Chapter 16. Coming in the air tonight.
I’ve seen your face before my friend
but I don’t know if you know who I am
well, I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
so you can wipe off that grin,
I know where you’ve been
it’s all been a pack of lies.
Phil Collins, In the Air Tonight
It hadn’t taken very long for everyone to settle down once those not living at Revello Drive departed. Dawn was the first one to go to bed, aside from Spike, who’d never left his, since she was practically asleep on her feet by the time Casey left with Xander and Anya. The conversation had been guarded around the teen, but he knew something was wrong, since Xander insisted on driving him home, even though his house was in the opposite direction from their apartment.
Dawn was followed rapidly by Tara, who first got bottles ready for middle of the night feedings and brought the baby upstairs, settling him in Buffy and Spike’s room. Wesley had tried staying up, guarding the house, though by eleven o’clock, he was sitting on the couch, fast asleep. The first time Buffy had to go downstairs to get a bottle for the baby, she’d tried waking him up, though when he didn’t budge, she just took a throw blanket and covered him.
Everyone was out cold when she woke the second time, the house still and silent. She could hear various snoring sounds coming from Dawn’s room on her way down the stairs and it brought a smile to her face. She didn’t blame Dawn for any of what had happened, because, really, none of it was her fault. She laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of all those nameless, faceless monks that had conspired in some way to bring all of this about. If not for them and Glory, she wouldn’t have had to jump. Though she also wouldn’t have Dawn. It was kind of a tough call there. She wouldn’t trade her sister for anything and really if she had to do it all over again, she probably would have done it . . . well, no, might not have done everything the same. Would’ve trusted Spike a little bit more. Might not have reacted so bitchily if she knew then . . . And so would have dumped Riley sooner.
Buffy huffed out a little bit of an ironic laugh, the sound strangely muffled in the quiet house, listening to Wesley shift and mutter in his uncomfortable sleep. This was her favorite time of night, when everyone else was asleep and the night’s patrol was over. Glancing at the clock she realized it was close to three and it was about the time she and Spike had been getting back home after patrol lately. He’d roused a little bit when the baby woke up crying, though still groggy from the effects of an entire bag of morphine, and Buffy figured she’d warm him up some blood and make him drink while she fed the baby.
She was standing in the kitchen, watching the microwave heat up Spike’s blood and keeping an eye on the bottle on the stove, when the first tingles of awareness shot through her spine. Her back stiffened, the hackles on her neck rising, though she gave no outward indication she was able to sense anything different. Buffy was certain he couldn’t get in the house, since the disinvite had been done earlier and she was also fairly certain that even if he somehow managed to get an invite, he couldn’t do any violence. It didn’t help her nerves though. She was the only one awake, and the only one strong enough to take him on.
The microwave pinged, drawing her attention, and in that moment, she had something of a plan forming in the back of her mind. She grabbed both the mug and bottle, wandering warily back into the living room. Checking the big picture window, Buffy didn’t see anything, though the feeling hadn’t dissipated any. Mug and bottle got placed very carefully on the table next to Wesley’s sleeping form, as she leaned over close to his ear. “Wesley. Wake up. We have company.”
He didn’t stir the first time, but when she whispered in his ear the second time, Wesley slowly opened his eyes, whispered just as softly back, “He can’t get in the house.”
“I know that. I think he’s circling the house trying to figure out how many of us are here.”
“You aren’t thinking of going out there are you?’ When she didn’t answer, he grabbed her wrist, holding on as forcefully as he could. “Buffy, you can’t. It’s not safe.”
“No, I know that, Wes. I just want to see if I can figure out what he’s doing.” There was the creak of a floorboard from behind them and they both whirled around, though it was just Tara, silently making her way toward them.
“He’s outside. Just got here,” was what she said by way of greeting. At Buffy’s questioning look, she explained, “Um, I set it up, sort of like what I did with the baby, only geared for him. Lets me know when he’s nearby. It just woke me up.”
“How come we didn’t hear anything?” Buffy had grabbed the taller girl’s hand, pulling her down to crouch beside them.
“For me only, remember?” Tara’s hair fell in front of her face and she brushed it aside. “So now what do we do?”
