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Fan Fiction: From the Shadows
Chapter Five: Knives and Stakes and Vampires, Oh My
"I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun's energy... If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago."
Spike didn't say another word on the walk to his cemetery. The only concession he made to Jonathan's presence was a restless restraint in his stride, allowing the much shorter human to keep up.
Jonathan didn't mind the silence. He was busy asking himself if he'd made the wrong decision. No matter what Spike's behavior seemed to prove, it could have all been faked, and Jonathan would never know. He didn't know what Spike was like before, besides the textbook "William the Bloody" tales. And he wasn't exactly a good judge of people. Just look at Warren.
Maybe he should have waited and called for a taxi, after all. On the other hand, Buffy might not have let him go. He could try going back to find out, except that if he turned around now, he was pretty sure Spike would get mad. You just don't back out on deals with Master Vampires, no matter how strange they've been acting.
So basically, this was a damned-if-you-do situation. The only sane alternative was to trust his original instinct, except that the instinct wasn't sane to begin with. What had he been thinking? If Spike turned on him he was going to end up like Samuel L. Jackson in "Deep Blue Sea." Chomp. Good intentions never protected anybody.
They were nearly to Spike's crypt when the vampire stopped in his tracks. Jonathan barely had time to register the movement before Spike turned in a swirl of leather duster, demon visage in place, and slammed him up against the nearest mausoleum.
"Ow," Jonathan exclaimed, as the collision throbbed through his shoulder-blades. "Shit." He pressed his hands against the weathered concrete behind him, bracing himself to push off and run, but he already knew he was doomed. Spike was too close, only a foot away, all lean muscle and sharp fangs. So much for instinct.
Spike growled at him, then shifted back to his human face with a shake of the head and an obvious wince. "Look," he said. "All that fear? I'm flattered, really, but it's getting bloody distracting. Either snap out of it, or run along back to Buffy's. Now."
"Distracting?" Jonathan said, confused and startled. "You mean you can smell...? Well, duh, I guess. But why does it matter? I mean, you're a vampire. Why would that be a distraction?"
Spike snorted, and a hungry gleam crept into his eyes. "Vampires are predators, you git. Of course we like the smell of fear, when it's coming from our prey." He paused briefly, glancing off to one side, and lifted his scarred eyebrow. "But if that's what you truly want to be, don't let me stop you."
Prey? Jonathan took a few steps to the side, to a spot where his long-sleeved black T-shirt and black jeans melted into the deeper shadows, and risked a quick look away from Spike.
Three other vampires were loose in the cemetery. One had the newly-risen look, all ridges and bloodlust, with dirt on his freshly-ripped formalwear. The other two were female and obviously older, judging by their worn hippie attire, and were both carrying knives. They hadn't seen Jonathan yet, but they were definitely hunting, and they'd probably smell him soon.
The light breeze shifted directions, and soon became now. Jonathan fumbled in his pockets as they turned towards him and began to approach. He came up with two cheap magical talismans and the stake he always carried just-in-case, but it wasn't much against three attackers. He couldn't stake them on his own, especially the two with the weapons, and there wasn't time to activate either talisman before he became dinner. Well, it looked like he was going to have to settle the issue of Spike one way or another...
"Being prey is not on my agenda," he said, tossing the stake to Spike, then dropped the lesser talisman back into his pocket. "I need thirty seconds. When I yell 'Now', get over here, or you'll fry too."
Spike caught the stake reflexively, then pulled another from his own pocket and brought his demon face back to the fore. "You expect me to protect you now?" He sounded almost offended. "You're not one of the bloody Scoobies."
"Just do it!" Jonathan admonished. The fear had shifted in his system, becoming a generalized panic, but that was OK. It was feeding him lots of adrenaline, and he could use that to boost the spell. He cleared his throat and began the Latin invocation, concentrating on the words and not his worries.
Spike rolled his eyes and set his feet in a fighting stance, with a stake gripped tightly in each hand. The other vampires slowed as they approached him, the elder two splitting off to attack him from the sides. "Traitor," one of them hissed, and Spike leaped forward, stabbing at her with a stake.
The vamp ducked fluidly under his strike and slashed back with the knife she held, leaping back lightly as a line of blood welled up across his hand. The other female vamp took advantage of that distraction to cut at Spike from the other side, but he'd been expecting her and stepped backward, lashing at her with an outstretched leg. His boot caught her in the knee with an audible crunch, and she went down hard, crying out in pain.
