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Taken

Title: Taken
Author: avoidingnemo
Banner by: alwaysjbj
Word Count: 2046
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Set in season 7. alwaysjbj wanted to know what would happen if Buffy attempted to rescue Spike earlier than she did. This is my take on that.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Buffy. This is strictly for fun and no money has been made from this attempt at fiction. Buffy and the characters belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.

A/N 1: A special thanks to alwaysjbj for the beautiful banner and icon that inspired this fic. Hon, I'm not sure I exactly delivered what you asked for, but I did my best. I hope you enjoy it anyway.

A/N 2: Thanks to brandywine421 for looking over this fic for me and for always letting me bounce ideas off her.

A/N 3: Some of the conversations in S7 were paraphrased or used word for word. Basically, if you recognize the conversation, it isn't mine. It belongs to Joss and Mutant Enemy.



taken

Buffy’s surveying the damage done to her house by the intruders. Something is going to have to be done about the window in the living room, again. There’s some broken furniture and glass, but overall not as bad as it could have been.

She turns to Xander and says, “They were after Spike all along.”

“Looks like. And it also looks like I’m doomed to replace that window for eternity. I’d better get started.”

Buffy walks over to the dead body of one of the intruders and notices that his eyes are missing. She bends down to get a closer look. In place of the eyes are red “x” marks. She looks at their clothing for a moment and suddenly it all comes back to her. She’s faced these guys before. It’s been a few years, but she knows who they are and more importantly who they work for.

**************************************************************************************

The gang’s sitting around the dining room table covered with research books. Buffy looks at the table and tries to get her thoughts in order. What they’re facing is huge and they’re going to need help.

“I know what we’re dealing with. The attack tonight, the crazy visits from the other night, all of it,” Buffy begins.

“What is it?” Willow asks.

“It’s The First.”

“Umm…the first what?” Xander questions.

“Evil. Or that’s what it called itself a few years ago. I took out some of its followers, those Bringer guys like what attacked us tonight,” Buffy answers matter of factly.

“What does it want?” Willow asks.

“My guess? All of us dead. When I faced it before, it tried to convince Angel to kill himself. If the powers hadn’t stepped in….”

“What does it want with Spike?” Xander asks.

Anya pipes up with an answer to the question. “Oh, that one is easy. Spike has switched teams once before, so if this First guy can get him to do it again, great. He has a killing machine on his side on the inside of the Slayer’s camp. And if he can’t get to Spike then Buffy will probably have to kill Spike anyway for all the trouble he’s caused.”

“Great. So, Buffy what to do we research first? The trigger that The First is using to control Spike, The First, or where it might have taken Spike?” Willow asks.

“We need Giles. Giles would know what to do,” Anya says.

“Look, I need to get Spike back. That needs to be our first priority. I have a pretty good idea where they probably took him. I can go check it out,” Buffy says trying to take control of the situation.

“Why?” Dawn asks.

Buffy looks at Dawn as if she’s grown two heads. What does she mean, why? She sighs.
“We’re going to need all the help we can get. And if The First thinks it needs Spike then I think we need to make sure it doesn’t have him for long.”

She looks down at the table and then looks back at Dawn. “Besides, if it were me that was kidnapped, what do you think Spike would be doing right now?”

“He’d be out there searching for you,” Willow says quietly.

“Yes, he would. And if it were any of you kidnapped, he’d be helping me find you,” Buffy says looking at Dawn pointedly.

“But, Buffy that was before he went all crazy. You don’t know for sure what he’d do now or even if he could hold it together long enough to be any real help,” Dawn argues.

“What’s happening to him isn’t his fault. And if we can get him back, then we can start figuring out what to do about that trigger and defuse it.”

“Yeah, until The First finds another way to use Spike against us,” Dawn says sarcastically.

“He’s the same guy that protected you from Glory.”

“And he’s the same guy that tried to rape you,” Dawn fires back.

So that is what all the protesting is about. Buffy should’ve known. She sighs. She starts drawing random patterns in the tablecloth so that she doesn’t have to look at anyone. Quietly, she admits, “Last year I was angry. I took all my grief and anger out on Spike. He could handle it, you know? So everything I wasn’t saying, couldn’t say, I worked out by….Let’s just say I wasn’t a very nice person to him, okay? It doesn’t make what he tried to do right, but it doesn’t make me innocent either.”

