The Ring Talks
Part 1: Taking Initiative
Chapter 8: Goodbye Darkness
I expect to walk into the crypt to find Spike bruised, cranky, and possibly drunk. Willy said he got roughed up and thrown out, and I know he won’t be handling it well. I’m unprepared for what I actually see when I step inside. The place is completely trashed, and Spike isn’t here.
Oh, god. What if those demons followed him home from Willy’s? What if the Initiative…?
I don’t know if I can take losing Spike, too. Not right now. Riley’s locked up in some secret medical ward, Walsh is dead, her pet Frankenstein-ish monster is running loose, killing little kids, and the rest of the Initiative (save maybe Graham) seems pretty interested in killing me. And now this.
I curl up in the orange chair to try to figure out where else to look. Spike’s a survivor. The odds are, he’s not dust. …Right?
I should check in at Giles’. If Spike gets into a jam, he knows he can go there. And maybe my house. Mom kinda likes him, and he has an invite. Wait. The DeSoto. He has a car. Where did he say he had it parked? An abandoned garage someplace, but I can’t remember where. The old mansion on Crawford Street is a possibility. I think he hates the place even more than I do, but any port in a storm, right?
I’m grasping at straws, and I know it. Riley ID’d him, someone trashed his crypt, and he got thrown out of Willy’s. If he has any sense, he’s gone to that abandoned garage, gassed up the car, and gotten the hell out of Sunnydale. I might never see him again.
Or not. Spike isn’t known for making smart decisions when it comes to staying out of trouble, or when it comes to staying out of Sunnydale, which is kind of the same thing. So where the hell is he?
The door opens, and I jump to my feet.
I’m across the room and tackling Spike in a hug by the time the door closes behind him.
He returns the hug slowly, a little hesitantly. “Right, then. Someone’s having a worse week than I am.”
“Shut up,” I mumble against his chest.
I can feel the quiet chuckle rumbling through him. “Shouldn’t be cuddling the enemy, love. You’ll ruin your reputation… Well, maybe not.”
I pull away to glare at him. I’m never going to be able to get him to stop making Angel jokes, am I? I hold out my hand. “Gimme.”
He looks down at the ring on his finger. “Think this is yours now, do you?”
“Guess so.” He slides the skull ring off his finger. Ignoring my open right palm, he takes my left hand and puts the ring on me. “Now let’s get out of here.”
“You weren’t coming home?”
He’s still holding my hand, and uses the connection to lead me outside. “Just looking for you.”
When I wake up, I’m sitting in near total darkness, and there’s a vampire very close to me. I take a moment to orient myself. An abandoned garage off Grand Avenue. An old car with blacked out windows and surprisingly comfy seats. A long talk about a rough few days. I reach out to the driver’s side, and shake the occupant’s shoulder. “Spike?”
“Spike, wake up for a sec.”
“Slayer? What the…?” He starts shifting around in the darkness, and I can just make out enough of his silhouette to know he’s rubbing his forehead. “How much did I have to drink?”
“Not much. I think we were just tired.”
“Didn’t sleep much, the last few days. Did some pacing.”
I frown at that. “Were you worried about me?”
“Hell, no!” His voice is suddenly defensive. “It’s just… You’re my ticket to a surgeon, is all. You get yourself killed, and I’m… You know what? Yeah. Fine. Believe what you want.”
I don’t know whether to laugh at him or hug him, so I let it pass. “I have to go. I don’t even know what time it is. People might be looking for me.”
“All the more reason for me to be gone already.” I open the car door, but his hand on my thigh stops me from climbing out.
“Slayer? The ring?”
“What about it?”
“You planning on giving it back again?”
“No. …I mean, I can, if you want me to.”
“Don’t want it back. Just making sure.”
He pulls his hand away and I get out of the car. I turn to look inside before closing the door. “Try to keep a low profile for a few more days, ok? I don’t know what to expect from Adam or the Initiative, and, um, I don’t need to be pacing, either.”
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February 24, 2022 07:04