Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-POV: Shifts Perspective
Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and Spanderverse: stories.
Notes: Ninth story in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Old Friends”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.
People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.
Ch 5 – Confrontations
Spike stopped briefly in his underground space to grab his leather jacket before proceeding into the tunnel network connecting his sleeping space with the rest of Sunnydale. Harmony was still in vamp face and peeking over the mattress, though she must have heard Buffy leave.
“Is she gone? Does she know I’m here? Was she looking for me?”
Or maybe she’s too much of a bubble-head to think to listen in. Idiot, thought Spike.
“Nah,” he said, “She’s on a mission to look for Riley. Wanker’s got himself into some trouble, which turns out to be a good thing for us. Get your kit together; we’re going to the hospital to see a surgeon about a chip removal.”
“Removal,” Harmony questioned, “You’re going to get de-chipped, Spike?”
“Only if we get to the surgeon before Buffy and Private Stand-up Guy, so get moving.”
Giles and Xander drove separately around the environs of Sunnydale searching for signs of Riley. Giles wasn’t very hopeful of finding him. They had to assume that if he wanted to get lost, the ex-soldier would have the skills to do so.
Xander was more optimistic. After all, he and Riley were friends. If he could find him, he was sure that he’d be able to convince him to get treatment. And Sunnydale wasn’t that big of a city. It was growing all the time, for some reason, but it remained a small geographical area. Just where could he really hide in a burg this small?
Anya was behind the cash register of the Magic Box, annoyed. She was bored here. So far, the only ones she sold anything to were
The only ones who seemed to be stopping in were browsers. Their grubby fingers were constantly touching things. And when they picked up bottles and jars, they left their smudgey fingerprints all over. Plus, the un-purchasers never put things back the way they’d found them.
She found herself quickly becoming tired of being a shop clerk. It was much more fun when Mr. Bogarty ran things. He at least had the occasional paying customer. Of course, the fact that he’d sold bogus magical items probably led to most of his patrons being eaten or sacrificed, so she could understand his lack of repeat business. That didn’t explain why they weren’t pulling in more customers, now, though. If she just had her wish powers, maybe she could get some angry and spurned woman to wish for more Magic Box business, before she could have gotten out anything regarding her cheating husband/boyfriend. Unfortunately, she was just going to have to do this the old fashioned way: Pressure.
The next person who came in that door wasn’t leaving until they bought something. Even if she had to grab an ornate and expensive dagger and begin flaying them!
Dawn sat in World Studies daydreaming. Well, actually it was sort of half-daydreaming and half-worrying. Her thoughts were revolving around a fantasy where she met Adam.
In her scenario, Buffy got her butt beat again by him. Not as bad as before, ‘cause she didn’t really want her sister to be too hurt. But in her fantasy, Buffy came into the house bleeding like before and panicking. Adam followed her and was threatening their mother.
Dawn was just kicking the tar out of him when she realized the class around her had grown quiet. As she came back to her surroundings, she noticed everyone’s eyes on her.
“Ms. Summers? Are you with us,” Ms. Gallagher asked. “I asked you to name two countries that border
“Uh….” Damn. I really hate Geography… and History… and Math….
The two young women entered via a gaping hole in a back wall. Apparently it was the women’s shower room and
As they headed more deeply into the dark interior of the former hallways,
It suddenly didn’t seem like such a great idea for them to be drawing attention to themselves.
“Who needs flashlights when you have magical powers?”
She was having much too much fun wandering this place in
Pulling a bottle from her skirt,
“I might not have thought of a flashlight, but I did think of a potion.” She muttered an incantation and threw the potion on the ground.
“Whoa! Did you add steroids to that incantation?”
Willow giggled with proud amusement, “Maybe there was a little tinkering. But isn’t this way better than relying on stupid technology. Just think what else we can do when we put our minds to it.”
The red head preceded
That was a discussion for another time, though. Right now, they needed to help Riley.
Buffy crossed the park to a wooded area where the local ground went from flat playing fields for children to hill-strewn woods. She followed the trail that Spike and she had followed once before until she found the tunnel that would lead into Adam’s hideout, if it was still there. For all she knew, the army could have bulldozed or dynamited everything closed after the Initiative cleared out. Still, if there was anywhere that she could imagine Riley hiding out in, it was here.
Inspecting the heavy door that blocked access to the tunnel, she saw no signs that it had been used recently. That didn’t really mean it hadn’t, of course, and she scanned the wooded area nervously for any trace of Adam. It was doubtful he’d be left out in the open to his own devices, she was sure. The vampires would probably have him at their nest for security during the daylight hours. She couldn’t be too careful though, as her abdomen could painfully testify.
Grabbing the edges of the steel, circular door, she yanked. Putting her back into it and with her Slayer strength, she managed to wrestle the door open just enough to squeeze her thin figure through and into the tunnel behind. Grabbing a mini-flashlight from her back pocket, she sighed in relief when it provided enough light for her to see. The solid dirt walls were fetid and moist and it felt like she was crawling into a grave. She knew that it wouldn’t be far before the tunnels opened out more, again assuming that they weren’t deliberately caved in. She could only breathe through her feelings of claustrophobia until she reached them. Riley was worth a few panicky feelings.