No one says anything for a moment. Finally Buffy breaks the silence by saying, “He could’ve stayed gone. Or he could’ve come back here demanding a clean slate now that he has a soul. But he didn’t do either of those things. He fought for his soul to make up for what he did and he’s here not asking for forgiveness because he knows words won’t make it right. He beat back the demon to become a better man. And I’m not giving up on him. Not when he needs me.”

Again no one says anything. “I’m not asking any of you to help me. I will rescue him on my own, if I have to,” the Slayer says.

Xander shocks Buffy by asking, “What time do we leave?”

****************************************************************************************

It’s just before daybreak and Xander and Buffy are driving to the Christmas tree lot where Buffy last faced the Bringers. The car ride is silent. Buffy is going over the conversation that took place earlier. She still can’t believe she finally came clean with her friends. Or as clean as she’s willing to come when it comes to her relationship with Spike. The rest of it is between her and Spike.

Xander’s turning the knob on the radio dial. There’s nothing on but Christmas music and apparently that’s not what he’s in the mood for if all the station switching is anything to go by. Finally he turns the radio off.

“I get it, you know,” Xander says.

“Huh?”

“Why we’re doing this. Saving Spike. Grief, anger, their powerful emotions. They make us do things we wouldn’t normally do. Willow tried to end the world because of her grief. Anya became a vengeance demon again. You took yours out on yourself and Spike instead of the people who deserved it.”

“I….”

“It’s okay, Buff. Just…I get it. That’s all.”

Buffy smiles. “Thanks, Xan.”

When they arrive at the Christmas tree lot, Buffy starts scanning the area for anything that looks familiar. She tells Xander to be sure to get Spike’s blanket before heading off in another direction looking for the entrance to the cave.

A few minutes later she’s standing beside the entrance. It’s boarded up. She pulls the boards away and jumps in. She calls back up to Xander and tells him to stay above ground until she checks everything out.

Buffy doesn’t have much time to search the cave before a vampire comes out of nowhere and attacks her. The vampire is seriously ugly and much more demon looking than most of the vampires that she faces. He doesn’t speak, just keeps approaching her. She kicks. He kicks back harder. He’s strong. Stronger than any vamp she’s ever faced. He throws her against the cave wall as if she was a normal girl and not the Slayer. She groans.

“Buffy? Are you okay down there?” Xander asks.

She doesn’t get a chance to answer. The ubervamp is approaching again. She throws her best moves at him and manages to stab him in the heart with her stake. He keeps advancing. No big pile of dust. He pulls the stake out and throws it to the ground.

She climbs back up the cave wall, retreating. The vamp comes after her, but once he reaches the ground the rays of sunshine hit him and he’s forced to stay underground.

“What the hell was that thing?” Xander wants to know.

“That’s what I’d like to know. And until we find out, we can’t help Spike.”

************************************************************************

Once back at Revello Drive, everyone wants to know what happened with Buffy and Xander’s mission. Did they find the Bringers? Did they find Spike? Why were they back so soon?

“I’ve never seen anything like this guy before,” Buffy summarizes.

“Turok-Han,” Anya supplies.

“Huh?” Buffy asks.

Anya sighs. “Ugly even for a vampire? Strong? Almost impossible to kill?”

Buffy nods.

“Turok-Han. Vampire that most vampires are scared of. If The First has one of them standing in your way of Spike, you might as well give up. Spike’s probably dead,” Anya explains matter of factly.

Buffy crosses her arms over her chest. “Everything can be killed. And I bet he can’t survive without his head.”

She looks at Xander and says, “We’re going back. Forget the stakes. Load up on axes.”

**************************************************************************************

By the time Xander and Buffy arrive at the Christmas tree lot, it’s late morning.

“Don’t forget the blanket, Xander. No use getting our asses kicked for a pile of dust,” Buffy calls out. She’s walking toward the spot where they will once again enter the underground cave.

