Chapter 2: Early Morning Joggers
Disclaimer: I don’t own BtVS, Ats, or SG-1.
A/N: The SG-1 setting is about mid season five--that’s not terribly important though. Just keep in mind that Daniel hasn’t died yet. And it's post season 7 for Buffy.
“Well, you were all innocent, and you had a mother complex. Then, you were made all bitter by the world, right?” Andrew urged. Spike only rolled his eyes. “And then, when the time was right, BAM, the Dark Side arrived, and you went all evil and stuff. You killed and maimed. Eventually though, love—though not the fatherly kind, as the case was—brought you back to the side of light, only long enough for you to die a tragic death saving the galaxy and becoming absorbed back into the Force.” Silence. “Don’t you see the similarities?”
The souled vampire clenched his fist, restraining himself. “I’m not bloody Darth Vader,” he growled, quickening his pace until Andrew was practically running to keep up with him.
“I know that, silly.” Andrew gave a half-smile, shaking his head as if the idea was preposterous. “I’m simply stating that, if Luke was to represent, say, your soul. . .Well, you thought you’d lost it for good, and then you got it back—but you were like ‘oh the pain’ and wanted to rip it out, and then you finally succumbed to the goodness and joined it to redeem your wicked. . .”
Spike raised a hand to cut him off.
“Is that the ‘shut up’ hand or the ‘stop, I smell a demon’ sort of hand,” Andrew whispered, coming to a halt less than an inch away from the vampire’s back.
His eyes darted around the park they had just entered. Amongst the perfect green carpet (ornamented with the standard benches covered in bird droppings), stood a playground, quaint and tempting to any individual under seven. Andrew smiled at it, silently tapping the tips of his fingers together.
“Takes me back to old times,” Spike muttered. He lifted his chin, gesturing in the direction of the slide. “This is the place.”
“The demon’s under the playground?” Andrew asked. “Are you sure Willow got the spell right?”
“The hellmouth was under a school,” Spike scoffed.
Andrew nodded sagely, “Point taken. I call the springy bucking dinosaur!”
Spike smirked as the geek ran forward, jumping onto the purple, plastic creature, his knees almost at his shoulders as he rode the toddler toy. The Barney look-alike swung back and forth, its nose and tail bouncing off of the pee-gravel at the man’s weight.
The vampire lit-up a cigarette, casually pushing back his black duster and taking a seat on a nearby swing. He resisted the urge to push off the ground, remembering how Drusilla had always enjoyed hunting in the park and having her lover push her swing as she fed on a child.
“I hope Red finds that book soon,” he said, his voice faint. Willow hadn’t had nearly enough time to track down the spell, but Spike was already anxiously awaiting her return, and not because of his annoyance with Andrew.
“You’re worried about Buffy,” Andrew stated. He put down his feet, sliding to a stop. “It’s not your fault, Spike. And it’s not Angel or Illyria’s either. Buffy did what she thought she had to do.”
“It was stupid.” Spike dropped his cigarette to the ground, putting a boot to it.
“She’ll be ok. The Slayer’s been through worse, right? Giles is taking care of her. Buffy’s strong. She’ll fight back, especially now that you guys are back in her life.”
“You mean now that Angel is back in her life, no longer the traitor she’d thought him to be,” Spike said, shaking his head.
“I was talking about you, actually.” Andrew bit his lip, his dramatic side taking over, this time for the good of someone other than himself. “She did what she did thinking of saving the innocents in LA. And, yeah, her passion sort of flared up when she heard that Angel was one of the good guys now. But you didn’t see her eyes when I finally told her that you were there, too. I’d kept your secret until then. Giles didn’t want me to speak up, but he didn’t stop me because she’d already made up her mind. He let me tell her because he knew that it would give her the strength to live.”
“The bit alone would give her that.” Spike stared off into the night.
He had chosen to travel to Colorado with Willow and Andrew straight after the Battle of Los Angeles, as Andy had dubbed it, and Angel and Illyria had went on to Rome to see if they could be any help to Buffy. But they all knew that the only thing that that could help her now was apparently in little Colorado Springs.
