Nothing the Same, Book 3
Rating: PG13 - NC-17 Individual chapters will carry specific warnings.
Feedback & concrit: yes, please
Disclaimer: don't own them, never will, just playing with them
Spoilers: Primarily season 4, but anything from Season 1 on.
WARNING: This chapter contains violence
Summary: sequel to Nothing the Same & Nothing the Same, Book 2
Previous parts here
Spike moved as quickly as his injuries allowed through the waning night, cursing himself for what now seemed like an incredible fit of self-indulgence. Oh, in general, he was all for self-indulgence but the fight with the Entakkin had left him battered and injured and not at his peak for dealing with an emergency.
‘Course, it wasn’t necessarily much of an emergency. Not like there was a rain of toads going on or a plague of prraata demons. Granted, he’d been deprived of a well-deserved roar of triumph as the Entakken had crumpled to the ground, bloody and beaten. And he had wanted to scream his victory to the skies. The Entakken had been just what he’d needed, despite the battering he’d taken in the fight and, in hindsight, the inconvenient timing. Every blow he’d landed had bled a little more of the frustration and humiliation out of him, every kick and punch had assuaged the pent up need for revenge that had been building inside him until he’d felt like he was going to explode if he didn’t take action immediately.
It went against his grain to have to be patient, to wait for the retribution that was rightly his, to bide his time until he could eviscerate the enemy who had defeated him, however temporarily. Every instinct he possessed had been yammering at him, demanding that he seek revenge NOW, leaving his gut and his brain in a constant state of war ever since he had escaped. With tonight’s battle, that internal conflict had finally eased to tolerable levels. The blood on his hands, the bones that had cracked under his fists may not have belonged to the soldiers who had crippled him but it would do until he could take his revenge against the ones who were responsible. And he would have his vengeance, he vowed, no matter how long it took or what it cost him to get it, he would have it.
But first, he had to deal with what the Hellmouth was currently throwing at them. He needed to find out if the loss of his voice was something that had just affected himself and the Entakkin or if it was happening to everyone. How far did the pool of silence extend? Did it cover the whole town or only an isolated section? Had it silenced humans or only demons? It was unlikely in the extreme that whatever it was extended beyond the town - this was the Hellmouth after all and town-wide hi-jinks did happen here but he had yet to see them go past the city limits. He was just glad that he’d seen the Entakkin lose its voice as well. If he’d been alone, he probably would have assumed it was some kind of side effect of whatever the lab coats had done to him.
Spike slowed his pace as he neared the factory, slipping into the shadows and easing his way closer, concealing his movements. He needed information more than anything else right now. Most of the Court would be up and about still and Spike did not want to appear in front of them without having a chance to clean up. Not unless he had to.
Stopping across the street from the factory, he kept close to the side of the building, hidden from casual sight and stretched out his senses. In the hour before dawn, the Court should be nearly full, the minions back from their night’s activities but still up and about, not yet ready for sleep. He should be able to hear them from where he stood: gossiping, boasting, gambling.
The pre-dawn air was quiet. Not a single voice carried to his ears, no sound of weapons impacting against each other as minions sparred to the accompaniment of the jeers or encouragement of onlookers. There was the faintest noise of bodies moving restlessly inside the building and nothing else. The Court had been silenced as well.
Spike weighed his options for less than a second, then strolled across the street and mounted the stairs to the apartment as if he hadn’t a care in the world, careful to conceal any hint of a limp in his confident stride.
Once inside, he blessed Xander for the over-stuffed refrigerator as he hurriedly heated and drained bag after bag of blood, feeling the warm flow warming him from the inside, his torn flesh beginning to heal and his ribs to knit back together. Xander had always made sure there was fresh blood on hand and an emergency supply in the freezer but since Spike’s return, he had been going overboard, keeping enough blood in the apartment to satisfy three vampires.
Drinking with his right hand and writing quickly with his left, Spike scribbled a rapid series of short notes before pushing back his chair. He drained the last mug of blood and stood for a moment, his senses turned inward, taking stock.
