Chapter 8 - Panic
Spike was certain he heard her call his name, and his fear kicked into overdrive. Please be okay…
“Buffy!” he yelled as he pounded on the door. There was no getting inside. He had to find another way in. Running down the hall he tried the next room, knowing that sometimes they joined with connecting doors. This door was unlocked, and a young couple was mid-way through disrobing each other. They yelled abuse at him but he ignored it as he walked further in, finding the connecting door in the far corner and twisting the knob.
It was unlocked!
Pushing the door open, he was stunned to a standstill by what he saw. Buffy was lying beneath a large blonde guy, who was busily trying to pull down the straps of her dress. Her eyes were struggling to stay open, her head shaking slowly from side to side.
“No…” she murmured, moments later losing her fight with consciousness.
The sound of her voice woke him from the shock of the situation, and he rushed at the guy taking advantage of her, picking a lamp up on the way and slamming it into the back of the guy’s head.
“Get OFF HER!” he roared in fury.
Spike’s attacks were fuelled by rage as he kicked viciously into the bastard’s ribs, followed by a fist being slammed into the shoulder.
That got his attention. The frat guy was up off the bed in seconds, a menacing glare on his face, making sure to stay close to his prize. “Back off, mate, this is none of your business.”
“You damned wrong it’s not my business. You stay away from her,” Spike threatened through clenched teeth.
“Or what?” the frat guy mocked, as he grabbed clumsily at one of Buffy’s breasts and squeezing it firmly. Spike saw her body flinch and a moan of pain escaped her lips.
That one little sound she made was more that enough to make him move into action. He launched himself at the fraternity brother, swinging punches brutally into him. The first few connected, he had the advantage of speed, but the other guy definitely beat him in the strength stakes. One of his punches connected with Spike’s jaw and he saw stars as his head snapped back suddenly. He almost thought he was going to black out, and under normal circumstances he might have let the sensation take over him to block out the pain. That is, if it wasn’t for Buffy lying on the bed defenseless.
Spike attacked again, this time spinning a kick to the side of the frat brothers’ head. It was enough to send him flying—head first—into a chest of drawers. Not waiting for him to get up, Spike rushed to the bed and lifted Buffy up as swiftly and as gently as possible, before running towards the connecting door.
He didn’t look back as he heard the other guy stirring. Adrenalin took over as he found the edge of the stairs and bolted down them and out the front door, carrying Buffy’s limp body in his arms.
Spike didn’t stop running until he was next to his car. Unlocking it quickly he laid her in the front seat, rushing around to the driver’s side door and jamming the key in the ignition. Looking towards the house he saw the large blonde guy running towards them. Spike’s foot hit the gas and the car peeled off down the street, leaving the frat house and the bastard behind.
And he didn’t let up on the speed until he was safely a dozen blocks away. He looked anxiously over at Buffy, who was still unconscious. Gotta get her inside…
Spike prayed that her Mom wasn’t home.
Spike parked in the driveway, more than a little relieved to see her Mom’s SUV was absent. Jumping out of his car, he moved to the passenger side and carefully lifted Buffy out, locking the doors behind him. He wasn’t leaving her side until she was conscious.
They reached the door and Spike realized he had no way of getting inside. He looked down at her and didn’t see a bag strap on her arms and he cursed himself for not thinking of that. About to turn back to car, he saw that one of her hands was clenched tightly. As carefully as he could manage, he lowered her to the porch. Now that he had two free hands he slowly spread her fingers. A tiny little pouch with a string had been crushed beneath her grasp. He shook his head in wonder. After everything, she had still clenched onto that little bag. Opening it up, he found a lipstick - and a key.
Trying it in the lock he closed his eyes and twisted. A click signified the door unlocking and Spike basked in the relief for a second. “Thank god, Summers.”
Lifting her off the ground he carried her inside, kicking the front door closed with his leg as he moved toward the sofa in the living room, laying Buffy down gently. Searching the wall he soon found what he was looking for. Flicking the light switch, he came to sit by her side, brushing a few stray locks of hair from her face.
