orchidluv (orchidluv) wrote in bloodclaim,
orchidluv
orchidluv
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Nothing the Same, Book 3, Ch. 39/40

Nothing the Same, Book 3
Chapter:  39/40
Pairing: S/X
Rating: PG13 - NC-17  Individual chapters will carry specific warnings.
WARNING:  THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS EXPLICIT SEX AND VIOLENCE
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.  
Summary:  sequel to Nothing the Same & Nothing the Same, Book 2
Previous parts here

Chapter 39

Spike was trying desperately to remember the Xander was human, fragile, and far too easily injured.  Because what he really wanted to do was throw his Claimed down on the mattress and shag him silly.  Repeatedly.  

It had been a long frustrating time since he’d been able to sink deeply inside his Claimed’s hot, tight arse, thrusting hard against his boy’s sweet spot until Xander came screaming, Spike’s own orgasm erupting as his fangs penetrated flesh that tasted of sweat and arousal, the heady taste of blood filling his mouth as he shot his release inside his Claimed.

Slowly, he reminded himself, even as his mouth devoured Xander’s.  He couldn’t risk injuring Xander in his eagerness.  He forced himself to move cautiously, unbuttoning Xander’s shirt rather than tearing it off like he wanted to, fighting the need inside him to strip his boy and plunge inside NOW.

Xander wrenched his mouth free of the kiss.  “Spike, I swear to god, if you don’t fuck me right now, I am going to kill you.”  Xander’s hands were busy yanking and tearing at Spike’s clothes with feverish impatience.  “Just rip the damn thing off and fuck me already!”

Spike threw his head back and laughed, a full-throated sound of joy and triumph.  Xander sounded as needy and desperate as he was and Spike was being paranoid.  His boy wasn’t that breakable.  He could feel his Claimed’s eager erection straining against his jeans and knew that Xander was more than ready.

Xander succeeded in wrestling the t-shirt off over Spike’s head and Spike swooped back in for another heated kiss, lips and teeth and tongues battling for dominance, as Spike gave in to Xander’s urgings and tore Xander’s shirt from neck to hem, his hands rubbing and stroking the warm skin bared by the gesture.  Xander’s hands were running over his back, nails raking lightly, hands diving below the waist of Spike’s jeans to cup his arse cheeks, pulling their bodies closer together.  

“Pants off!” Xander gasped and Spike laughed again before Xander pulled a hand free and yanked his head back down.  

They thrashed together on top of the bed, limbs tangling, as they rolled and struggled with recalcitrant zippers, frantic hands hampering more than helping the quest for bare skin.  Spike growled with impatience and finally just tore their jeans off, vampiric strength allowing him to split the fabric at the seams and shove the tattered scraps away.  

Mouths still fused, he rolled the two of them across the bed, stretching one hand out and fumbling blindly in the bedside table for the lube.  Vampires didn’t need it but even in this mood, Xander would.  He snarled in frustrations as his blind rummaging knocked the table over and he reluctantly pulled out of the kiss and dove for the scattered contents of the small drawer, seizing the small tube and rolling back onto the bed before Xander had time to voice a complaint.

He buried his hands in Xander’s hair, holding him still as he met the brown eyes.  “Love you, Xander,” he said intensely.  

“Love you, Spike.”

Their lips met, softly at first, then rapidly deepening, mouths opening, teeth nipping, tongues dueling, Xander’s warm breath filling his mouth.  Xander’s big, calloused hands stroked and clung, holding him tightly as he rocked their hips together.  

Spike flipped the cap off the small tube and squirted the oily stuff over his fingers.  He hesitated, then cautiously began teasing at Xander’s opening with two fingers, hoping he wasn’t going too fast.  Xander moaned against his lips, trying to kiss him and mutter encouragement at the same time.  

He pressed two fingertips against the small, puckered opening, then stopped, ignoring the jerk of Xander’s hips against his hand as his boy sought to hurry him.  Spike twisted his fingers carefully, teasing the opening in a circular motion and gradually began pressing inside.  Xander’s head arced back and a long, shaky inhalation accompanied the moment Spike’s fingers cleared the outer ring of guardian muscles.

“So good,” Xander breathed.  “More.”

Spike gave him more, pressing inside slowly but steadily, moving his fingers in tiny circles as he worked to open his boy.  When his fingers were inside as far as they could go, he began to cautiously open and close the two fingers, loving the feel of the incredibly tight heat yielding to him.  

Xander’s hips were rocking back against him, trying to force him to move faster and Spike chuckled.

