Rating: PG13 for violence, no smut or language that I recall
Characters: Giles, Spike, Buffy
Setting: Season 5 Halloween
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this and am not making a brass farthing from it
Thanks: littleotter73for essential beta skills. wickedfox for use of the yummy graphic.
Notes: This fic was conceived in Camden March 2012.
It is a common myth that the vampires can fly, they cannot: they can however drive motor vehicles.
Modern Worries of the Undead by Sir Peter Heskwith-Smythe Crown copyright 1923
He drove his ‘new’ car a short distance the bushes and waited for Spike. He killed the engine and took a huge pull of the bourbon so thoughtfully provided by the Pontiac’s previous owner. He felt a little ashamed of himself for stealing the car but he told himself there were practical problems to overcome in his new situation. It wasn’t as if he was fourteen years old and joyriding for the thrill of it - impressing the girls and annoying his father as a bonus. No, it was a practical decision to steal because he was cut off from his own car and belongings and he’d need a certain amount of money to get by even if he was a vampire now, whose lot it was to hang on Spike’s coattails and mug harmless drunks – Dear Lord - he drank from the bottle again in self-disgust.
The passenger door pulled open suddenly and Spike leered in. “Buy a girl a drink, sailor?”
Giles glared back. “Just get in the car.”
“Touchy, touchy.” Spike slammed the door behind him and inspected the possessions on the dashboard. He helped himself to the half opened packet of cigarettes, lit one with the cheap lighter and opened the wallet. Spike beamed with pride. “Very nice work,” he said, pocketing the cash shamelessly. He cast a cynical eye over the family photos. “Ugly kids though the wife is a bit of a stunner,” he declared. “Got an address for them here too. I can show you how to get them to invite you in.”
Giles had heard enough. “That’s mine,” he declared and snatched back the wallet and the lighter. There was an awkward silence as he bit back his anger. He hated this casualness towards life and other people’s possessions.
Spike was smiling. “Good. Got to learn to protect what’s yours now, mate.” The tip of his cigarette seemed to glow playfully.
Giles grunted but wondered how serious Spike had been about the house call. He hoped to god it was just a test.
“Put up much of a fight did he?” Spike asked.
“It was over very quickly,” Giles answered truthfully. “What did you find out from Willy’s?”
“Drive us out by Route 12. There’s a demon club there past Jenkins Ridge.”
“Really? I’ve never heard of there being one.”
“Well they don’t exactly advertise in ‘Young Watcher’s Gazette’ do they? Slayer traffic is bad for business.”
The smoke from Spike’s cigarette was starting to get to Giles. It had been years since anyone had smoked in a car with him.
“It’s Halloween and all the big bads got to go somewhere. Gossip is that there is a new gang with an awful lot of costume jewellery looking to party in the fair town of Sunnydale once the holiday season is over. Sound far too big on fighting among themselves and cutting off bits of each other to be bothered with trinkets and rituals but as it’s the only lead we’ve got we should take a look.”
Giles reached for the stolen cigarettes and lit himself one. He’d quit before he’d even come to California but he didn’t think the Health Advisory notices were going to matter now. He pocketed the packet and lighter out of habit.
“What about the Slayer?” Spike asked lazily.
Giles shifted a little uncomfortably. “What about her?”
“You said she knows what’s happened. That means she’s going to come after you, you know.”
Giles gripped the steering wheel a little harder. ‘I know. I..I.. just have to stay out of Buffy’s way until this thing is resolved.”
“Sounds like a good plan.” Spike directed smoke up to the car ceiling. “And just as well really. No offence mate but I’ve seen you in a fight. You’re going to have to get a lot smarter if you want to take on the Slayer. You need to learn to stay in one piece. It’s a demon eat demon world out there. Never show any weakness. Always fight for the kill.”
“Thank you, Sun Tzu.”
“Well I saw you go up against Angelus and you were rubbish.”
“How would you like to fit in my ashtray?” Giles snarled.
“It’s amazing you didn’t get yourself killed years ago. You had Angelus on the ropes but you backed off for a second and let him in. I’ve seen you in plenty of fights. You are not committed. It’s like you’re afraid to let yourself go, and in those few moments, you are vulnerable. Been lucky to only get bashed on the head in the past. But now it’s all or nothing more than ever. You’ve got to embrace the violence and the pleasure more quickly. Let yourself go and enjoy it for what it is. Got to win every battle from now on. Not going to have the Slayer come to your rescue and kiss everything better.”
“I suppose,” Giles admitted sulkily. He drank another shot from the bottle. Being pulled over for DUI was the least of his worries.
Travers emerged from the bathroom to find June watching TV quietly and his nephew on the phone. June was old school Council and Travers was grateful to have her on the team. She knew the virtue of silence unlike Henry who was prattling away on the phone.
“Right OK. Thank you for that. Ta-ta”
The boy put the phone down and pulled his hand through his fringe in one sweeping but hugely irritating motion. Travers waited for him to report, but his nephew merely looked at him with a slightly open mouth.