“Can you pinpoint where he is from the alarm?” She felt rather than saw Tara’s response of no. Buffy kept her eyes on the front window, while Tara focused on the back door. Motioning Wesley with her hand, Buffy got down on her knees, skittering to the front door. A low growl sounded from the second floor and all three of them scrambled for the stairs. Running full out now, Buffy crouched low before entering her bedroom, wary of what might greet her on arrival. She was not prepared for what she saw.
Standing on wavering feet, Spike was in game face, the baby cradled in his injured right arm, a cocked crossbow in his left. The bow was aimed at the window. She was aware of Wesley behind her. Tara was still racing up the steps. Cautiously she inched around the doorway, still crouched low to the ground. Careful to stay out of the line of fire, Buffy edged closer to Spike. Once inside the room, Buffy could see what had gotten Spike up and out of bed, not that she needed any visual confirmation. Angel was standing outside their window with a wide leering grin on his features.
Her breathing sounded very loud in her own ears and she could clearly hear the sounds of the two breathing deeply behind her. Spike’s voice was just a rumble in the air, his, “Stay down,” unnecessary but it managed to calm her. Okay. First thing. . . Get the baby.
She was about to open her mouth to tell Spike she was coming to get the baby, when Tara’s softly hissed “Spike,” got their attention.
Without waiting to worry about whether they were listening or not, Tara continued to whisper. “Just get the quilt off the bed, Buffy, and be ready to cover Spike.”
Only Spike questioned the instruction, Buffy was already moving away from the wall toward their bed. “What are you plannin’?”
“When I say so, just drop down, okay?” He had no idea what the hell she was thinking, but whatever it was, it had damn well better be good.
“Yeah. Got it.”
“Okay.” She paused, whispering something in Wesley’s ear and then, “Go!”
Wesley walked boldly into the bedroom, drawing Angel’s attention away from Spike, and Tara stood behind Wesley, muttering an incantation, while Spike collapsed to his knees and Buffy swirled the quilt over him and the baby. A bright blinding light filled the bedroom.
Angel howled in anger, his hands coming up to shield his eyes and he stepped back away from the light, falling off the small piece of roof outside the window.
There was complete quiet in the room, then, “Oh, my god. Oh, my god. Spike? Spike? Are you okay? Oh, my god. Grab the baby.”
Tara dropped to her knees, speaking the words to end the incantation, then moving quickly to get Connor and Spike out from under the quilt. Wesley double checked the window, making sure it was locked and secured, then as he stepped away, he said to Buffy, “I’m going to make sure everything is secure in the rest of the house.”
Before either of the girls could respond, he was making his way methodically through the house, starting with Buffy’s bathroom.
Spike had passed out, still holding the squirming infant against his side. Tears were filling Buffy’s eyes and she passed the baby to Tara, trying to re-arrange Spike’s sprawled limbs until they were aligned straight enough for her to lift him back into the bed. The baby continued to cry and Buffy finally remembered what had woken her up. “I left his bottle downstairs and blood for Spike.”
“I’ll get them both. Is he okay?” Tara was on her feet, preparing to head downstairs when Buffy hauled Spike up in her arms.
“Oof. He’s heavy.” Drooping him on the mattress, Buffy grabbed hold of his good arm and pulled him toward the head of the bed. “Yeah, it was just too much for him, I guess.”
Tara nodded heading out of the room. Encountering Wesley in the hallway, he accompanied her down to the first floor. By unspoken agreement, they retrieved the bottle and mug and headed right back up the stairs to Buffy and Spike’s room.
So that’s where they are. Wesley had acted quicker than he expected. How very smart of the ex-Watcher – running to the Slayer for protection. And wasn’t that a nice surprise.
What he didn’t like at all was the witch. He hadn’t been prepared for her to attempt that, using a bright sunlight spell to temporarily incapacitate him.
His signature was all over the house, on the grounds surrounding it. His anger with Drusilla’s whelp had grown the second he neared the Slayer’s house, which had prompted his foray onto the roof. He was there in bed, in her bed, where the infant was . . . He’d watched while Spike had gingerly gotten up, nearly laughing in glee when Spike realized who was standing casually on the roof, staring at the window.
That look on his face had been worth the trip to Sunnydale and oh, how the not-so-mighty- have fallen. Angel had always known the bastard was weak, his reaction just now proving it. Little William was afraid for his humans . . .
