Wherever You Will Go
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.Author’s Notes:
I don’t have plot bunnies; I have plot cats. Most of the time they laze around, sitting in the sun. Every once in awhile, though, they see a bit of string and decide to pounce on it, or want to be petted at 4:30 in the morning.
OK, something to take into consideration with this fic. I have no idea where Underworld is supposed to take place. So, in my little corner of the universe, I have declared that it takes place in Prague. Hmmm… Now who do I know that has been to Prague?
Also, I’ve never been to Prague, so my descriptions of places are probably filled with inaccuracies. Please forgive them.
A special thank you to Sonyaelflady, who did a marvelous job betaing this piece.
Spike walked through the dock area, looking for any signs of the girl. He had already been through the slums and the warehouse district, dark alleys and deserted streets. And had found fuck all for his trouble.
The girl was a slayer, wasn’t that a kick in the pants. He didn’t let it worry him, though. He was the Slayer of Slayers, after all. Had killed two in under a century. Wasn’t another vampire alive that could make that claim. Or one undead, for that matter.
Of course… That was before the soul. Before the girl. Before the chip. He had changed since the last time he had put a slayer notch on his belt. He had kept in shape of course, had needed to in order to keep his own hide safe from the demons who considered him a traitor. And he had fought and beat turok-han, the vamps vampires feared. Yeah, he was a rock.
A slight noise caught his attention, dragging him out of his silent pep talk. He sniffed the air, trying to detect a single scent amongst the multitude that permeated the dock area. It was impossible. The smell of the sea overwhelmed everything else.
Cautiously, he turned a corner and paused, pretending to study a bit of dirt. In reality, he was listening to the sound of scurrying footprints and the unsubtle creak of new leather. The steps had the clump of heavy boots to them, and he caught a hint of cheap tobacco. It was enough to tell him who his shadow was.
He gave a little huff of annoyance and walked on, keeping a lookout for any signs of the Looney Toons slayer and one ear on his candidate for bumbling sidekick.
It didn’t take long for Andrew’s lame attempts at being stealthy to annoy him past the point of polite ignoring. With a growl of frustration, he called out into the shadows.
“Right. We can play cat and mouse all night,” he pulled Andrew out by his lapels. “Or I could wedgie you unconscious and be done with it.” He thrust the idiot away from him, vainly hoping he would get a clue about his lack of welcome.
“Bravo,” Andrew exclaimed. “I see your senses seem to be as well-honed as your Viggo Mortensen pectorals.”
Spike rolled his eyes and walked away, only to have him follow behind.
“What are you doin' out here, Andrew?”
“This is where the action is, bro. On the mean streets. Can you dig it? “
”Go back to Wolfram & Hart. Don't have time for games.”
”That's good, 'cause Andy ain't playin'.” He could only raise an eyebrow as the geek opened his duster to reveal several guns strapped to the lining. Not that he believed that any of it was real, except maybe the taser. Andrew didn’t have the muscle, or the balls, to carry around that much weaponry.
”You're not the only one who's changed,” he continued, closing his coat once again. “Mr. Giles has been training me. I'm faster, stronger, and 82% more manly than the last time we — ugh“
Spike kept walking, unconcerned that the little ponce had tripped. His erstwhile companion’s high-pitched, and definitely unmanly, scream, brought him around in a fighting stance.
Nothing was rushing at him, neither ooze-dripping demon nor wack-job chosen one-of-hundreds. He relaxed slightly as he looked down at Andrew, wondering what had upset the boy so much.
“Son of a — “ he muttered, seeing the answer immediately. Andrew scrambled away from the bloody corpse. The sea air and Andrew’s prattle had kept him from scenting the blood that still dribbled from a few wounds. The body was fresh, meaning that whoever or whatever had killed him should still be close by.
“Gross!” Andrew moaned, climbing to his feet.
“Is the girly-man gonna hurl?” Spike snarked. “Bloody hell, grow some balls, you little piss ant. You killed your best friend -- a corpse should be old hat by now.”
“Sh-should we call an ambulance?”
“Won’t help the poor blighter,” he replied, kneeling by the head of the dead man. He tilted his head from side to side, studying the body from every angle. The face was mangled, no doubt due to facial bones being smashed to bits. Very little blood was coming from the few wounds, making him think that the bones sticking up through the skin had been broken after the bloke had breathed his last.