“Patience, luv.”

Xander’s glazed eyes met his.  “Can’t.  Been so long.”

Spike kissed his again, crooking his fingers as he did, searching for the hidden gland.  He grinned against Xander’s lips, knowing he’d found it when Xander gasped and bucked against him.

Spike began fucking him with his fingers, sliding them out almost to the entrance, then pushing back in, rejoicing in the way Xander met each thrust, angling the fingers to brush teasingly against Xander’s prostrate, giving his boy a taste of things to come.

Xander’s breathing grew ragged and his hands closed convulsively around Spike’s shoulder blades as his hips thrust backwards against Spike’s fingers.

“Now, Spike.”

Spike shifted, pushing Xander’s legs up and settling between them.  Xander threw his legs over Spike’s shoulders and Spike grabbed a pillow and stuffed it under Xander’s hips.  He was hard and aching and seconds away from spilling his seed like an overeager human having their first sexual experience and, for a second, he thought he was going to lose control entirely as he rapidly slicked himself up.  

He pushed inside Xander, staring down into his boy’s eyes the whole time, seeing the arousal, the erotic pain, the love in those beautiful dark eyes as he buried himself inside, a fraction of an inch at a time.  Xander’s harsh breathing was the only sound as he welcomed Spike inside his body, tight muscles giving way reluctantly to the inexorable pressure until Spike was buried inside to the hilt, bodies fused together in the most intimate way possible.

For a long moment, Spike didn’t move, giving Xander’s body time to adjust, feeling the fluttering muscles gripping him, heat scorching him.  He fought for control, wanting this to last, fingers tearing into the mattress, as he struggled not to lose it and come right now, just from the incredible feeling of the hot tightness of his Claimed’s arse surrounding him.

After a long moment, the excruciating need receded slightly and he smirked down at Xander.  “Ready, luv?”

Xander managed a shaky grin.  “Only for the past ten minutes,” he snarked back.

Spike laughed.  He began rocking their bodies together, slowly at first, giving Xander time to get used to the motion.  Gradually, his thrusts became longer, harder, building up speed and force until he was pounding into his Claimed, feeling Xander’s hips rising to meet his own, slamming into that bundle of nerves that caused Xander to buck and cry out as pleasure swamped them both.

He couldn’t hold out any longer and Spike leaned over, hips never losing their frantic rhythm and buried his fangs into his Claim scar, feeling the hot, hormone-spiked blood filling his mouth as her erupted into orgasm, hips jerking against Xander with short, harsh movements as Xander screamed and came, his cock bucking between their bodies, covering them both with his cum as Spike emptied himself inside his lover, drinking his blood at the same moment in a perfect cycle of bliss.

Spike withdrew his fangs before he took too much, licking at the renewed Mark until he had cleaned up every drop of his Claimed’s blood.  He shifted them to a more comfortable position, and gently withdrew his temporarily spent penis, knowing if he remained inside, he would be roused and ready long before his boy.  He held his Claimed’s strong body in his arms, as Xander’s panting breaths slowly evened out and the sweat cooled on his heated skin.

“You know, we really need to thank Ethan,” Xander mumbled drowsily, fingers tracing idle patterns on Spike’s chest.

“Let him live, didn’t I?  That’s thanks enough,” Spike said comfortably, turning his head just far enough to nuzzle into the top of Xanders head, wishing, not for the first time that humans had even a fraction of the stamina vampires did.  Much as he’d love to go another round or twelve, he wouldn’t risk Xander going to battle tomorrow exhausted and sore.  They’d have all the time in the world for shagging after the battle.

If Spike had his way, they’d have centuries.

“Why do you think he’s really back in town?” Xander asked, a yawn cutting across his words.

“Hoping to hook up with the Watcher, most like.”

Xander lifted his head just far enough to look at him.  “What?”

“Reeks of hormones every time he says the Watcher’s name,” Spike told him.

Xander collapsed back on his chest.  “Oh man, I so did not need to know that.”

Spike laughed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It wasn’t the ability to hurt humans the chip had taken away, Spike thought, lying in the quiet aftermath of passion, Xander’s warm weight lying half on top of him, his fragrant breath feathering over Spike’s chest with the deep soft inhalations of sleep.  He’d always known that.  It was the constant humiliating reminder that a pack of humans had held him prisoner and found a way to control him.  Never completely, he could do what he had to despite the chip but he’d hated how much the chip had changed him, had forced him to alter his behavior, his thinking, his life.  