“Well? Are you going to tell me the latest news or shall we stare at each other till dawn?”
“Oh right, sorry. Yes. That was one of our local informants. Mr Giles has been spotted out near Jenkins Ridge on route 12. Apparently he’s teamed up with Billy Idol, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me but I suppose he doesn’t get many gigs these days, punk being so passé...”
“And the Slayer?” thundered Travers in exasperation.
“Was last seen entering Mr Giles’ apartment some thirty minutes ago but hasn’t yet reappeared.” Henry answered smartly.
June looked up from the TV. “That’s a little odd. We know he’s not there so what is she doing?”
Travers snorted his contempt. “Hardly the time for sentimental grief. I’d have thought better of her frankly. Sadly this is why we had to let her go. Far too emotional.”
“Do you think she’s upset at what has happened, Uncle?”
Travers looked to the gods and the non-functioning aircon unit for strength and idly wondered how upset his sister would be if he lost her son someplace sinister.
The Pontiac took Giles far out of town and up into scrubby side roads until Spike directed him to turn off the road and drive around a small wooded copse before stopping. There were plenty of tyre tracks to follow and Giles concentrated on avoiding the worst of the roots and low branches to follow the beaten path. At a clearing up ahead, Giles saw a number of motorbikes and beaten up cars clustered around an old wooden barn, it had electricity of sorts as there was music and laughter and a number of figures could be seen moving around.
“Do we launch some sort of attack?”
Spike was bemused. “I’m all for a good heedless slaughter but generally I like the odds to be less completely suicidal. Come on.”
As they approached the club on foot, Giles lit up another cigarette to give himself some confidence at approaching a demon roadhouse. It actually reminded him of the first illegal drinking club he’d been in when he was a kid. Smoking had made him feel older then too. The noise levels picked up as they got nearer and Giles read a huge sign pronouncing ‘Happy Halloween” above the single entry door.
“What is this place?” he asked.
“Bit of a Shangri-La for your basic demon drop out types, which includes you now. Place to unwind that the Slayer doesn’t know about. Now,” Spike brushed imaginary dust off Giles’ shoulders and inspected him. “Follow my lead and don’t give anyone any lip. We play it cool. We ask around. Resist any urge to rampage your little Watcher heart. OK? Now smile for the nice doorman.”
A doorman, well door-demon really, put a hand out to block their entry. “No Smoking,” he said in a deep intimidating voice.
Giles blew smoke and tried to tough it out. “I thought you said there were No Rules?”
The door-demon ignored him completely. “Sorry Spike, been a really dry summer,” he explained. “Mitsy has declared the place no smoking on account of the timber. Who’s the kid with the death wish?”
“This here is Rupert. Silly name I know.” The demon looked at Giles with ill-concealed suspicion. Giles in turn remembered that at age fourteen he used to be able to intimidate every bouncer in the area into letting him into their club. Spike sighed, “It’s OK, I can vouch for him. He always does look a bit dozy.”
Giles glared in outrage but ground out his cigarette and they were allowed to pass. “Better teach him some manners before somebody else does.” The doorman called out in warning after them.
Inside the place was teeming with vampires and demons of all ilk. Giles wished he’d brought a note book to record them all, in any other circumstances it would be fascinating. He looked up and spun around to squint at the old wooden beams and the strings of lights rigged dangerously to a generator out back. They probably just ate any safety inspectors that called. There was a juke box and a bar. In the corner a number of patrons were cheering some sort of sports activity but Giles could only see the backs and hear shouts of encouragement.
“What’s going on over there?
Spike shrugged. “That’s the games area.”
Giles found it quite refreshing to discover that demons played bar games.
“Is there a dart board?” he asked hopefully.
At that point there was a slight separation in the crowd and Giles just caught a glimpse of a boxing ring set of ropes and a battered vampire being kicked in the head for the cheering pleasure of the onlookers.
“Probably, but you don’t want to sign up to the league.” Spike answered dryly and pulled on Giles’ lapel to follow him more closely.
“What do we do now?”
“We play it cool. Relax. Have a drink. You’re with your own kind here.”
As Spike spoke above the noise of the crowd, an incredibly evil looking biker demon, that Giles instinctively felt he had no commonality with at all, pushed past them. Was this really his own kind? Could he afford to be snobbish about demons now? The guy spat on the floor and scratched his crotch lazily. Yes, Giles stiffened his resolve, he jolly well could.
Spike switched on the charm as he approached the bar. “Two pints please, love.”
To Giles, the landlady looked a lot like any other landlady down the east end of London – aside from being a demon of course. She was incredibly old and dressed about thirty years younger, with makeup enough for two. Spike’s charm didn’t wash and she narrowed her eyes. “Let’s see the colour of your money first, Spike.”