“Pure rage,” Andrew intoned superciliously. He had apparently gotten over his shock.
“Sounds like a demented slayer to me,” he said, leaving the body where they found it and continuing on. Hopefully some carrion demons would find it and clean up the mess.
“We’re rebuilding the Watcher’s Council,” Andrew chattered after they had traveled for ten minutes. “The survivors of the Hellmouth, that is. We have weekly teleconferences to make sure everyone’s on the same page. It’s essential in the organization.”
He paused as a distant ship’s foghorn blared through the night. “Well, mostly, I talk to Rupert. But we all check in. Xander's in Africa. He sent me an mbuna fish. And Willow and Kennedy are in Brazil. They're based in Sao Paulo, but, um, every time I talk to them, they're in Rio.”
Spike wandered between two massive shipping crates, testing the air. Andrew, noticing his absence, asked “What's it smell like? Blood, I mean?”
“Metallic, sorta,” he answered distractedly. “You ever taste a penny?”
“No. Wait... no.”
“Smells like that.”
He returned to the whelp and continued walking in the direction they had been taking. He bit his bottom lip, the only outward sign of his nervousness over asking the question that had plagued him since he first saw Andrew. No, since he first found himself in Angel’s bloody office.
“So, uh...you heard from Buffy lately? “
”Yeah. Of course, uh...she's in Prague. Dawn’s in Rome with Giles, in school there. Italian school.”
Andrew, realizing that Spike had stopped walking, turned around to look at him. “What?”
“Did you say she was in Prague?” he asked, his voice emotionless.
“Yeah. She got there Monday. Spike? Spike!”
Spike ignored the boy’s calls as he sprinted back the way they had come. The only thought running through his mind was Buffy’s in Prague.
“Spike?” Andrew whimpered, feeling the darkness crowd him without his vampire companion.
Spike burst into Wolfram and Hart’s well-appointed conference room, looking wildly around for his ponce of a grandsire. The hair gel king sat behind a stack of folders, deeply involved in the one lying open before him. With a growl, the bleached vampire threw himself at his elder, knocking him out of the cushy chair and scattering the worthless files.
“Did you know she was in Prague?” he growled, oblivious to the fact that he was in full game face.
“Spike, you stupid limey piece of crap, get the fuck off me!”
Spike, too far gone to obey any such order, wrapped his hands around Angel’s throat and squeezed. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew choking wouldn’t hurt his rival, but vampire instinct demanded that he go for the throat.
“Did you bloody well know she was in Prague?” he snarled, shaking Angel’s neck hard enough that his head rebounded against the carpeted floor. He wished it were stone so that he could hear the satisfying thumps the action was sure to make.
He was so focused on Angel that he didn’t notice Gunn and Wesley rushing to tackle him from the side. His inattention made it easy for them to pin him to the ground, where it took all of their combined strength, plus the addition of Lorne, to keep him down.
Angel stood and gave a few reflexive coughs as Fred fluttered around him, muttering about possible damage to his vocal cords.
“What is your problem?” Angel finally asked, looming over the still struggling Spike.
“She’s in Prague, you ponce!”
“Who is?” his grandsire asked, thoroughly confused by the younger vampire’s actions.
“Buffy,” Wesley stated, having gotten an update from Andrew earlier.
“Buffy’s in Prague?” Angel asked, showing, in Spike’s opinion, his usual lack of intelligence. “I didn’t know that.”
“Let me go,” Spike snarled, redoubling his efforts to get free. Angel was forced to hold his legs so that he wouldn’t kick Wesley in the head.
“Spike, I didn’t know she was in Prague,” Angel said, trying to sooth the frantic vampire. “What’s the big deal?”
“She’s in danger, you bloody, poofy idiot!”
Wesley looked confused. “She should be perfectly safe in Prague. It’s a dead zone when it comes to the supernatural. I’d be surprised if she even ran into a vampire while there.”
The bleached vamp growled is response.