Being free of it was - beyond words.  Walking back from the magic shop earlier, only the fact that he was Master of the Territory and really couldn’t be seen dancing like a loon in the middle of the street had kept him clinging to the ragged shreds of his dignity.  

He’d felt Xander’s own barely contained joy as they’d walked almost silently back to the factory.  His boy had known that Spike was barely holding it together and had walked beside him silently, giving Spike time to “deal”, as he liked to say.  

Turning his head to look down at the tousled dark hair of his Claimed, Spike was once again stunned and grateful that Xander understood, that his boy had never once thought that the chip was a good thing.  How had he ever been so lucky to find Xander - a human with a heart big enough to accept Spike for who and what he was, and who knew Spike was a vampire and loved him anyway.

Pulling Xander closer into his arms, he settled himself for the night, needing these quiet hours with his sleeping Claimed before they went into battle once more.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sergeant Morgan stood by the tailgate of the truck, big hands resting casually on his belt buckle as Spike flipped up the tarp to inspect the goods inside.  

He snarled, shifting to game face as he saw how few explosives the Sergeant had brought.
“What’s going on?” he demanded.  “Thought you said you could handle the supplies?”

“I brought what was needed.”

“The hell you did.  Where the rest of it?  This isn’t near enough.”

“It’s plenty,” Sergeant Morgan told him calmly.  “My men will lay the explosives where they’ll do the most good and handle the detonation.”  He nodded towards three men in civilian dress but whose bearing and clean cut look just screamed ‘military’.  Spike narrowed his eyes at the three, and inhaled deeply, pulling in their scents.  He could tell at once that two were not fully human, although physically they looked human.  The third smelled human normal but none of them had blinked at the obvious demons in their group so it was clear they knew the score.

“What are you trying to pull, Kobarien?” he snarled.  “You think you’re safe from these people because you’re half human and a soldier?”

“Don’t even think about going there, Spike.”  The drill sergeant was usually one of the calmest people Spike had ever met, but his anger flared openly at the accusation.  “That place is an abomination and an insult to the military.  But the amount of explosives it will take to destroy an installation that size would take half the town with it.  Fortunately, it isn’t necessary.  We don’t need to destroy the entire facility to render it unusable.  We’ve brought enough explosives to take out the labs, the offices, and all of their records and computers.  We’ll also take down their power grid so that none of the cells doors will work without extensive repairs.”

Staring at Spike, his deep voice calm once more, Sergeant Morgan finished with absolute conviction:  “We know this place is here now.  We’ll keep an eye on it from now on and make sure no one ever tries to use it again.  My guess is they’ll seal it off themselves after tonight.  The government has always been quick to shut down and abandon failed projects.”

He didn’t like it.  What he really wanted was to see the Initiative go up in an enormous fireball.  But they were on a clock and he’d trusted the Sergeant to supply the needed explosives which meant that Morgan had the upper hand for the moment.

“Trusted you,” he glared, unwilling to let it drop completely.

“Your mistake,” the Sergeant said jovially.  “My explosives, my plan.”

“We had a plan,” Spike snapped, despite knowing he’d already lost.

Sergeant Morgan just gave him a toothy grin that Spike had to reluctantly admire for its sheer cheek.  “I believe the Slayer thought she had a plan too.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oz led the way, the mixed group of witches and demons following his lead as they wound their way through the labyrinth of caves and tunnels leading to Adam’s hideout.  The pack leader had assigned Oz to be guide and protection for their group and Xander was grateful for Oz’s quiet company as he walked behind the werewolf.  If everything went well, they wouldn’t encounter any danger until they opened the doors to Adam’s lair, but this was Sunnydale and anything could happen.  Most of them were carrying weapons, just in case but Xander was worryingly aware that, other than himself and Oz, their group was seriously short of fighters.  

He’d expected it would be just himself and the magic workers in this group, but the coven had apparently done a lot of testing to see who would be the best people to participate in the spell and some of the members of the group surprised him.  

All but one of the coven members were there, of course, and Willow but Giles was with Buffy.  Xander suspected it was more because Giles’ focus had always been on his Slayer, rather than any lack of magical ability on the Watcher’s part.  To his surprise, Mr. Okolo and Mr. Olsen were part of their group, along with the intensely shy newcomer Tara.  As far as Xander knew, Mr. Olsen couldn’t do magic and he had concerns about Tara’s ability to work with virtual strangers, although he’d noticed with an inward smile how quickly Willow had been drawn to the other witch.  Even now, the two were walking side-by-side, heads tilted towards each other, talking quietly, their soft voices a soothing background noise in the otherwise oppressively silent tunnels.

