Table of Contents
Previous Chapter: Motivation
Next Chapter: Veneration

Subject: Unknown HST Species   Initial Findings:   HST49, which uses the name Buffy Anne Summers, appears to be human to the untrained eye. This specific HST is an unknown species, and employs an elaborate cover to keep its true identity secret from civilians. It attends a local college, social functions, and appears to maintain basic interpersonal relationships with civilians. What its motives are for this is currently unknown. Operatives have had previous social contact with the subject, and were unaware of its status as an HST. Its ability to blend in with humans is, so far, unmatched by any other species we’ve encountered. There is no weakness or sensitivity to daylight, as with vampires and some other species. Body temperature scans indicate no abnormalities. The only thing noticeable to our operatives was that the creature did not seem to fit in among most normal humans; That it was ‘peculiar’.   First physical contact with the subject occurred during a recapture mission for HST17. Subject disrupted the mission, physically assaulting and overpowering three operatives, aiding in the escape of HST17. The mission was forced to abort at that time. Following the incident, HST17 was tracked via homing device planted on his person. The creature managed to elude operatives for several days, until it sought refuge with HST49. Subject and allies then located and destroyed the homing device, effectively hiding HST17. It is an assumption that the subject then provided HST17 with blood, which aided in the recovery of health and strength. Though unconfirmed at this time, it is believed that HST17 and HST49 are in a physically intimate relationship. It is unknown if this is a case of cross species breeding, or merely a fluke. Speculation is ill advised at this time.   Subject’s identity remained unknown until a recent incident involving several demons, known as The Gentleman. (Separate report available) During this time, the subject was witnessed engaging other demons physically, though the reason is an item for debate. It may have been a territorial battle, or that the creatures’ presence threatened exposing the subject’s true nature. Regardless, HST49 did succeed in the termination of The Gentleman, as was witnessed by an operative.   Through these encounters with the subject, it was decided that it be brought in for further study. Much remains a mystery at this time. What is known does very little to aid in our understanding of it. HST49 is known to possess enhanced strength, speed, and pain tolerance. It is believed to have advanced healing abilities as well, but that is unconfirmed. Many specifics remain unknown at this time.   HST49 was captured by A Team. Electrical restraints were deployed, but proved less effective than expected. I am recommending increased voltage in the future, if such measures are deemed necessary. Subject is likely to recover from any damage caused. Heavy sedation measures were implemented for transfer. Subject was delivered to Initiative base at 0115, in stable condition. Vitals were taken and recorded at time of arrival. Pulse was slow, likely due to sedation. Subject recovered consciousness in much less time than expected, which will be taken into consideration in the future.    Development of a testing system is currently in progress. The subject will remain in a state of mild sedation until such time that the system is completed, to prevent any incidents. I suggest a low starting dose, administered through a hydration pack every six hours.   End Initial Report.     She sighed and stretched her arms over her head, reading over what she’d typed up for her superiors. While male and female anatomy were acceptable to be noted on a roster, it was best to stay neutral in official reports. These creatures weren’t people. They didn’t deserve names, or genders. They were no different from lab rats, except for their lethality. Study and report. That was her job, and she was damn good at it. She caught her mistakes and corrected them.    Mentioning the name was for reference only. HST49 had an extensive public record, going back more than four years as a resident of Sunnydale. Highschool transcripts, run-ins with authorities. If the higher up deemed it necessary to dig further, they had all the relevant information they needed to do so. Walsh couldn’t help but wonder what the motivation was. Why would a subterrestrial waste time blending in so perfectly in human society? Why it would play at human connection. Why, in fact, it would be taking a college course on that very subject. All questions Walsh intended to answer before the subject expired. She’d have to go about studying it in a different way. No species in the books matched the description. Not even close. If they were dealing with something unique, one of a kind, there wouldn’t be one to replace it in the future.    She sighed, running a hand through her hair. She had other matters to attend to, and sitting at her desk contemplating wasn’t accomplishing anything. There were new subjects to catalogue. Dossiers to put together. Cross referencing the books for any specific names. Autopsies to read over. She sent the report up the chain of command, saved a copy for her own records, and locked the file.    No sooner had she stood up to go check on the progress of her experiments, a low rumble caught her attention. Then a sharp jolt knocked her to the ground, and the building began to tremble around her. An earthquake. One of the very few cons to operating underground on the cusp of tectonic plates.   The lights flickered, causing a very rare pit in her stomach. If the power failed, there was that very small chance that the emergency generators would take too long to kick on, or that they’d be too damaged to work at all. She hated those kinds of variables. And as much as she’d tried to prepare for the eventuality, there was always that worry.   As the rumbling grew louder, the laboratory around her dropped into darkness.   She counted the seconds as they passed, waiting. Hoping.  