And he should be.
Oh yeah, he should be.
“Obviously we need better wards around the house or a better warning system.” Spike swam toward consciousness to the sounds of Wesley’s voice. “Do you think you can adapt that spell further to alert us if Angelus enters the property?”
His comments had to be directed at the witch, because he heard four heartbeats in the room and one he’d recognize if he was dust, “I can try. I’m not sure how much energy it would require and I’m really not sure about my ability to keep it going.” Tara’s voice was low and filled with self-doubt.
“Can we find an alternate power source, like maybe electricity or something?” Buffy’s voice sounded close to his ear and Spike realized his head was in her lap and it was her fingers that were brushing back and forth across his face. He couldn’t stop the groan from emerging from his mouth, nor could he fight the muscle tremors rippling through his legs. “Spike? Are you okay?”
“Payin’ for m’own stupidity,” was his wry comment. “Fuckin’ hell, that hurts.”
“What happened?” No point in denying he’d passed out from a combination of pain and excessive amounts of morphine, not when they’d all seen him hit the floor, which was the last thing he remembered.
“Tara did it.” Buffy’s voice held a note of pride that he’d never noticed before. The witch must have silently protested, because the next words out of Buffy’s mouth were, “Tara actually did it all tonight. She’s got this great alarm thing, like the baby thing, and, she’s got a ball of sunshine spell. How cool is that?”
Evidently Glinda must’ve done something else to protest, because Oxford added his penny’s worth of praise. “It really was quite remarkable. You’ll have to instruct me how to use it.”
“Good. So the wanker’s gone, right?” His question forestalled anymore comments on the witch’s talents and then he remembered, “Didn’t drop the sprog did I?”
“No, Connor’s fine.”
He grimaced and Buffy immediately moved to try and make him more comfortable. “Tha’s his name? Connor? Suppose Peaches did that before his soul went walkabout?”
There was a short silence then Wesley said, “It was the last thing he said to me before he changed.”
Spike heaved a long drawn out sigh, sounding much put upon, then saying, “Suppose we’ll have to call him that then. Still think spawn was the better choice.”
“Spike. That’s not nice.” Buffy tried, but Tara’s giggles were infectious and even Wesley managed a little laugh.
“How long was I out for?” Spike finally opened his eyes to find himself exactly where he thought he was, his head pillowed on Buffy’s lap as she rested her back against the headboard.
“Not long, only about ten minutes.” Wesley’s voice answered.
“Right then. Need a drink, kitten.” He hated to admit to any weakness, except now he felt worse than he had earlier.
There was a rustling of noises and Tara laid the baby down in his crib while Wesley got to his feet. “We should be all right for the rest of the night, good night all.”
Then he was gone, followed quickly by Tara, who whispered a soft, “Sleep sweet,” and she too was gone.
Lifting Spike’s head up so she could move to lay down next to him, Buffy stared into his eyes. “No more fighting about this. You have to take what you need.”
“Buffy, you keep insistin’ and I say no.” He steeled his features, trying hard to stick to his guns. He knew she was going to argue with him. He just wasn’t entirely sure how she was going to play this. He thought he was prepared for any argument she could come up with. He was wrong.
“Spike? What if that had been our baby – what if . . .” His look of utter disbelief stopped her flow of words.
“Buffy, wha?” Pausing, he tried to gather his thoughts. “What are you sayin’?”
“I think it’s pretty obvious. I’m trying to talk some sense into you.” She moved closer to him, one arm around his waist, the other tucked under her head. “You can be so stubborn, you know that?”
He chuckled, intoning, “You wanna be the kettle or the pot?”
She pinched his ass in partial, unspoken response. The spoken one was, “I’m being serious here, Spike. You know it’s a possibility. What would have happened then? And what if the attacker had been human? What then?” She paused once more, letting her words sink into his thick head. “Spike, you can’t keep sipping. Two or three mouthfuls aren’t enough and you really aren’t going to drain me, so stop worrying about it.”
His eyes watched her as she spoke, trying to gauge her conviction and sincerity. They weren’t going to agree on this subject. Maybe if he hadn’t know how badly she bled during her monthlies he might not be so stubborn about this and . . . he inhaled deeply. The smells coming off her were delicious. Anger. Fear. Arousal. Buffy. Mate. And still bleeding heavily.