Two more demons completed their group, although neither were fighters and weren’t among the demons who were helping Buffy patrol.  Henry Jamison, his half-Lrtokk customer who’d been so generous about loaning his books was there, and - astonishingly, Tashi, who owned the bar most frequented by the friendly demons in town, brought their numbers to eleven, stumping along on his thick legs, his usually laughing eyes, watchful as they walked in near silence through the tunnels.  He didn’t know how or why these particular people had been chosen but assumed that Mr. Olsen had suggested names to the coven.  

In front of him, Oz slowed, one hand coming up in a signal for the rest of them to stop.  The werewolf crept forward silently to the spot where the tunnel opened out into the next cave, stopping just inside the tunnel, his entire body tensing as he listened for signs of danger.

After a long, tense minute, Oz stepped back from the entrance, striding back to where the rest waited.  “It’s clear,” he reported, speaking so quietly they had to strain to hear him.  “The entrance is on the other side of this cave.”  

Xander glanced at the watch that Giles had given him, carefully synchronized with the ones Buffy and Spike were wearing and even under the circumstances couldn’t help smiling again at the look of utter disgust on Spike’s face as he’d reluctantly strapped the watch on, complaining about them not having the decency to nick a nice pocket watch for him.  “Buffy should be inside the fraternity now.”

“We’ll set up in that last chamber,” Maggie decided, looking back in the direction they’d just come.  “Better to be a bit further away from the hornet’s nest.”

“Probably less chance Adam has cameras back there,” Xander agreed, struggling not to show his nervousness, now that the spell was about to happen.  

Mr. Olsen gave him a reassuring smile, as they turned to retrace their steps the short distance back to the last cave.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Twenty-five of them assembled a short distance from the bunker in the woods.  Seven werewolves, Sgt. Morgan and his three men, five demons who patrolled with the Slayer, three others Spike recognized from the battle with the Mayor, four more he didn’t know but who’d been vouched for by Mr. Olsen, and one human - the member of the coven who’d come along to open the bunker doors for them.  Except for the woman from the coven, everyone else was either full or part-demon, most - like Spike and the werewolves - could pass for human, at least until they shifted into their demonic forms but a few couldn’t.  The Rhylto’k, who been there in the battle against the Mayor had blue skin, and couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than what he was.  The half-Ferschiff demon, whom Spike vaguely remembered from the same battle, had yellow slit-pupiled eyes that glowed in the dim light, her retractable claws already spread in anticipation.

Although as far as they’d been able to determine, the concrete structure had no security cameras set up around, Spike didn’t want to take an unnecessary risk and signaled the others to stand back as he and the witch approached the doors.  The heavy metal doors looked formidable and Miss Hartness examined them closely for a long silent moment.  

“You going to be able to get them open?” he asked.

“I believe so,” she answered, just as quietly, her eyes not leaving the structure.

“How long?”

“On your signal,” she said confidently.

Spike glanced at the watch he’d so reluctantly strapped to his wrist.  Only the necessity for coordinating their attacks had convinced him to put the thing on - vampires cared about sunrise and sunset, not the tedious counting of minutes that humans lived their lives by.  “Not quite yet.  If the Slayer’s on time, she should be in the elevator shaft.  They’ll wait till she’s down and on their turf before moving on them.”  It’s what he would do.  Why take her in the fraternity with its multiple exits and possible witnesses?  No, they’d wait until they had her boxed in at the bottom of the elevator shaft with all the advantage on their side.  
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was like a spring welling up inside him, cool clear water rushing through him, filling him until he was no more than a container for all that energy.  

The magic workers had positioned themselves in a large circle, putting the demons between them so the circle alternated witches and demons.  Xander had expected to be told to stand in the middle but instead was instructed firmly that he needed to be outside their circle.  Candles were lit and placed carefully at the four compass points.  Willow and the two members of the coven, Helen and Michael, set herbs down between the candles in precise patterns, and a faint spicy smell drifted up into the dank, stale air of the cave.  

When everything was in position, a wooden bowl with herbs inside it was placed carefully in the exact center of the circle.  Maggie glanced around at the others, and received confirmed nods.  She nodded calmly back to the others.  “Then let us begin,” she said quietly.

Maggie reached up and cut a lock of her white hair and held it in her hand.  Willow, the two coven members and Tara followed suit, passing a small silver knife from hand to hand,  each saying in a clear, quiet voice as they cut their hair:  “A part of myself, freely given.”