The fledgling vamp decided it was time for him to weigh in and threw himself bodily at Spike. He wrapped his arms around Spike's torso, briefly trapping the older vampire's arms, and momentum carried the pair several steps backward. They were within reach of Jonathan when Spike dug in his heels and wrenched a hand free, jabbing up between their bodies with one of the stakes. It caught the fledgling just below the ribs, angling sharply upward, and there was a distinct popping sound and a gush of dark blood before a new cloud of ash sifted into the grass.
The wounded female was getting to her feet, using a tombstone for leverage, and the other had circled farther in the opposite direction, looking at Jonathan. The loud Latin was clearly getting her attention, and he appeared a lot less able than his duster-clad companion.
Spike went after the injured vamp at a full run, discounting the cautious one for a moment. He knocked her back over the tombstone before she could get her knife up and ready. They disappeared from Jonathan's line of sight in a tangle of waist-length brown hair and whirling black leather.
Jonathan began to sweat. The spell was building towards its climax, and if Spike didn't reappear in the next ten seconds...
Spike rolled back into view, grappling with the vamp, and came to a halt crouched above her. He had her arms pinned down with his knees and one hand pressed against her throat. He'd lost the stake from that hand somewhere, but he still had the other, glistening with blood from the cut her sister had inflicted. He raised it high, prepared to stake her through, but was prevented from doing so as she pulled one hand out from under his knee. Jonathan could hear the crunch of finger-bones, but she had enough control yet to keep a grip on her knife, and she slashed upwards with all her strength.
Spike flinched back, throwing his head to one side, barely avoiding decapitation. The tip of the knife opened a deep gash across his collarbone, and he howled in reaction. Knife-wounds might not be fatal, but enough of them would wear him down. He feinted again with the stake, was blocked, and rolled out to the side before she could slash at him a second time.
Jonathan reached the crescendo of the spell. There was a brief gap between the invocation itself and the trigger phrase in which he could yell a warning, and he used it. "Spike! Now!" he called, darting a glance over at the third vamp. She had apparently decided to go ahead and attack him, spellcasting or no, and was advancing on him with her knife. In another few seconds she'd be much too close for comfort.
It took Spike a second to remember Jonathan's instructions, a brief span of time in which the uninjured vamp began rushing towards him and the spell trembled in stasis, threatening to break his hold. Then Spike was in motion, diving to the ground at Jonathan's feet.
Jonathan threw himself over Spike, holding the talisman at arms' length, and called out "Fiat Lux!" at the top of his lungs. Let there be light!
There was a brief, dark shimmer in the air, starting at the point marked by the talisman. It moved around them, spreading out into a circle, then filled in to make a spherical shape around the pair. Spike flinched and curled up tighter as the line crossed one ankle, raising a hissing line of smoke. When the sphere had finished forming, less than a second after it began, it started growing in intensity, sucking up every last erg of energy Jonathan had summoned and converting it into ultraviolet light. Then it rippled outward.
The uninjured vamp went up first. She had nearly reached them, knife outstretched, and her hand caught flame half-a-second before her throat did. Her abortive scream startled the other into motion. The injured vamp began shuffling away at the best speed she could muster, but it wasn't enough. She was caught feet-first by a wave of instant destruction that kept growing, swelling out to encompass the cemetery at large.
There were two more screams and flashes of flame from unsuspected prowlers before the spell let go, and Jonathan collapsed into a heap next to Spike. "Cool," he said, smiling hugely.
Spike picked himself up from the ground, wearing a shocked expression on his re-humanized face. "What the Hell was that?" he exclaimed, glancing down at the line of char marring one leg of his jeans.
"UV spell," Jonathan explained. "Normal light- or sun-spells don't really work for me, they're much too hard to control. But with a qualifying incantation and an amplifying focus, you can project just the ultraviolet, and that's really the part that kills. I never tried it with the focus before, since it takes so long to cast, but I guess it works pretty well."
Spike snorted. "I'll say. How come it did that circle effect then, if it can't kill you? Not that I'm complaining."
"Didn't want to get sunburnt," Jonathan said, and dissolved into giggles. He knew he sounded drunk, or maybe crazy, but hey! He had just nearly been killed, and had his first offensive-spell success. Surely that gave him license to be a little giddy.
Spike rolled his eyes. "Idiot," he said, but there was more respect in his tone than there had been earlier. "Let's get going."
Jonathan stood to his feet, wobbling slightly with exhaustion. For the second time in one day, he found his hands coated in ash, and he sighed at the reminder. This was still his first full day as a Good Guy. If Day One was this bad, did he want to know what tomorrow would bring?
© 2004 Jedi Buttercup.