***

    Buffy was jarred awake from her half sleep by the sounds of shouting, and a building rumble. She knew exactly what an earthquake on the hellmouth meant. Another apocalypse. It’s not even May yet! Or a Tuesday! I’ve got four more months before I need to worry about saving the world again. How unfair. And how exactly was she supposed to actually DO the word saving when she was locked in a tiny prison cell? God, the government could be so very stupid sometimes. They hadn’t even bothered to ask her who she was, or what she was. They just made the assumption that because she wasn’t a normal girl, she was obviously a monster. Ugh.   She forced herself upright and stumbled over to the shocky glass before glancing up and down the hall. A couple of scientists lingered, leaning on the walls for support. Probably praying that the whole building didn’t collapse down on top of them. Which, hey, maybe that wasn’t such a bad idea. She just wasn’t exactly keen on being crushed to death along with them and never found.    The rumbling grew louder, the shaking more violent. Just when she was sure the roof was going to come down, a small miracle – the power grid failed. Sure, she was plunged into the kind of darkness where you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, but when she fell forward, the door didn’t shock her. It slid open. Then there were hands grabbing her roughly by the shoulders and pulling her forward, out of the cell.   “If you want to get out, now’s the time. Move!” Spike growled. His voice is… he’s vamped out, isn’t he? Then her hand was in his, which was really weird, and he was dragging her through the darkness.    She’d find herself replaying that moment later. Almost unconsciously. He could have grabbed her arm, her wrist, even just her sleeve, but he’d taken her hand. She knew how Spike’s hands felt, of course she did, but the memory of how his right hand felt when it wrapped around hers and tried to pull her to safety would stay with her for a very long time.   They were only a few paces down the hall when the emergency lights came back on, followed by flashing red and sirens.    “Oh, bloody hell.”   Well, they were already out of their cells. Why stop now?   “Which way do we go?” she asked, and hated the way her voice trembled. Hated the way her knees were weak. Hated that she was turning to him for guidance. Trusting him to help her. To save her.   He turned to look at her, back in his human face. “Whichever way there aren’t people pointing guns at us.”   “Code Red. I repeat, Code Red. Four hostiles in B Wing. Initiate containment protoc-aaaaaah!”   Buffy watched in horror as the scientist making the call was tackled by another escapee, and she had to fight every urge she had to stop and help him. To slay the attacker. Humans equaled good guys, right? I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. Spike’s grip tightened, and he pulled her forward, past the carnage, trying to get to the door before it slid shut. She had to move faster. She knew that. She should have had no problem keeping up with a vampire, even if he was always slightly faster, but her legs felt like jelly. The good jelly, with fruit chunks in it, but still jelly.   “Buffy, stop!”   She knew that voice. Somewhere in the back of her head, she recognized it. But she didn’t want to stop. She wanted to leave. She didn’t belong here. She wasn’t a demon. She was just a normal girl, with normal friends, who happened to have a not-normal calling. And if Spike was going to help her get out, then that’s who she was listening to.   “Gonna have to slide!” Spike let go of her hand and threw himself to the floor, letting the momentum carry him across the threshold. “Come on!”   She dove, barely making it through. There was a very final clunk as Spike pulled her to her feet and looked frantically to either side. Army guys to the left, so he dragged her to the right. Another door closed, another turn, more army guys.Her heart hammered in her chest, and her lungs burned. She tried to run with Spike, to match his movements and reactions, and carry her own weight, but she felt so weak. Everything took too much effort, and she knew she was slowing him down.   She didn’t dare look behind them. They turned another corner, and she fell to her knees, crying out in frustration that her legs wouldn’t do what she told them. Spike dragged her back up by her elbow before clutching her hand in his again.    The only thing she could hear was her heaving breath, their feet pounding against the tile, the swishing of leather as it billowed behind him. And all she could think about was how… How she couldn’t hate him after all this. He’d come after her. He’d taken her with him. He’d probably have been long gone by now, if he weren’t trying to drag her to her salvation.   If she weren’t clinging to him like a lifeline.   “Should be a hatch up here!” Spike panted out.    They rounded another corner, only to find the path blocked by another heavy steel door. The only other option was back the way they came, but… The echoing of footfalls filled Buffy with dread. Going back wasn’t an option. This was it. They’d been herded like cattle, and hadn’t even realized it.    She found herself pressing against his chest. And his arms closing around her. She wasn’t going to think about that. In such a desperate situation, who would blame her? Who would ever even know about it?   It was Walsh that came around the corner first, her arms crossed and a very satisfied look on her face. Flanking her were no less than twenty soldiers, dressed in protective gear and carrying an intimidating amount of weapons. “Hostile Seventeen. Did you really think you could pull that off twice?”    He actually laughed. “Yeah. You caught me twice. Seemed only fair to try.” He was ready to fight, even though he knew he couldn’t. Credit for stubbornness, or bravery. Or stupidity. All of the above.   “Gates.” Walsh made a hand gesture, and one of the operatives stepped forward. Forrest, Buffy realized. Without hesitation, he raised his weapon, aimed, and fired.   The pain only lasted a few moments, but it dropped her to her knees in a heartbeat. There was a roar, a sharp pinch as the prongs were violently detached from her skin, then the familiar crunching sound of bones shifting. She looked up to Spike, who had… put himself between her and them. He’d let his demon out, she was sure of that. Her gaze shifted to Walsh, to the wall of operatives at her disposal, and back to Spike. What the hell did he think he was doing?   A hulking figure stepped forward, baton raised, and brought it down. Spike raised his arm to block, and the sound of the impact made Buffy’s skin crawl. The bone was almost certainly broken, but he hadn’t uttered a sound. No screams of pain. Nothing. An instant later, a boot connected hard with his ribs, dropping him down to her level.    “No!”    She didn’t know why she’d yelled out. It was just Spike. Evil, soulless… defenseless. He couldn’t fight back. It wasn’t right. They didn’t need to do this. All they had to do was… just let them leave. She didn’t notice a second figure stepping forward, eyes focused on her, until Spike growled. He moved again, putting himself back in front of her. The blow intended to knock her unconscious connected with Spike’s head, making his silver hair vibrantly red in an instant.    He was flat against the ground in front of her, blood pooling around his head. “Spike..?” She couldn’t help but lay her hand on him, to try to roll him over. “Spike?” her voice wavered. Obviously he wasn’t dead, but…   He shrugged her off. “I’m fine, Slayer.” Liar. “Don’t need your pity.” He barely managed to get his feet under him before the next blow came, snapping his head to the side where Buffy could actually look at the damage. Oh, god…   “Stop! Please, just stop.” She was crying. Why was she crying?   Why weren’t they stopping?   They’d descended on Spike. Three of them, taking turns throwing punches and kicks, landing them wherever there happened to be a good target, while everybody else stood there and watched. And all he could do was take it, until they finally decided they were done.   His human face… It would take him weeks to heal from that. Probably months in here. Most of his skin was black, or blue, or red. There was a nasty gash on his lip, another on his cheek. One eye was swollen shut completely, but the other… Why was he looking at her like that? Vampires weren’t supposed to…   “That’s enough, gentleman. I think we’ve made our point. Finn, if you would.” Walsh turned and walked away, and Buffy was filled with hatred for her. This had all just been for their entertainment. It was pointless. Sadistic. Cruel.   She should have been fighting. God, she wanted to. She really did. She knew she could mop the floor with them, if she could just get up. She could feel the adrenaline pumping through her veins. All of her instincts screaming in her head, pointing out all the openings and weaknesses and blows she could land. For the first time in her life, she felt the urge to kill something other than a monster, and the thought sickened her.    Walsh. Riley. She could break them so easily. Make it so they never walked again. Make them pay for what they had done. What they were still doing. And if it weren’t for that damn bag of water full of drugs she’d chugged down, she would have. She had no doubt in her mind.   Spike was harmless thanks to them. And they all knew it, and didn’t care. She couldn’t stop them, the way she was, and it pissed her off even more. It wasn’t a fair fight. It never had been. The soldier boys knew they could never take on anything on their own. So they ganged up, used drugs and electrocution and whatever else they could to get an unfair advantage. They were just a bunch of scared little men, playing at heroes, not even realizing how close to being villains they all were.   They needed to pay. The tranquilizer dart in her thigh barely registered as she took a step toward the closest thing wearing camo. She managed a few more wobbly legged paces before she slumped to the floor, barely conscious, but still aware. Two hands closed firmly on her ankles. She thrashed. She kicked. She twisted and fought as much as she could. The grunts of pain brought a sense of satisfaction, even as she was losing the battle to stay awake. More hands grabbed at her legs, effectively taking away her ability to cause any real damage. She wanted to hurt them. All of them.    She wanted to make sure Spike was going to be okay. He’d… defended her. For whatever weird, obscure reason, he had. Spike.   He was still awake. Close enough to touch, if she could just reach out for him. Something solid and familiar. Something to hold on to. She wanted him to know… His fingers brushed against hers as she passed, just before she fell into unconsciousness. Her name on his lips had been muffled, barely audible, but there.   Buffy.


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Table of Contents
Previous Chapter: Motivation
Next Chapter: Veneration

Reviews ( 2 )

Saranac
October 23, 2020 00:23

I appreciate Walsh learning from their past mistakes and how she trapped them by using the same path Spike used in his previous escape. And the barbs exchanged between Spike and Walsh were long overdue. Spike would give Riley hell but he never had a chance to tell off the person who shoved the chip in his head.

Zab Jade
October 22, 2020 17:03

Another excellent chapter. Poor Buffy, drugged so much that she's being overwhelmed by humans. At least Spike is there for her. Though that leads into poor Spike. Defenseless against what should be his food.