He’d drunk far more than he usually would have for such minor injuries and his system was responding rapidly. The surface injuries had already healed enough not to cause comment. The ribs were still sore and would need more time but they would do - he wasn’t really expecting trouble. Slipping quietly into the bedroom, he pulled a fresh t-shirt and over-shirt out of the bureau and closet and slid into them, tossing the shredded, bloody ones into the trash.
He hesitated for a moment at the door, looking back at his Claimed. Xander was on his back, one arm flung out across the space Spike usually inhabited, and his not-quite-a-snore breathing sounded loudly in the otherwise silent room. Spike was tempted to take the time to wake Xander and find out if he had been affected but knew that his boy could wait for a little while. The Court needed to be dealt with immediately.
Barely five minutes later, flanked by his Lieutenants, Spike descended the stairs to the main floor. Outwardly ignoring the confused minions milling around, he crossed to the front of the room and jumped up onto the small platform that had been set there as the Court’s numbers grew and it became harder to see Spike over the crowd. Frowning, Spike glanced around the room. Less than half of the minions were present, the more sensible ones having obviously headed for bed to see if they would wake at sunset, the problem with their voices already fixed as mysteriously as it had begun. The minions in the main room had all seen Spike enter and were already clustered around him, some mouthing urgent silent messages at him, others just waiting for him to speak.
Idiots. ‘Course, maybe it was a compliment, figuring the Master of the Territory wouldn’t be affected along with everyone else. This whole situation just screamed of magic, which was odd since magic didn’t usually work on vampires.
He needed to get the attention of every vampire in the Court and that was going to be a problem, at least for the ones who’d already left the main floor. He looked around, spotting a couple of lengths of one inch metal pipe that the minions sometimes sparred with lying over by the wall. Hopping down from the platform, Spike strode over and picked one up, hefting it as he looked up at the long metal pipes that snaked overhead, leftovers from the building’s days as a manufacturing company. He smirked and stepped back up onto the platform, swinging the six foot length in an arc over his head, metal clanging loudly against metal as the two connected, the sound echoing through the large space, carrying easily to every corner of the building. Xander was the only one in the building who would be able to sleep through the racket, Spike thought with a fond smile.
He kept swinging in a steady rhythm, like a clock striking the hour, the noise drawing the remaining minions down from the third floor.
When the Court had gathered, Spike lowered the length of pipe and used it as a pointer, gesturing towards the words Jose had just written on the wall, following Spike’s orders.
COURT’S LOCKED DOWN.
He spun the pipe and used it to point to each of the exits where his lieutenants waited. As instructed, for the benefit of the minions who couldn’t read, as he pointed to each exit in turn, the Lieutenant at the exit made a show of slamming the doors shut and bolting them. The seldom-used bolts and barricades dropped heavily into place, the echo of wood and metal sliding home the only sound in the cavernous space.
Spike spun the pole again and pointed back to Jose, who was writing a second message on the wall:
DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING
He looked deliberately over the members of the assembled Court, one eyebrow raised inquiringly, twirling the length of pipe idly in a way that made it clear without words that it was a lethal weapon in his hands. He scanned the crowd, seeking anyone who looked like they might disobey or even question his order, then nodded sharply in approval when he saw no sign of rebellion or disagreement. He’d never needed words to convey naked menace, he thought in satisfaction.
A sudden attack of speechlessness wouldn’t drive vampires to panic and despair. Most of them would simply go to sleep and wait to see if their voices had returned when they woke at sunset. Tonight would be the bigger test. If the unnatural silence hadn’t ended, humans would be panicking in droves and their fear and misery would be perfuming the air for miles - a vampire’s perfect feeding ground. Spike had tasted it before, lost himself in the frenzy of human misery and fear, feeding mindlessly, gorging himself on blood and emotions as human society broke down and chaos reigned openly in the streets. There was nothing quite like it. He doubted many of the court minions were old enough to have tasted that kind of ecstatic madness, although the 60’s had come close at times. Problem was, feeding openly on the streets during riots and revolutions in the last century had been one thing. Doing the same thing in 21st Century America, with its wall-to-wall live television coverage, was strictly for fools and his Court was not going to bring that kind of attention down on itself especially when there was a fucking demon research facility run by the military under their feet.