Xander catches up with Buffy as she’s staring down into the hole. “So what’s the plan this time, Buff?”

“You’re coming with me,” she says. She turns to look at him and says seriously, “Stay out of the way. You’ll be down there to pass me weapons. That’s it.”

“Weapon guy. Got it.”

As they climb down into the cave, Xander comments, “Wow, this place isn’t creepy at all.”

Their feet hit the ground one right after the other. Buffy dusts off her pants and says, “Just keep your eyes out for…him.”

The Turok-Han steps toward them and opens his mouth showing his teeth.

“Woah, buddy, someone should teach you about hygiene,” Xander quips.

“Xander,” Buffy warns.

“Right, less talking more weapons.” He throws her an ax.

Buffy advances toward the Turok-Han and for the second time that day, they fight. Once again the ubervamp seems to be winning and is holding Buffy up off the ground by her neck. With one hand she’s trying to pry his hands off her neck and with the other she manages to reach into her jacket pocket and pull out a bottle of holy water. She cracks the bottle open on the vampire’s head. He drops Buffy. Before she can get back up, she sees the Turok-Han falling to dust. Xander’s standing with an ax, smiling when the dust settles.

He offers her and hand and says, “Let’s go rescue bleach boy.”

Buffy and Xander run into a few bringers the further they advance into the cave, but after the showdown with the ubervamp, the bringers are nothing more than child’s play. Buffy and Xander make quick work of them and move even deeper into the cave.

When they finally make it to the area that Spike’s being held, the first thing that Buffy notices is that Spike appears to be alone. He’s chained to the cave wall and has several cuts and bruises. In fact, he doesn’t look much better than the time that Glory tortured him, but he’s not a big pile of dust so that counts for something.

Buffy walks quickly over to Spike. She hesitantly raises her hand to his cheek. He opens his eyes and in a voice barely above a whisper says, “I knew you’d come for me.”

Buffy feels uncomfortable with the devotion she sees in Spike’s eyes even though he’s been tortured and obviously in pain. So she does the only thing she can think of and tries to make light of the situation. She smiles and says, “Nah. I’m really here for that other vamp. But he was seriously lacking in the personal grooming department and his social skills?”

Spike coughs. “Oh, you think you’re funny. Don’t you, Slayer?”

She smiles again and nods. “I do.”

Buffy turns back toward the cave entrance at the sound of Xander clearing his throat. “Um, guys, no offence, but can we like, get out of here?” he asks.

“Not too fond of the place myself,” Spike responds.

Buffy cuts Spike loose and as he tries to take a step, he stumbles. Buffy catches him and Xander rushes over to help.

“Come on, dead boy, Jr. Let’s get you home.”

Comments

A MUCH more satisfying rescue plan and so glad that Xander was on board. You've Dawn characterisation was spot on. Really lovely piece. Thank you!
The banner screamed for Xander to be on board and I'm really glad you thought I had Dawn down right. I'm glad you enjoyed it. They did take their sweet time rescuing Spike in canon didn't they?
Xander shocks Buffy by asking, “What time do we leave?”

This is the Xander I would have loved to see more of in the show! We got brief glimpses of him, but sadly, not enough.

I really enjoyed this. Thank you.
I think Buffy and Xander together and what you wanted for the fic really called to me. One of the things I loved about S7 was the glimpses of the kids grown up. In seven years there should be some changes and there were. This fic and what you wanted gave me a chance to explore that a little bit. At least with Xander. So thank you!

I'm glad you liked it. My work here is done then! :)
Very nice. I love it when Xander is reasonable about Spike. :)
Thanks. I too like a reasonable Xander. So much potential there.

Psst...I've been on a slaymesoftly kick lately. I've been rereading some oldie but goodies. I just finished A Mother's Plea and the sequel today. Nice twist on that epi and what could have happened.
Thank you. I'm glad you liked them. Rereads are always appreciated. :)
This is really very satisfying for a one-shot. I really reading fics in which Xander is supporting. You did a wonderful job. Thank you!
That should read "supportive".
Thanks. There were glimpses of Xander maturing in S7 and I wanted to explore that a little in this. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
duality

May 2010

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