Somewhere in Sunnydale
The first thing I saw was that the room was lit by some candles set on a table in the far corner. A cot was in the opposite corner and I could see that Buffy was lying on it. Scanning the room quickly, I saw that except for the IV equipment on a table next to her and a chair next to the cot, the room was empty.
I quietly closed the door and rushed over to Buffy’s side. She looked unconscious, lying there with her eyes closed. Quickly, I put my fingers to her throat to check her pulse.
With a start, Buffy’s eyes opened and tried to jerk away. She snarled, “Get away from me, you freaking ghoul, or I’ll…” Buffy’s voice trailed off as hereyes focused on my face.
I raised my hand from her throat to her lips. “Shhh…you’ll wake everyone up. And there’s nothing worse that a cranky vampire,” I whispered.
“Xa…Xander? How did you find me? Get me out of these things.” Buffy rattled the chains that were wrapped around her wrists above her head. The chains were attached to the stone wall, with another set of chains wrapped around Buffy's ankles and attached to the foot of the cot. I could see some blood around Buffy’s wrists; she had been trying to pull her hands free without success. I took the key from the vampire outside and used it to open the padlocks holding the chains closed.
While I unlocked the chains and unhooked the IV line from Buffy’s arm, I gave her a quick once-over. Buffy looked like hell; her clothes were dirty and scuffed, like she had been rolling through a dirt pile. There were scratches on her arms and legs, and her face was pale under her tan. A small part of my mind noted that she still looked good despite all that, but that thought left as soon as it had popped up.
Buffy sat up and winced, her hand going to her head above her right ear where I could see a cut and a lump from a blow. Looking at her closely, I asked, “How are you feeling…no BS.”
“I’m fine. The vamps in the parking lot hit me on the head and I still have a headache. I dusted three of them but they rushed me and knocked me out. How is it that you’re here? I saw you go headfirst into the pavement. And what’s with the coat? You look like a vamp dressed like that.” While she was talking, Buffy gave me a quick once-over of her own.
“It’s a long story. Can you walk? We have to get out here - I don't know how long we have before the vamps know what’s up." I helped Buffy to her feet, but she started to sway and quickly sat down again.
"How much blood did they take from you?" I looked at the IV gear on the table and saw that there were no containers of blood there; the IV shunt I had removed from Buffy's arm had been shut off.
"I think about two quarts,” Buffy said, rubbing her arm where the IV needle had been.
I whistled softly. An adult had four to five quarts of blood in their body. Only Buffy's Slayer healing factor had kept her from being dead from blood loss or at the very least unconscious.
"You didn't answer my question, Xander. How did you find me here? Even I don't know where we are." Buffy was looking at my face with an odd expression of curiosity, surprise and respect on her face.
"I went to the Vampire Information Council and they gave me the address for the renegade vamps plotting to overthrow Angelus. You know what's going on here, right?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah. Spike himself told me that my blood would help him beat Angelus and take over again. As much as I want Angel back, this is a bit much." Buffy was looking down at her arm as she talked.
"Well, we have to get out before they come back for a refill. Do you know how much they need for theceremony?"
"They need four quarts to do their mumbo-jumbo deal, but they need me alive at the same time. Otherwise, they just would have drained me and been done with it." Buffy gave a small shudder. In a lower voice, she said, "I can't believe I let those geeks take me."
"Hey, hey, hey...How many vamps attacked you in the parking lot?" I gently pulled Buffy's chin up so that she was looking at me in the face.
"Eight. There were two under your mom's car and six more pulled up in a van after you were knocked out." Buffy was still speaking in a lower voice. "I staked three of them but one of them hit me on the head from behind."
"Considering that you were up against eight vamps, you have nothing to be ashamed of. We're still both alive, aren't we?" I smiled at Buffy, but she did not return it.
"If you say so. You hit your head on the concrete out there...you could have died." Buffy looked down ather arm again. This was getting serious. I had not seen Buffy this down since the Master had killed her before she left for LA for the summer. Time to do something else.
"Buffy, if you want to feel bad about losing a fight, go right ahead. But I risked my butt to come in here to get you out. Now, I'm getting the heck out of here. You want to stay and brood or you leaving with me?" My voice was cold, but I was carefully watching Buffy's eyes as I spoke.
Buffy's face hardened and she looked at me with a trace of anger. "You're right. It's time to blow this pop stand. You have any of my weapons with you?"
"Oh, yeah." I reached under my coat and pulled out two stakes and the silver cross from earlier and handed them to Buffy. Once again I helped Buffy to her feet and this time she was able to stay standing, although she was still a bit shaky. Buffy put the chain with the cross on around her neck and stuck one of the stakes in her right boot top, holding the other one in her hand.