“All perfectly green for you Mitsy, I assure you,” he said and fanned a number of the stolen bills across the counter. She palmed half of them and turned her attention to Giles.
“Who are you, handsome?” she flirted, stooping forward a little to give him a better view of her cleavage. Giles had no words.
“This here is Rupert, Mits. We’re out tonight celebrating his first kill.”
She beamed at Giles in pleasure, her makeup cracking at the laughter lines. “In that case, hun, yours is on the house.”
Giles blushed at the slight fraud he was perpetrating and remembered his manners.
“Well that’s jolly of kind of you but...” He voice trailed off as she pushed a glass of blood towards him. “...you really shouldn’t...” He tired his most winning smile – fraud be damned - “Have you got anything stronger? In the single malt range?”
She looked puzzled but shrugged and pulled down a shot glass and a dusty bottle of Glenlivet from a high shelf.
In the meantime the bar flies had gathered and started to congratulate Spike. “You must be very proud.” Giles heard one say.
“Well,” Spike grinned, “You teach them all you can, but in the end you just have to let them find their own way.”
A cry went up around the room. “To Rupert and his first kill.” Giles smiled shyly to the room in uncomfortable acknowledgement and downed his entire scotch. He turned back to the bar in time to grab Mitsy’s rather bony hand.
“No,” he pleaded. “Please leave the bottle.”
The gaming corner gave a huge cheer at what was the end of a contest and started to disperse. The unlucky vampire was being hauled unceremoniously by his ankles outside to the night air. There was clapping and cheering and then Giles caught sight of the victor and wondered how he hadn’t been able to see him before. He was eight foot tall if he was an inch and sported a high barrel like chest which swelled with pride as he took the congratulations of the room. A number of gold chains and medallions chinked to the rhythm of his breathing. This demon had huge improbable forearms and yet a disproportionately small head. He wore a black straggly beard across his scarred chin and yet had terribly sweet ears that looked like little buttons.
“Bloody hell,” Giles muttered.
Spike put his drink down and half turned. “Yeah,” he agreed dryly. “I heard the globetrotters turned him down.”
Giles pointed in silence at the demon’s enormous high barrel chest.
Spike didn’t understand his fascination but nodded and said, “Looks like Bluto from Popeye don’t he? Don’t make any spinach jokes is my advice.”
“No look,” Giles pointed more animatedly. “He’s got the Lazarus Stone.”
It was there. The jet black stone with white lettering, worn as a necklace around the demon’s neck among hundreds of other trophies. Giles’ excitement had caught the big demon’s attention. The crowd followed in anticipation as he swaggered up to the bar and loomed over Giles and Spike.
“Something interests you, little vampire?”
It was a casual enough question. The entourage seemed if anything a little disappointed.
“Well yes actually, I was admiring the um pebble thing you are wearing.” Giles stumbled out the words in a voice that seems a lot higher than his.
The big demon smiled to reveal a set of irregular teeth.
“You’d like me to give it to your perhaps?”
Spike made some sort of squeaky protest but Giles blundered on, “That would be jolly kind of you...”
“NO, no. He doesn’t mean that,” Spike said hastily. “He’s newly risen. Cut him a break eh?”
“English?” the demon smiled encouraging at Giles again, “Sure. I’ll cut him anything he wants.”
Giles took this as a positive thing and started to bargain.
“How much? What do you want for it?”
“The twelve beating hearts of new born human babies.” The room roared with laughter.
Giles swallowed hard. “What’s that in dollars?” There was more laughter. Spike was laughing hardest and trying to end the conversation, offering drinks, asking for more music. But the big demon wasn’t finished with Giles.
“Why don’t you fight me for it?” he said simply. The room immediately fell silent.
“A-Alright,” Giles stammered. Bluto beamed down at him with feral pleasure.
Spike snaked a room around Giles shoulders. “Excuse us one moment”, and pulled him to one side.
“Are you insane?” he hissed. “You can’t fight that.”
“I have to get the Lazarus Stone and I’m running out of time.”
“Yes but YOU can’t fight THAT. He will pull your arm off and paint your face with the soggy end just for starters.”
“I have to try.”
There was the distinct sound of chicken noises behind them. A voice shouted “Someone needs to teach your whelp a lesson.”
Spike ignored it all and pulled Giles face into both hands. “Watcher, it’s over. Accept this. Don’t be in such a hurry to turn your back on this way of living.”
He was sincere and Giles was actually quite touched but his mind was made up.
“I can’t live like you,” he explained. “If I can get the Stone, reverse this... Don’t you ever have regrets?”
Spike studied him and shook his head sadly.
“You’ve been a bit of a disappointment in the being evil stakes so far, but in sheer bonkers-blooming-balmy handicap you are up there with the best of them.”
The demon they’d nicknamed Bluto called out behind them. “Come on Spike, I want to see what he’s made of.”
Spike raised an eyebrow. “He means that literally you know.”
But Giles was all grim and determination. “Not if I kill him first.”