If they didn’t fix this before dark tonight, the government would most likely be declaring martial law and sending in troops to keep order. Spike spared a reminiscent thought for the old days, when there weren’t enough local troops to keep things from spiraling out of control, when the troops were undisciplined rabble more likely to join in the riots than stop them. Today, martial law usually came with curfews and shooting violators on sight so that tended to keep the fun and games off the street, which would help keep the Court calm.
Satisfied the Court would sit tight for now, he dropped the pipe, creating a ripple of noise in the silent building and crossed the room to the bolt hole leading to the sewers. Michael was already opening the trap door and Spike dropped down into the sewers. He needed to check his contacts to see if any of them had any idea what was happening. He looked up at Michael as the Lieutenant looked back down at him, the trap ready to slam shut and the Lieutenant nodded reassuringly. Michael would stand by the exit until he heard the signal knock that Spike had arranged during the hurried meeting upstairs with the lieutenants. Michael would remain at his post for as long as it took but Spike had no intention of being gone for long. Xander would be getting up in a little over an hour and Spike planned to return before then.
He was back well under the time he’d allotted. Nobody knew anything and all the silent mouthing and flailing gestures were already getting to be bloody annoying. He shook his head at Michael’s silent question and waited pointedly while the trap door was slammed closed and bolted shut before taking the stairs up to the apartment, glad that the blood he’d drunk earlier had had another hour to work its healing magic on his wounds. Xander didn’t need to know how close a thing the fight had been.
Once back upstairs, he glanced at the clock on the microwave. Xander’s alarm would be going off in just under half an hour. Taking the time to write a note, Spike carried the pad of paper and a pen into the bedroom and sat down on the bed. He shook Xander gently but Xander just rolled over, his lips moving silently in what was undoubtedly a sleepy protest against getting up. Spike shook him again, a bit more firmly and kept it up until Xander rolled back towards him, a silent grumble of complaint on his lips.
That clearly got through to Xander’s sleepy brain and he sat up abruptly, one hand going to his throat as he tried to say something. He looked up at Spike in alarm, lips moving silently, heartbeat accelerating, and Spike shook him gently and thrust the note in front of him. He’d written it on the assumption that the unnatural silence wasn’t limited to demons but he couldn’t help feeling a flicker of relief that this wasn’t something happening courtesy of the military base, something aimed specifically at demons. If humans were affected too, it was unlikely the lab coats had cooked this up and more likely that it was some kind of mojo. He firmly quashed the little voice that said the military goons were amateurs and could have muffed up something intended for demons.
As Xander read the note, Spike sat down next to his boy and put a reassuring arm around him, his thumb stroking absently over the point of his shoulder. His gaze went to the far wall as he waited for Xander to finish the summary he’d jotting down of everything he knew about what was happening - which wasn’t much. He was still turning ideas over in his head when Xander tweaked the pen out of his fingers.
He glanced down as Xander turned the page and wrote his own note: We need to talk to Giles.
Spike nodded and took the pad of paper back. Sun’s nearly up. Soon as it is, go to his place and tell him what’s happening.
Xander looked at him, eyebrows raised, lifting his hands in a helpless gesture. Spike glared at him briefly then wrote rapidly. I know we don’t know what’s happening but the sooner he starts researching the better.
Xander drummed his fingers against his leg for a moment, then made a beckoning motion. He stood up and went to the living room, switching on the tv and channel surfing rapidly till he found a morning news show. He looked at Spike and tapped the back of his wrist.
Spike shook his head, not understanding, and Xander reached for the pad of paper and wrote quickly.
Let’s see if there’s anything on the news. Giles has Olivia staying with him, he’s not going to be up yet. If this is all over town, there may be something on the news that will give us a starting point.
Spike nodded. There were enough official types who worked in the hours before dawn: hospital, police, and the like, that it was likely there was some official version being put out already. Most humans were starting their day about now and all over town, if his suspicions were correct, alarm clocks were going off and humans were getting a nasty shock, It wouldn’t hurt to take a few minutes to find out what story the humans came up with, no matter how useless or off base it was likely to be. Giles and his bird could sleep in a little longer before Xander rousted them out of bed.