"What are we going up against out there, Xander?" Buffy's voice has that intent quality in it, just like at the arcade. It was a lot more reassuring than before.
"Minus all the vamps that have been staked, there should be only eight vamps out there, plus Spike. We need to get out of here before they find that Spike's guard was dusted and come in here to check. We're going to have to go straight out of here and to the left - we don't have time to mess around. If we do run into trouble, fall back and let me deal with it - you're still weak," I said gruffly.
"Hold the phone, buster. I'm the Slayer, remember? How are you going to deal with full strength vamps by yourself?" Buffy was giving me a 'who the heck are you kidding' look while she talked. I sighed and opened the long black coat. For the first time Buffy saw the gear I was carrying and her eyes nearly bugged out.
"What the heck did you do,raid the Army base again?" I grinned at Buffy's remark. Under the coat I was wearing a gunbelt with two Beretta pistols in tactical holsters, one strapped down to each leg. Ammo pouches containing spare magazines for the pistols were clipped to the front of the belt. A couple of stakes were attached to the shoulder harness of the gunbelt for fast access. Behind the holsters were a couple of pouches containing extra goodies and a Ka-Bar combat knife. I drew a Beretta from a holster and attached a small flashlight from one of the goody pouches. Flicking the light on, I checked the pressure switch before letting it go dark again and reholstering the pistol.
"No, I didn't raid the Army base again. My days of committing federal felonies are over. I borrowed this gear and I mean to return it. I'm going to take point on our way out, though. If you see me bring my gun up to fire, start screaming. The sound of the gunshots in these rooms can blow out your eardrums and the screaming will help equalize the pressure in your ears."
While I talked, I pulled out the second Beretta, unsnapped the safety, and handed it with a spare magazine to Buffy. "Tuck the spare mag into your other boot. You have fifteen shots in each mag - if you use this gun and run empty, push this button and the empty mag will drop out. Slap the new mag in and pull the slide back to chamber the first round." I demonstrated with my pistol and Buffy followed suit with hers, decocking the pistol after loading it.
"Don't fire unless we're about to be overrun - I want to get out of here with my hearing intact. If you do fire, aim for the knees, hips, or head. If they can't stand they can't attack well and a head shot might dust them." I reholstered my pistol and pulled out a stake. Buffy shoved her pistol into her waistband and held her stake at the ready as well. We both moved next to the door and Buffy gave a small start when I took hold of her left hand and put it on top of my right shoulder.
"Hold onto my shoulder - I don't want us to get separated. If you let go, I'll come back and get you. Any questions?" I asked.
"Yeah. What happens if we get into it deep out there?" Buffy had her hand on my shoulder, so she was looking up at my face when she spoke.
"Try to stay low...I have a couple of surprises in reserve. You ready?" My left hand was on the doorknob
"Yeah. This is like that video game, isn't it?" Buffy was looking at the door intently.
"Yep. Don't shoot me here either." I pulled the door open, surprising the two vampires that were standing outside just about to come in.
For half a second we gaped at each other. The vampire who was closest to the door was male, early 20's, normal looking. The other vampire, however, was a looker. This one was a female, late 20's, with dark brown hair and a good figure. She had a case in her hand and had a stethoscope around her neck. In a heartbeat, the two vampires showed their true faces and charged us. We got knocked back into the room but we stayed on our feet. Quickly, we faced off and started pounding the snot out of each other.
I had lost my stake when I had been knocked back and the male vampire was too close for me to reach for another one. The vampire was throwing punches and kicks and I was too busy ducking and blocking to do much with the blows I was throwing.
Finally, I kicked out at the vampire and connected with his knee with a crack. The vampire dropped to the floor and I quickly drew another stake and dusted him. Spinning around, I saw that Buffy was barely holding her own against the female vampire. I started toward them, but then Buffy spun the vampire around, put her in an arm lock and staked the vampire through her back.
Looking at Buffy, I saw that she was trying to catch her breath. Sheathing the stake I had used on the male vampire, I picked up the one I had dropped and walked up to Buffy. She was breathing normally again but was looking a bit pale. She was looking down at the stethoscope that was lying in the dustpile that had been the female vampire.
"That who I think it is?" I said, looking down at the dustpile.
"Yeah - that was the witch that was taking my blood." Buffy looked up at me, her color returning to normal.
"Time to boogie, Buff. Let's go." Buffy put her hand on my shoulder and we were about to go out the door when we heard a commotion outside. It sounded like people running down the hall.
What made our blood run cold was the voice that roared out the command, "FIND THE SLAYER AND BRING HER TO ME ALIVE! KILL EVERYONE ELSE!"
It was the voice of Angelus.