When each of the five had a small lock of hair in their hands, Maggie dropped the piece of her white hair into the small polished wooden bowl in the center of their circle.  “Let the vessel accept what is freely offered.”

Again, each of the magic workers followed suit, until Maggie’s white hair had been joined by small pieces of red, blond and brown hair.  As the last piece was dropped in, Maggie lifted a small silver pitcher from her side and poured an aromatic oil over the mixture of herbs and hair in the bowl and made a sharp gesture with one hand.  A small flame burst into life inside the bowl, burning the ingredients.  To Xander’s surprise, it didn’t smell like burning hair.  Instead of the acrid, choking smell he expected, the scent of herbs deepened until the cavern was filled with a heady, spicy scent that made him feel a little lightheaded.

The witches reached across the circle and joined hands.  Each of the others sitting around the circle:  Oz, Mr. Olsen, Mr. Okolo, Tashi and Henry put their hands on the shoulders of the witches they were sitting between, forming an enclosed circle with their arms.

The magic workers all closed their eyes and began to recite an invocation, their voices blending softly:

“Freely offered, freely accepted.  The power we hold within ourselves and that which is offered to us.  Let the power flow from us and through us into the vessel.  Let the vessel accept what is freely offered and return it when the need is past.”

Xander wasn’t sure if it was the smoke, the eerie flame-lit scene, or his imagination, but he could swear he could see light beginning to glow around the magic workers, faint at first but growing stronger as the witches continued their chant:

“We come before thee with one voice, one purpose.  Make what is separate, united.  Let the vessel hold all that we give.  Let the power flow to where it is needed.”

“Let it begin.”

The last was Maggie alone, her voice rising sharply until it filled the cavern.  Hands that had been holding each other with firm, light grasps suddenly tightened around the circle, white knuckles showing.  The magic workers threw their heads back, and what had been imagination became tangible as light brightened in the cavern until their bodies were outlined in colors, glowing brightly in the dime light.  The light surrounding each person began to flow into the circle, looking like living strands of brightly colored yarn.  The strands of light met in the center of the circle in an explosion of color that blinded Xander for a moment.

When he could see again, he blinked the spots from his vision, watching as the energy strands wove together until they were flowing around the circle like a slender braided rope, each person weaving their own contribution into the whole, adding their unique offering to the multi-colored whole.  The rope swept around the circle, picking up more colors and Xander realized the demons around the circle were adding their own energy to the rope.  Their strands weren’t as thick and solid, but the braided cord brightened and thickened slightly with each new contribution.

Xander could almost hear the energy humming now, filling the cavern with a muted singing, like a skilled chorus whose voices blended into perfect harmony.  The energy continued to build as other energy streams joined those of the beings in the circle, flowing from others not present, but who were joining in tonight’s efforts, sitting at home, alone or in small groups.  Volunteers who had agreed to sit quietly, their eyes focused on a candle’s flame, concentrating on being as relaxed and open as possible, willing their help to their joint efforts.  

The magic workers sent tendrils of energy outside the circle, seeking those uncertain strands of volunteered energy, gathering them up and weaving them into themselves, returning to the circle stronger and richer than when they’d left, bringing the freely offered contributions of dozens of demons and humans into the whole they were weaving.

When it was complete, the woven power was a dazzling array of colors, dozens and dozens of different colored strands woven into the whole.  There was no signal he could see, but the rope suddenly flowed over the edge of the circle and poured into him, striking his chest and freezing him in place.

It was both agonizing pain and pleasure bordering on ecstasy, as the power flowed into him, filling his veins, his flesh, every part of him with electricity.  It was like being hit by lightning, as if his whole body had been filled with searing power that somehow didn’t burn him.

The power in the cavern was a whirlwind, an electrical storm circling around him and inside him and he waited until the storm eased.  For an eternity, the power flowed around and through him, filling every inch of his being, until he could hold no more.  His skin tingled, every sense heightened, knowledge he had never earned was suddenly his for the asking.  The person he had been before was there inside him still, but the power sang inside him and everything else, including his own identity, seemed remote and far away.

The vessel looked at the circle of beings, demons and humans, seeing the individual strands of energy each had contributed to the power within him, seeing the pattern of energy within each with eyes that could read the meaning of the patterns and see the beings as they truly were.

His purpose was not here, and he turned away from them and began walking slowly out of the cave and towards the concrete wall that was the boundary of what he sought.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Now.”

