And the foul mouth over there is Spike.”
“We’ve met,” Spike said, glaring at Buffy.
“You could call it that,” the hybrid returned.
“So, Mike,” Buffy said, causing him to wince at the nickname. “What’s the sitch?”
“Situation,” Wesley explained, seeing Michael’s look of confusion.
“That’s what I said. Who were the not-so-uglies with the guns?”
“Vampires,” he answered, only to be met with incredulous stares from the humans. “You obviously know about Lycans,” he stated, waving a hand to indicate the werewolves arranged on the gurneys the medical staff had left behind. “The vampires are our sworn enemies. I’m sorry to say that you just got caught in the middle of a war that’s been going on for over a thousand years.
“You really should leave Prague as soon as you possibly can. We try to keep humans out of the war, but if the Coven discovers you’ve been in contact with us, it’s very likely they would kill you just on principle.”
“We’re pretty hard to kill,” Buffy muttered, shooting a look at Spike, who snorted in response.
“Fascinating,” Wesley said, giving Michael a look that made him feel as if he were a bug under a microscope. “If I may ask, what caused the outbreak of hostilities?”
“Trust me, you don’t want any more information. Don’t get involved.”
“But, judging from the massacre that almost occurred here, you may need my help.” Wesley extracted a Wolfram and Hart card from a small case. “I’m a member of a law firm that specializes in unique cases. One of the things we do is mediate peace negotiations. Or, perhaps we can assist you in relocating if peace is not viable.”
“Where would we go that the Bloods wouldn’t hunt us down?” he asked sarcastically.
“Pretty much anywhere, actually. These vampires of yours seem to be unique to this area. I’ve studied the occult for most of my life, and let me assure you that I had no idea of their existence until tonight.”
Spike snorted once again, earning a glare from Wesley. “And some people,” the human continued. “Didn’t feel it necessary to inform me.”
“Would you’ve believed me?”
“What do you mean,” Michael interrupted. “About the vamps being unique?”
Wesley pulled a couple of chairs from the corner of the room and settled into one, indicating that Michael do the same. “How much do you know about this breed of vampires?”
“Quite a lot, judging from the chippy upstairs,” Spike said, earning a growl from Michael and a glare from both Wesley and Buffy.
“You don’t have to tell me anything,” Wesley supplied when he saw the untrusting look on Michael’s face. “While I’ve very curious about this breed, I will not force you or any one else to give me information. The LA branch of Wolfram and Hart does not operate that way.
“I took the liberty of examining some of your attackers tonight. While most of them were dead, there was one who was barely alive. Don’t worry,” he assured when he saw Michael start to rise. “He’s dead now. But I was astonished to discover that the vampire’s heart beat.”
“Why shouldn’t it?” the hybrid asked.
“Because vampires, by definition, are humans that die and are possessed by the spirit of a demon. Their hearts do not beat. When they die, all that is left is dust. This is clearly not the case with the local version.”
“Nope, they leave bodies,” Spike confirmed, earning another glare from Wesley.
“Angel said I could stake you if you got too annoying, you know?”
Spike was going to answer, but Buffy beat him to it. “I’d be mad if you did.”
Michael watched as Spike’s whole face lit up at the words, only to fall at the blonde’s next pronunciation. “If anyone’s going to make the peroxide pest fit in an ashtray, it’ll be me.”
“Be that as it may,” Wesley said. “These vampires are not found anywhere else to my knowledge. It makes me think that they have strong ties to this area, either traditional or mystical. You could move any where else in the world and never see one of them again, I believe.”
Michael shook his head. “Amelia’s Coven, or what was Amelia’s Coven, was based out of Washington, DC.”
Wesley hmmed softly before nodding his head. “That makes sense, actually. Both Washington, DC and Prague are considered supernatural dead zones. This breed of vampire must somehow repel demons.”
“They’re territorial,” Spike offered, lighting up a cigarette. “Drove me and Dru out of here in ’95.”
This time Buffy snorted, earning a sheepish look from the demon.
“Never the less,” Wesley continued, glaring at both of his companions. “Los Angeles has a large supernatural community, and Wolfram and Hart could provide safe places to contain you during the full moon.”
“You mean lock us up?”
“I’m afraid that would be one thing we would have to insist upon. Angel, my boss, reacts badly to humans in LA being hurt. If any of your pack attacked a human, he would hunt that person down.”
Michael shook his head. “Only the newest of us can not control the change. We haven’t had an incident in several years.”
Wesley nodded, pleased with this information.
“I… I need to think about this, talk it over with my Clan.”
“Of course. We’ll get out of your way,” he said, rising. “Spike, the car is as near the door as the driver could manage. If you will wait a moment, I’ll carry Buffy out and you can follow once I have her settled.”
Spike nodded and watched the man carry Buffy away with an eagle eye, cursing the fact that the sun made it impossible for him to carry the slayer himself.
