Somewhere in Sunnydale
Saturday, 3:40 AM
Without saying a word, Buffy and I sheathed our stakes and pulled out our pistols again. We both knew without speaking that there was no way we could sneak out now and that we were going to have to force our way out.
Holding up my finger in a 'wait a second' sign, I dropped to one knee, and peered around the doorframe into the hallway. Down the hall I could see people struggling next to the entrance to the common room. That meant that the only way out of the hallway was blocked.
'It is now official, kid...you are now in it up to your neck. Any ideas?' Dark Xander spoke quietly in my mind.
'I don't know how many vamps are out there. The only way out of this hall is blocked. I know there is another exit from this floor, but it's through the common room. I need to cut down the number of vamps.' I replied silently.
'You going to bunker in, then?' Dark Xander did not sound enthused about the idea.
'Yeah, until we even down the odds. They want Buffy alive, so they won't do anything drastic...at least for a while. Then we'll punch our way out.' I thought silently.
'It's going to be daybreak soon. If you try to punch your way out after that, the vamps won't be able to fall back. They'll have to stand and fight or risk being incinerated. If you are going to do something, do it soon.' Dark Xander advised.
Ducking back into the room, I stood and glanced down at my watch - 3:40 AM. That meant that I had a little more than two hours before daybreak.
Turning to Buffy I saw that her arms were wrapped around herself, and that she was shivering slightly, probably from stress and the blood loss. Quickly, I reholstered my pistol and took off my coat and put it around her shoulders. The coat almost touched the floor when she was wearing it, but it would be manageable for now.
Buffy's eyes were fixed on my left side. "Damn, Xander. You sure you have enough weapons with you?"
"You know me, Buffy. Always overdressed for the occasion." I unslung the Mossberg riot shotgun from under my left arm and readjusted the tactical sling that had kept it there. I checked to make sure that the tube magazine had the full eight rounds loaded and that the chamber was clear.
"From what I can guess, Dead Boy found out that the Billy Idol-wannabe had taken you prisoner and figured out what he was trying to do. They must have been tearing up the town trying to find you; that's why I didn't find any vamps on the street. So what they're here to do is to stop Spike and to get you. From what I could see, they outnumber Spike's vamps and they'll finish them off in a few minutes. Then they'll come looking for you. We don't have much time."
"What's your plan, Xander?" Buffy had stopped shivering and was looking intent again.
"We barricade ourselves down here and reduce the vamps to a more manageable number. Then we force our way out. We have to do this before daybreak, or the vamps won't back off - they'll turn into crispy critters. Once we get to the end of the hall, we can go up the stairs to the ground floor and out or we go through the common room on the right and up and out. Once we're on the move, we're not stopping for anything. No hand-to-hand if we can help it...you're too weak and I'm not at their level. Shoot hostiles that are in the way, but that's it."
"Sounds good, Xander. You want to wait until they come to us to start the party, or do we invite them in?" Buffy asked with a mischievous smile on her face.
"Let's invite them in...I'm a instant gratification kind of guy."
Somewhere in Sunnydale
Saturday, 3:50 AM
We stood next to the door and listened to the sounds of the fight down the hall. Spike's guys gave it a good shot but it sounded like they were almost finished. Buffy and I had heard the shouts from Spike's room when Angelus' guys broke in; all they found was an empty wheelchair. Apparently, one of Spike's bodyguards carried him out in the middle of the fight, leaving his guys behind to fight and die.
Typical. After we heard Angelus give the order to search the floor for the Slayer, we set the plan we had come up with into motion.
Buffy stepped out the door and into view. Seeing at least five vampires standing in the hall in front of Spike's door, she called out, "Yoo hoo! Looking for someone?"
When the vampires saw the Slayer standing in the hall, they started running toward her in full vampire mode...not that it did them much good for what happened next.
As soon as Buffy saw that the vampires had seen her, she ducked back into the room, covered her ears and started screaming. This was because as soon as Buffy had cleared the door I popped out into the hallway, and screaming loudly myself, started to rapid-fire the shotgun at the approaching vampires.
Uncle Tim's shotgun was a Mossberg riot gun; it had a short barrel and it was loaded with double-ought buck. Each shell contained nine pellets that were as wide as a .32 caliber bullet. Multiply nine pellets time the eight shells that were loaded in the shotgun - seventy-two projectiles were fired in approximately eight seconds into the oncoming vampires in the narrow hallway.