The witch spoke two short, staccato words, and made a spread-fingers gesture towards the door with one hand.  There was a metallic clunking sound and it was as simple as that.  The two demons stationed on their side of the doors, swung them open, and Spike’s taser rifle spat electrical fire at the two soldiers in the brightly lit hallway.

The soldiers had been turned away from the doors, looking back into the Initiative, listening to their radios, and were taken completely by surprise, crumpling to the floor without having had time to lift their weapons or send a warning.  

Sgt. Morgan issued a rapid order and two of his men moved inside, disarming the soldiers and snapping handcuffs on with quick efficiency.   The third soldier scanned the area and quickly disabled the security camera covering the entrance and the security desk the soldiers had been manning.

The crackle of the radio was unnaturally loud, echoing in the white tiled sterility of the hallway:

“Intruders contained.  Humans.  No weapons found.”

“Good work.  Bring them to the control room.”

Having learned what he needed to know, Spike bent down and ripped the radios off the uniforms of the unconscious soldiers.  The Slayer had been taken as planned and all eyes in the Initiative and hopefully Adam’s as well should be on her group for a few minutes.

Spike stared at Morgan’s men thoughtfully, then made a quick adjustment to their plans.  “Sergeant, have one of your men put on a uniform and move down the hall, disabling the security cameras as he goes.”  

Morgan nodded, looking down the long hallway that sloped steadily down from the bunker into the Initiative.  “Don’t go further than the first intersecting hall,” he ordered, his eyes singling out one of his men.  “Return at the first sign of Adam making his move or when you reach populated areas. If you meet someone, try and pass yourself off as one of them.  Taser them if you have to.”

The soldier nodded his understanding, already beginning to strip off his shirt.

“Good man,” Sgt. Morgan said.  “Let’s get the explosives inside,” he told the others and everyone moved to obey.  Spike stood in the open entrance, worried the doors might close on them and prepared to block them physically if necessary as the others wheeled in handcarts stacked with small boxes.

Just then, the lights went out, plunging them into blackness for a moment until several flashlights snapped on, the circles of light illuminating the grimly determined faces.  

“It’s started.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was a spell for opening things, for clearing paths, and he spoke the words in a language the power recognized although the vessel had never studied it.  Locks disengaged, metal scraped against concrete, and a large circular door rolled aside, giving him passage.

He stepped through, into an enormous room, its walls made of dead materials, everything sterile and cold inside.  There were four bodies in the cavernous room.  His unblinking eyes regarded the four.  One was human, and the vessel recognized him.  The human was seated in a metal chair, motionless, eyes widening with shock at the vessel’s entrance.  He saw the slight flare of wrongness in the human’s energy signature, the tendrils of unnatural energy weaving through the human’s own green-blue patterns, controlling and dominating the patterns, which struggled uselessly to break free.  He turned away, dismissing the human for now.  The human was not what he was seeking.

Two of the beings were animated corpses, their natural energy long fled, their bodies kept functioning by chemical and mechanical means.  There was only a fragment of natural energy there, a trapped remnant unable to escape the prison of dead flesh, held captive against its will by the sickly orange and green energies woven around it.  The beings moved towards him, their movements jerky and unnatural, the flow of muscle and energy hijacked by an outside agency unable to give them even the semblance of normal movement.  

They weren’t his target, but they were as much of an abomination as what he sought.  He reached out with his borrowed power and quieted the machines, stilled the chemicals flowing through the tubes, freeing the tiny drop of captive energy, which flickered and died almost instantly as the animated corpses folded to the ground like puppets with their strings cut.

“Interesting.”

He turned to face the fourth being, the one he sought and the purpose for which the vessel had been created.  This was no trapped flicker of natural energy, this was a chaotic swirl of clashing energies, all bound together in a cage of dead flesh, metal, and unnatural energy.  Something that should never have been stood facing him and he could feel its curiously abstract evil - a disturbed child who simply doesn’t comprehend that it is wrong to hurt other living things because it feels no connection with, and absolutely no empathy for, anything outside itself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alarms blared and emergency lighting came on and Spike led the others down the long, sloping tunnel, moving at a steady, rapid pace that would get them inside quickly but not exhaust them before the battle even began.  Running footsteps approaching caused those with weapons to bring them up defensively but it was one of their own, the soldier sent to disable the cameras, returning as ordered.  Sergeant Morgan tossed the man his civilian clothes  ordering him to change out of the Initiative uniform before following.  He signaled one of the demons wheeling a handcart of explosives to leave it for the soldier and they moved out again.