He sat down on the couch, tugging Xander down to sit in front of him, enfolding his boy in his arms as he tuned out the television, knowing Xander would alert him if anything useful came on. His thoughts turned inward, puzzling over the problem from every angle. Being unable to speak was annoying, but what harm did it do? What was the point in inflicting this on a large population? Of course, it was possible the only point was to cause panic. The demon that Xander referred to as the “Hansel-and-Gretel demon” wasn’t the only demon that fed off strong human emotions. A number of others did as well, to a greater or lesser extent, vampires among them. Vampires didn’t sustain nourishment from negative human emotions but they drank them in greedily anyway. Pain, terror, hysteria, panic all enhanced the normal taste of blood. Which was why someone like Dracula was such a prat for entrancing his victims before he fed. Like living on vanilla pudding and white bread - no taste at all.
They’d never learned whether the Hansel-and-Gretel demon - Spike really wished they’d been able to identify the species, referring to it that way was embarrassing - had been able to directly manipulate minds and emotions or if it had simply stirred the pot using ingredients already present. It had certainly been able to use illusion to change its own appearance. Joyce had told him afterwards that she’d thought she was seeing ghosts, spirits that were calling to her for help. Illusion was mind manipulation, getting a victim to see what you wanted them to see but Spike suspected that the demon had been able to plant ideas and emotions. Certainly Joyce wouldn’t have gone so far off the deep end as to try and burn two of her daughter’s friends without a lot of outside influence. It was possible they were dealing with a similar species here. In which case, there wasn’t much of a problem. The demon had been big but not a particularly good fighter. Too many centuries relying on illusion to hide it, Spike thought with a disapproving snort, albeit a silent one.
He shook off his thoughts, knowing they needed more information before they could figure out who was doing this and why. He tightened his arms around Xander, ignoring the lingering pain in his ribs, and pulled his boy in closer, listening to the steady beat of his heart and, unable to resist, he lowered his head and tasted the skin on Xander’s neck. His tongue trailed up the line of his Claimed’s throat and he could feel the pleased hum rumbling in Xander’s chest even if no sound emerged.
Maybe they should let the Watcher sleep for a bit longer after all.
Xander knocked a second time, a bit louder this time but trying to avoid sounding like he was pounding on the door. Waking Giles when he had a sleep-over friend was bad enough without beating his door down. Besides, that just might bring Giles to the door with a weapon and he really didn’t need a crossbow in his face first thing in the morning, he thought with a slight grin, especially when he couldn’t make jokes about it.
Spike had gone back to bed when Xander left the apartment. Xander hadn’t said anything, not wanting to get into a written argument with his lover, but he could tell that Spike was hurt. Ordinarily, Spike was fluid, unthinking grace personified but this morning there had been a touch of stiffness in his movements, the slightest of hesitations before standing up or sitting down; things that spoke volumes about his health. It had obviously not been a serious injury and Spike had fed well, given the hint of color in his pale skin and the slightly warmer than usual temperature of his body as he’d held Xander. A few hours of sleep would undoubtedly finish healing whatever wounds he’d sustained last night.
The main reason he’d let it slide was that Spike seemed less on edge this morning. Despite the current problem, Spike had seemed more relaxed than he’d been since he’d returned from being held prisoner. Like he’d finally found a way to deal with the doubts and fears that had been haunting him. He hoped so. Spike’s way of dealing so far had meant putting himself in danger night after night, risking his life and the possibility he could be recaptured.
Realizing he’d been standing there waiting for an answer for awhile now, Xander knocked again. It was past time for Giles to be up and researching. Sunnydale had made the morning news: the outside world was still trying to decide if it was a hoax or not, and the streets were filled with closed businesses and freaked out people. Xander was a bit on the freaked side himself because he had that gnawing, we-live-on-the-mouth-of-hell, sensation in the pit of his stomach that this wasn’t just someone’s idea of fun and games. This had bad written all over it and he had a feeling they needed to figure out what was going on and fast. Giles was just going to have to get his butt out of bed and start with the research. He knocked a fourth time and finally heard movement behind the door.
Giles opened the door cautiously, most of his body concealed behind the swing of the door, his right hand conspicuously out of view though sadly his bathrobe was not. Xander liked Olivia and all but he really didn’t need to think about Giles doing it with someone. He gave Giles a little wave and mouthed hello, just so Giles knew they were both in the same boat - the silent one.