“And it still doesn’t stomp the fact that she’s in a bloody coma,” he replied.
“But it’s a magically-induced coma,” Andrew added.
“Somehow, that doesn’t help matters.” The vampire stood, walking behind the line of clone swings.
“Does too,” Andrew snapped, looking affronted. “If its magic related, Willow can fix it. She’s the most powerful witch, like, ever. She’ll find the book and raise the demon and. . .”
“And the rest of it's slice, dice, and brew the broth,” Spike concluded. “It’s never that easy, boy, especially when you’re fixing the Immortal's mistakes.”
Andrew shrugged. He opened his mouth to reply but stopped, cocking his head and staring at the ground in front of his feet. Spike followed his gaze. The soft gravel seemed to be disappearing, sifting into the soil a few at a time through what appeared to be a hole that was steadily growing.
Then something rather typical happened. A claw shot out of the earth, grabbing hold of Andrew’s ankle. And, in the name of all things expected, a body followed the appendage.o)0(o
“I really hope I’m at the right house,” Willow muttered.
The witch had spent the last two days in Colorado Springs searching through her location spells for something that would give her a more specific way to find the book. As luck would have it, she’d found the correct incantation at three in the morning. All that was left was for her to wake up the current owner of the book, convince them to let her borrow it, and take it back to the park where Spike and Andrew were waiting. Easy enough.
“Not,” she sighed. She tapped on the front door lightly.
“Sam?” came a call from inside.
Apparently, she hadn’t woken anyone.
“No,” she called through the door. “My name’s Willow. I need to speak to you, Mr. . .” She turned, squinting back at the name on the mail box. “Mr. Jackson.”
There was a moment of silence before a reply came. “Who?”
“You don’t know me,” Willow said, “but I need to speak to you about something that you’ve acquired, a book to be specific. It will only take a moment.” Lie. “This would be easier to explain face-to-face, actually.”
“A book? At three in the morning?” Jackson replied. “Wait . . . What kind of book?”
Willow frowned. “It’s hard to explain. If you’d just come to the door. . .”
“I can’t. Come back in the morning.”
“It is morning,” Willow snapped. “This is really important!”
“Honestly, I can’t come to the door right now. It'll have to wait.”
The witch had had enough. Her best friend’s life was fading with every hour; she had no more time to waste. She put a hand on the door handle, preparing to mutter an incantation when the knob turned. She smiled, opening the front door.
She was half expecting to find a large man with a shot gun waiting for her, but instead she saw no one. Willow took a step inside, peeking into the first room. A man was sitting at a chair in front of a desk covered in books and papers. He was wearing an aggravated expression on his face. He pursed his lips, cocking his head in mock invitation and faintly staring down at his boxers and black t-shirt.
“Come on in,” he murmured, resting his chin on one hand.
Willow felt her face blush slightly. “Normally, I’m not big on the intruding,” she tried to explain. Her eyes moved past him and found the desk. “Hey! That’s what I’m looking for.” She crossed the room in three strides, reaching out for the spell book.
The man caught her wrist. “Hold it,” he snapped. “Who are you? What are you doing in my house? And who do you work for?”
Willow raised a brow. “Willow Rosenberg. Getting that book. Freelancer.”
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I need this book.”
The witch pulled away from him, a look of confusion on her face when he released her, putting up his palms in surrender. The man frowned, weary frustration etched under his eyes.
Then she saw his notes. “Oh, no. . .”
“Listen, I can’t give you this book because. . .”
“You read it aloud?” Willow asked. “Oh, boy, you’re in trouble.”
“Really? Didn’t notice.” Jackson shook his body frantically, illustration the fact that he was fully aware of his current situation. A moment of quiet passed between the two of them. Finally, he extended a hand. “Dr. Daniel Jackson.”
Willow shook it awkwardly. “Nice to meet you, Dr. Jackson. It seems you may be in a bit of a bind, literally.”
“I’m stuck to the chair,” he explained. “Is that what you’re referring to by any chance?”