What I had told Buffy earlier about the effect of gunshots on hearing in these rooms was entirely accurate; even with me screaming, those blasts hurt.
The flashes of each shot from the riot gun was like the strobe from a flash camera, freezing the vampires in bright yellow light as they slowly came apart from the impact of the buckshot in a spray of blood that turned to dust.
The first three vampires took the brunt of the volley; they dusted after the first four shots. The other two vampires had caught some pellets in the legs and fell on the floor. I continued firing and one more dusted before the gun came up dry and I ducked back into the room.
Buffy was ready to go when I ducked in. She dropped to one knee, and covered by the doorframe leaned out into the hall, her Beretta at the ready. As I quickly reloaded the riot gun, Buffy called out, "There's one vamp left, and he's crawling back to the other end of the hall. It looks like your plan is working, Xander."
After I topped off the riot gun and pumped in a round, I stood at the doorframe, above and behind Buffy. "If your ex-boyfriend runs true to form, he'll order another assault before he wises up. Be ready to move when you see them coming."
Even with the slight hearing loss from the gunshots, we could hear Angelus screaming at his people, ordering them to attack again. After a couple of minutes, we heard the pounding of running feet and in unison Buffy moved back into the room and I moved out into the hall again.
In the half second before I fired I saw that this was a larger group than before - at least eight vampires. Angelus probably hoped to overwhelm us through sheer numbers, not that his plan was going to work. I started to fire again and this time five vampires went down and dusted. The other three vampires were wounded and falling back before I ran dry.
Switching places again, Buffy covered the hall while I reloaded and stood by, waiting to hear what Angelus was going to do next. By this time I had some serious ringing in my ears, so I watched Buffy to see what she could hear, as she had protected her hearing better that I had.
Finally, Buffy looked up at me. "You guessed right. They're building a barricade at the end of the hall while they go and get reinforcements. There's two other raiding parties out there, and once they get everyone together they plan to smoke us out. They're saying the barricade is strong enough to absorb gunshots and if we try to go over they'll overwhelm us."
I grinned. "Good...I love it when everything goes to plan."
Somewhere in Sunnydale
Saturday, 4:00 AM
After switching the loads in the riot gun and making sure that Buffy and I had all our gear on and ready, we staged at the door again. Quickly looking down the hall I saw the barricade that the vampires had quickly put together. It looked like it had been put together from furnishings from the vampire's living quarters and was about shoulder high. It was perfect for our purposes.
Looking at Buffy, I was struck by how comical and how beautiful she looked. She had put on my coat correctly and it was hanging open for quick access to her gear. The coat still reached to the floor, and she looked like a kid that was wearing an adult's clothes. Buffy had kept my coat in order to protect herself from injury, as the skirt and blouse she was wearing didn't do that all that well. But in spite of her disheveled appearance and the coat, Buffy still looked as good as when she had been modeling dresses at the mall last night/a million years ago.
Snapping back to the present, I looked down the hall again and saw that there were some vampires moving around behind the barricade, about four of them. I didn't know the total number of vampires there were in the building, but I did know that I didn't want to wait for the other two raiding parties to join the festivities. So there was no time like the present to get the ball rolling.
I had to be careful of the number of shotgun shells I fired. Except for the specialty loads that were now loaded, I had only two more full reloads of buckshot shells left. I would not be able to reload fast enough in a middle of a fight if I ran dry. If that happened, we would have to use the Beretta pistols and the wooden stakes - something I did not look forward to.
I looked down at Buffy and saw her looking up at me.
Seeing how intent and serious she looked, I gave her a small smile and winked at her. Startled, Buffy grinned back at me.
"Ready, Summers?" I asked in a low voice.
"You know me, Harris. I'm always ready." As soon as Buffy saw me bring up the riot gun to my shoulder to fire, she covered her ears and screamed.
I started to fire at the barricade, aiming at the wall behind it and the vampires. Instead of the buckshot I had used before I was firing signal flares. These flares were designed to go a hundred yards before igniting a magnesium fuel, creating a brilliant white light that would last approximately ten seconds. The flares were supposed to be fired straight up into the sky, but the way I was using them, they would bounce off the wall and into the barricade - and the vampires - before igniting at over 1500 degrees F.
After firing the four flares in the riot gun, I could hear the screams of the vampires caught in the fire.
