For The Love Of Spike
Giles stood, carrying his empty tea cup over to the sink, and started to suggest that they go look for Spike. But before he could finish his sentence, the kitchen door swung open and Joyce Summers walked in.
"Excuse me, Mr. Giles," she said, "but Buffy and I have to attend the opening night gala at that new hotel, The Woodside. Several Forties Era pieces from the gallery are there, and we were invited because we've helped by donating them for part of the decor. You can come along, if you like," she offered as Buffy started to give her a look of apology, as if to say that she couldn't go. "I have an extra ticket."
Buffy glanced at Giles. No slaying this time, her expression seemed to say. Giles looked back at Joyce.
"Buffy and I were starting to make plans for...uh, uh study sessions, but I'd, uh, love to go." He smiled.
"Great." Joyce smiled back, then turned to her daughter. "Honey, can you please go change? I want to leave soon."
Buffy nodded and headed up for her room. Giles reached for his jacket, which was draped over the back of his stool, and followed Joyce for the front door. A few minutes later, Buffy joined them in the car, wearing a knee-length skirt, a long-sleeved shirt, and high-heeled shoes. As close to the Forties style stuff they were requested to wear as she could get, Joyce thought, and started the engine.
Spike stood carefully. He glanced at the phone, doubting he could make it all the way to the shop.
He picked up another phone, one that could contact any other room in the hotel, and dialed for the front desk, four floors below him. He'd need to tell them he was going to have to postpone his "appointment" until he finished talking with the shop owner.
As he listened to the phone ring, Spike began to relax. No pains yet. Maybe, just maybe, nothing was wrong. He heard a click, and a young male voice say, "The Woodside. How can I help you?", and then the pain struck yet again.
Spike cried out, nearly dropping the phone, doubling over with one arm around his middle. Dimly, he heard the desk clerk shout in surprise. Barely able to breathe he gasped out, "Get...help," before the world went black.
Spike collapsed to the floor, unconscious. The phone lay a few inches from his limp hand. Had he been able to listen, he would have been thankful to hear the desk clerk say to someone near by, "the signal is coming from the boss' room. Someone go up there and see what's wrong.
Drusilla turned, gesturing towards Katherine's closet. The dog? Katherine thought errantly. Then, a tall shape moved from the shadows.
Katherine stood quickly in surprise. "Angel!"
Angelus smiled darkly. Drusilla stepped over to his side.
"Your parents' killer, dear. Say 'hello'."
A sob rose in Katherine's throat. She found herself lunging toward him wildly, her hands outstretched and curled into claws. "You bastard!" she shouted.
Angelus caught her by the wrists, laughing. She struggled against his hold, which only seemed to amuse him more, until he flung her away. She landed on the floor against the edge of the couch, the air knocked out of her. She watched, breathless, as he moved to stand over her. Instead of grabbing her by her shirt and lifting her, as she expected, Angelus merely extended a hand to help her up. She took it, slowly, cautiously.
"Now," he began, "can we talk about this civilly?"
Katherine felt her anger and hurt begin to rise over her fear of him. "Civilly?" she spat out. "What is civil about killing my parents? Why did you do it?!" she shouted, tears spilling over. Drusilla began to giggle from behind Angelus. He had a smirk on his face, which he quickly smothered.
"What I meant was that sometimes...well...I have trouble keeping my emotions under control." Angelus looked sheepish. "I didn't MEAN to hurt them, exactly, but..." Katherine stared at him.
"Trouble? How could you have trouble?!"
Angelus lost that smothered-smirk look. He started to look pissed instead.
"Now, wait a minute," he started. Katherine ignored him, ignored the danger, and gave him a solid shove. Growling, he narrowed his eyes as his stepped back. Katherine wiped tears from her cheeks and spread her feet and bent her knees in a fighting stance.
"Oh, goody," Drusilla murmured with a smile. "A duel."
Joyce pulled the Ford Explorer into a parking slot, then shut off the engine. The three climbed out and headed towards the brightly-lit glass entrance of The Woodside. The faint sound of swing music drifted out over the stairs leading to the street. A smile began to creep across Buffy's face. Maybe it was worth coming after all. Not to mention, she and Giles could plan how to find Spike while her mother chatted with her gallery buddies.
But as soon as the group stepped from the revolving doors, Buffy knew something was strange. She'd vaguely noticed the ambulance on the street, thinking nothing of it, but started wondering when she saw some men in hospital uniforms talking with a desk clerk. She slightly overheard, "...the boss. I found him on the floor, blacked out. Before he fell, I heard him ask for help, so I called you guys," and turned to Giles.
"I think we might have found someone who can take us to Spike, hm?" Giles nodded. Buffy caught up with her mom as she started into the grand ballroom.
"Mom, Giles and I need to go to the library. We forgot something we need. Is it okay?" Joyce nodded, distracted, and handed her the car keys.
"Hurry back. I see plenty of cute boys here," she said, glancing at Buffy and winking before moving into the ballroom.
Buffy rolled her eyes, thinking that she'd had enough with boys for a while, and turned back to Giles. They ran out to the ambulance, where the medical technicians were talking by the open driver's side door. Giles quietly opened the back doors, motioned Buffy in, and followed her. Inside, Giles pulled out a small penlight. Buffy snorted.
"Are you always prepared for everything?" Giles shrugged, then flicked it on and trained the beam on the figure on the gurney.
Buffy sucked in her breath. "The big man himself," she whispered as the beam passed over Spike's white-blond hair and lean face. She started to say something else, then froze as the M.T.'s climbed in the cab and started the engine.
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