“Never should have left you,” he whispered guiltily.
Spike didn’t want to leave her, but he knew he had to keep her warm and have fluids ready. He was convinced that something wasn’t right. The way her head had lolled on the bed, the glassiness in her eyes—it took more than alcohol to put someone in a state like that. Removing his duster, he wrapped it over her body to keep her warm.
Spike sat beside her as time ticked by. First an hour, two, then two and a half. It seemed she wouldn’t be waking anytime soon. Deciding now was as good as time as any to get himself acquainted with the place, Spike began to walk around the house trying to find the kitchen. Once he did he had to check the cupboards for a glass, which he quickly filled with water.
He’d only been gone a few minutes before he’d returned, and while Buffy was still out, a frown had worked its way onto her face. Her face crumpled even further as she began to shake her head to the side, moaning. Spike placed the glass on the coffee table and sat on the edge of the sofa, leaning close to her.
“Buffy.” He shook her arm ever so slightly. “Buffy, wake up, luv.”
Buffy’s eyes fluttered open and closed a few times, before she managed to keep them open. Her vision was blurry, and when she tried to focus it, all she could see was a blob of a face leaning towards her. Panic filled her immediately as she sat almost bolt upright, holding her hands out protectively. “No!” she whispered in terror. “Get away, get away from me!” She clenched her eyes shut, tears beginning to stream down her face.
“Shhh, luv. It’s me, Spike,” he soothed, reaching out and holding her tightly against his chest, rocking gently.
Buffy blinked her eyes a few times before her vision cleared a little more. She pulled away and felt her whole body relaxing when she recognized the voice. Her head was still spinning, but she could make out the shock of blond hair and the little scar over his left eyebrow. Looking over his shoulder, identifying the familiar the room as her living room, Buffy broke into tears, reaching for Spike as he drew her into his protective arms once more.
Her body quivered there in his embrace as the sobs became louder and more violent. Spike felt helpless, not knowing what he could to take the pain away, just knowing that she couldn’t be left alone right now. Holding her gently he began uttering soothing words into her ear, rubbing a hand up and down her back. “I’m not going anywhere, you’re safe now.”
Buffy had never been so relieved in her life to hear his voice. She clutched at his shirt, scrunching it in her hands. Her breathing became more labored as she gasped for breath.
“Breathe, luv, you need to breathe,” he urged.
Buffy breathed in deeply, and then coughed as her chest heaved from the force of her cries. She closed her eyes, trying to calm so that she could take control of herself. Slowly her body began to ease as the quivering became less violent, and the tears became a trickle as opposed to the flood they had been a few minutes ago.
Spike slowly drew back from her when she calmed down. His hands rose to the sides of her face, and he stared into her eyes. The fear had lessened, but it wasn’t gone completely.
“I should never have left you in there.” His voice was choked up with guilt, with grief.
“You --” She tried to speak, but her throat was dry. “You came back for me.” Her bottom lip quivered as more tears threatened to fall.
“Of course I did! But I should never have left you there in the first place.”
Reaching for the glass of water that was on the coffee table, he handed it to her, urging her to take it from him. Buffy’s hands were shaking so he wrapped his over hers, helping to steady her. She drank it quickly, and he took the empty glass from her, returning it on the coffee table.
“I--I didn’t think I was going to get out of there,” she said a little more freely now that her throat wasn’t burning as much.
“You’re safe now, luv. And I’m not leaving until you know that,” he promised, moving back further on the sofa, wrapping one arm around her shoulders, and drawing her to him with the other.
She grasped at his shirt, clutching at him tightly as she felt her eye lids begin to droop.
“Spike,” she whispered as she slowly began to drift off to sleep.
The steady rise and fall of her signifying sleep brought Spike a little relief. Pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead he settled himself for the night, knowing that there was no way he going to leave her tonight.