The red head gave him a sympathetic nod. “That was supposed to be my job. . .”
“So, this book is yours?”
“Not exactly, but I was planning on using it,” Willow stated. “You really shouldn’t meddle into the magicks without proper instruction. I mean, rule one is never read out loud until after translation—it’s sort of a basic. Let me guess, amateur sorcerer? You bought a few manuals on the internet and began to dabble.”
It was Daniel’s turn to raise a brow. “What?”
Willow blinked, abashed. “You’re not. . . Oh, just a normal joe, reading an ancient book on spell cast.” He stared at her, jaw slack. She bit her lip. “Not a wizard or enchanter or. . . That’s just great.” She sighed. “Are you sure, because you really give off a magic vibe and your aura’s just jumpy at the thought. . .”
Daniel shook his head. “Magic?”
Willow twiddled her thumbs. “We can talk about this later. How about I attempt to free you in the mean time?” A frowned appeared on her face. “Oh, crap.”
“What is it?” Daniel asked slowly.
“We better hurry.”
Dr. Jackson cocked his head. “And why is that?”
“I sort of disregarded the whole, there’s a demon on its way to consume you part,” Willow explained.
“Demon?” Daniel glared at her. Then his face lightened, a nearly visible light bulb switching on above his head. “Sacrifice,” he said.
Spike see demon. Demon attack Andrew. Spike distract demon. See Spike run.
The vampire raced out of the park and down the sidewalk. Typically, it was not a good idea to lead any sort of flesh-eating creature into a public area, so he ignored the glare of store lights, running in the opposite direction. Spike knew the demon was still hot on his tail, partly because he could still smell the monster’s rank breath.
He darted across an empty road, scaling a chain-length fence and gracefully landing in a roll. The vampire ran through a patch of forestry. He heard the demon grunt as the vampire pulled back a branch and let it smack the creature in the face. Spike let out a snort of laughter, coming to a stop. He turned, throwing a punch at the creature’s head and hitting the demon between the horns. Blackish-blue goop stained the vampire’s knuckles, but he had done nothing to injure his opponent. The demon retaliated, glaring down several feet at the vampire and grabbing Spike around the neck. The vampire flew through the air into a tree.
Spike’s body cracked the slender trunk and its guardian branches on impact. The vampire rolled away, coughing up pine needles. When he looked up, the demon was gone.
“Not that bloody easy,” he growled. He lifted his nose, taking in a whiff. He caught its scent and was after it in a human heart beat.
He concentrated on every shadow, looking for the beast. Spike reached the side of a ravine and climbed the bank, quickly reaching the top. It took him a full second to realize that he was standing in the middle of a highway. It took him another to realize that he was staring into a car’s headlights. However, he was fully aware of the pain upon impact.
He rolled off of the vehicle, grasping at the pavement which had so intimately greeted him. He heard a car door open.
“Oh, God,” said a feminine voice. “I killed him.”
Spike let out an indignant growl. “I wish.”
He attempted to push himself up onto his knees and slid back down, painfully hitting his broken ribs. Blood ran down into his face, and he raised a hand to keep it from dripping into his eyes. Gentle fingers squeezed his shoulder.
“Don’t move,” the owner commanded. “I’ll call an ambulance. Just try to stay still. It’s going to be alright.”
Directly disobeying, Spike turned himself onto his side, reaching out to grab her foot. “No. No ambulance. Car,” he hissed, still trying to shake off the whole ‘fractured-skull’ feeling that he was getting so used to these days.
“Yes, I hit you with my car.” The woman bent down, reaching out to support his neck as he spoke. “Don’t move,” she ordered.
Spike stared up at her, taking in her heart-shaped face and short blond hair. He placed a hand on her knee for support. “Help me up, love.”
The woman’s glittering blue eyes widened in shock. Her fingers shifted, searching the skin under Spike’s jaw. The vampire realized that she must have noticed his unusually low temperature and lack of a pulse by now.
She released him, quickly stepping out of his grasp. “What are you?” she whispered.
Her answer was an animalistic growl. But it didn’t come from Spike.