“Sweetheart. Listen to me. I’m not putting both of us at risk.” He could feel the dissension rising within her, the argument coming back around to it again, so he cut her off before she could continue, “No. Listen. C’mon, kitten.” Spike nudged her with his bad right hand, getting her to look up at him. “He’s looking to unnerve us. Knows you’ll cave before I do.”
“Cave?” Her whole demeanor changed, her back instantly stiffening with pride and some other emotion Spike wasn’t quite ready to identify. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He paused, suddenly unsure of what to say and how to say it, without one of two things happening. The first and the lesser of the two would be Buffy getting angry and taking it out on Angelus, the other being with him sleeping on the couch or worse, tossed out on his ass. Drawing in very unneeded air, Spike looked into her eyes and for a split second thought about not answering her question, but then she leaned in and brushed a delicate kiss on his chin. “He knows a part of you, sweetheart, knows how strongly you protect those you love and he knows you can get rattled when your heart is involved.”
“He doesn’t know me anymore.” Buffy ran her hand up his injured arm, finally curling around his neck. “He doesn’t know me half as well as he thinks he does. No one’s known me quite as well as you. Even before you were chipped, you knew me.” Resting her head against his chin, Buffy got as close as his numerous injuries would allow. “So, since you know me so well, what will I do?”
He barked a little short laugh, his left hand worming its way down to cup her hip, then his lips were brushing a kiss over her hair. “Probably what he least expects. He knows something’s up with me, tha’ I’m not full strength.
She thought for a minute, nestled in the circle of his arms, just breathing deeply. “You know . . . he knows now you’re hurt for some reason. He also knows about the chip.” He just listened, knowing instinctively she was just thinking out loud. “So. . . we play it like that, that you’re injured and still have the chip. In the meantime, we heal you as quickly as possible and make arrangements to get rid of it.”
Spike didn’t say a word waiting patiently for her to finish. “How long do you think it’ll be before any of the Aurelius vamps come visting?”
“Not sure. Could be a week at the earliest, that and only depends on who’s closest. If it’s Dru, last I knew she was back down in Brazil. No one else is here in the States.”
“You sure about that?” Her tone was gentler than the question, but he wouldn’t have taken offense anyway. It had been a long time he’d been away from his side of the killing fields, his information could be wrong.
“No way of knowin’. I know Dru’s not nearby. Can’t tell so much o’ the rest. Only Angelus is near.” He wasn’t going to lie to her, they’d know the truth soon enough.
“Kay.” Little kisses were laid on his bare chest, warming him all over. “So. How do you wanna get the chipectomy? Wanna use a demon-friendly surgeon or call the Initiative?”
Despite his earlier stupidity, he’d been feeling kind of okay until she brought that up. What a choice. A surgeon who could easily botch the job or the sanctimonious bastards that had rendered him useless. “Dunno. We got a time limit on this?”
“Don’t you want it out?” She was mystified by his unenthusiastic response.
“I do. Jus’ don’ wan’ to be a vegetable after.” Although Spike wanted the damn thing gone, did he want it badly enough to possibly face another of her exes? They’d already survived the biggest hurdle of all – and it wasn’t Angel, because for some odd reason he still couldn’t fathom it was Xander. If Buffy could face his daily disapproval, maybe seeing Cardboard wouldn’t be so bad. There was a bigger hurdle to his getting the hardware removed. That impediment was one fellow Englishman, – one Rupert Giles – ex-Watcher, and current father figure.
Spike knew he had to mention it, knew it wasn’t just about them. This affected everyone in the house. “What about Rupes? Your Watcher is liable to have somethin’ to say. And Dawn? What about her and the witch?”
“Let me worry about Giles.” She didn’t brush him off, though clearly she wasn’t worried about it. “Dawn and Tara will be okay with it.”
“Not so sure the Watcher is gonna be okay with this.” Spike was too tired to argue, which for him, had to be a first. “Where’s m’blood, woman?”
Placing a kiss on his cheek, Buffy got up and helped him to a semi-sitting position. Handing him the cooled mug of twice warmed blood, Buffy said, “I really don’t think Giles is gonna be all that hard to convince.”