Spike squinted as sunlight shone down on his face, eyes blinking a few times as they adjusted to the light. Confusion washed over him for a moment when he didn’t recognize his surroundings. A movement next to him caused him to look down and see a sleeping girl, her golden hair spread across his shoulder. Buffy… The memories of the previous night flooded through his mind, and he clenched his fist in anger.
She stirred again, and he touched her lightly on the shoulder. “Buffy,” he whispered.
Spike’s voice broke through the haze as Buffy yawned, eyes blinking at the light a few times before they opened fully. That was when the memories returned to her, dismay filling her. Then something occurred to her.
“You stayed with me, all night,” she stated with disbelief.
Spike cricked his neck—it was a little stiff from the way he had slept on the sofa. “I told you I wouldn’t leave,” he reminded with a little smile.
She was frowning, and Spike was just waiting for her to tell him to leave. But then a smile crept across her face and she reached forward, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck. Spike was frozen with surprise, before seconds later he wrapped his own arms around her.
“I was so bloody scared when I couldn’t find you. And then when I did…” His voice broke with emotion as he spoke, holding her tightly. “I knew what those guys were like. I’ve been to those parties before, and still I walked out.”
He shook his head, disappointed in himself. The disappointment soon changed into anger, jaw clenching as his mouth forming a thin angry line. “I could’ve killed the guy that.”
She released her grasp on him, and he reluctantly let her move away, searching her face for any kind of response.
Buffy’s gaze dropped to her hands; her fingers playing with the edge of a cushion as if it were the most interesting thing she had ever seen. “I was so stupid. I never should have…” She looked up at him, her cheeks reddening at her pending confession. “I left my drink on the bar when I went to the toilet… and… and when I came back…” she stammered.
Spike’s temper flared when he realized what she was saying. “Buffy, how could you be so naïve? I --” He stopped himself, knowing that she was punishing herself enough for her actions. “It still doesn’t excuse his behaviour. Even if you hadn’t finished the drink, he probably would have tried…”
Buffy nodded. “Did --” she bit her lip, not knowing if she wanted the answer. “Did anything happen? He didn’t…”
She doesn’t remember?
“No, nothing happened.” He didn’t know how much he should tell her; he knew how distressed she was already. But if she found out something and he hadn’t told her…
“He grabbed at you, and if I hadn’t come in when I did…” Spike’s voice filled with anger as the scene played out in his mind. “Your straps,” he identified, touching her shoulders gently. “But I stopped him.”
Buffy’s stomach knotted, and she felt like she was going to retch as an image of the drunken frat leering at her as he approached across the hall played through her mind. His hands on her… She shuddered, and had to fight to control the urge to throw up. Pushing the images from her mind Buffy reminded herself that she was lucky. If Spike had come when he had…
Leaned back against the sofa, fresh tears began falling from her eyes. “I just…”
Spike leaned forward, turning her face to his. “Shh, luv, it’s ok. You’re safe now. I won’t ever let anything happen to you,” he promised as he pressed his lips against her forehead.
Spike had stayed with her for most of the day, only leaving after her mother called to let her know she was on her way home. Buffy had explained to Spike earlier in the morning that she had gone overnight to LA to sort out some shipping problems with one of the new displays. And that her mom had no idea she had gone out. Spike had sworn not to mention it to anyone.
“I’ll see you on Monday?” she asked hopefully as he opened her front door to leave.
“Definitely,” came his immediate reply.
“So, honey, how was your weekend?” Joyce asked when she had settled in.
Buffy was silent for a few moments before lying. “Pretty quiet,” she answered softly.
They ate dinner together, Buffy excusing herself almost immediately afterwards to go to bed. Joyce watched as her daughter cleared the table before disappearing upstairs. She was worried by how withdrawn she seemed to be, and hoped that Hank hadn’t called again.
The phone rang and when Buffy didn’t pick it up, Joyce answered and took a message. I wonder who Riley is…?