Wesley studied the frantic demon he was restraining. Spike truly seemed to believe that Buffy was in danger. It made sense, if he thought about it. Prague, or more accurately, a mob, had almost taken Drusilla away from him years ago. Wesley had read Giles’s accounts of the lengths Spike had went through to restore his black goddess to health, including an attempt at what basically amounted to patricide. He could only assume that his past experience in that city had left him with an irrational fear of it. And, upon hearing that Buffy was there, acted instinctively out of fear for a loved one’s safety.
He suddenly, possibly irrationally, found himself sharing an affinity with the mercurial vamp. He understood perfectly the lengths Spike would go through to protect Buffy from a perceived threat. He himself had shot his own father, or at least a cyborg with his father’s face, for the transgression of threatening Fred. It didn’t matter that Fred didn’t think of him in that way. All that mattered was that the woman he loved had been in danger.
Whether the threat was real or not, it was real enough to Spike. That’s all that mattered at the moment.
“Don’t tell me you believe that garbage about there being a different breed of vampire there?” Angel was scoffing, oblivious of Wesley’s moment of clarity. “News flash, Brain Trust, if there was another breed of vampire, I’d know about it.”
He looked at both Wesley and Gunn for confirmation, one representing the knowledge of the Council and the other of Wolfram and Hart. Wesley remained silent, knowing that his assurances of Buffy’s safety would be pushed aside.
Gunn, even with his implanted knowledge, did not have the same instinct. “Chill, dude. Ain’t no such thing. It’s just a Boogey Man story mamma vamps tell their kiddies.”
As predicted, neither Angel’s disbelief nor Gunn’s point blank denial calmed the frantic vamp. He still continued to struggle against the four men holding him down.
“Angel,” Fred said, appearing at Angel’s side with a hypodermic needle. Wesley wasn’t sure if she had left to get it or had ordered Harmony, who was hovering on one side, wringing her hands, to get it, but he could guess what it contained – a sedative. One strong enough to knock out a master vampire.
“Angel,” Wesley said as his boss took the syringe from Fred. He firmly shook his head, receiving a scowl from the broody vamp in return. “I don’t think that will be necessary. Harmony, have them prep the jet.”
“Boss?” Harmony questioned, her voice wavery with confusion.
“You can’t be serious?” Angel said, adjusting his grip on Spike’s legs. The younger vampire, having heard the ex-watcher’s order, had slowed his struggles, allowing them all to get firmer handholds. Wesley didn’t bother. He had a feeling Spike would be cooperative shortly.
“I’m perfectly serious. Tell them that we’re going to Prague.”
“Wesley, I can’t just let Spike go haring off on a wild goose chase. As annoying as he is around here, it’s better than having him out in the general public. Who knows what kind of trouble he could get into by himself.”
“He won’t be by himself,” Wesley said, making a split second decision. “I plan on traveling with him.”
“I don’t need a soddin’ babysitter,” Spike stated, now lying still and watching the byplay between Wes and Angel.
“Of course not,” Wesley agreed, releasing his hold on the leather-clad arm. Spike flexed it but refrained from lashing out, no matter how much he wanted to do otherwise. “However, Prague is an interesting research opportunity. There has been no record of demonic activity there for several centuries. Perhaps there is a mystical convergence that repels the supernatural to an extent. Obviously, since we know Spike has been there, the phenomena is not infallible. But, if I can replicate it, we would be able to greatly reduce the number of demons in certain cities. Say, ones containing hellmouths or other dangerous portals. It could tip the scales.”
Angel, Lorne, and Gunn, having finally noticed that Spike was no longer struggling, cautiously released him. They remained tense, ready to spring back into action if he went berserk again.
“No demonic activity for several centuries?” Angel asked, his forehead crinkling in thought.
“Wolfram and Hart doesn’t even have a branch there,” Gunn revealed. “It’s the only major city in the world that does not have an office.”
“Interesting. OK, Harm, prep the jet. Wes, feel free to stake Spike if he gets out of hand. Please.”
It was a beautiful city, Buffy had decided. The obvious age of the buildings and the worn cobbles on the street gave it a comforting feel. It was almost alive with history.