“So,” Spike started once they were safely back at the hotel. He had carried Buffy up to her room so that the slayer could get some rest, but was reluctant to leave her after she was settled.
“So,” she returned.
Spike let loose a hearty sigh and ran one hand through his bleached hair. “Buffy, love, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I was back. And you have every right to be pissed at me for it. I… I just didn’t know what to say. I mean, even if I had known where you were, what was I supposed to do, pick up the phone and say ‘Hello, Buffy. It's Spike. I didn't burn up like you thought. How are things?’ Would sound like a bloody wanker.”
“And I thought you should have a chance at a normal life, ya know? You don’t have to go out and fight the big bads anymore. You can find a house with a white picket fence and have a passel of bite-sized Buffys. And I can’t give you that.”
“Spike,” Buffy tried again, yawning so hard that her jaw popped.
“Sorry, luv. I didn’t realize you were so tired. I’ll still be around for you to yell at tomorrow, get some sleep.”
“You’re right, you will be,” she said as he moved towards the door. “Now get that skinny little ass over here and hold me while I sleep. I’ll tear into you tomorrow; tonight I just want to be held.”
He gave her a tremulous smile and carefully crawled onto the bed with her. She immediately snuggled up next to him, her head in the well created by his shoulder and her wounded arm wrapped around his torso. He gave her head a small kiss before turning off the light and settling down to sleep.
She was sitting on their pallet when he quietly slipped into their room, gazing out into the semi darkness afforded by the blackened windows. Her knees were drawn up to her chest, her arms wrapped around them and her chin resting on her knees. She looked lost, and he wanted nothing more than to hold her in his arms and comfort her, but he knew he couldn’t. Not yet. Maybe not ever.
“Selene,” he called softly, leaning against the wall near the door, consciously not crowding her.
She jumped, startled by his appearance, having been so lost in thought that she hadn’t heard him enter.
“Michael,” she replied, shifting to watch him out of the corner of her eye. It hurt that she wouldn’t look at him head on. She could face the biggest Lycan or the most obsessive Death Dealer without flinching, but she couldn’t look at him.
“Are you feeling OK?” He winced once the question was out of his mouth. Just like him to blunder in with no tact.
“Even if I had gotten hit, silver nitrate doesn’t affect me.”
“Kraven said some pretty nasty things.”
“And then you pulverized his head.”
He watched her, unsure about what to say next. If only she wasn’t so distant. He had no idea what she was thinking, what she was feeling.
“You hate violence,” she pointed out.
“There are times that it’s necessary.”
“You should have never experienced it. You should be at the hospital, saving lives instead of taking them.”
“I still save lives,” he said.
“It’s a losing battle. There are only fifty Clan members left. One attack from Marcus and it’s all over.”
“It doesn’t have to be. Wesley, the human who brought the doctors, says that the Coven is limited to a few areas. We could leave. We could be safe.”
“And then what? We find a nice burned-out warehouse and set up house?”
“We do whatever you want,” he whispered.
She silently hugged her knees closer to her chest and still refused to look at him.
“Or, he offered to negotiate peace for us. You – you could go back to the Coven. Probably not right away, but eventually.”
“I’m a Lycan whore, remember? Even the most tolerant of the Death Dealers would kill me on sight, peace or no.”
He sighed and ran a frustrated hand through his hair. He wanted to see her eyes, to read the emotions that shown there. With that in mind, he cautiously approached and knelt at her feet.
Her eyes were wells of confusion and fear. They made his heart ache. He didn’t think, he just took her in his arms and held her, rocking gently back and forth.
“It’ll be OK,” he whispered, kissing the top of her head. “It’ll be OK.”
“Michael,” she said, after several minutes. “About what Kraven said…”
“I – I don’t know. I know nothing of vampire pregnancies. There has not been one in over three hundred years. I do not even know what signs to look for.”
“Have you been ill?”
She ducked her head, hiding briefly in his chest. “I was dizzy. And now I’m tired. All the time I’m tired.”
“I know less than you about vampire reproduction, I’ll wager. But in the early stages of human pregnancy the woman often experiences fatigue.”
“What he said – “
“Was his usual bunch of lies.” He tilted her head up so that he could gaze into her eyes and so that she could see that he was perfectly serious. “All lies.”
She buried her face into his chest once again. “Is it possible? Peace?”
“I don’t know,” he whispered, laying his cheek on her hair. “I don’t know.”
Two nights later, two men in conservative suits walked up to the gates of a large mansion. The man in charge calmly presented a business card to the guards and asked for an audience with their lord. After a few minutes’ conference, the guards allowed them access and escorted them to the audience chamber.
Meanwhile, across the city, fifty-three werewolves, one vampire, and one creature that was neither one nor the other boarded a private jet, bound for a new life.
End notes: Yes, I realize that it ends without really settling anything. Let me assure you that it was deliberate. Will there be a happy ending for our couples? I don’t know. I can’t see either couple settling down in a cozy lair with a white picket fence (unless Buffy uses it to threaten Spike *grin*).