Cabin In The Woods
The hours of searching have made the shreds of Spike's humanity louder. This part of himself he had dubbed, "Sodding William," and it was whining and conjuring images of Clem skinned alive by Sharky's men. ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck. Half a day wasted looking for the sodding slayer. Bollocks!’ There was nothing left for Spike to do except to warn Clem and lay low for a few months, at least until he gets the kittens.
Sewage sloshed against Spike’s Docs¹ as he trudged through Sunnydale's underground. 'With any luck, Clem will be at Willy’s gettin ready for the night rush.' He decided it was safer to take the long way through the sewers to avoid any of Sharky’s goons. In the gloom, he listened for any signs of footsteps, before finding his way to a rusty ladder. He pulled himself up, glaring into the deep shadows above him. 'This should take me to Willy's back alley.'
Spike picked the lock on Willy’s back door, before slipping through the storage room. Nicking a few bottles of bourbon, he peered out of the room, seeing Buffy slamming Willy into his own bar. 'Of course she’s here. Been all over Sunnyhell looking for the bloody bint, and she’s at Willy's. Why the hell not?'
Once again, finding Clem could wait, he decided as he listened in on Buffy’s interrogation. 'There she is, standing in the dim light of the bar, like a flame among fireflies.' The sight of her always made his old poetic juices flow. 'Out of all the women, in all the world, it had to be her that turned me into a bloody ponce.'² He sighed to himself watching Buffy. 'Look at her all puffed up with self-righteous fury.' It reminded Spike of the girl she was before Glory, before her mum’s death, and before her friends had failed her. His dead heart twisted at the ghost in front of him. 'It would be wrong, and mostly impossible, to break (Red's neck. Plus, Buffy would be pissed. Damn Slayer, damn chip.'
"I don’t have time for you to play dumb,” Buffy threatened.
Willy wriggled and squirmed in her hold, as he whined, "who's playing?"
“Dawn is missing," Buffy rasped as she twisted Willy’s arm in an unnatural direction.
"I don't know who that is, you crazy bitch," the bartender wailed.
His face turned red, while Buffy pulled a bit harder, using as little effort as a child pulling the petals off of a flower. "Yet, I don't believe you," She said.
A loud popping sounded, followed by a pained scream was Willy's only reply. The scene would have been a turn on in Spike's darker days, but something about this savage side of his Slayer made him nervous. 'Perhaps I should step in.'
Spike announced his presence with a quip, “That girl really needs a bloody tracking device. Every other day she disappears.”
“You!” she snarled at Spike, her green eyes flaring with tangible rage directed fully at him. She dropped Willy with a thud. In two short strides, she marched over to him.
Suddenly, Spike found himself regretting not going to Clem. “Yes, me. Now what’s wrong with the bit?” he inquired.
“You are the reason why Dawn has been kidnapped,” Buffy raged.
“What?” Spike asked, dropping his usual gruffness. ‘No, Sharky isn’t that dumb.’
“Does the name Bob mean anything to you?” Buffy roared.
'Dawn?' Spike was trying to comprehend what Buffy was saying. ‘Why would Bob have Dawn?' Everyone knew the Slayer’s sister was off limits, not just because the Slayer would hunt them down, but because Spike would give them a long, slow death. Despite his defanging and recent changes, he still had the reputation, formed over the last hundred years, of being a mean, son of a bitch when crossed. 'Doc would have testified to that, if he was still able to form sentences and walk upright or even breathe for that matter.'
"What happened to Dawn?" he gasped.
"This is your fault. Sharky wanted to teach you a lesson, so he gave my sister to a demon name Bob," Buffy hissed, her voiced acidic enough to peel paint.
Spike couldn’t deny it. Yet, those accusing, green eyes made him defensive. “I've been trying to find you all bloody day Slayer, to warn you something like this might happen," he blustered.
"Tell me Spike, why is my sister mixed up in your fuck ups?" Buffy asked as her fist clenched into balls.
Spike needed to be careful with his answer. Buffy’s temper seemed shorter than normal. Unwisely, he struggled to suppress the childish urge to smile. Hearing Buffy swear was like hearing church bells play, "War Pigs;"³ it was just unnatural. "I didn't mean for this to happen. Honestly, I didn’t think Sharky had the stones to nab the nibblet."
Buffy's response was an unsurprising fist, flung hard enough to knock off his head, if he hadn’t had the foresight to dodge it.
With her hardened, General Buffy eyes narrowed at him, she seethed, "Where is this Bob guy’s lair?"
"It’s in the woods, near the old government labs. I’ll show you," he answered.
They stop by Buffy’s house to pick up some weapons, before traversing the sewers in strained silence. 'Last week we kissed. This week she's ready to rip off my bloody head.' Spike wished he knew from day to day which Buffy he should expect. 'Then I could prepare better for moments like this.' Spike wondered if he should say something to break the silence, but Buffy beat him to it.
She blurted, "No one knew who Dawn was today. I mean, not just Willy. I went to her school after I found out about what happened; I was trying to retrace her steps. But when I got there, no one knew who she was."