She had spent the last two days taking in the more popular tours, just so that she could truthfully tell Giles that she had spent her time sight seeing. She went to the Prague Castle and wandered the echoing halls of Old Royal Palace, the Lobkowitz Palace, and St. George's Basilica and Cloister. She dutifully strolled the Charles Bridge and studied each of the Old Town Bridge Tower’s thirty statues, taking pictures of them like any normal tourist would do.
She played tourist during the day, but the night was her own. At night she wandered the streets of the Stare Mesto, the Old Town, and the Josefov, the Jewish ghetto. They were places he would have frequented, she believed. Not because he would have particularly wanted to, but because Dru would have found the old world style to be soothing. The stones would have whispered their secrets and the ancient graves in the Old Jewish Cemetery would have charmed her. No doubt she would have had her darling deadly boy exhume one of the long dead children so that she could play with it.
No, Spike had always tried to stay relatively modern, for all that his look was stuck in the 80s. He would have preferred the outskirts of the city, where the buildings did not announce that they were Baroque or Gothic as if that would change a person’s opinion of the structure. On the outskirts the buildings did not look disapprovingly upon tourists who dirtied them with their fingers and blinded them with their flashes. But, as he had always said, he was had been a fool for love and would have followed Dru wherever she led.
She often wondered where they stayed in their sojourn. He had never spoken of his time in the city, not even to Dawn. Perhaps they had pretended to be human, a husband and wife honeymooning in a romantic city, braving the still unstable political landscape left by the formation of a new republic. They would have stayed in one of the hotels then. Perhaps even the one where she now roomed.
Or they could have broken into one of the historic sites; maybe the Prague Loreta, overcoming the pain of so many religious artifacts nearby to listen to the thirty Loreta hand bells ring out the hours. Or to simply sit and gaze at the diamond monstrance, the 6,222 diamonds replacing the stars that talked to her so often. Or, knowing Dru, simply because the roof was red.
She also wondered if any of the people she passed during her wanderings had once been part of the mob that had so wounded Dru and propelled Spike into her life. Had the priest eating a late dinner whipped the mob into a frenzy with his church doctrine? Or had the waitress’s daughter been drained, starting a chain of events?
Not that it mattered now. She couldn’t fault the people of Prague for protecting themselves. In actuality, she should probably thank them for starting the chain of events that had so changed her life.
Eight months. It had been eight months since the Hellmouth collapsed and took him with it. She had spent the intervening time traveling Europe, finding new slayers and helping to rebuild the Counsel. She had visited London and Berlin, had gazed at the Sistine Chapel and Notre Dame. In Spain she had found her father, literally bumping into him on the street. Him and his current attempt to convince himself that he wasn’t on the wrong side of forty. She was younger than Buffy.
She had settled in Rome, though, falling in love with the warmth and peacefulness of the city. She had left Dawn there, under Giles’s guardianship, as she took her first vacation in eight months. No, longer than that. For the first time since they had reopened Sunnydale High. It was nice. A definite relief after so many months of nonstop fear and worry.
Giles had looked at her strangely when she had told him her destination. He suspected the reason behind it, but kept his thoughts to himself. Dawn had given her a knowing look, Willow a sympathetic murmur across the Atlantic, and Xander a confused silence. But all had kept their own counsel.
Tired of walking, at least temporarily, she settled at a small café, a booth near the window. It was still too cold in Prague for the restaurants to offer alfresco dining, especially at midnight. But she enjoyed the cold; after living her whole life in sunny California and settling in warm Rome, the cold was invigorating.
The café was mostly deserted. Tourist season hadn’t started yet and most of the locals were home in bed. The café catered to staff at the local hospital, and was one of Buffy’s favorite places to people watch.
At the moment, she shared the space with only one young man, an intern, she would guess by the scrubs he sported. He was at a table in the back, drinking coffee and looking around a trifle nervously. She thought it was because of the rain that threatened, thunder echoing off the stone and lightening throwing everything in sharp relief. He sorta reminded her of a guy she had gone to school with, from the swim team. Gage something or other, she didn’t remember. But it wasn’t him. Gage Whatshisname was attacked by a vampire senior year and she wasn’t there to stop it. He had survived the swim team and an attack by Angelus, but because she had decided to patrol one cemetery instead of another, he had died. And he hadn’t risen, she had camped out at his grave for a week to make sure.
Such was the life of a slayer.