Giles gave him the ghost of a smile back and Xander fished out the note that Spike had woken him up with and handed it to Giles. He stepped inside and smiled at Olivia, who was peaking around the corner of the stairs, hands clutching an obviously-borrowed robe closed at her throat, her eyes huge and worried. The door shut behind him and Giles brushed past him absently, reading Spike’s summary of what had happened. Giles laid his crossbow down on the kitchen counter and hesitated for a moment, then shrugged and passed the note to Olivia. Obviously, it was way too late in the game to be pretending in front of the out-of-town guest that all was completely normal in Sunnydale.
Giles headed to the kitchen and Xander heard the familiar sounds of him filling the tea kettle and setting it on the stove. He smiled. Tea was Giles’ drug of choice and clearly Giles was needing a hit right now. He moved to the living room and switched on the small television that Giles liked to pretend he didn’t own. Olivia jumped at the sudden sound of voices and Xander turned the sound down a bit. He found a morning news program and left it on, hoping for updates, then turned to the bookshelves.
He’d helped Giles shelve the books, so he knew where most of the familiar volumes were but he scanned them helplessly now, not sure what to look for. Demons? Spells? Hell, maybe the news anchor was right and this was just an outbreak of laryngitis. Except vampires didn’t catch human diseases.
Not that he intended explaining that to the CDC people when they got here.
Can't even shout; Can't even cry;
The gentlemen are coming by;
looking in windows, knocking on doors;
They need to take seven and they might take yours;
Can't call to mom; can't say a word;
You're gonna die screaming but you won't be heard.
Charming. Xander read it again and was happy to pass the paper on to Olivia. Buffy and Giles already knew what it said. Buffy had explained, via the white message board she’d shown up wearing on a string around her neck, that she’d heard the words in a dream. She’d called Giles, yesterday when phone calls were still possible, and he’d been looking into it, in case it was one of the prophetic dreams she got sometimes. Yesterday, neither she nor Giles had been sure if it meant anything or not. Of course, they were pretty sure this morning that it hadn’t just been a weird dream.
Unfortunately, like Doyle’s vision, it didn’t really tell them anything about what was happening. Xander couldn’t help thinking that whoever was responsible for sending these messages should get their heads out of their asses and send something useful. If they could send visions to Doyle and dreams of little girls chanting gross poems to Buffy, they could surely send a plain message in English: Monsters coming. Kill them by stabbing through the heart with a blade made of gold. But no, they got messages that were full of more blanks than useful information. You’d think whoever was trying to hinder them rather than help for all the good their cryptic messages did.
Two hours later, they hadn’t found anything even remotely useful.
They had all, including Olivia, been looking through Giles’ books ever Buffy arrived, searching for anything that could be causing this enforced silence or any mention of “the Gentlemen”. Except for the small sounds of pages being turned and the occasional creak and rustle as someone shifted in their chair, the room remained eerily silent. Only the quiet murmur of the tv in the background providing relief from the oppressive silence, a lack of noise that pressed almost tangibly against the room. Xander had never realized how many idle comments a group of people made, even when they were all reading. A dozen times already, he’d opened his mouth to say something, only to subside with a frustrated sigh as he remembered.
Mr. Olsen had stopped by about an hour after Buffy arrived, giving them a short break from reading. He’d come with a note, letting them know that the entire demon community was similarly affected and that they were also looking for answers. It was clear he’d been hoping that Giles had something useful to go on but he’d hidden his disappointment well and in turn had shaken his head in response to their written questions about the Gentlemen.
They’d shown him the poem from Buffy’s dream and he’d copied it down and left shortly afterwards, indicating he was going to take it back to his group of researchers to see if it meant anything to them.
It was good to know they had so many people looking for answers but Xander was uncomfortably reminded of the weeks of futile research into the Mayor’s ascension and could only hope they wouldn’t be that long solving this problem this time.
Spike left the Court, satisfied that everything was under control. The Lieutenants would guard the exits all night, senior minions having taken over the watch during the day per Spike’s orders. Keeping vampires at home during daylight hours wasn’t really a problem and the guards had been for show more than anything but he didn’t want some wanker with more bravado than sense defying him and using the silence as an excuse for claiming they hadn’t understood his orders.