They could hear screams now, and shots being fired and they picked up the pace.  Obviously the Slayer’s group had not been able to convince the soldiers to simply evacuate when the cells doors opened.  

The sound of the battle swamped them before they actually saw it.  Bursting around the last corner, they found themselves in a huge open area and in the middle of a pitched battle.  With a roar, the werewolves shifted, leaping forward and attacking while the rest of them were still sorting out the chaos.  Spike cursed and ran forward, slamming into a 9-foot tall shinzik demon, sending them both tumbling to the ground.  He landed on top, twisting the shinzik’s head viciously, hearing the crack of the neck snapping and dropped his victim, bouncing to his feet and looking for his next prey.  The joy of battle filled him, as he darted through the melee, kicking, biting, punching.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For a long moment, they studied each other:  the other simply curious, the vessel reading the swirling energy until he found the center, the man-made power core knitting the clashing power streams together.

The creature stepped forward, a long skewer sliding out of its left arm, and he watched the flow of energy down the arm, seeing how the man-made power center flared at the movement, tracing the pulse of energy that activated the stolen arm and its concealed weapon, seeing the way the energy had been re-routed around artificial intrusions in the dead tissue - intrusions that signaled other surprises hidden inside.

His body moved with borrowed reflexes, dodging the sudden thrust with effortless grace, the lethal skewer sliding harmlessly past him.  The creature swung at him again and again, and he avoided its clumsy efforts with ease, his body moving with a speed and skill borrowed from others.  

The creature looked surprised, and stopped its attempts, head cocked to one side in puzzlement.  

“Very interesting.  Fortunately, I’ve been upgrading.”

It lifted its right arm, folding its hand closed, and metal grew down over the hand, cylinders clanking faintly as they slid into position.  The vessel raised his own hand, reciting words in a language that had died out when the world was still young and stood patiently, waiting as the thing fired, a rapid cacophony of bullets that stopped short, swallowed whole by the faint, shimmering shield he had raised in front of him.  

The thing looked puzzled, shifting its position slightly and firing again.  This time the arm fired small missiles and the vessel strengthened the shield, letting the shield absorb the energy into itself as the missiles disintegrated, their energy transformed by his magic, woven into the fabric of the shield, strengthening it as it dissipated the threat.

He pushed some of that energy back towards the creature, reversing what it had done, causing the metal to fold back in upon itself, turning its weapon back into an arm.  

“How are you…” it began, but the vessel was ready to make an end to this.

He pushed the energy shield forward into the creature, letting the energy reform, folding it around the creature and pushing it back against the wall, holding it in place.  He walked forward, matching its forced retreat step for step.  He focused all his borrowed power and aimed for that bright spot of energy at the core of the creature, feeling the metal and glass that encased the power inside the creature.  The energy inside the creature was natural but highly dangerous and he dissipated it, scattering it within the creature’s body, where it would do no further harm.  

He watched with remote eyes as the clashing energy inside the creature faded and died.  The darkness where the unnatural energy was gone spread outward from the place where the man-made core had been, until the creature was nothing more than dead flesh and metal, no longer held together by the implanted energy core.

He released the shield holding the body upright and stepped back, letting the corpse fall unheeded to the ground as his eyes turned back to the human, still sitting motionlessly in the metal chair.  He sent a tendril of energy into the human’s body and destroyed the small spot of mechanical energy near the human’s heart, deactivating the device that had been implanted with such ill-will and rendering it inoperable.

Surveying the room with remote eyes, he sent a flare of energy into the machines lined up against the wall, burning them out and destroying the information they contained.  When the last of them were burning, the vessel’s reason for existing was gone and he released the energy he was holding, sending it back to its rightful owners.

The sudden rush of emptiness inside him as the power flooded out of him like a river overflowing its banks, made his vision go black and he was unconscious as his limp body hit the floor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was more of a free-for-all than an organized battle, Spike thought, ducking under a vicious swing by a Groymin, before bouncing back to his feet and landing a hard kick on the thing’s side.  The demons recruited by Adam weren’t interested in anything but killing, and it didn’t matter who.  They were fighting anything that crossed their path, with no sense of caring about who was friend and who was foe.  Granted, they were seeking out humans whenever possible, but they were just as happy to fight others demons when no human happened to be handy.

Too many of them weren’t even able to keep their minds on the fight, he noted disapprovingly, seeing a Klantosh demon feeding messily on something that had probably once been human, blood staining its dark fur as it tore bits of meat free from the steaming corpse.

