The Cost of Giles
Ch 20 – Fistfight
Hyena pushed against her Pack-mate and bedmate, but the vampire had strength on his side and wasn’t budging much. On the other hand, with his conditioning chip at least doing something (or so she assumed, his face was doing a nervous tic and he was wincing a lot) she also wasn’t losing the upper hand.
“You need to stop and think,” Spike grunted, his knuckles grazing her chin. “I can hit a hell of a lot harder!”
“And have that chip send you to Ashes-ville? I doubt it… no vampire loves a human THAT much,” she returned, with a rake down the side of his face. She kept forgetting that Xander’s body didn’t have claws, as such.
Spike realized he needed to show her that he wasn’t going to be felled by the chip with her in charge. The slight hitch in the plan was that he couldn’t be sure about that. While the Initiative’s leash was giving him constant mild jolts, he’d felt what it could really do a few times and this felt… almost hesitant. It was as if it couldn’t decide just what the hell it was supposed to do with this situation. But when the fist really connected, would it decide for or against him? That was the question that kept him pulling his blows. Not that he wanted to inflict pain on Xan (well, maybe a little bit, but in a more pleasant way than this), but if he was going to stop Hyena, it was clear he needed her unconscious.
Hyena realized that she wasn’t fully in control of herself. She could feel the need, not only to punish Spike for challenging her, but to inflict pain and death on the nerds and then…? She’d felt this before… when she’d ‘killed’ Commando-Xander. In the back of her mind, she detected the booming thunder and the clash of rain against steel. She gave a thought to Giles and whether he’d been playing with magic again, but her focus now was on putting the vampire down… forever, if necessary. And then, it would be time for the humans who’d dared to attack her Pack. And for Warren, their dim-witted leader? For him, the death wouldn’t be an easy or quick one. She swung, double fisted and felt a rush of adrenaline as she connected solidly with the side of Spike’s face.
She couldn’t stop her odd Hyena-laugh or the feeling of power rushing through Xander’s muscles and sinew.
“Wait,” Rick Stein turned to Detective Gannon. “Your notes… are you sure the Marcom woman was the aggressor?”
“Absolutely. Multiple witnesses,” she frowned in thought. Though obviously she wasn’t putting things together the way Rick currently was. “We’re right near the Crests’, you know. Horrible thing.”
“Yeah… I took that call, too,” he replied distractedly as he jotted a few notes in his own booklet, before returning her pad to her.
“Sorry. I didn’t really know them, but he always seemed in good spirits. I guess you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.”
“Yeah,” Rick said thoughtfully, only half listening. “Marcom was the witness. Now, she’s carving up old ladies… does this strike you as odd timing?”
“People are odd,” she gave him a wide smile. “I thought you’d have learned that much by now, at least.”
“Well… there’s odd, and then there’s ‘Sunnydale Odd’.”
Marsha seemed to close up in front of him with a shifty look, avoiding his eyes. He wondered if he’d acted this same way… he surely had, after all of the weird things he’d been able to shrug off over the years. She told him, “Odd is odd. We’re no more weird than any other little
She gave him a shrug and then bent down to re-examine the old lady.
No, something about this one is sending a chill down the spine, he thought to himself as a coroner and CSI team finally arrived. As he stepped out of the way, he idly wondered where Ryan and Trisha had been during the past forty-eight hours. And, had anything ‘unusual’ happened to them before his apparent meltdown?
In the old Iron Works plant, Spike and Hyena had pulled apart from one another, again. They circled, feinting with their fists. She had a swollen right eye, bruising along one cheek and her stomach hurt, where Spike had side kicked her away from him. He’d put much more force into it than she had thought he’d get away with.
He had several rake marks on his forehead, along his face on both sides, and scratches on his neck. The back of his head had some light bleeding and he had a killer headache. But whether this was the head bashing she’d given him, or a result of the constant low level shocks he was receiving, he couldn’t say. He was feeling somewhat spacey… that last kick to Hyena’s abdomen had resulted in a bit more force from his electronic tether.
Xander’s abdomen! Xander’s. For the sake of any shit you ever valued, don’t forget that, Will, he thought forcefully at himself, trying to shake off the mental fog. You forget whose body you’re pounding on, and Dawn’ll never forgive you.
“T-told you… I could… hurt you,” he warned is opponent, but not without huffing like an out-of-shape and out of his prime boxer. The chip was doing a number on him, no doubt.
It didn’t escape the bitch he faced.
“Looks to me, ow, like you’re,” she took a breath, “hurting yourself more than… me.”
“It’s nothing compared to what I’ll do if your refusal to back down ends up hurting Xander,” he growled at her. He was sure to arrange his face so she couldn’t miss his extruded fangs.
“Xander, Xander, Xander. God, I’m starting to hate that name. I should have just killed his ass instead of wasting my strength on my co-personality.”
“Then you did kill this soldier persona!”
“Sure! And, why not! I was here long before he decided to butt in. And, I’m stronger and better equipped to lead than this hunk of neurotic flesh you’re so invested in. I should gut Xander Harris right now and be done with it.”
It was the wrong thing to say to press Spike’s buttons. In fact, if she’d given it a thought, she probably would have realized that pressing any vampire’s buttons was probably unwise.
With a savage yell, Spike was the one who did the leaping this time. Hitting her full force, she found herself against the cold floor, Spike’s equally chilly body pressing down on her. His hands were now around her throat and he was squeezing rather hard. Hard enough to inflict pain and cut of her breath… though judging by the way tears were slipping between his clenched, shut eyes it wasn’t only her that was suffering.
“S-s-sppp…,” was all that Xander could manage, as he found himself in an apparent life or death situation. And it, apparently, was against his lover!
He tried to croak out another plea for Spike to stop, and uselessly grabbed at the vampire’s wrists. Trying to pry them was, of course, completely unproductive. Spike’s demonic strength was far more than he could counter, especially with the world beginning to go to black.
Just before he said good-bye to the world, Spike managed to look down at him.
“Xander?” And then he yelled in utter suffering and nearly flew off him.
As Xander began to draw in a huge lungful of air down his raw throat, he rolled over to find Spike lying in a heap and curled into a ball. He reached for him, but was hit with a wracking coughing fit that further inflamed his airway, making him feel like he’d swallowed burning coals.
He… he was gonna kill me! What the fuck happened, and where are we?!
One part of Xander’s mind was on these questions, while the other was thinking that he needed to find a stake… and fast, before Spike recovered.
Unfortunately, right now, it was all he could do to force his lungs to keep pumping air in and out. He lay on the concrete floor, gasping.
At Giles’, three soaked feminine forms struggled their way through sheets of driving rain. Two of the women had arrived some time before, but they stood waiting just outside the barrier protecting the apartment. As the third of them walked up, a tube-shaped opening appeared in the hazy distortion in front of them, caused by the rain interacting with the temporal field.
They walked, as one, to Ripper’s door and he let them in with a mean spirited smile as he closed their entry tunnel. A quick scan into the night with his magic assured him he had some play time before his rival returned.
He chuckled to himself as his trance-induced women stood waiting for their instructions.