At least a couple of the flares had bounced into the barricade, as it was on fire as well. Waiting fifteen seconds for the fire to weaken the barricade, I fired the remaining four shells into the barricade itself.
These shells contained solid slugs, about half an inch wide and weighing about an ounce each. The slugs blew the materials from the barricade and left a clear path on the right side. Quickly reloading the riot gun with buckshot shells, I started down the hall with Buffy right behind me, her Beretta at the ready.
Reaching the barricade, I held the riot gun at the ready, sweeping the area behind it. All I could see were some dustpiles on the floor, but I could hear yelling and running feet coming down the stairway on the left. That meant we had to go out through the common room. Making sure that Buffy's hand was still on my shoulder, we turned and went through the door on the right.
Quickly sweeping the room, I saw that the room was empty of vampires. The room looked trashed, both from the battle between the two groups of vampires and the looting of materials to build the barricade outside.
I could see that there were two doors leading from the large room. If I recalled the information from the vampire at the bar correctly, the door on the left led up and out. The door on the right led to another series of rooms but not out. Not an area I wanted to be in with hostile vampires looking for me.
Looking back at Buffy, I saw that she was scanning the room as well. Catching her eye, I gestured at the door on the left and pointed up. Buffy nodded her understanding and we quickly moved to the door.
Hearing the sounds of the vampires coming down the stairwell behind us, I moved to the doorknob side of the door and holding the riot gun at the ready, gestured for Buffy to open the door. Just as Buffy reached for the knob, the door burst open, and four vampires poured out in to the room.
Just before a vampire crashed into me I managed to fire one shot, hitting another vampire in the head, dusting him instantly. The riot gun was knocked from my hands, causing it to fall to my side, hanging from the sling. The vampire and I were struggling and I couldn't reach for the riot gun or the Beretta.
The vampire was trying to reach for my throat, his fangs visible. My hands were around his throat, trying to keep him from getting to my throat. Quickly I put my foot behind the vampire's leg and pushed forward, causing us both to crash to the floor. I managed to land on top of the vampire elbows first, knocking the wind out of him. Grabbing a stake from my shoulder harness, I slammed it through the vampire's chest, dropping me to the floor in a cloud of dust.
Throughout this, Buffy's Beretta had been firing. Jumped up from the floor I saw that there was one vampire writhing on the floor with wounds to his hip and upper legs and that Buffy was struggling with the other vampire, trying to keep the pistol's muzzle away from herself and toward the vampire. Coming up behind the vampire, I rammed the stake through his back, causing Buffy to almost lose her balance when the vampire dusted.
Turning toward the hallway door I saw that the vampires from the hall were about to come through. I grabbed the riot gun hanging at my side, and in one motion pumped in a new shell as I brought it up to my shoulder and fired. After three shots the doorway was clear and two more vampires were dusted. While I was firing, Buffy staked the vampire on the floor.
The situation was turning bad fast. There were vampires in front and behind us and I was running low on ammo for the riot gun. For all I knew the exits had been blocked off. We had to get of that room *now*.
"Buffy! Take point! I'll cover our backs!" I yelled. I was changing the plan by sending Buffy first, but I knew for a fact that the vampires were coming up behind us and we had to get moving.
While I called out to Buffy, I reloaded the riot gun and let it fall to my side. I drew the Beretta and squeezed the pressure switch, causing the light mounted on the pistol to turn on. I swapped pistols with Buffy and started firing into the hall doorway to keep the vampires back, emptying the pistol. I dropped the empty mag and loaded a new one, rapidly attaching another light to this pistol. Moving quickly to the door on the left, I put my hand on Buffy's shoulder and we both moved through the open door.
The door was at the bottom of a stairwell leading up to the ground floor. The stairwell was not lit but the lights on the pistols showed the steps on the way up. Moving quickly, we reached the top of the stairs and came up to a partially open door. Switching places with Buffy, she pulled open the door while I scanned the hall beyond it. Empty. We moved through and shut the door behind us, jamming it shut with a timber that was lying in the hall.
We continued down the hall, Buffy covering the right and me covering the left. We were rapidly coming up on another door, which should have been the second to last door before we were outside.
Buffy opened the door while I covered her with the riot gun. As the door opened, I saw that the room was clear. I stepped through the door and suddenly someone standing *beside* the door grabbed the riot gun and ripped it out of my hands, sending it flying across the room. The force of the shotgun being torn away pulled me toward my attacker - Angelus.