Xander had come home in the late afternoon and let Spike know that they were no closer to solving the problem than they had been when he’d left this morning. He’d shown Spike the Slayer’s poem but, other than appreciating the imagery, it had meant nothing to Spike. Communicating in writing had long since become unbelievably frustrating and Xander’s solution had been a long, slow make-out session on the couch.
Spike had always known his boy was brilliant.
Spike had reluctantly torn himself away and headed down to the Court an hour before sunset, promising to return shortly but needing to make his presence felt downstairs. He had initiated several sparring matches with different minions as a way to pass the time and to remind them how much better a fighter he was. As he had know they would, others had followed his example, using the enforced lock down as an opportunity to train. Minions were so predictable: the ones who weren’t looking for any opportunity to cause trouble spent all their time fawning over and imitating the more powerful.
With everything secure and under control, Spike had signaled his lieutenants to keep an eye on things and left not long after sunset. He’d made enough of a show of his presence by then, given that he wasn’t really expecting trouble from the Court tonight. The vampires had simply slept through the day as usual, not particularly worried by the unnatural silence or the lock down. One night locked down in the Court wouldn’t bother them. When the minions got bored with sparring with each other, they would play cards or dice or read, depending on their inclination. Tomorrow night would be harder if the lock down continued. Some of the Court would be hungry and wanting to feed but hopefully the Watcher would find answers soon or Spike would find them himself when he patrolled later tonight.
According to Xander, the Slayer was mostly going to spend the early part of the night in town, keeping order among the humans. Spike had snorted silently at that plan. Given the time his own voice had stopped working, whatever was responsible wouldn’t move until well after midnight. The Slayer would be all tucked up in bed by that time, having settled a few fist fights between humans and miss the real party entirely.
There was movement in the clock tower of the old courthouse.
The old building had been abandoned and boarded up for years while the town squabbled over whether to tear it down or repair it. Sentiment had kept the city maintaining the clock itself and its soft white glow was a beacon in the night, the hands currently pointing to 3:12 a.m.. The town was under quarantine and had had a curfew imposed but there wasn’t much of an official presence to be seen in the deserted streets. A cautious check at the edge of town had shown the town was encircled by military vehicles, the soldiers wearing haz-mat suits and looking like complete gits.
According to the news, there was a team from the Center for Disease Control working at the local hospital, trying to find a medical solution and the official explanation was that recent flu vaccinations had caused an outbreak of laryngitis. Spike had just shaken his head over that one. Humans could find a rational explanation for anything. Including, he remembered with a smirk, a 60-foot snake munching on people during a high school graduation.
The movement in the tower wasn’t shadows. It wasn’t human either, not guards stretching themselves for some relief after long hours watching from the high windows. This was jerky and spastic and bore investigation.
Spike crossed the green and circled the building once. Seeing no sign of an opening in the boarded up windows and doors, he simply made one of his own, tearing the boards off of a window that had long ago lost its glass and making an opening large enough to enter quickly. The screech of the nails pulling free was almost unbearably loud in the unnatural silence of the night and he worked quickly, hearing stumbling movement descending from the clock tower.
Leaping in through the opening, Spike saw nothing but a nearly gutted building, dim light filtering in through the gaps between the boards that covered the large windows on all sides of the open space. A scattering of old barrels, lumber and wire littered the floor but there was nothing to show that anything was living here.
He gauged the movement and decided to wait, not wanting to meet an unknown enemy in the tight confines of a potentially unstable staircase. He moved back, giving himself room and a moment to see what was approaching, just as two bodies lumbered clumsily down the last turn of the stairs.
They looked mostly human: two stocky figures wearing…. straightjackets? Spike let out a silent bark of laughter at the unexpected sight as the two reached the main floor and stopped, looking around, their arms continuing to move, flailing through the air as if they were unable to stand still. Their bandaged faces were close enough to pass for human in dim light to human eyes anyway, but the slightly ridged, hairless eyebrows and the pointed teeth in their lipless mouths gave them away. Whatever they were, they weren’t human and that meant they were fair game.