"That's strange. Even that trollop-y one?" he wondered trying to remember Dawn's little friends from over the summer. He did not bother learning any of their names, assuming that the bubble gum blowing, giggling girls were temporary fixtures in his bit’s life. But one did stand out among the rest; she tended to wear tight fitting tank tops around him, that left little to the imagination, and always seemed to be in a permanent state of flushed. 'She also seemed to have a nice set of tits on her.' He figured saying that part out loud would get him a deserved punch in the nose. 'Slayer tends to frown upon ogling teenage girls. Not that I had much of a choice, the bint practically flashed me every chance she got.'
Buffy answered with a sigh, "You mean Janice?" Spike shrugged his reply, assuming that was right. "All I got out of her was, 'Oh, you mean that weird new girl.'"
Spike growled, "Bitch."
Buffy's voice was shaking as she said, "What if, when we get to Bob’s, she's like, 'Poof,' gone, never existed?"
Spike touched Buffy's slender shoulders. She turned to face him, stopping their journey for a second. In the dark of the sewers, he could see that her eyes were shining with unshed tears. 'I'm going to make Sharky suffer for putting us through all this.' He pushed off the urge to pull her close, hold her, and kiss away her tears.
Spike cooed softly to her, "Hey, none of that, luv. We'll get her back. Then, we'll get the wiccas to work their mojo, and, 'Boom,' all is well." Though he did not quite believe it himself, he placated her. 'First, this the morning's holy water fiasco, and now this. There's something off going on here.'
Buffy moved away from him, holding her arms over her chest, looking much like a little girl. "That won't work. Dawn's fading away because magic is gone," she explained.
Lines formed, connecting the dots in Spike's head. Suddenly, this morning made much more sense. 'What is holy water, but a bit of magic and ritual?' Buffy went on to reveal to him everything she'd learned today: Tuesday, Buffy's missing soul pieces or bits, even her meltdown in Willow's room.
"Makes sense," Spike commented, then shrugged.
Buffy's mouth dropped and her eyes seemed shocked. "That's it?"
"I don't know. Good on you for finally putting Red in her place?" he guessed.
"No Spike, my soul is missing. Some goddess wants me to work for her. Dawn's fading away. And all you have to say is that it makes sense?" Buffy asked incredulously.
"Because it does." Spike rolled his eyes, knowing he was vexing her with his nonchalant acceptance . But what else was there to say? Besides, he would rather deal with pissy Buffy, than weepy Buffy, any day. 'I like to see the fire in her, the one she thought was gone, because a bit of her soul scampered off.’ But, he knew embers of it were still there, concealed by her own perceived apathy.
"You aren't more wigged out by this?" Buffy asked.
"The way I see it is simple. First, we need to get Dawn. Then, the rest of it, you'll handle." Spike replied. He began to slog once more, leaving Buffy to follow him, unaware of her shock at his easy confidence in her.
She frowned, getting back into step with him. "How are you so sure?" she earnestly asked.
"Because you always have." He answered as if it was the most normal conclusion in the world.
Spike and Buffy arrived at Bob’s cabin, just as the sun dipped below the horizon and turned the sky red, like a crumbled, strawberry poptart. Together, they blended into the shadows of the trees, examining the structure. Moss clung to the shingles on the roof and to some of the grey logs forming the house.
"It should be just him in there," Spike explained.
"Right, we'll go in; I'll take out Bob. You get Dawn to safety, 'kay?" Buffy directed.
"Okay," Spike agreed with the plan.
They crept closer to the structure. With each step, the breeze seemed to carry the sharp odor of formaldehyde and the stale scent of rot to Spike's enhanced nose. The pungent smells reminded him of the rumors about Bob's strange predilections. There were taboos, even among demons. 'It's one thing to shag a bloke or bird before, or during, the killing process. But afterward, when the body was cold?' The reminder made Spike's skin crawl and his feet move a bit faster pace quicken.
Spike and Buffy stole into the place. It was empty, save for the twenty or so porcelain dolls staring past them. Then, Dawn's shrill scream echoed from below their feet. They rushed down the basement steps, taking two at a time. 'Good, bit's still alive.'
Dawn cried, "Help!"
Bob roared as Buffy jumped on his back. She squeezed his large hairy neck in a bear hug. Reacting, Bob tried to shake her off. Buffy held on, trying to wrap her legs around him for balance. When Bob failed to dislodge the Slayer, by violently shaking her, he changed tactics, slamming her backwards, attempting to crush her against the stone wall. Buffy grunted, but held on, squeezing his neck harder.
Spike raced for Dawn, who had been placed inside a glass coffin beside an assortment of menagerie of dead girls. Upon opening the coffin and unfettering her wrists, he asked, "You're okay?"
Dawn surged up into Spike's arms clinging to him. She whimpered, "I'm okay. He wanted to turn me into Snow White."
'I'm going to butcher Sharky.' He scowled, "Run along pet. Me and big sis, going to handle Bobby boy over there."
Bob snarled something in Marlack as Dawn ran up the stairs. Spike was able to translate. "My precious," the demon had proclaimed. Bob shook Buffy off with one more smack against the wall.
He started to give chase to Dawn, but Spike s halted his progress. Spike threw a left hook, breaking Bob's nose, just as Buffy stabbed a pair of scissors into Bob's back. Bob yelped and whirled around to face her. Once more, Buffy stabbed him, this time in his heart. Bob fell, his body dissolving into nothing but bones.