The werewolves had been occupied for several long minutes at the start of the fight, trapping and subduing the werewolf prisoner, who had been rampaging through the battle, attacking everything that moved without discrimination.  Once it had been contained by the other wolves, the pack leader had split his wolves, ordering some to take the netted werewolf out of the base, the rest to follow him to the cells.

Spike cursed the necessity for splitting their forces, which was seriously hampering their ability to fight effectively.  Between members of his team off on side missions and the necessity of keeping their line of retreat open, they were fighting a defensive battle.  Too many of his team were concentrating their efforts on rescuing and evacuating former prisoners.  Between that and Sergeant Morgan and his men off setting the explosives, Spike was left with only a handful fighters against nearly a hundred demons.  

Not to mention miscellaneous other problems.

The soldiers were a danger to everyone, and he caught glimpses of the Slayer and her small group fighting by their side, trying to prevent the beleaguered soldiers from being overwhelmed.  The tasers were having some effect but too many of the soldiers were armed with conventional guns which all too often were ineffective against the demons they were using them against.

And bloody annoying for the rest of us, Spike thought wrathfully, dropping to avoid a spray of bullets fired wildly as the soldier holding the gun was taken down by a Fyarl demon who had obviously been seriously pissed off by the sting of bullets striking its chest.

The Slayer’s boy toy was suddenly there, appearing out of nowhere and shouting orders at the soldiers.  For a wonder, the surviving soldiers actually listened.  They began falling back, retreating across the room, the Slayer and her crew falling in to provide cover as they retreated.  

Spike looked around.  Three of the wolves had left the fight permanently, taking their insane captive with them, the werewolf struggling furiously and uselessly inside the net.  The other wolves were still in the area with the cells.  Three of the demons on his team were escorting former prisoners across the battlefield, sending them up the hallway to the bunker.  He’d lost two more of his team to former prisoners too injured to walk, the demons carrying the bodies up the hall and not returned yet.  

Sgt. Morgan and his men weren’t back from setting the explosives and they had two dead in their group.  The Z’bat’rryth had been disemboweled by a Vulsik demon and the Rhylto’k had been shot by a panicked soldier who hadn’t realized the slender blue-skinned demon was coming to his assistance.  Xander was going to be devastated by their losses, Spike knew, especially the Z’bat’rryth’s death - he’d been a friend of Xander’s.

There had been no sign of Adam, which Spike hoped meant that Xander’s team had been successful.

The wolves returned, shepherding a couple of terrified demons in front of them, two of the wolves in human form coaxing the terrified former prisoners along, two guarding the small group in wolf form.  The wolves sent the demons running up the long hallway towards the exit, then turned back to the battle, their wolves leaping and tearing at the enemy demons in a whirlwind of fur and fangs and blood.  

Sgt. Morgan was suddenly beside him, yelling in a voice trained to carry over a battlefield:  “We’re done.  Fall back.”

“Fall back!”  Spike repeated the order, and their team began disengaging, backing towards the hallway they’d come in through, pulling together in a defensive line as, step by step, they left the battlefield.  Two of them shouldered the bodies of their dead, carrying them with them as they retreated up the hall.  Sgt. Morgan and his soldiers took the rear guard.  They were the freshest, having avoided most of the battle in order to set the explosives and they were all armed with taser rifles now.  Standing shoulder to shoulder across the entrance to the long hallway, they fired again and again as the others retreated, running up the white tiled hall towards the exit, as the demons learned they couldn’t approach the soldiers without being shot with electricity.

Running with the others, Spike kept an ear out behind him, turning to look back occasionally, until he heard Sgt. Morgan’s sharp command to disengage and the sound of booted feet racing up the tunnel after them.

The sound of battle faded with distance but the intensity didn’t diminish and Spike suspected that the remaining enemy demons had simply continued to attack each other now that their prey was gone.  

The last of them had cleared the entrance and Sergeant Morgan was slamming the door’s shut when the earth shook with the rumble of explosives detonating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Xander?”

“Oh, goddess!  Why isn’t he answering?”

The voices were familiar but seemed to be coming from incredibly far away and Xander was too tired, too achingly empty to respond.  

“We don’t have much time.  Let’s get him out of here.”

Gentle hands lifted him, four strong arms holding him in a chair carry, and Xander kept his eyes closed against the swaying motion.

“Spike?” he mumbled.

Oz’s familiar voice answered instead.  “We’ll take you to him, Xander.”

~~~~~~

*A/N - Snippets of dialogue taken from the episode ‘Primeval’


TBC

 
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