Spike charged them, smashing solidly into the one that had taken a few steps to the left, slamming it backwards and off its feet until they both crashed to the floor. With one quick move, Spike twisted its head, hearing the sharp crack of a neck breaking. Dropping the smelly thing contemptuously, he bounced to his feet and whirled, just in time to meet the other one’s rush.
They were stronger than human. The impact of the second creature sent Spike stumbling backwards until his back hit the wall, dried boards and ancient plaster crumbling under the impact of two bodies. He snarled silently and wrestled with the thing, bringing his legs up and heaving it back and off of him. He levered himself out of the wall and kicked it again, crunching its kneecap and dropping it to the floor.
He kicked it viciously in the head and suddenly found himself facing a third. Swearing, even if it was only in his head, Spike spun and brought his leg around, sweeping the thing off its feet. He pounced and broke this one’s neck too.
Stepping back, he glanced around quickly. No others were lurking in the corners and the one he’d first killed… was no longer lying near the foot of the stairs.
What the hell?
A movement near his feet made him jump back cautiously and, to his disbelief, he saw the two creatures getting to their feet, seemingly unfazed by a fractured skull or a twice broken neck.
Ok, maybe they were going to be a bit more trouble than he’d figured.
He was no nearer to killing these things than he’d been 20 minutes ago and they were still fresh as the proverbial daisies while he was seriously regretting not bringing something sharp with him. Of course, like the Mayor, maybe they were immune from being cut to pieces but he’d be more than willing to give it a try. For now, breaking their necks, stoving their skulls in, strangling them - none of it worked.
Fortunately, they weren’t particularly good fighters, relying on strength and overwhelming their opponents instead of any finesse. Still, it was unbelievably frustrating to defeat the same opponent over and over again without actually stopping them. He needed to come up with another plan, one that probably involved sharp cutting weapons, and start over.
The fight had ranged all over the building, from the ground floor to the top of the clock tower and he’d seen unmistakable signs on the top floor that there were more of these things and that did give him pause. He could fight these two all night, and it felt like he already had, but seven or eight of them might be a problem. Plus, these two had obviously been left to guard home base. Spike had a feeling these things weren’t the cause of the silence in the town but they were clearly connected to it. Hopefully the Watcher had some information on how to kill these annoying things.
Right. Time for a tactical retreat. No sense in fighting these things until the sun came up or until their friends came home.
Spike landed a spin kick on the closer of the two, driving it back momentarily and followed up by slamming his fist into the other one’s face.
It took them a moment or two to recover from having their necks snapped and he used the time to leap down to the main floor and sprint out of the building through the opening he’d made earlier. He ran for another block, then skidded to a halt in the shadow of an enormous shade tree, peering around the trunk at the abandoned building. Nothing moved in the again-quiet night and after a moment, Spike melted back into the shadows and moved on.
Dawn wasn’t far off. He toyed with the idea of rousting the Court and having the vampires deal with these things but abandoned the thought almost immediately. Too many in the Court wouldn’t understand why he wanted them to kill the things and he couldn’t explain without his voice. All too soon it was going to occur to some of the vampires in the Court that a quarantined town was a perfect feeding ground. They could kill every human in town and there wouldn’t be enough noise to alert the soldiers, waiting safely outside the town limits, there solely to keep people from spreading an unknown disease, not to protect them from monsters who might take advantage of the humans’ inability to scream.
He stopped abruptly, struck by a sudden thought. The soldiers and lab coats under the campus should have been rendered mute as well. For a moment, he let himself bask in the vision of leading the Court against the underground base, tearing their throats out and blowing up the facility. God, it would be sweet.
He sighed, a silent puff of air past frozen vocal chords. The military would be doubly on alert right now, undoubtedly viewing the loss of their voices as an attack. Every entrance would be guarded and those tasers would drop too many of the vampires before they got close enough to do anything. He wouldn’t care if the entire Court got slaughtered if he could be sure they would take the soldiers out first but this wasn’t the time. It would need a solid plan, not a half-baked, all out assault born of impulse, to take that facility down.
He started walking again, putting his revenge back on the back burner. He’d round up the Slayer and a few others and come back at sunset. Once they’d killed those creatures and lifted this annoying silence, he might just go somewhere and scream for awhile.
*A/N - Buffy’s poem borrowed from the episode Hush