While the gang was out scouring town for Riley’s presence, Spike and Harmony used another set of tunnels to make it to
Reaching the seventh floor via the elevator, Spike and Harmony marched confidently down the hallway until they found two soldiers standing outside one of the operating theatres.
Graham instantly recognized Hostile 17 and went into a defensive stance, ordering the soldier with him to do the same. With Spike unable to fight back, Harmony went on the charge. Hissing at them she launched herself with a flurry of punches and kicks, which the red-headed soldier, Banks, was able to deflect.
Unfortunately for Graham, his ribs were taped up from Riley's earlier assault and he wasn't much in fighting shape. As he tried to engage Harmony, he ended up getting in the way. She easily grabbed a hold on his upper arms and with her increased strength, easily threw him into Banks. Both of them fell to the floor in an unconscious heap.
Harmony giggled to herself and then turned to Spike with a huge, proud smile. "These guys weren't so tough, Sweetie-bear."
"Yeah, well, they didn't get the drop on you with one of those electric shooters they used to carry…. Harmony, drop the soldier."
"What? I might as well eat while we're here."
"If we have time you can do that after. Right now, I'll need you to keep a watch on the good doctor, make sure he doesn't try to puree my gray matter while he's digging for the chip."
Harmony pouted, but followed Spike into a small operating theatre. There was only one man waiting, the doctor presumably. Spike put a wide grin on his human face while Harmony remained vamped out.
"Hullo, Doc. There's been a change of patients, but the operation is the same."
Buffy made her way through the cool damp of the tunnel that she knew would eventually lead toward 314. As she was coming up on the area where she'd met Spike and he'd clumsily blown the fact that he was working with Adam, she heard the clear sounds of grunting and the sound of a fist hitting something hard.
Ahead of her from around a bend was the glow of a lantern or flashlight. Shadows bounced on the wall in front of her. She listened hard, but could only discern one individual. Hoping for Riley, but fearing Adam, she went around the bend- her tightly held stake seeming completely inadequate.
As she came from around the corner, Riley noted her presence.
"Come to stake me? I hope you're not wandering around Adam's tunnels with nothing but a sliver of wood."
"It's more than what you're carrying."
"I have my gun over there, next to the lantern. Besides, there's been no sign of Adam. No doubt, he's holing up wherever the Initiative vampires are."
"Riley…, we need to get you to the hospital."
He looked at her, his eyes dull and glassy. One of his arms was extended, a clenched fist resting against the rock wall. From his fingers, blood flowed freely down the rock face.
Buffy's own features were lined with concern, but he seemed only partially aware of what he'd done.
"You're punching rock walls, now," she asked him, confused.
He only gave her a shrug. Pulling his hand away to look at the battered and cut knuckles, he returned his attention to her.
"It doesn't hurt. That's strange, isn't it?"
"Honey, please come with me. I can take you to get some help."
"Am I," Riley asked her.
She saw an intense sadness in his eyes and she wasn't sure what was going on inside his head.
"I mean, am I your guy, still?"
"What? Of course you are. Riley, I love you. You know that, don't you?"
"I'm not sure I know anything, Buffy. I'm so tired. My chest really hurts, too. And, the past few days….
I knocked you down. I… you were hurt, and I knocked you down."
As he began crying, Buffy threw herself into his arms. She dropped her stake and flashlight and enveloped him in a hug while carding the fingers of her left hand through his hair.
"That wasn't your fault, Riley. It's the Initiative modifications. They're breaking down and making you confused. Please let me help you."
"And then what?"
"And then we get back to our lives. Together."
"For how long? Buffy, without my strength, how long can you and I possibly last together?"
"What?" Buffy was taken aback by the suggestion that they were headed for a breakup if he wasn't super strong. "Riley, do you think I love you because you're turning into the Hulk? I loved you before this sudden burst of strength."
"You don't get it, Buff. Once the surgery is performed, I'll be even weaker than what you're used to seeing. I'll be… normal."
Riley laughed bitterly at her. "You don't want normal. You say you do, but you need someone who can hold their own with you. Physically, I mean. You're addicted to strength. It's why Angel still holds such power over you. It's why it was so easy for Dracula to seduce you. It's why you won't let me kill Spike, even. You like it when the powerful undead want you."
"Oh, my God! How can you say that to me? Angel and me are one thing, but we are just friends now. Family, even, but we're not together. We're not going to be together. I cannot believe that you are still jealous of him after everything we've talked about. And I'm not even going to dignify Dracula and -ugh, Spike- with a response."
"I'm scared, Buffy. You're drifting away from me. You say you're with me, but I just don't feel it."
"I'm not the one who's running, here. I'm not the one who's risking a heart attack and a permanent exit from everyone who cares about me. You know what Riley, I can't tell how much of this is real and how much is because you're under the influence of chemicals and chips and God only knows what."
Buffy took a deep breath to calm her self down. She knew getting angry was only going to hurt the situation, but the fact that he still harbored such doubts about her intentions with Angel hurt her.
"Look, we can talk about all of this later. Right now, you're going to the hospital. The only choice you get to make is whether we walk there together, or whether I knock you out and carry you. Now, what's it gonna be?"
"Okay. Take me to him," Riley said.
End Ch 5